Nursing, B.S.N.

Program Code: NURS_BSN

Program Description

The Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing prepares students to become professional practitioners in areas of health promotion and maintenance, illness care, and rehabilitation. After earning this degree in Nursing, students are qualified to take the registered nurse examination for licensure by the State Board of Nursing.

B.S.N. Nursing majors will choose one of the following options:

General Nursing Option (NURS GNURS)

Available at the following campuses: Altoona, Erie, Fayette, Mont Alto, Schuylkill, Scranton, University Park

Students who begin the General Nursing Option at University Park must complete the degree at University Park.
Students may begin the General Nursing Option at any campus if they will complete the degree at Altoona, Erie, Fayette, Mont Alto, Schuylkill, or Scranton.

The General Nursing Option admits first year students directly to the major at six Penn State campuses (University Park, Altoona, Erie, Fayette, Mont Alto, Schuylkill or Scranton) for summer or fall entry. Nursing students start and remain at the campus of admission all four years. University Park students spend one full academic year at Penn State Hershey Medical Center campus, which requires students to reside at that location.

Non-nursing students may not transfer or change major into the 4-year nursing program at University Park, but may apply through a competitive Entrance to Major Review process at the five other campuses offering the General Nursing Program.

Clinical experiences occur at clinical facilities within a 50-mile radius of campus.

Second Degree Option (NURS SCND)

Available at the following campuses: Altoona, Harrisburg

Students start and remain at the campus of admission for the entire program (Altoona or Harrisburg)

This option admits students who have successfully completed a bachelor's degree in another discipline to the Nursing major through a competitive Entrance to Major Review process. Students must have met all prerequisite course requirements.

Students start and remain at the campus of admission for the entire program.

Clinical experiences occur at facilities within a 50-mile radius of the campus.

For Both Options

All transportation and expenses related to clinical are the responsibility of the student. Students must carry professional liability insurance; complete an annual examination including required vaccinations, criminal background and child abuse history clearance and drug testing; maintain CPR certification; and adhere to any additional requirements of the clinical facilities. Graduates of this major may qualify for admission to a graduate nursing program.

Undergraduate Academic Progression Policy

The Academic Progression Policy delineates academic standards for pre-licensure students (students without R.N. license). Two failed attempts in nursing courses or two failed attempts in any given prerequisite course results in dismissal from the Nursing major. Details of the academic progression policy are available in the student handbook.

What is Nursing?

Nurses serve on the front lines of the health care industry. They work in emergency rooms, outpatient clinics, inpatient facilities, schools and private homes. As the cornerstone of the medical team, nurses assess and monitor patients’ body systems, symptoms and vital signs; administer prescribed medications; and provide routine care, such as bathing, dressing, and wound care. Working closely with clients and their families, nurses are often the first to alert doctors of changes in the patient’s medical condition.

However, nursing is a profession that requires more than book knowledge and medical skills. Nurses must also act as compassionate caregivers, supportive advocates and thorough educators to improve and preserve the health and quality of life of their patients. Nurses must be flexible, attentive and demonstrate strong critical thinking skills. They must be prepared to act quickly and competently in order to save lives.

A career in nursing opens many doors and allows nurses to shape their own unique career path. Some nurses choose to specialize in specific clinical areas such as pediatrics, mental health or critical care, while others move into case management, education, research, insurance or administrative roles. In this exciting field, every day is truly different, but each one is rewarding.

You Might Like This Program If...

You might like this major if you enjoy learning about the human body and how it functions and heals. It is also important to enjoy working with people. Nurses work closely with clients and their families while providing respectful and compassionate healthcare, often during vulnerable stages of life. Nurses must be adaptable, quick on their feet and demonstrate good critical thinking and communication skills. Students pursuing this degree should strive to be leaders in the healthcare field and exhibit professionalism and ethical integrity.

Direct Admission to the Major

Incoming first-year students who meet the program admission requirements are admitted directly into the major. Admission restrictions may apply for change-of-major and/or change-of-campus students.

For more information about the admission process for this major, please send a request to the college, campus, or program contact (listed in the Contact tab).

