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Information for Incoming Students

Second Degree and BSN/MSN Students

Second-degree and BSN-MSN students are those who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field and who are returning to school to pursue nursing.  BSN-MSN students are admitted simultaneously into the BSN and MSN programs.  Second-degree and BSN-MSN students must meet identical requirements and adhere to the same policies as other undergraduate students regarding academic standing and progression (see section on academic regulations in this handbook).  Policies related to the undergraduate program supersede policies of the graduate program until completion of the BSN degree.

Students who are formally enrolled in the BSN-MSN Program may take no more than three non-clinical course units toward their MSN program prior to completing the BSN degree, with all MSN courses requiring the approval of the student’s BSN advisor and MSN program director.  No more than half of the credits counting toward an MSN minor may be taken at the BSN level.  BSN-MSN students may take:

  • Nursing 525: Ethical Aspects of Health and Technology in lieu of Nursing 330: Theoretical Foundations of Health Care Ethics
  • Nursing 547: Scientific Inquiry – Evidence Based Practice
  • Nursing 540: Current Issues in Health and Social Policy in lieu of Nursing 334: Current Issues in Health and Social Policy
  • A non-clinical nursing graduate course in lieu of the undergraduate Nursing Elective.

Following completion of the BSN degree, students must have an overall GPA of 3.0 to continue in a graduate program.

Students who are enrolled in the Second-Degree or BSN-MSN Program begin their program in the summer.  A student’s ability to start the program in the summer is contingent upon earning transfer credit for the following courses:

Class of December 2014 and beyond:

NURS 061             Biologically Based Chemistry

NURS 062             Cellular Biology

NURS 063             Microbiology

NURS 065             Fundamentals of Nutrition

NURS 131             Human Anatomy and Physiology I

NURS 132             Human Anatomy and Physiology II

NURS 230             Introduction to Statistics

Transfer credit is awarded on an individual basis through the School of Nursing.  When necessary, designated faculty will review coursework to determine transferability.  Representatives from the School of Nursing, Office of Enrollment Management will monitor students’ transfer credit and will develop a tentative plan of study to determine whether the summer or fall start is most appropriate.  All plans of study include an 11 c.u. waiver for liberal arts requirements, as students who have already completed one undergraduate degree are exempt from all sector requirements, the language requirement, the writing requirement, and free electives.

As outlined in the academic regulations section (link) of this handbook, all students must complete at least 20 course units at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing to be eligible for the BSN degree.

Excelsior Examinations

Second-Degree and BSN-MSN students may challenge the following non-clinical courses through Excelsior College Examinations if they have previously taken and earned a C or better in a college course on the subject and transfer credit was denied:

Penn Course Number        Corresponding Excelsior Exam   

Nursing 230                          Statistics (#408)

Students apply to take specific Excelsior examinations according to the guidelines specified by Excelsior College. Registration packets and course content guides can be obtained directly from Excelsior College or downloaded from their web site: www.excelsior.edu

Excelsior Examination Operations

7 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY 12203-5159

888-647-2388

The results of all Excelsior exams must be submitted prior to taking courses for which the exam content is a prerequisite (the School of Nursing code is 3732A).  Students must earn a C or better on each exam in order for credit to be awarded, and all fees for Excelsior examinations are the student’s responsibility.  Excelsior transcripts should be sent to the Office of Student Information at:

University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Office of Student Information, Suite M-24

Claire M. Fagin Hall

418 Curie Boulevard

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6096

Once the transcript has been received, the credit can be posted.  Only the credit will transfer, as grades earned outside of the University of Pennsylvania are not calculated in a student’s GPA.  Scores are transferable for a period of five years.  Students who do not earn a C or better must enroll in and successfully complete the designated course at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Sample Plan of Study - Class of December 2015 and Beyond

The following sample Plan of Study is just one possibility for second-degree students, and individual plans depend on what prerequisites students have fulfilled prior to matriculating at Penn.  This plan may not be compatible with several academic options you might choose (e.g. study abroad, submatriculation, minors, etc).  If you are interested in pursuing any of the special academic options available to you during the course of your undergraduate experience and want to know how this will alter your plan of study, please contact your faculty advisor and/or the Office of Student Services at advisor@nursing.upenn.edu or 215-898-6687.  Please note that all plans of study are subject to curricular change.

Year #1 Summer Session  (5.0 cu)

NURS 103

NURS 159

NURS 160

NURS 165

 

Year #1Fall (5.5 cu)                                                                           Year #1 Spring (5.0 cu)

NURS 215  Nursing of Women and Infants                                  NURS 245  Nursing Care of the Adult

NURS 225  Pediatrics                                                                       NURS 255  Nursing Care of the Older Adult

NURS 235  Psych/Mental Health                                                    Health Care Ethics Course

NURS 547  Evidence-based Research                                           Health Policy Course

                                                               

               

Year #2 Summer Session  (2.0 cu)  

NURS 380  Community Health                      

        

Year #2 Fall (5.5 cu)                                                                                                          

NURS 390  Leadership in Complex Systems

NURS 389  Research/Inquiry Based Service Residence

Nursing Case Study

Nursing Elective


RN Return Students 

RN return students are registered nurses who are entering the School of Nursing through the external transfer process in order to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.  Registered nurses who have a minimum of eight transferable college courses apply for direct admission to the School of Nursing through the Office of Transfer Admissions.

Registered nurses complete the same curricular requirements as traditional BSN students.  However, RN returns may challenge the following clinical courses, based on their RN experience, through Excelsior College Examinations:

Penn Course Number                        Corresponding Excelsior Exam                   

Nursing 101/102                                  Professional Strategies (#426)                                                          

Nursing 160                                          Fundamentals of Nursing (#403)                                    

Nursing 215/225                                  Maternal and Child Nursing (#457)                                                                

Nursing 245/255                                  Adult Nursing (#554)                                                                         

Nursing 235                                          Psych Mental Health Nursing (#503)             

In addition, RN Return students may challenge the following non-clinical courses if they have previously taken and earned a C or better in a college course on the subject and transfer credit was denied.

Penn Course Number                        Corresponding Excelsior Exam   

Nursing 230                                          Statistics (#408)

Students apply to take specific Excelsior examinations according to the guidelines specified by Excelsior College. Registration packets and course content guides can be obtained directly from Excelsior College or downloaded from their web site: www.excelsior.edu.  For additional information, contact: Excelsior Examination Operations, 7 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY 12203-5159  or by phone at 888-647-2388.

The results of all Excelsior exams must be submitted prior to taking courses for which the exam content is a prerequisite (the School of Nursing code is 3732A).  Students must earn a C or better on each exam in order for credit to be awarded, and all fees for Excelsior examinations are the student’s responsibility.  Excelsior transcripts should be sent to the Office of Student Information at:

University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Office of Student Information, Suite M-24

Claire M. Fagin Hall

418 Curie Boulevard

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6096

Once the transcript has been received, the credit can be posted.  Only the credit will transfer, as grades earned outside of the University of Pennsylvania are not calculated in a student’s GPA.  Scores are transferable for a period of five years.  Students who do not earn a C or better must enroll in and successfully complete the designated course at the University of Pennsylvania. 

As outlined in the academic regulations section of this handbook, all students must complete at least 20.5 course units at the University of Pennsylvania School Of Nursing to be eligible for the BSN degree.