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Nurses are responsible for the treatment, safety, and recovery of acutely or chronically ill or injured people, health maintenance of the healthy, and treatment of life-threatening emergencies in a wide range of health care settings.


There are several routes individuals can take to become a registered nurse (RN). Although there is not a Nursing Program at the W.M. Keck Science Department, we provide advising to our students who will eventually pursue an advanced degree in Nursing such as the Accelerated Baccalaureate Programs, Direct-Entry Nurse Master’s Programs and Nurse Doctorate Programs. The first three routes (Associate Degree Programs, Hospital Diploma Programs and Baccalaureate Programs) are not applicable to Keck Science students because they are pursuing a bachelor’s degree before commencing their nursing education.

Accelerated Baccalaureate Programs (~1 year program) In an accelerated baccalaureate program, you will get credit for the general education and science classes you already took at another school, then dive into a rigorous program of nursing theory and clinical work. You will be awarded a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) and be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam.

Direct Entry Master’s Programs (2-3 year program) An accelerated baccalaureate program and a master’s program combined, you will spend the first year completing all baccalaureate-level nursing requirements and sit for the licensing exam. You will spend the remainder of your time completing master’s level courses in a chosen specialty. You will be awarded a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN).

Doctorate Programs (3-4 year program) Similar to the master’s program, but requiring more advanced specialization and the completion of a doctoral research project. A BSN or a MSN is usually required.

Nurses who hold master’s or doctoral degrees are in school for longer and have greater specialization than traditional RNS and thus have a wider array of career options available to them. These career options include:

  • Advanced Clinical Practice
  • Administration
  • Education
  • Research
  • Public Policy
  • Informatics
  • Consultation
  • Professional Association Work