RN to BSN program

credits 30 (min.)  |  completion 1 to 2 years  |  next start August 26

Earn your BSN online.  Northwestern's online RN to BSN degree completion option enables registered nurses to complete your BSN coursework from anywhere and at any time. This means you choose when to log in for class and complete assignments by their deadlines. You will have support from an online community of peers, experienced instructors and available tutors.

We recognize that earning your BSN is more than a time investment. That's why our RN-BSN online program is one of the most affordable available! Northwestern’s distinctive faith-based BSN curriculum focuses on promoting individual, family and community health, wholeness and peace, as well as advocating for social justice and healthy environments in leadership roles. 
It's the Northwestern difference.

Earn your BSN in as little as 12 months.

100% online. 8-week courses. 

Take one online 8-week class at a time, completing two classes each semester, and you'll finish your BSN in 2 years or less and be eligible for financial aid. Or accelerate your RN-BSN courses to complete your BSN in as little as 12 months.

Seamless transfer

Transfer credits
Your hard work is valued. Our unique seamless transfer policy means your Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) automatically fulfills the Northwestern Core (general education requirements) with the exception of one Christian Story course. If you've already taken a religion course equivalent to our Christian Story course, then that requirement is also met. You may also transfer equivalent courses to fulfill the RN-BSN cognate courses. Only the last  30 credits of your BSN must be completed through Northwestern. Ask an enrollment counselor to review your transcripts.

Download the Transfer Guide

Contact enrollment counselor for your school-specific transfer guide

Transfer work experience
Northwestern grants up to 66 credits to working nurses with confirmation of 7 years RN experience along with an ADN degree or hospital diploma. Requesting a free transfer review will show you how many courses you have left to complete your BSN.

Fully accredited

CCNEThe BSN degree at Northwestern is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education ( www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation) and approved by the  Iowa Board of Nursing.

Northwestern is an NC-SARA approved institution. The agreement allows the college to offer online courses and programs to students residing in other participating states.  Learn more.

Practice Experiences

Your BSN practice experiences will be tailored to your schedule. Most can be completed at your workplace and enable you to explore other areas of nursing and leadership. Practicum hours are integrated into courses through digital simulation. 

Application requirements

No application fee. 

  • Official transcripts showing a degree from an accredited institution. 
    • Can be from associate's degree program or hospital diploma program.
    • Unofficial transcripts can be sent for transfer credit review, but official transcripts are required for admission. 

Send official transcripts to onlineadmissions@nwciowa.edu or Northwestern College, Graduate & Professional Studies, 101 7th St SW, Orange City, IA 51041. 

  • Minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale. 
    • Applicants with a GPA below a 2.7 may be eligible for conditional admission. 
  • Provide a copy of active RN license to practice nursing in the state of residence from your Board of Nursing website. 

Course Requirements

 Your associate's degree fulfills Northwestern's undergraduate education core, which allows you to focus on your nursing-specific courses and you save time and money. You will explore how your own faith connects with your role as a nurse by taking the Christian Story course or transfer in an equivalent course. You may have also completed some or all of the nursing cognates in your associate's degree.

Prerequisite courses
Before you begin BSN courses you must complete the following prerequisites or have 7+ years working as an RN. These courses can typically be completed in your ADN program.

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Psychopathology 

RN-BSN courses
Throughout your RN-BSN program, you will take courses that build on what you know and help you grow as a nurse and leader. The RN-BSN core courses (22) and nursing cognates (20 credits) are listed below. Only the last 30 credits need to be completed at Northwestern. 

RN-BSN nursing courses (22 credits)

NUR 310A - Shalom and Nursing Science (bridge course)
(4 credits) Designed as a bridge course to orient the BSN-Completion option student to baccalaureate-level study, this course based in a Christian worldview investigates the theological, scientific, and ethical foundation of nursing as a human science, performing art and healing ministry, specifically as an approach to promote shalom (health, peace and wholeness from a Biblical perspective) and social justice. The program's mission, philosophy, conceptual framework and program outcomes are examined, and nursing as a human science and nursing theories are evaluated in the context of the theory-practice relationship. Specific concepts relevant to professional nursing practice are considered and applied in analysis of both practice and education issues. Service-learning experiences, faith reflection and the creation of an electronic portfolio are integrated in meeting course outcomes. Prerequisite: Admission to the RN-BSN program.
NUR 280A - Lifespan Health Assessment
(3 credits, 2:1) Based on a Christian worldview, this course provides an opportunity for students to develop their understanding and use of the nursing process, with a focus on the relationship development and assessment phases. Informed by a Christian worldview, emphasis is placed on performing holistic assessment of pediatric and adult clients including the physiological, psychological, sociocultural, spiritual and moral/ethical dimensions. Laboratory practice precedes clinical application in a variety of health care and community settings. In the clinical component, students develop aptitudes in relationship development and holistic assessment of pediatric and adult individual clients to develop clinical judgment and promote shalom. Prerequisite: NUR310A. (A fee is associated with this course)
NUR 350A - Cross Cultural Populations
(1 credit) Based on a Christian worldview, this 1-credit seminar examines transcultural nursing theory from a theoretical, scientific and ethical perspective, dimensions of global health care and social justice. Emphasis is placed on cultural values, beliefs, norms and practices and their influence on the lived experience of health and illness. Within a context that honors nursing as a human science, performing art and healing ministry to promote shalom with diverse clients in acute care and/or community-based settings, the course provides students opportunities to explore another culture and the nursing and health care delivery system. Learning experiences include faith and program outcome reflections. Prerequisite: Admission to the BSN program or NUR310A.
NUR 420A - Nursing Science and Informatics
(3 credits, 2:1) Based on a Christian worldview, this course examines the epistemological (theoretical, scientific and ethical) foundation of nursing as a human science, specifically as an approach to promote shalom and social justice. It surveys the types, methods and uses of research and informatics to enhance client outcomes and to deliver holistic nursing care for all clients and at all levels of prevention. The course emphasizes the knowledge and aptitudes needed by professional nurses to manage and utilize health care information and related technologies, critically evaluate research studies and integrate evidence in all phases of the nursing process. In the practicum, students analyze a variety of health care technologies and present an evidence-based practice project. Prerequisites: NUR310A; MAT208QR.
NUR 440A - Promoting Shalom with Diverse Populations
(5 credits, 3:2) Based on a Christian worldview, this course examines the theoretical and scientific basis for the application of the nursing process with diverse families and groups in the community. All levels of prevention are considered, focusing on health promotion and maintenance. Grounded in a synthesis of public health and nursing science and arts, the course emphasizes nursing as a healing ministry, human science and performing art to promote shalom and enhance the health of the population as a whole. The clinical component provides an opportunity for nursing practice in the community, assisting students to integrate knowledge, aptitudes and compassionate care in living the three nursing practice dimensions with families and groups. Learning experiences include service learning, faith reflection and clinical experiences. Prerequisites: NUR310A.
NUR 460AWI - Nursing Leadership and Clinical Scholarship
(4 credits, 3:1) (Writing intensive) Based on a Christian worldview, this course explores the leadership, management, role development and clinical scholarship dimensions of professional nursing practice, with a distinctive emphasis on promoting shalom, servant leadership, social justice and sociopolitical change. Students will analyze the health care system at a microsystem, macrosystem and chronosystem level, focusing on national health care but also exploring global health issues. Foundational to this exploration is an analysis of the relationship of personal, professional and organizational values and ethics to health care leadership roles and activities. Clinical scholarship is emphasized as a moral duty of Christian nurses committed to continuing Jesus' healing ministry. The practicum component provides an opportunity for students to observe (a) the role played by a nurse servant leader and (b) engage in a leadership project as a basis for clinical scholarship. Learning experiences include service-learning, faith reflection and practicum experiences. Prerequisites: NUR310A.
NUR 490ASR - Living Shalom
(2 credits) Based on a Christian worldview, this course explores finding one's place in God's kingdom for now and eternity, living vocation, integrating values and ethics in personal and professional realms and living shalom. Within this capstone seminar, students assess their knowledge and aptitudes related to the program outcomes and integrate them in their philosophy of Christian nursing. Prerequisites: NUR 280A, NUR 310A, NUR 350A, NUR 420A, NUR 440A, and NUR 460AWI.

