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Second Degree Program

Overview

Is this program for you?

The Second Degree Option is for you if you hope to begin a career in nursing and have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field.  This intensive pre-licensure program is offered in a cohort format (all cohorts start in the fall semester) and requires sixteen months to complete. Students take 14–17 credits per semester for a total of 60 credits.

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.

  • Because the Second Degree option is a full-time, academically rigorous program, 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.
  • 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 August 1–September 30 with notification in late October.
  • The College of Nursing requires state and federal criminal background checks of all Nursing students prior to their sophomore year. A criminal record may restrict clinical site availability, delay progress in the program, and/or delay the licensing exam. Students may not sit for the NCLEX if they have a felony conviction within the past ten years.
  • Nursing students must be up-to-date with vaccinations in order to participate in the clinical experience.
  • Regardless of campus location, clinical experiences occur at clinical facilities within a 50-mile radius of campus.
  • All transportation and expenses related to clinical experiences are the responsibility of the student. Students must purchase Penn State Nursing scrubs and other uniform attire; carry professional liability insurance; complete an annual health examination, obtain criminal background and child abuse history clearances and submit to drug testing; maintain American Heart Association Healthcare Provider CPR certification; and adhere to any additional requirements of the clinical facilities.

Locations

The Second Degree program is offered at the following two campuses:

Both campuses share the same four-semester curriculum.  Students must remain at the campus to which they are accepted. Changes of campus are not permitted.

Admissions

Prerequisites

The required Penn State prerequisites for all applicants are:

  • Mammalian Anatomy with lab (4 credits): BIOL 129
  • Introductory Physiology and Physiology Lab (4 credits): BIOL 141 and 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
  • Introductory Nutrition (3 credits): NUTR 251
  • Elementary Statistics or Introduction to Biostatistics (3–4 credits): STAT 200 or 250
  • Microbiology with lab (3–4 credits): MICRB 106 and 107

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:

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Algebra

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 in the Contacts below.

Application Timeline

All application materials must be received by November 30. 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.

How to Apply

The steps to apply to the Second Degree program depend upon a prospective student’s educational background. See the headings below to determine which steps you should follow.

Previous Penn State Students and Fall Penn State Graduates

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

1. 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 May 15 – July 1.

2. Submit the Second Degree Nursing Program Application between August 1 and November 30.

3. Send official transcripts for any non-Penn State course work that was 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.

Penn State Spring Graduates

If you are a Penn State student who will graduate in the spring term before you wish to start the Second Degree program, you must:

  1. Submit the Undergraduate Re-enrollment Form to the Registrar’s office at the campus to which are you applying. Re-enrollment forms will be accepted from May 15 – July 1.
  2. Submit the Second Degree Nursing Program Application between August 1 and November 30.
  3. Send official transcripts for any non-Penn State course work that was 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.
  5. File your Intent to Graduate on LionPATH as soon as you may do so.

Never Attended Penn State (Transfer or Advanced Standing Applicants)

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

  1. Complete the Undergraduate Admissions online application and pay the processing fee.
  2. Submit the Second Degree Nursing Program Application.
  3. 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.
  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.

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; applying by 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. Submit the Second Degree Nursing Program Application between August 1 and November 30.
  3. 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.
  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.