BSN Application/Admission

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

All students wishing to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) 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.

Act 53 of 2020 Best Practices Guide              

Information for Individuals With Criminal Convictions Who Are Considering an Occupation or Profession That Requires Licensure, and an Overview of the License Application Process

Download a PDF of the ACT 53 of 2020 Best Practices Guide   

On July 1, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law Act 53 of 2020, which made sweeping changes to the occupational licensing rules that govern the use of criminal history information in determining whether to grant, deny, suspend, or revoke a professional license. With regard to the consideration of criminal convictions, Act 53:

  • Prohibits BPOA’s licensing boards and commissions from denying licensure based on considerations of “good moral character,” “crimes of moral turpitude,” or “ethical or honest practice.”
  • Requires each board and commission to develop and publish a schedule of criminal offenses that may constitute grounds to deny, suspend or revoke a license. The list must also identify which crimes are likely to pose a barrier to licensure because they are considered to be offenses “directly related” to the occupation/profession.
  • Provides for an “individualized assessment” of each license applicant using objective, detailed criteria that includes rehabilitation and public safety.
  • Provides a process for individuals who have criminal convictions to request a “preliminary determination” as to whether a particular conviction will be a bar to licensure. This new tool will enable people with criminal convictions to find out if their convictions would prevent them from getting a license − before enrolling in a training or educational program, before investing significant time and resources, and before formally applying for licensure.

Preliminary Determinations (Section 3115 of Act 53)

  • If you have a criminal conviction in your past and are concerned about whether it could prevent you from getting a license, certificate, registration or permit for a particular occupation or profession, your first step should be to review this Best Practices Guide closely, including the Appendices.
  • If, after reviewing this Guide, you are still unsure whether your conviction is likely to prevent you from getting a license, you may submit an application to the appropriate board or commission requesting what is known as a preliminary determination.
  • The preliminary determination will inform you whether your specific conviction falls within the set of crimes that the board has determined to be “directly related” to the occupation or profession you are considering.
  • A “directly related” crime is significant. It means that in the board’s view, the nature of the criminal conduct has a direct bearing on a person’s fitness or ability to perform the tasks, duties or responsibilities necessarily related to a particular profession or occupation.


  • For the most part, with a few notable exceptions, the fact that your criminal conviction has been identified as being “directly related” to the profession does not mean that you will automatically be denied a license.
  • The board could still grant a license notwithstanding the conviction. For example, the board may have the option to grant a license on probation, or may place certain restrictions on the license.
  • If you subsequently do decide to formally apply for a license, you would have the opportunity to present any evidence in your favor as part of the application process.
  • Download and print: Instructions that explain how to request a preliminary determination. There is a $45 fee for each request (this fee may be waivable where in forma pauperis status is established).
  • The board/commission is required to issue a preliminary determination within 45 days of your request.
  • Asking for a preliminary determination is an optional step. There is no requirement that you request one.
  • If you ultimately decide to formally apply for a license, you should review the next section of this Best Practices Guide, which explains “Consideration of Criminal Convictions.”
  • The Assessment Factors discussed below are particularly important: they outline the criteria the board will use to consider your conviction in making the overall determination whether or not to grant you a license. You should be prepared to provide the board with as much information as possible.

Consideration of Criminal Convictions (Section 3113 of Act 53)

  • After December 27, 2020, in determining whether or not an individual’s criminal conviction constitutes grounds for denying that person a license, the boards and commissions may only use the criteria, processes and procedures set forth in Act 53.
  • In evaluating what impact a past criminal conviction may have on an individual’s fitness for licensure, boards will generally conduct a two-stage analysis.

Additional Information

The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution. The complete Nondiscrimination Policy is available here.