RN-BSN nursing cognates (20 credits)

Accepted as transfer credits or taken online at Northwestern
SOC 101SS - Principles of Sociology
(4 credits) (NWCore option under Self and Society) An introduction to sociology, its major concepts, tools and perspectives. This course provides an understanding of societies; of culture; of major social institutions such as the family, religion and education; of social inequality; and of social change.
MAT 208QR - Biostatistics
(4 credits) (NWCore option under Quantitative Reasoning) This course is a study of statistical methodology commonly used in the biological and health sciences. Material includes basic descriptive methods in statistics, foundational concepts in probability, confidence intervals, hypothesis tests involving one or two samples, correlation and regression including multiple regression, contingency tables, and ANOVA. Students will also complete a substantial project. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 20 or above (SAT 510 or above), ALEKS placement exam score of 46 or above, or concurrent enrollment in MAT100. Note: Students may receive credit for only one course among MAT116QR, MAT117QR and MAT208QR.
BIO 360 - Pathophysiology
(4 credits) An introduction to the pathophysiology associated with the disease states of the human body. The focus of the course will be on disruptions in homeostasis as the result of organ system malfunction or failure. The pathophysiology associated with the following systems will be examined: blood, cells and cell growth, nervous, muscle, cardiovascular, endocrine, respiratory, renal, reproductive and gastrointestinal. Prerequisites: BIO122 or BIO222 and CHE102 or CHE108SN or CHE112.
CHE 108SN - College Chemistry
(4 credits) (NWCore option under Science and the Natural World) General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry (GOB) is a one-semester survey of inorganic, organic, and biological principles. Topics include atomic and molecular structure, chemical reactions, organic and biological molecules, solutions, acid-based chemistry, and metabolism. The treatment of topics is predominantly descriptive and the course is recommended for programs that require one semester of chemistry. This course does not count toward a chemistry major or minor, nor does it count toward the biology cognate requirements. This course is offered concurrently online and on-campus. The online course includes online lectures and one 1.5 hour laboratory per week; it is only open to RN-BSN students. The on-campus course includes three lecture periods and one 1.5 hour laboratory per week t. Note: Students with math ACT scores below 19 are strongly encouraged to take Basic Algebra prior to enrolling in this course.
PHI 214BR - Contemporary Moral Issues (Ethics)
(4 credits) (NWCore option under Belief and Reason) A philosophical exploration of contemporary moral issues. Possible topics include self-defense, war, terrorism, capital punishment, suicide, euthanasia, global poverty, factory farming and experimenting on animals, abortion, and others.

Northwestern Core courses (4 credits)

Accepted as transfer credits or taken at Northwestern
BTS 150 - Christian Story I
(4 credits) This course presents an overview of and orientation to the Bible, focusing on its content, character, role in the Christian faith, and covenant themes of creation, fall, redemption, and new creation. This course begins the development of theological thinking for academic study in the liberal arts and equips students for the task of integrating faith and learning in their academic work. Students should complete this course by the end of their second term. Note: Does not count toward a religion major or minor.

Elective courses

Accepted as transfer credits from ADN.
Online courses are available for students who need to reach a total of 124 credits

Total credits: 124

124 credits are required to graduate with a bachelor's degree, which includes the total associate and bachelor credits combined.
Minimum credits from Northwestern: 30


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Providing the best care

As a nurse in the Emergency Department and on the Medical-Surgical Floor of a critical access hospital, Alyssa has grown in her abilities and passion to provide the best care to her patients.

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Rewarding career

After six years of debating when might be the right time to complete her BSN, a trusted mentor inspired Melissa to further her education at Northwestern.

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Called to Christ-like Care

When looking at my education and career, I can see that Northwestern has helped me think more about Christ-like caring.

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