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Undergraduate BSN Program

Purpose | Description | Objectives | Admissions | Curriculums

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Undergraduate BSN Brochure


The purpose of the baccalaureate program is to prepare a professional nurse whose practice is based upon nursing science, related sciences and the arts in order to promote, restore, and maintain the health of human beings. Graduates of the program are generalists with the necessary base for graduate education and continuing professional development.

High school graduates are directly admitted to the freshman class of the four-year, full-time pre licensure baccalaureate nursing program. University of Pittsburgh students may apply for internal transfer to the freshman class. Students who are enrolled in other colleges and universities may apply for external transfer to the freshman class.


Education for the practice of professional nursing demands a substantial knowledge of nursing, using the behavioral and biological sciences as a theoretical base. Throughout the program, nursing courses are taken concurrently with courses in the College of Arts and Sciences, contributing to the development of the liberally educated practitioner.
The freshman year establishes the foundation for the study of nursing with an introduction to concepts and theories related to understanding nursing practice. Clinical study is introduced in the sophomore year with the focus on health promotion and identification of risk factors. Clinical nursing skills are practiced first in the School's Skills Laboratory.

Clinical experiences take place in a variety of settings such as schools, clinics, senior citizens' centers, and long term and acute care facilities. Junior year nursing courses focus on the care of individuals and families of all ages who are experiencing the stress of illness. Clinical experiences take place in acute care settings. During the senior year, student clinical experiences are planned to encourage synthesis of knowledge gained in preceding years and focus on individuals, families, and communities. Students provide care to those experiencing more complex illnesses and problems.

Professional role behaviors that are introduced in the freshman year and augmented during the years of subsequent study are expanded during the senior year. During the senior year, students have a culminating clinical course that provides a transition into clinical practice. Students have an opportunity to work on faculty research projects.

The program provides a foundation for graduate education in nursing and serves as a stimulus for continuing professional development. Students who successfully complete the undergraduate BSN curriculum plan of studies (includes a Comprehension Exam) will be eligible to take the NCLEX to become RN’s. 

Registered nurses, who are graduates of diploma or associate degree programs in nursing, may choose to enroll in the RN Options. See the RN Options section for further information.



The School of Nursing does not offer minors. However, students in the Nursing program are encouraged to consider earning minor(s) offered through the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences or other schools in the University of Pittsburgh. Some of the minors completed by students in the School of Nursing are listed in the link below:

For more information about the Minors offered in the University of Pittsburgh, please check on this link (Note that only Department with a “*” in this link offer a Minor).

Students are advised to check with their respective Academic Advisors before declaring to take a minor.


The graduate of the baccalaureate program will:

  1. Synthesize knowledge from nursing, biophysical, and social sciences in the practice of professional nursing.
  2. Demonstrate skills in critical thinking and decision making in the use of the nursing process with individuals, families, groups, and communities experiencing complex health problems.
  3. Intervene therapeutically to promote, restore, and maintain the maximum health potential of individuals, families, groups, and communities.
  4. Manage nursing care for groups of clients.
  5. Provide health education for individuals, families, groups, and communities.
  6. Evaluate research findings to guide nursing practice.
  7. Assume responsibility and accountability for own decisions and actions in the practice of nursing.
  8. Incorporate professional values, including ethical and legal aspects, into the practice of nursing.
  9. Communicate effectively in interactions with individuals, families, groups, and communities.
  10. Demonstrate evolving competence in multicultural interactions.

Admission Policy

The School of Nursing admits applicants to the pre licensure baccalaureate program who are:

Policies for students not from the United States, and those students seeking readmission are listed on the Prospective Students and Current Undergraduate Students sections of the School of Nursing Web site.

All students wishing to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree must apply and be accepted into the School of Nursing. Admission to other schools of the University or to the regional campuses does not guarantee admission to the School of Nursing. Qualified applicants are admitted without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or a veteran of the Vietnam era.

Prospective Students convicted of any felonious act may be prohibited from licensure as a Registered Nurse by the Board of Nursing in various states. Applicants who plan to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (as well as most other states) should be advised that upon application for the Registered Nurse Licensure Examination, the Board of Nursing will inquire as to whether the applicant has been convicted of a misdemeanor, felony, felonious act, or crime of moral turpitude, an illegal act associated with alcohol, or an illegal act associated with substance abuse(s).

Sample section from Pennsylvania State Board Application:

Section 6. fees:

Qualifications for Licensure. No application for licensure as a registered nurse shall be considered unless accompanied by a fee determined by the Board by regulation. Every applicant, to be eligible for examination for licensure as a registered nurse, shall furnish evidence satisfactory to the Board that he or she is of good moral character, has completed work equal to a standard high school course as evaluated by the Board and has satisfactorily completed an approved program of professional nursing. Approved programs shall include baccalaureate degree, associate degree and diploma nursing programs. The Board shall not issue a license or certificate to an applicant who has been convicted of a felonious act prohibited by the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), 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:

  1. At least ten (10) years have elapsed from the date of conviction.
  2. The applicant satisfactorily demonstrates to the Board that he has made significant progress in personal rehabilitation since the conviction such that licensure of the applicant should not be expected to create a substantial risk of harm to the health and safety of patients or the public or a substantial risk of further criminal violations
  3. The applicant otherwise satisfies the qualifications contained in or authorized by this act.

As used in this subsection the term "convicted" shall include a judgment, an admission of guilt or a plea of nolo contendere. An applicant's statement on the application declaring the absence of a conviction shall be deemed satisfactory evidence of the absence of a conviction, unless the Board has some evidence to the contrary. (6 amended Dec. 15, 1986, P.L. 1607, No. 179) (Professional Nurse Law)

Moreover, because of the mandate of the laws relating to character requirements (good moral character) (Sections 13, 14 and 15.1 of the Professional Nursing Law), the Board has the duty and the right to ask for this information.

If you have a criminal conviction, you are advised to contact:

State Board of Nursing
P. O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
(717) 783-7142

All undergraduate, pre-licensure students are required by the clinical site agencies to obtain and maintain valid Pennsylvania Act 33/34 (child abuse and criminal record check) and ACT 73 (fingerprinting background check). Clearances will be reviewed by the clinical sites where students are scheduled to do clinical. In the event of a positive clearance, the clinical site will determine if the student can do clinical at their site.

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