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Second Degree Program

The Second Degree program is an intensive sixteen-month program for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. This rigorous program is offered in a cohort format (all cohorts start in fall semester) and requires extensive commitment. Students take 14–17 credits per semester for a total of 60 credits.

Currently, the Second Degree program is offered at Penn State Altoona and Penn State Harrisburg.

Prerequisites

The required Penn State prerequisites for fall 2017 applicants are:

  • Mammalian Anatomy with lab (4 credits): BIOL 129
  • Introductory Physiology and Physiology Lab (4 credits): BIOL 141 or 142
  • Lifespan Development or Developmental Psychology (3 credits): HD FS 129 OR PSYCH 212
  • Introductory Chemistry with lab (3-4 credits): CHEM 101 OR CHEM 110 and 111

College-level courses in the following areas, although not required for an offer to the major, will support the student’s success in the program:

  • Microbiology
  • Statistics
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Algebra

Please note: Admission criteria for future years (fall 2018 and later) is subject to change. Prospective applicants are encouraged to check this website frequently for updates.

For students beginning the Second Degree program in the fall, all prerequisites must be completed by the end of the preceding spring semester. The most competitive candidates will have all prerequisite course work competed by the end of fall and a strong grade-point average.

Prerequisite courses may be taken at any Penn State campus or other colleges and universities. If you are unsure whether a course from another college will transfer, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office or one of the advisers listed below.

Because the program is intensive, we recommend that students forgo outside employment for the duration of the program. Our most successful students are able to focus exclusively on their studies for the entire sixteen months.

At the completion of their course work, graduates will be able to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and begin new careers in professional nursing.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the baccalaureate nursing program have a vast array of employment opportunities. Employment settings include trauma centers, community hospitals, home health agencies, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, hospice agencies, schools, industrial and organizational settings, and the military.

In addition, a bachelor’s degree is required to pursue an advanced degree 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 nursing profession encompasses opportunities for lifelong and rewarding careers.

Applying

To apply, click on the Second-Degree Nursing Program Application button at the top of this page between September 1 and November 30, complete the application and follow the additional instructions indicated below for the applicant status that best describes you (Prior Penn State Student, Spring Penn State Graduate, Never Attended Penn State, International).

Admission to this program is very competitive. We typically have a large applicant pool and generally accept no more than thirty-five students in a cohort. Students who have completed all four prerequisite content areas, have a competitive GPA, and who have graduated by the preceding fall semester are most competitive for admission the upcoming fall semester. Students graduating or completing prerequisite course work in spring will be considered on a space-available basis. An Early Offer opportunity is available for applicants who meet the criteria.

Students may apply to only one Second Degree Program location (Altoona or Harrisburg). We encourage you to become familiar with both locations before making your choice.

Application Timeline

Complete application materials must be received by November 30. Applicants are notified by email in February regarding their status.

Successful applicants with all prerequisite criteria met by the end of the fall application semester will receive an immediate offer. Successful students with pending course work or spring graduation may receive a “contingent offer.” Students who receive a contingent offer in February will receive an immediate offer in May if all criteria are met on the timeline and standards set by the Review Committee. Be sure to regularly check the email address you provide on your application or reenrollment.

Applicants who will complete their course work after the November 30 deadline must submit official transcripts immediately upon course completion to Undergraduate Admissions AND an unofficial copy by email to the Nursing program office at the campus to which you are applying. Additionally, students who are taking classes in the upcoming spring semester must email a copy of your spring schedule (or an unofficial transcript showing scheduled coursework) to the Nursing contact at your preferred location no later than the third week of December.

Because of the volume of the applicant pool, incomplete applications and late submissions will not be considered. Students who do not provide the required information by the deadline may reapply for a future cohort.

Previous Penn State Students and Fall Penn state Graduates

If you previously attended Penn State as an undergraduate student, you must complete the following:

Submit an Undergraduate Re-enrollment Form to the Registrar’s office at the campus to which are you applying. Re-enrollment forms will be accepted from September 1 to November 30.

  1. Send transcripts for any non–Penn State course work not previously submitted to Undergraduate Admissions.
  2. If you are taking classes in the upcoming spring semester, email a copy of your spring schedule (or an unofficial transcript showing scheduled coursework) to the Nursing contact at your preferred location no later than the third week of December.

Penn State Spring Graduates

If you are a Penn State student who will graduate in spring, you must complete the following:

  1. File your Intent to Graduate on LionPATH as soon as you may do so.
  2. Submit the Undergraduate Enrollment Form to the Registrar’s office at the campus to which are you applying.
  3. Send transcripts for any non-Penn State course work not previously submitted to Undergraduate Admissions.
  4. If you are taking classes in the upcoming spring semester, email a copy of your spring schedule (or an unofficial transcript showing scheduled coursework) to the Nursing contact at your preferred location no later than the third week of December.

Never Attended Penn State Before (Transfer or Advanced Standing Applicants)

An advanced standing applicant or standing applicant is one who never attended Penn State as an undergraduate degree–seeking student. Between September 1 and November 30, transfer (advanced standing) applicants must:

  1. Complete the Undergraduate Admissions online application and pay the processing fee.
  2. Submit all materials (including official college and study abroad transcripts and AP or CLEP scores) directly to Undergraduate Admissions. Items must be received by November 30.
  3. If you are taking classes in the upcoming spring semester, email a copy of your spring schedule (or an unofficial transcript showing scheduled coursework) to the Nursing contact at your preferred location no later than the third week of December.

Undergraduate Admissions will calculate your cumulative GPA based on all undergraduate course work from all postsecondary institutions.

International Applicants

International transcripts may be reviewed only by Undergraduate Admissions staff at University Park. This process takes a significant amount of time, and applying in early September is encouraged. In some cases, applicants may need to apply for a future cohort. To have your international transcript reviewed, you must:

  1. File an application and submit an official transcript to Undergraduate Admissions, who will review your transcripts and add transfer credits.
  2. Notify the Nursing program office at your preferred location that your transcripts are ready to be reviewed for the required Second Degree Program prerequisites. The Admissions Office will provide the Nursing contact with your cumulative GPA for review.
  3. If you are taking classes in the upcoming spring semester, email a copy of your spring schedule (or an unofficial transcript showing scheduled coursework) to the Nursing contact at your preferred location no later than the third week of December.

Early Offer

Students who have completed all prerequisite course work with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher and graduate from an accredited baccalaureate program by the summer immediately preceding the fall application cycle may be considered for an early offer. The early offer cycle runs September 1–30 with notification in late October. To be considered for an early offer, please click on the Second-Degree Nursing Program Application button at the top of this page between September 1 and September 30, complete the application and follow the additional instructions indicated above for the applicant status that best describes you. 


 

Contacts

Undergraduate Admissions

201 Shields Building
University Park, PA 16802-1294
814-865-5471


 

Penn State Altoona
814-949-5114

Suzanne Kuhn, Ph.D., CNE
Nursing Program Coordinator
skk6@psu.edu

Cathy Kozak
Pre-Nursing Adviser
cek132@psu.edu
814-949-5142

Financial Aid/Veterans Affairs: 814-949-5282

Registrar: 814-949-5035

Admissions (Altoona): 814-949-5466


 

Penn State Harrisburg
717-948-6735

Ann Swartz, D.Ed., CRNP, CS
Nursing Program Coordinator
als25@psu.edu

Ronda Stump, M.Ed.
Nursing Adviser
rfg2@psu.edu

Financial Aid/Veterans Affairs: 717-948-6307

Registrar: 717-948-6020

Admissions (Harrisburg): 717-948-6250