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. Submatriculation
  6. Nurse Anesthesia DNP Submatriculation

  7. Law Submatriculation

Minors and Nutrition Major


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. All courses taken to complete requirements for the minor must be taken for a letter grade and not pass/fail. Minors are only available to traditional BSN students.

The School of Nursing offers five 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 should submit the “Declare/Update Field of Study” form found here.

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. The Nutrition major cannot be completed as a standalone 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 Academic Affairs, 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 Academic Affairs. 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 NURS 1310/1320 or NURS 1630/1640
  • 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 Academic Affairs 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. 

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 Healthcare Management. Available to entering freshmen and rising sophomores, the program includes science and clinical courses unique to the School of Nursing and business and healthcare 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 Healthcare 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 Healthcare Management Dual Degree website.

MSN and MSNS 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. Students interested in submatriculating can find the full Submatriculation Guide and Submatriculation Course Guide here.


To be eligible for submatriculation, students must have:

  • Completed NURS 2150 and NURS 2250/2350 or NURS 2450/2550.
  • Required minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. 
    Please note: A student’s science GPA and clinical course grades will also be taken into consideration.
  • Traditional BSN seniors: apply Fall of their senior years

  • Accelerated BSN students: apply in Spring of their first year

  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. All students who want to submatriculate are required to attend a submatriculation information session
  5. If you have course selection questions, contact the Office of Academic Affairs - Advising (advisor@nursing.upenn.edu).
  6. After reviewing the plan of study, the student must complete an online graduate application.
    • All materials must be submitted through the application process.
    • Traditional BSN Students must submit two (2) essays and two (2) recommendations (one from a Penn clinical faculty member).
    • Accelerated BSN students must submit two (2) essays and one (1) recommendation from a Penn clinical faculty member.
    • The Health Leadership MSN program requires an additional essay.

    • The application fee is waived for submatriculants.
    • If admitted, a $25.00 deposit is required to reserve a place in the graduate program.  Students will not be eligible to register until they accept their offer of admission and their $25.00 deposit is received.
Application Tips
  • Online Application can be found by visiting the Admissions page.
  • During the application process, you can save and return to your application.  However, once submitted, the application can no longer be accessed.
  • On the “Program Selection” page of the application, select the degree option “Submatriculation” and then select the program you are applying to.
  • 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. 
  • 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 required to upload their unofficial Penn transcript. Admissions will obtain their official transcript if admitted.
Additional Information

1. Guidelines for submatriculation courses for undergraduate and graduate credit are as follows:

    • Students may not take more than three approved graduate-level courses toward their graduate program prior to completing their BSN. No more than half the required credits counting toward a graduate minor may be taken at the BSN level.  Students should follow their plan of study developed by the Office of Academic Affairs - Advising.
    • View the full submatriculation policies and procedures here. 

2. Students must complete their MSN degree within five years of completing 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. 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 an MSN program is also contingent upon successful completion of the NCLEX and submission of evidence of active RN licensure.

Confirming Re-Enrollment
  • All submatriculation admissions offers are tentative and contingent upon completing all program-specific work experience and subject to a re-enrollment review.
  • Return date must be confirmed by fall term (late September/early October) for the following year. For example: If you plan to enroll for fall 2025, you must notify us by October 1, 2024.
  • An enrollment deposit of $125 is required when you confirm your enrollment. (The $125 deposit applies to fall 2019 applicants and later.)
  • Your Penn e-mail address must remain active for admissions communication/reminders. Please check your Penn e-mail regularly if you work in between your BSN and graduate program.
  • Failure to confirm will result in losing your spot. You will need to submit a new application for future consideration.

Nurse Anesthesia DNP Submatriculation

  • As of fall 2020, Penn Nursing students can no longer submatriculate or transfer into the Nurse Anesthesia DNP (DNP-NA) program. However, students may take graduate level classes during their BSN program that will count towards the DNP-NA degree and receive an application fee waiver when they apply as alumni. Please see the submatriculation website for more information.
  • For students who submatricluated into the DNP-NA program prior to fall 2020:
    • Students must complete their DNP degree within six years of completion from the BSN program.
    • Students must have a minimum of two years of ICU/critical care work experience (post-orientation) working with the most critically ill patients by time of matriculation.
    • Students are required to re-interview one year before their planned enrollment. Admissions will reach out to students to schedule the interview.
    • Admissions offers are contingent based on work experience and preparedness. If the student will not meet the minimum work requirement by matriculation or the program feels the student is not prepared,

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 (for students entering fall 2021 and prior)
    • 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 2015 and beyond: NURS 2250/2350, NURS 2450/2550, Health and Social Policy (NURS 3340), Health Care Ethics (NURS 3300), Statistics (NURS 2300), Research Methods (NURS 5470).
  4. During the summer following their junior year, students (class of 2015 and beyond), take Community Nursing (NURS 3800).
  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 3900), Senior inquiry (NURS 3890), 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.