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Special Academic Option Policies

The School of Nursing offers undergraduate students a number of special academic options, including the opportunity to study abroad or to pursue a dual degree program, minors, and submatriculation into a master’s program.  These options supplement and enrich the basic framework upon which nursing students build their education.  Enterprising students may integrate one or more of these options into a coherent course of study to fulfill their particular academic and intellectual needs.

  1. Minors and Nutrition Major
  2. Study Abroad
  3. Dual Degree
  4. Coordinated Dual Degree
  5. MSN Submatriculation
  6. Law Submatriculation

Minors and Nutrition Major

Minors

Although Nursing students are not required to complete a minor, some choose to complete a minor in order to pursue a secondary area of interest, develop skills and a knowledge base that complements their Nursing major, express themselves in a creative area, or learn more about themselves and/or their heritage.  A minor requires approximately six to nine courses.

The School of Nursing offers four minors which are described on the following pages.  Nursing students also have the opportunity to pursue a minor in the College of Arts and Sciences (College) and the School of Engineering and Applied Science (Engineering).  Students who are interested in pursuing a minor in the College or Engineering should contact the appropriate department to outline courses required for completion of the minor.  Students should meet with their Nursing advisor to build the minor into their plan of study, and are encouraged to take a course in the department of interest before formally declaring the minor.  Depending upon the specific minor, some courses may fulfill sector requirements or free electives.  Students may need to enroll in summer courses to complete coursework required for a minor.

The School of Nursing currently has five minors:

To declare a minor, students must obtain and complete the BSN Minor form.  This form must be turned into the Office of Student Services prior to the start of your final semester in the School of Nursing (September 1 for December graduates and January 1 for May graduates).

The form must be signed by the Faculty/Program Director (for School of Nursing minors) or the Departmental Chair (for College and Engineering minors), and returned to the Office of Student Services (Suite M-18, Claire Fagin Hall). 

Nutrition Major

Our Nutrition major is an interdisciplinary collaboration with Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences. You’ll study concepts like dietary behaviors and metabolism, as well as scientific approaches to the physiological roles of nutrients in the diet, from the cellular to human level. The major consists of 14 credit units, and can be added as a second major.

Study Abroad

Students are urged to explore a full range of options for study abroad.  Early planning allows time to investigate possibilities and to plan rosters efficiently.  Students who are interested in studying abroad and who want to learn more about the programs listed on the next few pages can contact their faculty advisor, the Faculty Program Director, the Office of Student Services, the Office of Global Health Affairs at the School of Nursing, or the University’s Penn Abroad Office for more information.  While the School of Nursing makes every effort to offer a wide array of study abroad options, programs may not be conducted every year. 

Semester-long program applications and additional information about study abroad can be obtained from the Penn Abroad Office or the Office of Student Services.  For semester-long programs, applications are processed through the Office of International Programs upon approval from the Faculty Program Director. 

Students must meet the following requirements to apply for a School of Nursing Study Abroad Program:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Minimum Science GPA of 2.0
  • Minimum of a C in Nursing 131/132 or Nursing 163/164
  • No outstanding incompletes in any courses (Nursing or otherwise) on the student’s transcript
  • Good academic standing (i.e., not on academic probation)

Please note:

  • Additional requirements will be communicated by the individual Faculty Program Directors. 
  • In all cases, placements are limited, and participation is subject to a competitive application and interview process.
  • Students may not take courses pass/fail while studying abroad.

Information sessions will be held during the academic year to provide more detailed information on each of the following study abroad programs.  Following the information sessions, students may submit a written application to the desired study abroad program.  Eligible applicants will then be invited to interview with the Faculty Program Director. In preparation for participation, students should meet with their faculty advisors or an advisor in the Office of Student Services to revise their plan of study to accommodate their study abroad plans. 

Detailed information on study abroad programs can be found on our Global Health website.

Dual Degree

Students have the opportunity to simultaneously obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and another bachelor’s degree from one of the other schools within the University of Pennsylvania.  Students who are interested in pursuing a dual degree should contact an advisor in the appropriate school to outline courses required for completion of the dual degree:

Please note: Most students take a minimum of five years to complete the requirements for a dual degree.
Students must meet with his/her Nursing advisors to build the program requirements into their plan of study. Interest in a dual degree program should be identified early so students can begin coursework as soon as possible and capitalize on sector requirements and free electives.  

A minimum 3.0 GPA is required for approval to apply for a dual degree program, and students must complete one full year in the School of Nursing before their application can be processed.  Applications are available in the School of Nursing Office of Student Services (Suite M-18, CMFH).  Dual degree applications, as well as a proposed plan of study, must be reviewed by both schools, approved, and signed by the Departmental Chair and the School of Nursing Assistant Dean of Admissions and Academic Affairs.  The completed form should be returned to the Office of Student Services. 

Note: The School of Nursing must remain the primary school.  As citizens of two schools, dual degree and joint degree students are subject to the academic standing policies of both schools.

Coordinated Dual Degree Program in Nursing and Healthcare Management

The School of Nursing and the Wharton School offer a coordinated dual-degree program in Nursing and Health Care Management.  Available to entering freshmen and rising sophomores, the program includes science and clinical courses unique to the School of Nursing and business and health care management courses from the Wharton School, along with general education courses in the arts and sciences.

Those students enrolled in the program have advisors in both schools who play an important role in helping students prepare for their careers.  Program graduates are awarded a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the School of Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Economics degree from the Wharton School with a concentration in Health Care Management and Policy.  In order to complete this dual-degree program, students should expect to attend summer classes and/or spend an additional year at Penn.

Program Content

The program is multi-disciplinary in approach.  Degree requirements are broken down into seven clusters:

  • General Education Requirements: Courses fulfilling requirements in economics, calculus, liberal arts, and a language.
  • Nursing Science Cluster: Courses covering chemistry, biology, microbiology, nutrition, human development, anatomy and physiology, and pharmacology.
  • Nursing Clinical Cluster: Clinical core courses enabling students to learn about nursing in varied clinical settings across the lifespan of patients.
  • Business Core Cluster: The Wharton core of courses providing a basic grounding in business skills.
  • Business Concentration Cluster: Courses in health care management and policy.
  • Program Breadth Cluster: Courses providing a broad-based perspective on the practice of both nursing and management.
  • Senior Capstone Course: A senior capstone course covering research methods as they pertain to health care case studies.

For more information, requirements, sample plans of study and alumni profiles, please visit the Nursing and Health Care Management Dual Degree website.

MSN Submatriculation

Submatriculation allows a traditional undergraduate or an accelerated second-degree BSN student to become formally enrolled in a master’s program while still an undergraduate.

Eligibility

To be eligible for submatriculation, students must have:

  • Completed NURS 215 and NURS 225/235 or NURS 245/255.
  • Required minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. 
    Please note: A student’s science GPA and clinical course grades will also be taken into consideration.
Deadlines
  • Traditional BSN deadline is February 1st (Junior year).
  • Accelerated BSN Second Degree deadline is February 1st (Junior year). 
  • Applicants to the FNP/PNP, who are interested in applying to the Fast-Track option, the deadline is November 1st (Junior year).
  • Traditional and Accelerated students must submatriculate before their final semester:  December graduates deadline is June 15th (Senior year); May graduates deadline is October 15th (Senior year).
Process
  1. Students should make their faculty advisor aware of their decision to submatriculate.
  2. Traditional students should arrange a meeting with the Associate Director of Enrollment Management – Undergraduate Programs, and Accelerated BSN students should arrange to meet with the Associate Director of Enrollment Management – Accelerated Programs, to review the policies and admissions requirements for submatriculation.
  3. Students interested in submatriculation are strongly encouraged to attend a Graduate Open House for more information on the various master’s programs. 
  4. Students must take and submit the official results from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
    Please note: Students with a 3.2 or higher cumulative GPA upon completion of NURS 215 and NURS 225/235 or NURS 245/255 may be eligible for the GRE waiver.
  5. If you have course selection questions, contact the Associate Director of Graduate Academic Affairs (advisor@nursing.upenn.edu).
  6. After reviewing the plan of study, the student must complete an online graduate application.
    • All materials must be submitted online at:  https://www.applyweb.com/upenng/index.ftl
    • Traditional BSN Students must complete two (2) essays and two (2) recommendations (one from a Penn clinical faculty member).
    • Accelerated BSN students are required to complete one (1) essay and one (1) recommendation from a Penn clinical faculty member.
    • The application fee is waived for submatriculants.
    • A $25.00 deposit is required to reserve a place in the graduate program.  Students will not be eligible to register until their $25.00 deposit is received.
Application Tips
  • Online Application can be found by clicking “Admissions” then “Graduate Program” from the School of Nursing website www.nursing.upenn.edu or directly at:  https://www.applyweb.com/upenng/index.ftl
  • During the application process, you can save and return to your application.  However, once submitted, the application can no longer be accessed.
    • Be sure your program choice is followed by the word submatriculation (Example: Family NP Program, submatriculation).
  • Recommendations:  Recommendations are sent and received electronically.  The number of recommendations required is outlined above – one (1) for Accelerated Students, two (2) for Traditional BSN Students.  To override the system’s request for three recommendations, traditional students should list Marianne Smith as the third recommender.  Accelerated Students may list Filomena Circelli
  • Essays:  Be sure to discuss your graduate program choice in your essay.  Students applying to the Leadership Program must submit an additional essay.
  • Résumé: Please be sure to submit an updated résumé.  For résumé assistance, please contact Career Services (http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/)
  • Students are not required to download or submit their transcript.
Additional Information
  1. Guidelines for submatriculation courses for undergraduate and graduate credit are as follows:
    • Students may not take any more than three graduate level courses toward their MSN program prior to completing their BSN. No more two credits counting toward an MSN minor may be taken at the BSN level.  Students should follow their plan of study developed by the Associate Director of Graduate Academic Affairs.
    • NURS 547 Scientific Inquiry for Evidence-based Practice fulfills the undergraduate and graduate research requirement.
    • Students may take two additional non-clinical nursing graduate courses required by the particular MSN program.
  2. Students must complete their MSN degree within five years of completion of the BSN program.
  3. Some MSN programs may require work experience before beginning graduate clinical coursework. However, non-clinical coursework may be taken in that interim time.
  4. Admission eligibility under the GRE Waiver is contingent upon receipt of a final BSN GPA of 3.2 or higher. If the final GPA is below 3.2, the student will be required to submit GRE scores and the application will be re-evaluated for admission.
  5. Progression into the Master’s clinical sequence and completion of the Master’s degree is contingent upon successful completion of the BSN requirements with a 3.0 GPA, and in accordance with all the undergraduate and graduate policies. Progression into the Master’s program is also contingent upon successful completion of the NCLEX and submission of evidence of active RN licensure.

