The Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing is the only named college of nursing in the Big 10 and one of the largest educators of pre-licensure students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with over 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students at twelve campuses.
At Penn State Altoona, Nursing students enjoy the appeal of a small, student-centered teaching college and the global recognition and prestige of a major research university. Furthermore, Penn State Altoona is proud to be one of only two campuses to offer Second Degree Nursing—an accelerated, sixteen-month program for individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree in another field and are seeking a fast track to the nursing profession. Penn State Altoona is located within 60 miles of Bedford, Huntingdon, Indiana, Johnstown, and State College.
Note: The application cycle is active from August 1-December 1. All applicants must complete the Departmental Application required for the Nese College of Nursing (use the link above between August 1-December 1) in addition to either the required Standard Admission Application (for transfer students) or a Re-Enrollment Form.
The Second Degree Program is only offered at two Penn State locations: Altoona and Harrisburg.
The prerequisites for the Second Degree Nursing program are as follows:
- Anatomy and Physiology I with lab (4 credits)
- Anatomy and Physiology II with lab (4 credits)
- Lifespan Development or Developmental Psychology (3 credits)
- Chemistry with lab (3-4 credits)
- Nutrition (3 credits)
- Statistics or Biostatistics (3–4 credits)
- Microbiology with lab (3–4 credits)
All prerequisites must be completed by the end of the spring semester immediately preceding the start of the program, which is in August. Prerequisite courses may be completed at any Penn State campus or any other accredited college or university. Please contact Ryan Costanzo at [email protected] if you have any questions about how coursework taken at another institution may fulfill the prerequisites for the program.
Please note: Admission criteria for future years is subject to change. Prospective applicants are encouraged to check this website frequently for updates.
Because the program is intensive, we recommend that students forgo outside employment for the duration of the program. Our most successful students are able to focus exclusively on their studies for the entire sixteen months.
At the completion of their coursework, graduates will be able to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and begin new careers in professional nursing.
Graduates of the baccalaureate nursing program have a vast array of employment opportunities. Employment settings include trauma centers, community hospitals, home health agencies, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, hospice agencies, schools, industrial and organizational settings, and the military.
These are just some of the facilities where graduates of the Penn State Altoona program have accepted positions:
- UPMC Altoona
- Encompass Health Altoona
- Kindred Hospice Altoona
- Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center
- Mount Nittany Medical Center
- Geisinger Lewistown
- Geisinger Danville
- Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
- St. Vincent Hospital Erie
- Hershey Medical Center
- Doylestown Health
- Penn Medicine
- Georgetown Medical Center
- Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Yale Medical Center
- Moses Cone Memorial Hospital
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center
A B.S.N. earned through our program can also serve as a foundation for an advanced degree in nursing through Penn State’s Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing.
To apply, click on the Second-Degree Nursing Program Application button at the top of this page between August 1 and December 1, complete the application, and follow the additional instructions indicated below for the applicant status that best describes you (Prior Penn State Student, Spring Penn State Graduate, Never Attended Penn State, International).
Students may apply to only one Second Degree Program location (Altoona or Harrisburg). We encourage you to become familiar with both locations before making your choice.
The application cycle begins on August 1 for classes that begin the following August. Complete application materials must be received by December 1. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Candidates are reviewed in January and are notified by email of their status.
Previous Penn State Students and Fall Penn State Graduates
If you previously attended Penn State as an undergraduate student, you must complete the following:
- Submit an Undergraduate Re-enrollment Form to the Registrar’s office at the campus to which you are applying. Re-enrollment forms will be accepted from August 1 to December 1.
- Send transcripts for any non–Penn State coursework not previously submitted to Undergraduate Admission.
Penn State Spring Graduates
If you are a Penn State student who will graduate in spring, you must complete the following:
- File your Intent to Graduate on LionPATH as soon as you may do so.
- Submit the Undergraduate Enrollment Form to the Registrar’s office at the campus to which you are applying.
- Send transcripts for any non-Penn State coursework not previously submitted to Undergraduate Admission.
Never Attended Penn State Before (Transfer or Advanced Standing Applicants)
An advanced standing applicant or standing applicant is one who never attended Penn State as an undergraduate degree-seeking student. Between August 1 and December 1, transfer (advanced standing) applicants must:
- Complete the Undergraduate Admission online application and pay the processing fee.
- Submit all materials (including official college and study abroad transcripts and AP or CLEP scores) directly to Undergraduate Admission. Items must be received by December 1.
Undergraduate Admission will calculate your cumulative GPA based on all undergraduate coursework from all postsecondary institutions.
International transcripts may be reviewed only by Undergraduate Admission staff at University Park. This process takes a significant amount of time, and applying in early August is encouraged. In some cases, applicants may need to apply for a future cohort. To have your international transcript reviewed, you must:
- File an application and submit an official transcript to Undergraduate Admission, who will review your transcripts and add transfer credits.
- Notify the Nursing adviser at your preferred location that your transcripts are ready to be reviewed for the required Second Degree Program prerequisites. The Admission Office will provide the Nursing adviser with your cumulative GPA for review.
Applicants with a GPA of 3.5 or higher may be considered for an early offer. The early offer cycle runs from August 1 to October 30. Early offers are made on a rolling basis during the timeframe. To be considered for an early offer, please click on the Second Degree Nursing Program Application button on the top of this page between August 1 and October 30, complete the application, and follow the additional instructions indicated for the applicant status that best describes you.
For more information about Second Degree Nursing, please contact: