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Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania with Program Overviews

Pennsylvania has over 100 colleges that offer nursing programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for the ten largest schools to make an informed education decision.

Essential Information

In Pennsylvania, undergraduate certificate programs are available to students interested in working as practical nurses. Programs are also available for existing licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who would like to train for careers as registered nurses (RNs).

Students interested in becoming registered nurses can pursue an associate or a bachelor's degree in nursing. RNs with an associate degree or students who have a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field could complete an accelerated bachelor's degree program.

Additionally, existing registered nurses can pursue advanced training in the field by pursuing a master's degree in nursing. At this level, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator, clinical nurse specialist, nurse educator or nurse practitioner specializations may be available. Doctoral degree programs focused on clinical practice or research are also available.

Career Requirements

To become a nurse in the state of Pennsylvania, individuals must have graduated from an approved nursing education program. LPNs and RNs must also pass the appropriate National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). All undergraduate programs discussed below prepare students for the respective NCLEX. The ten largest colleges and universities in Pennsylvania offering nursing training are presented below.


Community College of Allegheny County

Located in Pittsburgh, the Community College of Allegheny County is a 2-year school offering over 155 programs over 4 campuses. The Associate of Science in Nursing program begins with simpler concepts before introducing students to the more complex. By the time they graduate, students are prepared for entry-level careers as RNs. Coursework includes topics in evidence-based nursing drug therapy, professional nursing concepts, adult health concepts and complex health concepts for nursing practice. Those who already are LPNs may enroll in the transition program that trains them to become RNs while working towards their degree.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Science in Nursing,
    LPN to RN (Associate of Science in Nursing)
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,312 in-district; $6,332 in-state; $9,198 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large city

Community College of Philadelphia

This community college is the largest school in Philadelphia. Students may enroll in the Associate in Applied Science in Nursing program, which prepares them for careers as RNs who can work in a variety of different settings. Graduates may also choose to continue on to a 4-year educational program. Applicants must pass a background check and drug clearance.

  • Program Offered: Associate in Applied Science in Nursing
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $4,800 in-district; $9,120 in-state; $13,440 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large city

Drexel University

Drexel University in Philadelphia is among the nation's top 15 largest private universities. The College of Nursing and Health Professions offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) may be pursued over 4 or 5 years. The program is focused on co-operative experiences and clinical care. Current RNs may enter an accelerated RN to BSN track, while those with a bachelor's degree in another discipline may work towards the BSN in only 11 months. Master's students must specialize in advanced nursing roles, nurse anesthesia or nurse practitioner. There is also a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) available for individuals who wish to practice advanced nursing.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
    RN to BSN,
    Master of Science in Nursing,
    Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $36,090*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

Harrisburg Area Community College-Harrisburg

This community college in Harrisburg is the oldest in Pennsylvania. The 74-credit Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program takes 4 semesters to complete. Individuals who choose to attend part-time in the evening may complete the degree in 8 semesters. A 43-credit Certificate in Practical Nursing program is an option for aspiring practical nurses; entry is competitive. Current LPNs may receive advanced standing upon entering the ADN program as they work towards their degree.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate in Practical Nursing,
    LPN to RN,
    Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $5,055 in-district; $6,870 in-state; $9,945 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; small city

Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main Campus

Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main Campus is a researched-based public university in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees are offered through the Department of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals. The BSN may be completed in 4 or 5 years, with the first 2 semesters devoted to liberal arts courses and the rest of the program focused on clinical experiences. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) students may choose to specialize in administration or education. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing is also available for those who wish to focus on nursing research and education.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
    Master of Science in Nursing,
    Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $8,672 in-state; $19,480 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; distant town

Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is a public university in University Park. The School of Nursing has been in operation since 1964 and is accredited by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. A variety of undergraduate and graduate programs are available. The BSN program trains students to work in a variety of clinical settings. Current RNs may enroll in the post-licensure track to work toward their undergraduate degree, while graduates with a bachelor's degree in another major can pursue the pre-licensure track. An associate's degree is also available.

