Bachelor of Science in Nursing


Penn State Nursing programs, including those at Penn State Harrisburg, prepare you to graduate and immediately enter a clinical setting or continue to graduate education. If you are a veteran nurse returning for a baccalaureate degree, you will be prepared to implement your new skills and knowledge in the workplace or to continue to graduate school. Penn State Nursing offers students exceptional undergraduate and graduate level academic programs, internationally-recognized research, highly regarded faculty, an extensive outreach network, and opportunities for international experience.

The major prepares registered nurses as professional practitioners in health promotion and maintenance, illness care, and rehabilitation, and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The major is offered in two options:

  • NURN (post-license): baccalaureate completion for RNs
  • NURS-SCND (pre-license): accelerated second baccalaureate degree

For the B.S. degree in Nursing, a minimum of 120 credits is required.

Degree Options

B.S. in Nursing

  • Designed for working nurses, most of whom complete the program part-time.
  • Many courses offered evenings, weekends, and in a hybrid format (a combination of online and face-to-face).
  • Penn State Harrisburg is the primary location, although classes may be offered in Hershey, Harrisburg, or Camp Hill. 


  • Four nursing theory courses
  • Three clinical courses
  • Two nursing electives along with any general education courses 
  • Clinical courses, designed to help students meet their personal and professional goals, are handled by faculty and preceptors with student input on experience and schedule.
  • Based upon demand, general education and nursing courses may occasionally be offered on-site at your place of employment.

NURN information packet

Accelerated Second Degree

  • For individuals with a baccalaureate degree in another field who are interested in a career change to nursing. 
  • Intensive, 16 month, cohort-based accelerated offering.
  • Consists of 4 full-time, consecutive semesters, beginning each fall (late August).
  • Graduation is in December of the second fall semester and culminates with the traditional Nursing Pinning Ceremony and Penn State Harrisburg Commencement Ceremony.
  • Penn State Harrisburg's Second Degree Program is one of only two offered throughout the University. 
  • Many regionally and nationally recognized healthcare facilities are in our geographic region, including Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Pinnacle Health System, Holy Spirit Health System, and Masonic Village. Located in a residential area, the college is also within a few hours drive of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York City.


Penn State Harrisburg boasts a new, high-tech clinical nursing lab. In addition, we have access to the nationally-recognized simulation lab at Penn State Hershey, and have clinical sites at all the major regional hospitals and many other specialty facilities.

NURS-SCND information packet

Program Requirements for Admission

Requirements More Information
Education NURN
  • An accredited Associate Degree in Nursing or Diploma Program (RN) 
  • A bachelor’s degree in another field
  • Entry to Major depends on successful completion of all general education and non-nursing courses listed in the Recommended Academic Plan. 
  • Note: Admission to this major is very competitive. Completion of all prerequisites does not ensure an offer to the major.
Supporting Materials
  • Transcript for previous degree (see Education, above)
  • If a previous Penn State student, a completed Re-Enrollment Form

Application Deadline

Option Deadline
NURN Rolling admission

November 30

Application Process

Gather supporting materials and begin the standard application.



Clubs, Organizations, and Programs

  • Sigma Theta Tau is the internationally recognized Honor Society of Nursing to which outstanding nursing students may be nominated.
  • National Student Nurses’ Association (Student Nursing Club): Primarily for Second Degree students, the association prepares students for involvement in professional associations after graduation.  Its mission is to organize, represent, and mentor students preparing for initial licensure as registered nurses and as well as those enrolled in baccalaureate completion programs.
  • Honors Programs: Penn State Harrisburg offers two honors programs for students who are highly motivated to achieve academic excellence and want more of out of their college experience.

Insurance, CPR, and Clearances 

Nursing students may be required to carry liability insurance, and be certified in adult and child CPR, and/or may be required to obtain criminal background checks and other clearances when enrolled in clinical courses, depending on the clinical setting. Students also are responsible for their own transportation to clinical settings and may need the use of a car. These requirements vary by option.

Careers in Nursing

Job Outlook

Nursing comprises the largest segment of the healthcare work force and is projected to be one of the fastest growing professions in the economy. A critical nursing shortage exists in the United States and around the world. With mandated healthcare legislation, the demand for high-quality nurses is expected to continue to grow over the next decade.

A nursing career offers geographical mobility, financial security, schedule flexibility, and personal satisfaction. Nurses say one of the profession’s greatest joys is the personal satisfaction of helping others. Patient surveys show that nurses are often identified as the most memorable part of a patient’s health care experience.

Employment of Registered Nurses is expected to grow more than 25% from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Employers are looking for experienced nurses or those coming from nursing programs that include extensive clinical experience, such as Penn State’s. Acquiring extensive clinical experience through nursing school is often considered one of the most valuable assets to prospective employers. At Penn State Harrisburg, you will receive extensive, hands-on clinical experience as you progress through the program.

Salary Forecast

Salaries for baccalaureate-prepared nurses have increased due to the complexity of health care problems, new technologies, and the overall shortage. Advance practice nurses with graduate degrees earn even higher salaries and have more opportunities for innovative experiences and higher-level responsibilities.

Nursing is among the higher paid professions, with an average median salary of $67,720 (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition), with some earning near $100,000.  The average hourly wage of a registered nurse is $32.56.

Work Environments

A nursing career gives you the opportunity to select from many types of work environments in most geographic regions — in hospitals, physician offices, home health agencies, government agencies, insurance companies, and many other settings. Nursing schools also need qualified faculty. Individuals with previous degrees in teaching may consider nursing education as a great opportunity to blend the two.

Nursing Practice Levels

Registered Nurses (RN) often take one of three educational paths: a bachelor’s degree in nursing, an associate degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. The baccalaureate degree is becoming the standard in many health care settings.