Second Degree Program

The Second Degree program is an intensive sixteen-month program open to individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. Students will complete 120 credits, comprised of 60 credits in general education and prerequisite courses (completed in the first degree program, prior to admission) and 60 credits in nursing in the second degree program.

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

The required general education prerequisites include the following:

  • Anatomy (4 credits)
  • Physiology (4 credits)
  • Microbiology (4 credits)
  • Chemistry (3 to 4 credits)
  • Statistics (4 credits)
  • Nutrition (3 credits)
  • Intro to Psychology (3 credits)
  • Intro to Sociology (3 credits)
  • Human Development or Developmental Psychology (3 credits)
  • General Arts (6 credits)
  • General Humanities (6 credits)
  • English Composition (3 credits)
  • English with a writing emphasis (3 credits)
  • Effective Speech (3 credits)
  • Quantification Elective (3 credits)
  • General Electives (4 to 5 credits)

For students beginning the Second Degree program in the fall, all general education prerequisites must be completed by the end of the preceding spring semester. These can be taken at any Penn State campus or other college or university.

The program prepares nurses to provide nursing care in varied settings, which include hospitals, private practice, long-term care, clinics, and other health care and community agencies. Students gain experience in diverse settings, which include trauma centers, rural hospitals, community health agencies, and other health care settings.

Because the program is intensive, it is recommended that students be able to go without outside employment for the duration of the program. At the completion of their course work, graduates will be eligible 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 open to them. 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, to name a few.

In addition, the B.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 a lifelong and rewarding career.


Penn State Altoona

Maggie McNulty, M.Ed.
Pre-Nursing Adviser

Penn State Harrisburg

Ronda Stump, M.Ed.
Academic Adviser, Nursing Programs