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in Nursing, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 5-9
Requirements for the Major 87-92

21-22 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 3 credits of GHW courses; 9 credits of GN courses; 3-4 credits of GQ courses; 6 credits of GS courses.

The Second or Additional Degree Option requires the completion of 60 credits of general education and prerequisite courses in the first degree program (prior to admission) and 60 credits of nursing courses completed after admission.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

Requirements for the Major must be completed prior to admission for students taking the Second Degree Option.

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options)

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
BIOL 161Human Anatomy and Physiology I - Lecture Keystone/General Education Course 13
BIOL 162Human Anatomy and Physiology I - Laboratory Keystone/General Education Course 11
BIOL 163Human Anatomy and Physiology II - Lecture Keystone/General Education Course 13
BIOL 164Human Anatomy and Physiology II - Laboratory Keystone/General Education Course 11
HDFS 129Introduction to Human Development and Family Studies Keystone/General Education Course3
MICRB 106Elementary Microbiology Keystone/General Education Course3
MICRB 107Elementary Microbiology Laboratory Keystone/General Education Course1
NUTR 251Introductory Principles of Nutrition Keystone/General Education Course3
PSYCH 100Introductory Psychology Keystone/General Education Course3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CHEM 130Introduction to General, Organic, and Biochemistry Keystone/General Education Course 13
or CHEM 110
CHEM 111
Chemical Principles I Keystone/General Education Course
and Experimental Chemistry I Keystone/General Education Course
SOC 1Introductory Sociology Keystone/General Education Course3
or SOC 5 Social Problems Keystone/General Education Course
STAT 200Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course3-4
or STAT 250 Introduction to Biostatistics Keystone/General Education Course
Requirements for the Option
Requirements for the Option: Require a grade of C or better
Select an option57-60

Requirements for the Option

General Nursing Option (57 credits)

Available at the following campuses: Altoona, Erie, Fayette, Mont Alto, Schuylkill, Scranton, University Park

Students who begin the General Nursing Option at University Park must complete the degree at University Park.
Students may begin the General Nursing Option at any campus if they will complete the degree at Altoona, Erie, Fayette, Mont Alto, Schuylkill, or Scranton.

Due to restricted enrollment, the College of Nursing assigns the semester in which students enroll in the following Prescribed Courses and all course prerequisites must be successfully completed.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
NURS 200WPrinciples of Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice3
NURS 225Pathophysiology3
NURS 230Introduction to the Fundamentals of Nursing4
NURS 250Professional Role Dev I: Intro to Professional Issues in Nursing Practice and Nursing Informatics2
NURS 251Health Assessment3
NURS 301Nursing Care of the Adult Client Requiring Medical-Surgical Intervention4
NURS 305Introduction to Pharmacological Concepts3
NURS 306Nursing Care of Children and Adolescents3
NURS 310Therapeutic Nursing Care of the Older Adult Client in a Variety of Settings3
NURS 320Nursing Care of the Childbearing Family and Gynecological Client3
NURS 350Professional Role Development II: Ethics, Legal and Genetic Issues2
NURS 405ANursing Care of the Adult Client with Complex Health Problems: Part A4
NURS 405BNursing Care of the Adult Client with Complex Health Problems: Part B4
NURS 415Community and Family Health Nursing4
NURS 420Mental Health Nursing4
NURS 450AProfessional Role Development III: Leadership and Management2
NURS 450BProfessional Role Development III: Clinical Capstone3
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 3 credits at the 400 level from College-approved list in consultation with adviser3
Second Degree Option (60 credits)

Available at the following campuses: Altoona, Harrisburg

Students start and remain at the campus of admission for the entire program (Altoona or Harrisburg)

Due to restricted enrollment, the College of Nursing assigns the semester in which students enroll in the following Prescribed Courses and all course prerequisites must be successfully completed.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
NURS 200WPrinciples of Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice3
NURS 225Pathophysiology3
NURS 230Introduction to the Fundamentals of Nursing4
NURS 250Professional Role Dev I: Intro to Professional Issues in Nursing Practice and Nursing Informatics2
NURS 251Health Assessment3
NURS 301Nursing Care of the Adult Client Requiring Medical-Surgical Intervention4
NURS 305Introduction to Pharmacological Concepts3
NURS 306Nursing Care of Children and Adolescents3
NURS 310Therapeutic Nursing Care of the Older Adult Client in a Variety of Settings3
NURS 320Nursing Care of the Childbearing Family and Gynecological Client3
NURS 350Professional Role Development II: Ethics, Legal and Genetic Issues2
NURS 405ANursing Care of the Adult Client with Complex Health Problems: Part A4
NURS 405BNursing Care of the Adult Client with Complex Health Problems: Part B4
NURS 415Community and Family Health Nursing4
NURS 420Mental Health Nursing4
NURS 450AProfessional Role Development III: Leadership and Management2
NURS 450BProfessional Role Development III: Clinical Capstone3
NURS 495Nursing Study in Specialized Setting6

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

Altoona

Suzanne K. Kuhn
Associate Teaching Professor
Nursing Program Coordinator
Sheetz Family Health Center 106
3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona, PA 16601
814-949-5114
skk6@psu.edu

Erie

Kimberly Streiff
Assistant Teaching Professor
Nursing Program Coordinator
139 Otto Behrend Science
Erie, PA 16563
814-898-7583
kws5659@psu.edu

Fayette

Melissa Miner, DNP, RN, CNE
Associate Teaching Professor
Nursing Program Coordinator
2201 University Drive
Lemont Furnace, PA 15456
724-430-4220
mbm12@psu.edu

Harrisburg

Lisa A Albert, Ed.D., MSN, RN, CSN
Assistant Teaching Professor
Nursing Program Coordinator
Olmsted Building W314
Middletown, PA 17057
717-948-6514
laa126@psu.edu

Mont Alto

Carranda Barkdoll
Assistant Teaching Professor
Nursing Program Coordinator
104F Sci-Tech
Mont Alto, PA 17237
717-749-6205
cmb207@psu.edu

Schuylkill

Marianne Adam
Associate Teaching Professor
Nursing Program Coordinator
Classroom Building 101-E
Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972
570-385-6061
mta133@psu.edu

Scranton

Milton Evans
Associate Teaching Professor
Nursing Program Coordinator
4 Library Building
Dunmore, PA 18512
570-963-2649
mme131@psu.edu

University Park

Undergraduate Advising Office
210 Nursing Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-2229
nursing@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2021-22 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

General Nursing Option: Nursing, B.S.N. at University Park, Altoona, Erie, Fayette, Mont Alto, Schuylkill, and Scranton Campuses

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIOL 161*#† 1,23BIOL 163*#† 1,23
BIOL 162*#† 1,21BIOL 164*†1
ENGL 15 or 30H3HDFS 129*† 23
PSYCH 100*† 23NUTR 251*† 23
NURS 100 (or other First Year Seminar - as required by campus)31General Education Course (GQ)‡ 2,43
General Education Course (GH)23CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C3
General Education Course (GA)23 
 17 16
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 130 or 110 and 111* 43-4SOC 1 or 5*3
MICRB 106*† 23STAT 200 or 250*‡† 23-4
MICRB 107*†1NURS 225*3
NURS 250*2NURS 230*4
NURS 251*3General Education Course (GH)23
Elective 2-3 
 14-16 16-17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
NURS 305*3NURS 200W*3
NURS 301*4NURS 350*2
NURS 310*3NURS 306*3
General Education Course (GA)23NURS 320*3
Elective 3ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3
 16 14
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
NURS 405A*4NURS 450B*3
NURS 450A*2NURS 405B*4
NURS 415*4NURS 420*4
Elective 3NURS 400-level Supporting Course*3
 13 14
Total Credits 120-123

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Program Notes:

  • See College of Nursing Grading Scale and Academic Progression Policy in the BSN Handbook at https://www.nursing.psu.edu/student-handbooks/
  • Scheduling Patterns: NURS courses are offered only in the semester indicated, except NURS 415 and NURS 420 may be offered both Fall and Spring semesters at UP and Hershey.
  • Students studying at University Park will spend third or fourth year at Hershey Medical Center

Second Degree in Nursing Option: Nursing, B.S.N. at Altoona and Harrisburg Campuses

