RN to B.S.N. in Nursing Curriculum

RN to B.S.N. in Nursing Curriculum

The RN to B.S.N. in Nursing program at Penn State Behrend allows diploma and associate degree-prepared nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree. The curriculum is divided into phases that allow students to build upon previous knowledge as they progress. Students spend only one day per week on campus and all course work can be completed in three semesters, or longer, if the student chooses to do so. The program incorporates a blend of in-class, web-enhanced, and online courses over seven-week sessions. This allows students who are limited by location or employment a greater opportunity to participate.

Students receive extensive support including a mentor, computer assistance, tutoring and writing center services, access to Penn State’s course management system, an extensive library collection, and online or in-person access to project staff and faculty members.

Benefits of Obtaining a B.S.N.

Historically, bachelor’s-prepared nurses demonstrate stronger professional-level skills such as communication, critical-thinking, problem-solving, leadership, professional integration and research/ evaluation. This program helps prepare students to meet the many changes in the health care field by expanding and enhancing an existing nursing education.

In addition to upgrading skills, the program prepares students for advancing their practice as clinical leaders, nurse managers, and preparation for entrance to master’s degree programs. A bachelor’s degree is required for admission to graduate level programs.

Typical Course Sequence

Below is a typical course sequence for the Nursing bachelor's degree program. Schedules will vary by student, depending on areas of interest. For further information regarding the RN to B.S.N. program refer to the RN to B.S.N. Student Handbook.

Current students: Refer to the University Bulletin for more detailed course recommendations and descriptions.

Semester 1 Credits   Semester 2 Credits
First 7 weeks of semester   First 7 weeks of semester  
Introduction to Nursing Informatics 3 Family and Community Health Concepts 4
Transition and the Professional Nursing Role 3 Health Assessment 3
Effective Writing: Writing in the Social Sciences 3 Effective Speech 3
Second 7 weeks of semester   Second 7 weeks of semester  
Health Concepts for Adults with Complex Health Care Needs 3 Understanding and Applying Nursing Research 3
Independent Studies, Nursing Elective 3 Nursing Elective 3
Elementary Statistics 4 Introductory Principles of Nutrition 3
Total Credits 19 Total Credits 19
Semester 3        
First 7 weeks of semester      
Integrated Concepts in Nursing Practice* 3    
Chemistry** 3-4    
Humanities Elective 3    
Second 7 weeks of semester      
Integrated Concepts in Nursing Practice*      
Nursing Elective and Art Elective 3/3    
Total Credits 12-16    

*Integrated Concepts in Nursing is a 3-credit capstone course that runs over 12 weeks.

**College-level course work (3-4 credits, with lab) in chemistry is required to obtain the B.S.N. If you have not previously taken chemistry, this fifteen-week course can be included in your program sequence.

RN to B.S.N. students must have passed the NCLEX by the summer prior to starting the program. RN to B.S.N. students must have a valid nursing license prior to enrolling in clinical courses. RN to B.S.N. classes are hybrid delivery (face to face/online) in block schedule one day/week.

At least 36 of the last 60 credits toward the B.S.N. must be earned at Penn State. A total of 120 credits is required.

This represents a typical course sequence. Schedules will vary by student, depending on areas of interest, courses previously taken, and courses transferred. 


We also offer an on-site RN to B.S.N. Nursing Program for employees of both Saint Vincent Hospital and UPMC Hamot.