Nursing, R.N. to B.S.N.

Program Code: NURN_BSN

Program Description

This major prepares registered nurse students as professional practitioners in areas of health promotion and maintenance, illness care, and rehabilitation. Part-time or full-time study is available at any of the campus sites. The University Park site is a blended program, which includes resident instruction and online nursing courses. The World Campus site is completely online.

Senate legislation 42-97 Credit by Portfolio Assessment enables students to receive credit for certain prescribed nursing courses based on their R.N. licensure.

Students must meet all requirements of the clinical institutions that provide preceptors and clinical experiences. These requirements may include CPR certification, professional liability insurance, health examination including required vaccinations, drug testing, criminal background check (State and Federal) and child abuse history clearances. Students also are responsible for their own transportation to and from clinical settings and may need the use of a car.

Graduates of this major may qualify for admission to a graduate nursing program.

What is Nursing?

Nurses are a vital part of the medical team. As the medical field continuously changes, there is an increased demand for nursing leaders who can improve patient outcomes and decrease healthcare costs. These leaders must combine their solid clinical skills with cultural competency, appreciation for research and innovation, effective communication and strong critical-thinking skills to meet these needs. Research shows that through the broad liberal arts foundation and expanded nursing curriculum, bachelor’s-prepared nurses demonstrate better professional integration of these aspects into their clinical practice. As a result, medical facilities have noted lower mortality rates, shorter hospital stays and lower healthcare costs. See the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Fact Sheet for additional information.

Penn State’s R.N. to B.S.N. program meets current healthcare demands by expanding and enhancing nurses’ existing education and preparing students to advance their practice as clinical leaders, nurse managers and as preparation for entrance to graduate degree programs.

You Might Like This Program If...

You are currently licensed as a Registered Nurse (R.N.) with an associate’s degree or nursing diploma and want to advance your theoretical and clinical skills while making yourself more marketable in the current healthcare industry. Additionally, you may wish to continue onto an advanced nursing graduate degree program and need your B.S.N. in order to be eligible to apply for graduate school. The Penn State R.N. to B.S.N. program is the right choice for nurses wanting a B.S.N. degree from a nationally-recognized institution with a reputation for academic excellence.

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 4-5
Requirements for the Major 91-93

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.

Requirements for the Major

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.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
BIOL 161Human Anatomy and Physiology I - Lecture Keystone/General Education Course3
BIOL 162Human Anatomy and Physiology I - Laboratory Keystone/General Education Course1
BIOL 163Human Anatomy and Physiology II - Lecture Keystone/General Education Course3
BIOL 164Human Anatomy and Physiology II - Laboratory Keystone/General Education Course1
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
NURS 200WPrinciples of Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice 13
NURS 357Introduction to Nursing Informatics 13
NURS 390Transition and the Professional Nursing Role 13
NURS 417Family and Community Health Concepts 14
NURS 465Health Concepts for Adults with Complex Health Care Needs 13
NURS 475Integrated Concepts in Nursing Practice 13
NUTR 251Introductory Principles of Nutrition Keystone/General Education Course3
PSYCH 100Introductory Psychology Keystone/General Education Course3
Prescribed Courses: Credit by portfolio assessment
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 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 405BNursing Care of the Adult Client with Complex Health Problems: Part B4
NURS 420Mental Health Nursing4
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CHEM 130Introduction to General, Organic, and Biochemistry Keystone/General Education Course3-4
or CHEM 110
CHEM 111
Chemical Principles I Keystone/General Education Course
and Experimental Chemistry I Keystone/General Education Course
NURS 251Health Assessment 13
or NURS 352 Advanced Health Assessment for the Registered Nurse
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
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits (3 credits of which must be at the 400 level) from courses on school-approved list in consultation with adviser6

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

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.

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.



Brenda Holtzer, PhD, RN, PCNS
Associate Teaching Professor
Nursing Program Coordinator
1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001


Melissa Miner, DNP, RN, CNE
Associate Teaching Professor
Nursing Program Coordinator
2201 University Drive
Lemont Furnace, PA 15456

New Kensington

Janet Knott, DNP, RN, CNE
Assistant Teaching Professor
Nursing Program Coordinator
3550 Seventh Street Rd.
New Kensington, PA 15068


Marianne Adam, PhD, RN, FNP, CNE
Associate Teaching Professor
Nursing Program Coordinator
C007 200 University Drive
Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972


Maureen Dunn, DNP RN, CNE
Assistant Teaching Professor
Nursing Program Coordinator
147 Shenango Avenue
316 Sharon Hall
Sharon, PA 16146

University Park and World Campus

Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing
Undergraduate Advising

201 Nursing Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2022-23 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contains suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Nursing, R.N. to B.S.N. at Abington, Fayette, New Kensington, Shenango, Schuylkill, University Park, and World Campus 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
BIOL 161*†13BIOL 163*†13
BIOL 162*†1BIOL 164*†11
PSYCH 100*† 13HDFS 129*† 13
ENGL 15 or 30H3NUTR 251*† 13
General Education Course (GH)13General Education Course (GQ)‡ 1,23
General Education Course (GA)13CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C3
 16 16
Second Year
CHEM 130 or 110 and 111*23-4SOC 1 or 5*3
MICRB 106*† 13STAT 200 or 250*‡† 13-4
MICRB 107*†1NURS 251 or 352*3
NURS 390* 33NURS Supporting Course*3
NURS 357*3General Education Course (GH)13
 15-17 15-16
Third Year
NURS 417*4NURS 200W*3
General Education Course (GA)13NURS 465*3
Elective 3ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3
 10 9
Fourth Year
NURS 475* 43Portfolio Credits for RN License33
NURS 400-level Supporting Course*3 
 6 33
Total Credits 120-123

Course requires a grade of C or better for the major

Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education


Course is an Entrance to Major requirement

Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement


Within the 30 credits of required General Education Domain courses, students must take 6 credits of Integrative Studies courses (Inter-domain or Linked courses). Students should consult with their academic adviser to select appropriate courses.


MATH 21 is a prerequisite for CHEM 130 and STAT 200 or STAT 250. MATH 22 is a prerequisite for CHEM 110. If a student places higher than MATH 21 on the ALEKS Assessment Exam, any GQ may be scheduled.


NURS 390 should be the first NURS course taken in the R.N. to B.S.N. program.


NURS 475 should be the final NURS course taken in the R.N. to B.S.N. program.

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.

Program Notes:

  • Typically, students entering NURN have the General Education and/or major requirements completed and will receive transfer credits. Speak with an adviser to have transfer transcripts evaluated.
  • It may be possible for RN to BSN Students to complete an Experiential Learning Assessment in lieu of completing Integrative Studies credits; students should discuss their specific circumstances and options with their adviser and NURS 390 instructor.

Career Paths


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


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 Ross and Carol Nese 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 research through the Ph.D. in Nursing or dual-title Ph.D. programs in Nursing & and Bioethics or Nursing and Clinical & and Translational Sciences (CTS). 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 with options in leadership and nurse practitioner including Family/ Individual  Across  the Lifespan, Adult Gerontology Primary Care, and Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.


Professional Resources


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




1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001


2201 University Drive
Lemont Furnace, PA 15456

New Kensington

3550 Seventh Street Rd.
New Kensington, PA 15068


C007 200 University Drive
Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972


147 Shenango Avenue
324 Lecture Hall
Sharon, PA 16146

University Park and World Campus

201 Nursing Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802