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Undergraduate Programs

A four-year baccalaureate degree in Nursing opens up myriad career opportunities in the rapidly growing health care field. Nurses are at the heart of the health care professions, contributing in all areas from patient care to research and education. They make use of an increasingly complex array of technologically sophisticated processes and equipment, and translate their purpose and importance to the patient and family. Nurses also translate and integrate current research findings in planning individualized patient care.

Penn State’s College of Nursing helps prepare students to be professional practitioners in health promotion and maintenance and the care of illness.

The undergraduate nursing program includes a baccalaureate program (B.S.N.), a second degree B.S.N. program, an RN to B.S.N. program, and an associate degree program (A.S.).

Course Offerings

Baccalaureate Program (B.S.N.) Program in Nursing

The prelicensure B.S.N. program is a four-year program that includes a broad liberal arts and science foundation and an extensive range of nursing courses. The B.S.N. 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 including Hershey Medical Center, rural hospitals, community health agencies, and other health care settings (e.g., Rockview Prison). After earning a B.S.N., students are eligible to take the national examination for licensure as registered nurses (NCLEX).

Second Degree B.S.N. Option in Nursing

The prelicensure Second Degree program is an intensive sixteen-month program open to individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. All non-nursing courses must be completed prior to admission.

This program is currently offered at the Penn State Altoona and Penn State Harrisburg campuses.

RN to B.S.N. Option in Nursing

The RN to B.S.N. option began in 1973 and was one of the first of its kind in the nation. The program makes it possible for registered nurses to earn a B.S.N. degree through full- or part-time study while maintaining personal and employment responsibilities. The option is offered at University Park, the following campuses and online:

Further Information/Frequently Asked Questions

For more information on the nursing profession and information on applying to the programs in the Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing (including information for adult learners), please visit the frequently asked questions page.


Nese College of Nursing named a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence