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Beyond a Degree

Enhance your professional nursing credentials by earning one of our specialized certificates. If you have a valid RN license and would like to take courses that will provide an introduction to the RN to B.S.N. program, Penn State’s undergraduate nursing certificate programs were designed for you.

Choose from the certificate in Nursing Forensic, Nursing Informatics, or Nursing Management to help set you apart from others on the career ladder. Some of the credits you earn may be applied toward the requirements for a B.S.N. degree.

Nursing Forensics

Learn to bridge the gap between medicine and law with this 12-credit undergraduate certificate program. Professionals in forensic nursing are often the first line of defense for victims of violence, abuse, or neglect when they enter the health care system. Their role goes far beyond medical care to include knowledge of the legal system and injury identification, evaluation, and documentation.


  • NURS 245 Violence and the Impact on Society – Interdisciplinary discussion of violence, its perpetrators, victims and its impact on society as well as possible solutions for violence reduction.
  • NURS 409 Introduction to Forensic Nursing – Provides an introduction to the forensic health sciences, forensic nursing, and the nursing role in the scientific investigation of violence.
  • NURS 410 Forensic Evidence Collection and Preservation – Examines forensic nurse’s role recognizing injuries/patterns of injury. Evidence collection procedures are examined from collection to courtroom presentation.
  • NURS 411 Seminar in Forensic Nursing – Seminar to discuss current topics, trends and research related to forensic nursing.

Nursing Informatics

Nurses can give their careers a boost with the Nursing Informatics online certificate program, a 9-credit course series designed to prepare nurses with the knowledge to use informatics tools in technology-rich health care environments. The curriculum includes key informatics topics such as electronic health records, clinical decision support tools, and data mining to promote safe and efficient care. Registered nurses who are working toward a B.S. in Nursing at Penn State can apply all 9 credits toward the bachelor’s degree. Nurses may also take the courses as a stand-alone series for the purpose of enhancing their career prospects.


  • NURS 357 Introduction to Nursing Informatics – An introduction to nursing informatics focusing on technology applications to the nursing profession.
  • NURS 458 Ethical Challenges in Healthcare Informatics A case based collaboratory designed for the exploration and analysis of the ethical dilemmas facing healthcare informatics practitioners.
  • NURS 460 Advanced Concepts in Clinical Nursing Informatics An exploration of clinical informatics tools to support informatics practice.

Nursing Management

Set yourself apart from other registered nurses on the career ladder by gaining the tools needed for nurse manager positions. Enrich your knowledge of basic health care organizations and administration. Receive your certificate in Nursing Management from the Penn State College of Nursing here at Penn State.


  • NURS 430 Organization and Administration for the Nurse Manager – Introduction to organizational theory and principles of practice in the administration of nursing services and patient care.
  • NURS 431 Data Management for Nurse Managers – Analysis of information systems to manage nursing service organizations; includes financial management, the budgeting processes, and productivity measurement.
  • NURS 432 Nursing Management of Human Resources – Human resource management and related factors in nursing service organizations.
  • NURS 433 Seminar for Nurse Managers – Course focuses on the application of management principles in the role of the nurse manager.

How to Proceed

If you are interested in a specific certificate program, complete the Certificate Intent Form. The College of Nursing will then contact you with information on how to begin the process.

Once you are finished with the course work, complete the Certificate Completion Form. This will help the College of Nursing ensure that the certificate includes your correct name and is mailed to the correct address.

Course Registration

All students who enroll in certificate programs must be enrolled as Penn State students (either degree-seeking or nondegree). For degree-seeking students, the certificate will be completed as an addition to the major.

If you are new to Penn State, your next step is to contact the Registrar at your chosen campus. If you are a current student, you may schedule your courses at any time. Please contact the Nursing program at your chosen campus with any questions.

For More Information

Mary Alyce Nelson, MSN, RN
Coordinator, Outreach Programs
Penn State College of Nursing
205 F Nursing Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814-863-2242
Fax: 814-865-3779

Cody Hoffman
Student Records Specialist
Penn State College of Nursing
210 Nursing Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814-863-2229
Fax: 814-863-2925