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Undergraduate Certificates


Is a certificate for you?

An undergraduate certificate may be for you if you are looking to specialize in or focus on Nursing Forensics, Nursing Informatics, or Nursing Management.  The certificates can be earned as a non-degree student to enhance one’s career prospects or as a full- or part-time student in the College of Nursing’s RN to BSN degree program. Some or all of the credits you earn may be applied toward the requirements of the RN to BSN program.

Nursing Forensics

Learn to bridge the gap between medicine and law with this 12-credit 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.

Nursing Informatics

Nurses can give their careers a boost with this 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.

Nursing Management

Set yourself apart from other registered nurses on the career ladder by gaining the tools needed for nurse manager positions. Throughout the courses in this 12-credit program, you will enrich your knowledge of basic health care organization and administration, data management, and human resources.


All three certificate programs are offered entirely online through Penn State World Campus. Additionally, some Penn State campuses may offer certificate courses in the classroom.  As course schedules vary each semester, check with your local Penn State campus for the most accurate information on their upcoming certificate offerings.


Prospective students who are not currently enrolled at Penn State should apply using the World Campus Undergraduate Certificate Application. To apply, you must be a high school graduate or have completed a GED. All applicants must also hold a valid RN license.

Current RN to BSN students should submit the Undergraduate Certificate Intent Form.


How long does it take to complete one of these programs?

Typically, only one or two courses in each certificate program are offered each semester. Most students complete the program in three to four semesters, but it may be possible to finish in two semesters depending on the offering schedule. Your academic adviser can help you to develop your plans for completing the courses in as timely a manner as possible.

How much does it cost to complete one of the certificates?

Part-time students at Penn State pay per credit. The cost per credit for the 2018-2019 academic year is $555, although this rate may increase from year to year.

Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is not available to non-degree students at Penn State. If you are enrolled in the RN to B.S.N. program and considering a certificate, you should check with the Office of Student Aid to determine if you are eligible for financial aid.

What support is available to me as a certificate student?

All certificate students are assigned to an academic adviser who can help them with planning course enrollment, navigating Penn State’s technology systems, looking ahead toward the RN to B.S.N. program or graduate school options, and other academic concerns.

Does the Nursing Forensics certificate allow me to sit for the SANE-A or SANE-P exam?

The Nursing Forensics program is not a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) training course, nor is it affiliated with the Commission for Forensic Nursing Certification, through which nurses must be certified in order to practice as a sexual assault nurse examiner. While the Nursing Forensics program will provide excellent preparation for the SANE training course and either certification exam, you will still need to complete the training course and meet the other eligibility requirements before you can sit for the SANE-A or SANE-P exam.

How do I receive my certificate?

Upon completing the final course in your certificate program, you should submit the Undergraduate Certificate Completion Form.  The University Registrar prints and mails all certificates approximately 4-6 weeks after the end of the semester of completion.