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History of the College


Since its creation in 1964 as a department under the College of Health and Physical Education and later the College of Human Development (now Health and Human Development), Penn State’s Nursing program has evolved into a nationally respected program. In 2008, Nursing became a free-standing academic program under the College of Health and Human Development umbrella. In 2013, Penn State’s Board of Trustees granted approval for the School of Nursing to become Penn State’s newest fully independent College, a position that provided Nursing with greater visibility and elevated its status with respect to peer nursing programs at other universities

Today, the college provides students with a wide array of nursing programs across 12 Penn State Commonwealth Campuses. The college offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs to more than 2,000 students annually. In addition, the college offers certification and training online, which allows the college to extend its offerings to students throughout Pennsylvania and improve the health and well-being of all citizens within the Commonwealth.

The master’s program includes several nurse practitioner options that help to prepare graduates for advanced clinical practice. The doctoral program started in 1996, is an interdisciplinary curriculum designed to develop clinical scholars, faculty, and researchers who can teach and provide leadership through scientific inquiry and innovative practice.

Faculty in the college conduct cutting-edge research that focuses on reducing the impact of chronic illness across the life span. The college places a strong emphasis on gerontological research; in 2007, the school was selected as one of nine nationwide to host a John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence to promote the education of high-quality geriatric nursing leaders. Additionally, the college is home to the SAFE-T Center which specializes in providing expert-level sexual assault care through telehealth technology to rural areas of Pennsylvania.