Law Submatriculation

This program offers an opportunity for Nursing students to apply to the University of Pennsylvania Law School (Penn Law) in their junior year, and to submatriculate into the Juris Doctor Program in their fourth year.  It is designed for students deeply committed to the study of law.  The program allows students to explore law from a set of multiple perspectives over an extended period of study.  Students admitted to the program can complete the requirements for both the BSN and JD degrees in six years instead of the usual seven.

  1. For the first three years, students should pursue the regular BSN plan of study, with the following exceptions:
    • Do not take a Nursing elective
    • Do not take a Nursing case study
    • Do not take two free electives

      These course units should be saved for later.
  2. During the sophomore year, students should begin preparation for the LSAT and plan to take it during the summer following their sophomore year, or in the fall of their junior year. Students apply for admission to the law school during their junior year.  For more detailed admissions/application information and deadlines, refer to the following web site: http://www.law.upenn.edu/prospective/
  3. Students complete their junior year as they continue with the regular BSN plan of study:
    • Class of 2014:   Nursing 210/220 Nursing 240/270 Pharmacology (NURS 242), Statistics (Nursing 230), Research Methods (Nursing 260), sector requirements, etc. 
    • Class of 2015 and beyond:  Nursing 225/235, Nursing 245/255, Health and Social Policy (Nursing 334), Health Care Ethics (Nursing 330), Statistics (Nursing 230), Research Methods (NURS 547)
  4. During the summer following their junior year, students (Class of 2014) take Psych (Nursing 321/322) and Community (Nursing 340/341); Class of 2015 and beyond, take Community Clinical (NURS 380)
  5. During their senior year, students take all law school courses and, for all intents and purposes, are considered first-year law students.
  6. During the first semester of their fifth year, students take four health-related law school courses (pre-approved by the School of Nursing) that apply to the case study, nursing elective, and free elective credit required for the BSN (which the student opted not to take earlier in her/his career). Throughout the semester, students also attend a Nursing Learning Lab to keep their nursing skills sharpened.
  7. During the second semester of their fifth year, students take Senior Clinical (NURS 370/371 or NURS 390), Senior inquiry (NURS 385 or NURS 389), and one law school course. At the end of this year, their second year of law school, the student will have completed her/his BSN and can sit for State Boards during the summer following the spring semester.
  8. The sixth year is dedicated entirely to law school.

For more information please visit the submatriculation website.