What to do with an Undergraduate Bachelor degree in Science (NOT nursing)?

Students Post Graduate



I'm quite new to this site, so it's taking a while to update myself on various topics that are being discussed within these forums.

I'm actually still an undergraduate attending the University of California, San Diego. This upcoming fall quarter would be my fourth year. I have recently only decided to do a bit of researching pertaining to nursing. I am, however, at lost about what to do with my Bachelor degree in science (Human Biology). I understand that you need to have a BS in nursing, along with a legit license. Does anyone have any advice on how I can start to orient my goal around this career? And what graduate school would I apply to? I am also aware that there has been an issue regarding the Doctorate degree requirement for Nurse Practitioners by 2015? Should I attempt to obtain a doctorate degree then? Or should I obtain the masters first? How many years would it take for a newly graduated student with only a BS (not BSN) to finally become a nurse practitioner? What would be the shortest, most efficient route? How could I utilize the BS? Or would it just have been a complete waste of my four years in college.

Please help! :specs:



UVA Grad Nursing

1,068 Posts


Welcome to this site. There is a lot of good information here - I encourage you to use the 'search' tool and look at the many threads on these boards.

There are four ways to become eligible to sit for the national licensing examination to become a RN:

1. Complete a hospital-based program (known as a diploma).

2. Complete an associate's degree program at a community college (ADN or ASN)

3. Complete a BSN program at a 4-year school (many also offer accelerated BSN or ABSN programs for those with college degrees in other areas.

4. Complete a direct-entry Masters program for those with undergraduate or gradaute degrees in other subjects.

Now to become an advanced practice nurse (a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, or nurse midwife), you need to complete a master's degree in nursing (or a post-masters program) in that subject matter from an accredited nursing program. So we refer that the entry into practice for NPs is currently a MSN degree. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing have called that this entry into practice for future advanced practice nurses be a doctoral degree by 2015 (this is the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree).

Since you are currently not a nurse, I would not be too worried now about what the DNP will look like in 2015. If you want to become a nurse, then that is your first aim. My personal opinion is that one should wait until you have a fuller view of healthcare as a professional before you decide what you want your specialty to be. That is one of the benefits of the first level of nursing (or medical) education --- you will have experiences in a variety of settings, units, and client bases. Then you can decide yourself based on our own experience what you want to specialize in.

Good luck


61 Posts


Your question is really old, not sure if you will get this. I graduate 2009 with a bio degree from UCSD, I'm right in the middle of applications to UCLA (2-year general masters nursing), Cal State LA (3 year family nurse practitioner program), Cal State Long beach (3-year nurse practitioner program), CSU Fullerton (3-year general masters nursing), and San Francisco state for a 3 year clinical nurse specialist. I hear back from all of them in a couple months.

I thought about so much after UCSD...med school, optometry, even get a bio masters but I never enjoyed any bio lab work. Actually if you like lab work, you should check out getting a 1-year certification as a clinical laboratory scientist, they require a 4 year science degree...its through extension.

Anyways, everything changed when I discovered nursing and the entry-level masters programs. I am so excited for a career as an NP and could never imagine doing anything else with my life after UCSD. Going for the NP and masters simultaneously is definitely the best choice for me...after finishing a bachelors I can't imagine trying to do another one.

If you ever read this, maybe I'm just talking to myself haha, feel free to ask me questions...it took me so long to figure out the CA nursing programs. Goodluck

Hey Kaitlyn,

This is a big stab in the dark but would you happen to be an SOPi? I went to UCSD and there's a girl in my sorority with the same name. Anywho, I was in your position not too long ago and was recently accepted to a direct entry masters program with the option of becoming a family NP if you're interested in pursuing that track. I've researched and applied to a bunch of these programs and have gone through the whole interview process, so if you want to pick my brain about anything, shoot me an email at [email protected]. And if you are an SOPi, I'd love to grab coffee or something and get to know you. Good luck! :)



3 Posts

Hi! Thank you for the information, though I was wondering if you have ever considered between NP and Physician Assistant? And have you gotten accepted into the schools you have mentioned above? :)

Specializes in Urgent Care NP, Emergency Nursing, Camp Nursing.

NPs and PAs have varying degrees of autonomy from state to state. In some states NPs are firmly mid-level practitioners, in others the practice act for NPs is the exact same as it is for physicians. Some states allow NPs to practice independently, in others one still needs physician oversight similar to what a PA needs.

NPs and PAs come from differing philosophical backgrounds - nursing and medicine are different, though related, and look at problems through different lenses. Figure out which fits you better.

As for me, I'm in a Master's Entry program that'll spit me out with a Masters of Science and my RN. After I get a year of experience as an RN, I'll be able to come back and get a post-master's certificate in an APN field.

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