(Effective Fall 2016)

This curriculum prepares graduates to assume beginning staff nurse positions in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health related institutions. Upon successful completion of the major, the graduate is eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN). With work experience and continuing education, the graduate may develop the ability to assume responsibility for administering or directing the health care of a group of patients/clients. This curriculum provides the foundation for a baccalaureate degree in nursing.

Advanced placement is available for qualified licensed practical nurses. Upon completion of additional required related courses, the licensed practical nurse may complete requirements for an associate's degree in nursing within two or three semesters. Advanced placement is not guaranteed into this major due to limited seat capacity and special admissions requirements noted below.

Career Opportunities

Graduates find jobs in hospital acute care settings, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, state and federal health related facilities, private duty nursing agencies, and within the office practice of physicians, surgeons, and dentists.

Recommended High School Subjects

Prepare extensively in oral and written communication skills; take math every year, including Algebra II; science every year, including one year of chemistry (with lab and grade of 'C' or better) and one year of human anatomy and physiology; social studies every year, psychology recommended; score at least proficient on the State PSSA assessment in Writing, Mathematics, and Reading.

Special Admissions Requirements

Students studying-Nursing at the associate degree level will need to meet the requirements, which include a GED credential or High School Diploma with four units of high school English, three units of social studies, two units of mathematics (one unit in Algebra), and two units of science with a related laboratory or the equivalent. One unit of high school chemistry with a  lab earning a “C” or higher within the last 10 years or satisfy CHM 108 (recommended), CHM 100, or CHM 111 at the College level with an earned grade of “C” or higher. Students who do not meet these recommendations can work with a college adviser to prepare for the major. Please refer to the special admission information for ranking information.

Special Equipment Needs

Students in this major are expected to purchase a dual head stethoscope; a custom nursing kit (must be purchased at the College Bookstore); uniforms, and various smaller items. Refer to the estimated expenses and equipment costs list.

Technical Requirements

Operating Systems:
PLATO is a web-based system that is fully certified to work with Windows and MAC Operating Systems.

The fully supported browsers for PLATO are: Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Safari

Desktop or Laptop Computer (Windows 7 or higher, MAC OSX 10.4 or higher recommended) 
Internet Connection (cable or DSL heavily recommended)
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
Headset with Microphone suggested
Additional plug-ins may be required (Information Technology Services - Student Help Desk available for assistance)

Remediation Strategies

Any deficiencies identified from placement testing must be remediated prior to admission to the Nursing curriculum.

Transfer Procedures

Transfer standards established by the College require a minimum of a “C” in transfer courses. Official transcripts must be sent to the Penn College Admissions office. The College may also request official high school transcripts or an official GED score report. For fall acceptance, transcripts need to be received by June 1st. Students transferring from other Colleges will have their nursing credits evaluated by Penn College nursing officials after acceptance into the major. Graduates of this major can enroll into Penn College's RN to BSN completion major. 

International health credentials/licensure, sciences courses, and most math courses will not be accepted to satisfy requirements of this major. Please see additional information for international students applying to Health Sciences majors.

Program Goals

A graduate of this major should be able to:

  • practice professional behaviors when functioning in the nursing role with consumers, interdisciplinary team members, members of the profession, and society-at-large.
  • manage consumer-centered care effectively when providing care to persons of all ages and developmental levels with diverse cultural, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • formulate individualized consumer-centered health teaching.
  • display effective use of the nursing process while providing caring nursing interventions to health care consumers.
  • select appropriate informatics to provide high quality nursing care.
  • display effective modes of communication with consumers, support persons, and interdisciplinary health care team members.
  • use evidence-based practice in the delivery of caring nursing interventions.

Performance Standards

All nursing students are required to maintain a graduation grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 to remain in the major.  Students with less than a 2.0 GPA will be placed on academic probation as stated in the college catalog.  In addition, all students must earn a "C" (2.0) or higher in all Nursing, Health, Biology and Chemistry courses.  If a lower grade is earned in any of these courses, the course must be repeated. 


First Semester Credits
FYE101 First Year Experience 1  
NUR182 Foundations of Nursing 8  
BIO115 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4  
PSY111 General Psychology 3  
ENL111 English Composition I 3  
Second Semester Credits
NUR184 Adult Medical-Surgical Nursing I 6  
BIO125 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4  
MNA Math Elective (MTH124 or Higher) 3  
PSY203 Developmental Psychology 3  
Summer Session Credits
CMM Communication Elective 3  
Third Semester Credits
NUR214 Adult Medical-Surgical Nursing II 5  
NUR270 Childbearing Nursing 3  
NUR271 Nursing Care of Children 3  
NUR287 Essentials of Pharmacology 2  
NUR274 Topics in Nursing 2  
BIO201 Microbiology 4  
FIT Fitness and Lifetime Sports Elective 1  
Fourth Semester Credits
NUR229 Adult Medical-Surgical Nursing III 5  
NUR270 Childbearing Nursing 3  
NUR271 Nursing Care of Children 3  
NUR272 Psychosocial Nursing 3  
CSC124 Information, Technology, and Society 3  

The sequence presented above for NUR270 and NUR271 may be reversed.

Notice of Conviction

Child abuse clearance and criminal background checks are required by some agencies involved in clinical practice experiences. Agencies can bar students from their sites if a criminal record exists or a positive drug test is noted. By virtue of contract for Penn College students to be at clinical sites, agencies have the right to ask for random drug testing. Inability to gain clinical or fieldwork or intern education experiences results in inability to meet program objectives and outcomes. For additional clarification, students can speak with their program director. The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing advises that a drug-related conviction and/or conviction of a felonious act or two misdemeanors might result in denial and/or revocation of a license to practice nursing. In accordance with The professional Nurse Law, Act of 1951, P.L. 317, No. 69, as amended, The Pennsylvania Board of Nursing shall not issue a license to an applicant who has been convicted of a felonious act prohibited by the Act known as "The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act" or convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance in a court of law of the United States or any other state, territory or country unless at least 10 years have elapsed from the date of the conviction.


The associate degree in Nursing is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. For further information, contact the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) at 3343 Peachtree Rd. NE, Suite 850, Atlanta GA 30326; 404-975-5000.