Second Degree

Second Degree

The Penn State Second Degree program is an intensive 16 month program for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. During the program, students will be enrolled in 14-17 credits per semester for a total of 60 credits. This rigorous program is offered in a cohort format (all cohorts start in fall semester) and requires extensive commitment. Currently, the Second Degree program is offered at Penn State Altoona and Penn State Harrisburg (insert links).

The required Penn State prerequisites for applicants for fall 2017 include the following:

  • BIOL 129: Mammalian Anatomy with Lab
  • BIOL 141 and 142: Physiology and Lab
  • HD FS 129: Human Development and Family Studies OR PSYCH 212: Developmental Psychology
  • CHEM 101: Introductory Chemistry (3 credits, including lab) OR CHEM 110 and 111: Chemical Principles I (lecture) and Experimental Chemistry I (lab)

College level courses in the following areas, although not required for an offer to the major, will support the student’s success in the program.


Please note: Admission criteria for future years (fall 2018 and later) is subject to change. Prospective applicants are encouraged to frequently check this web site for updates.

For students beginning the Second Degree program in the fall, all prerequisites must be completed by the end of the preceding spring semester. The most competitive candidates will have all prerequisite coursework completed by the end of fall and a strong GPA. Prerequisite courses may be taken at any Penn State campus or other colleges or universities. If you are unsure if a course from another college will transfer, please contact the Admissions Office or one of our nursing advisers.

Because the program is intensive, it is recommended that students be able to go without outside employment for the duration of the program. Our most successful students are able to focus exclusively on the program for the 16 months. At the completion of their course work, graduates will be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and begin new careers in professional nursing.