Students in the MSN program choose from 4 advanced practice options: family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, adult gerontology acute nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. Alternatively, they may choose an advanced role option, including nurse educator or nurse administrator, offered through distance learning. The PhD program is geared towards potential scholars and educators.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Science in Nursing,
    Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
    RN to BSN,
    Master of Science in Nursing,
    Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing,
    BSN to PhD
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $16,444 in-state; $28,746 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

Temple University

In Philadelphia, Temple University serves over 35,000 students through its 17 schools and colleges. The College of Health Professions and Social Work houses the Department of Nursing, which offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The BSN program prepares students for careers as RNs through coursework that covers health perspectives and evidence-based practice, genetics and genomics, generalist nursing practice, community homes and nursing research. Master's students may focus on nurse educator or clinical nurse leader concentrations, while both BSN and MSN graduates may work towards a DNP. Students with a BSN require 62 credits to earn the doctoral degree, while those with an MSN need only 30 credits.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
    RN to BSN,
    Master of Science in Nursing,
    Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $13,596 in-state; $23,422 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740. Today, it is considered one of the most powerful research institutions in the world. The School of Nursing offers students a simulation lab and affiliations with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. BSN students are invited to pursue a joint degree with another Penn school, while multiple accelerated programs are available for individuals who have a bachelor's degree in another area or who are already licensed as RNs.

Master's and post-master's students may choose from many different specialties. These specialties include nurse practitioner programs, advanced practice specialist programs and administrative programs. PhD students are prepared for careers in leadership and research.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
    RN to BSN,
    Master of Science in Nursing,
    Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing,
    BSN to PhD
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $43,738*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus

The University of Pittsburgh campus in Pittsburgh was ranked 18th in the nation among public universities by The Times Higher Education in 2012. The School of Nursing was ranked 7th among America's Best Graduate Schools by U.S. News & World Report. BSN students are given the foundation needed to begin careers as RNs, including clinical experiences in settings such as schools, long-term care facilities and clinics. Second-degree students may enter the accelerated program, and current registered nurses can pursue the RN to BSN program. The MSN program requires students to specialize in nurse anesthesia or choose a specialty role in nursing administration, clinical nurse leader or nursing informatics. The DNP is a practice-focused program, while the PhD is a research-focused program.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
    RN to BSN,
    Master of Science in Nursing,
    Doctor of Nursing Practice,
    Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $16,590 in-state; $26,280 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Located in West Chester, this university offers both bachelor's and master's degrees through the Department of Nursing. The BSN program combines classroom learning with clinical experiences, boasting a 1:10 faculty-to-student ratio. Most BSN graduates continue on to graduate study. MSN students major in public health nursing, which allows them to choose a specialty area they want to focus on. Graduate coursework consists of epidemiology, advanced concepts of public health nursing, nursing research and more.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
    RN to BSN,
    Master of Science in Nursing in Public Health Nursing
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $8,620 in-state; $18,446 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large suburb

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Nursing Degree Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013)
Community College of Allegheny County 2-year, public; large city Associate of Science in Nursing,
LPN to RN (Associate of Science in Nursing)
$3,312 in-district; $6,332 in-state; $9,198 out-of-state*
Community College of Philadelphia 2-year, public; large city Associate in Applied Science in Nursing $4,800 in-district; $9,120 in-state; $13,440 out-of-state*
Drexel University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$36,090*
Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg 2-year, public; small city Certificate in Practical Nursing,
LPN to RN,
Associate Degree in Nursing
$5,055 in-district; $6,870 in-state; $9,945 out-of-state*
Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main Campus 4-year, public; distant town Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
$8,672 in-state; $19,480 out-of-state*
Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus 4-year, public; small city Associate of Science in Nursing,
Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing,
BSN to PhD
$16,444 in-state; $28,746 out-of-state*
Temple University 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$13,596 in-state; $23,422 out-of-state*
University of Pennsylvania 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing,
BSN to PhD
$43,738*
University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
$16,590 in-state; $26,280 out-of-state*
West Chester University of Pennsylvania 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing in Public Health Nursing
$8,620 in-state; $18,446 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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