Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) College of Nursing

Penn State University provides a combination of exceptional academic programs, research, and study abroad opportunities for their future professional and advanced practice nurses, nursing researchers, and nurse educators. Low student-to-faculty ratios offer the student unique opportunities for individualized academic pathways to learning. Schools Scholarships Student Support

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Best ProgramsAccredited Public NonProfit

BSN   DNP   MSN   RN-to-MSN   RN-to-BSN   Entry-Level BSN   MSN-to-DNP   MSN to PhD   NP   PhD   BSN-to-PhD   Accelerated BSN   Post-grad Certificate   Other  

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is a public institution that was founded in 1855.

The Penn State College of Nursing is an advisory board member organization for the Pennsylvania Action Coalition (PAAC), a statewide coalition of nursing and non-nursing stakeholders endorsed by the Campaign for Action: Future of Nursing (a joint initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP).



Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

The Baccalaureate Degree program at Penn State University provides three options for study:

Traditional BSN route

This program is for students who enter a four-year program with the outcome of a professional degree and eligibility to become an RN after passing the NCLEX exam.

Baccalaureate Degree in Another Field

This program is for those who have a baccalaureate degree in a non-nursing field and wish to become an RN with a BSN degree.

The program is currently offered at the Penn State Altoona and Penn State Harrisburg campuses.


This program is for RNs who have graduated with the Associate of Science in Nursing degree and desire to continue with their studies to obtain a BSN degree.

The option is offered at University Park, the following campuses and online:

  1. Penn State Abington
  2. Penn State Altoona
  3. Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
  4. Penn State Harrisburg
  5. Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus
  6. Penn State Mont Alto
  7. Penn State New Kensington
  8. Penn State Schuylkill
  9. Penn State Shenango
  10. Penn State Worthington Scranton
  11. Penn State World


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Advanced Practice Options

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Advanced Role

  • Nurse Educator – online via Penn State World Campus
  • Nurse Administrator – online via Penn State World Campus


Students who hold a BSN can be eligible to continue and complete their MSN. Students can plan either a part-time or full-time program of study with an assigned adviser to meet the requirements for specialization as one of the following advanced practice options:

  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

After graduation, NP students are qualified to sit for national certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and/or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Once nationally certified, Nurse Practitioner graduates are also eligible to be licensed by their individual state Board of Nursing.

Post-Graduate Credit Certificate

  • FNP
  • Gerontology Educator
  • Nurse Administrator
  • Nurse Educator

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Penn State University offers a BSN to PhD program that incorporates an MSN degree as preparation for the PhD

PhD in Nursing or PhD in Nursing and Bioethics

These two programs focus on developing clinical scholars, faculty, and researchers who can teach and provide leadership through innovative practice and scientific inquiry.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

This program is the highest clinical program in nursing that is available. The program is offered online through Penn State World Campus and requires three in-person intensives.

Approval and Accreditation

The College of Nursing is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing.

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master's degree program (MS and MSN) in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program and/or post graduate APRN certificate program at the Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Association.


US News & World Report (2019-2020)

  • #59 (tie) in National Universities
  • #131 in Best Value Schools
  • #26 in Best Nursing Schools: Master's
  • #35 in Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • #20 (tie) in Top Public Schools
  • #55 (tie) in Most Innovative Schools
  • #71 Best Global Universities

NICHE (2019)

  • Top Public Universities in America #20
  • Best Big Colleges in America #20
  • Best College Campuses in America #39
  • Colleges with the Best Professors in America #76
  • Best Colleges for Nursing in America #81
  • Best Colleges in America #89
  • Colleges with the Best Academics in America #122
  • Best Value Colleges in America #208 
  • Best College Locations in America #254
  • Most Diverse Colleges in America #355
  • Most Conservative Colleges in America #703
  • Colleges with the Best Student Life in Pennsylvania #1
  • Best College Campuses in Pennsylvania #1
  • Top Public Universities in Pennsylvania #1
  • Best Big Colleges in Pennsylvania #1
  • Best Colleges for Nursing in Pennsylvania #5
  • Colleges with the Best Professors in Pennsylvania #7
  • Best Colleges in Pennsylvania #9
  • Colleges with the Best Academics in Pennsylvania #14
  • Best College Locations in Pennsylvania #15
  • Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania #18
  • Most Diverse Colleges in Pennsylvania #21
  • Most Conservative Colleges in Pennsylvania #58

Forbes (2019)

  • #121 Top Colleges
  • #28 in Public Colleges
  • #65 in Research Universities
  • #59 in the Northeast
  • #211 America's Best Value Colleges

College Factual ranked Penn State #334 nationwide in Overall Diversity (2019).

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Edited by Nursing2019BSN



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