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
NURS 250* 2NURS 350* 2NURS 320*3
NURS 225* 3NURS 301* 4NURS 306*3
NURS 230* 4NURS 310* 3NURS 420*4
NURS 305* 3NURS 415* 4NURS 405B*4
NURS 251* 3NURS 405A* 4 
 15 17 14
Second Year
FallCredits  
NURS 450A*2  
NURS 450B*3  
NURS 495*6  
NURS 200W*3  
 14  
Total Credits 60

Additional Notes:

Career Paths

After earning a B.S.N. and successfully passing the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, Registered Nurses have the opportunity to enter into a stable and growing work force. Additionally, the Penn State B.S.N. degree creates a strong foundation for continuing into advanced nursing roles through a variety of graduate level nursing programs. The versatility of the B.S.N. degree provides graduates with the skills and background to pursue the career path that is right for them. Nurses have countless options to explore different specialties, advance into leadership roles, and continue with lifelong learning while providing high quality nursing care to their clients.

Careers

Demand for nurses continues to rise. The B.S.N. degree in Nursing is rapidly becoming the degree of choice for many healthcare facilities, rendering baccalaureate-educated nurses highly marketable. Graduates of the baccalaureate nursing program have a vast array of rewarding employment opportunities. Employment settings include:

  • Trauma centers and community hospitals caring for the critically ill or injured
  • Home health agencies providing medical care to homebound clients
  • Rehabilitation and long-term care facilities
  • Hospice agencies caring for people with terminal illnesses
  • Schools or pediatric/neonatal units working with children and newborns
  • Military bases
  • Insurance agencies evaluating patient claims and teaching classes to insurance agents
  • Travel and cruise ship nursing

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES OF THE NURSING, B.S.N. PROGRAM

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

A baccalaureate degree in nursing is typically required to pursue advanced degrees in nursing, which prepares the nurse for roles such as nurse educator, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator and nurse researcher. The College of Nursing at Penn State offers several advanced-degree options for B.S.N.-educated nurses. On-campus options are available for nurses interested in advanced clinical practice roles such as a Nurse Practitioner, or in research through the Ph.D. program. Several online options are offered to provide flexibility to working nurses across the country. These programs include M.S.N. degrees in Nurse Administration and Nurse Education and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree for nurses pursuing specialization in healthcare leadership.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

Professional Resources

Accreditation

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs are approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and accredited by the:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
655 K Street, NW
Suite 750
Washington, DC 20001
202-887-6791 - Phone
202-887-8476 – Fax
http://www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES OF NURSING

Professional Licensure/Certification

Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.

Contact

Altoona

NURSING MAJOR
Sheetz Family Health Center 106
3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona, PA 16601
814-949-5114
skk6@psu.edu

http://altoona.psu.edu/academics/bachelors-degrees/nursing/request-information

Erie

NURSING MAJOR
1 Prischak
4205 College Drive
Erie, PA 16563
814-898-6105
behrend-science@psu.edu

http://behrend.psu.edu/school-of-science

Fayette

NURSING MAJOR
2201 University Drive
Lemont Furnace, PA 15456
724-430-4220
mbm12@psu.edu

https://fayette.psu.edu/academics/baccalaureate/nursing

Harrisburg

NURSING MAJOR
Olmsted Building W314
Middletown, PA 17057
717-948-6735
kqr1@psu.edu

http://harrisburg.psu.edu/behavioral-sciences-and-education/nursing/bachelor-science-nursing

Mont Alto

NURSING MAJOR
104F Sci-Tech
Mont Alto, PA 17237
717-749-6205
cmb207@psu.edu

http://montalto.psu.edu/directory/baccalaureate-nursing-program

Schuylkill

NURSING MAJOR
Classroom Building 101-E
Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972
570-385-6061
mta133@psu.edu

https://schuylkill.psu.edu/academics/degrees/bacc-degrees/nursing

Scranton

NURSING MAJOR
4 Library Building
Dunmore, PA 18512
570-963-2649
mme131@psu.edu

https://scranton.psu.edu/academics/degrees/bachelors/nursing-degree

University Park

UNDERGRADUATE ADVISING OFFICE
210 Nursing Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-2229
nursing@psu.edu

https://www.nursing.psu.edu/academic-advising/