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Standard B.S.N. FAQs

 Frequently Asked Questions

The College of Nursing provides a state-of-the-art nursing program that prepares graduates for the diversity necessary to practice anywhere in the United States. An emphasis in liberal studies and humanities, as well as in social and natural sciences, provides the foundation for a student's nursing education. The College of Nursing has more hours of clinical instruction than any other program in the state, according to the South Dakota Board of Nursing. Hands-on clinical internships are available at many of the hospitals in our state.

Students who want to complete the standard B.S.N. program can take courses at the Brookings main campus or in Rapid City or Sioux Falls. Like the program in Brookings, the programs in Rapid City and Sioux Falls are South Dakota State University programs, they are just conducted at our distance sites. Graduates of these programs will receive their degree from SDSU but will complete their coursework and clinical in and around Rapid City or Sioux Falls.

Classes in Rapid City meet at the Monument Health Sciences Building, and classes in Sioux Falls meet on the campus of Southeast Technical Institute in the Terrance Sullivan Health Science Center, part of SDSU - Sioux Falls. In Brookings, students will take classes on the main campus. Clinicals are completed in around each site.

The degree is designed to be completed in eight semesters (four years). Students typically take 14-17 credits per semester and have three semesters of prerequisites. The nursing courses take five semesters to complete.

The prerequisites include courses that meet the University's General Education Core. The curriculum plan lists the course options for pre-nursing students.

Before discussing differences, let's look at similarities between the programs:

  • Graduates from both programs take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become licensed as registered nurses.
  • Students take arts and sciences to support the nursing core requirements.
  • Entry-level staff nurse positions appear similar. (However, the baccalaureate-prepared nurse has a broader educational background, thus affording greater career opportunities.)
  • Students complete coursework in communication skills, technical skill mastery and clinical care of child-bearing women, psychiatric patients and children and adults with health variations.

Now, the differences. A baccalaureate degree requires 120-130 credits and 620-945 clinical practice hours. Graduates are classified as professional nurses. In addition to basic knowledge, the baccalaureate student completes courses in professional issues, statistics, research, health promotion and maintenance, health assessment, pathophysiology, community health and leadership. We prepare graduates to work in unstructured settings with more complex patients, and they manage and direct themselves and others as well as work in collaboration with the multi-disciplinary team.

As a general rule, associate degree programs require 65-91 credits and 585-810 clinical practice hours and can be completed in four to six semesters. Graduates of associate degree programs are classified as technical nurses. They have basic nursing knowledge and are prepared to work in structured settings with less complex patients. They direct themselves and others, and they work as part of a team.

Students apply to the nursing program during the last semester of completing their prerequisites. Applications are due by September 25 for spring admission (available in Brookings, Rapid City and Sioux Falls) and February 25 for fall admission (available in Brookings and Rapid City). The application is typically available about a month prior to the deadline. Visit the College of Nursing application page to download the application and get deadline updates.

On the Brookings main campus, 64 students will be admitted each fall and spring, at the Rapid City site, 48 students will be admitted each fall and spring, and 48 students will be admitted each spring at the Sioux Falls site.

The undergraduate admission and scholastic standards committee evaluates the applications. Learn more about our admission process.

The application is available online approximately four weeks prior to the September 25 and January 25 admission deadlines. Visit the College of Nursing application page to complete the application.

Admission into the nursing program is competitive, and the College of Nursing usually receives more applications than there are available spaces in the program. If a student is qualified but not admitted, he or she is placed on the waiting list. Students who are not admitted can reapply to the nursing program the following semester. During that semester, students often take electives, general education requirements or nursing major support courses.

Applicants will be notified of acceptance by university email. Acceptance is conditional on meeting additional requirements including drug screening, background checks, evidence of health insurance, current immunization status, CPR certification and purchase of an approved laptop computer.

Students entering the nursing program are required to have a laptop computer that meets the College of Nursing specifications. These laptop computers will be used throughout the course of the program during classes and for testing. Students are expected to maintain a warranty on their laptop computers so that the laptops stay in working order throughout the program. Although the support desk is able to provide on-site trouble-shooting, warranty work must be done at the location specified in the terms of your warranty.

Typically, many (but not all) of the prerequisite courses students must take will transfer to SDSU from another institution. To ensure you will receive appropriate credit, check the transfer equivalency calculator to see if a course you are considering has previously been evaluated by the Registrar's Office or check with your academic advisor to make sure the course you wish to take will equate to the proper SDSU course.

Transfer students who have begun but not completed a bachelor's in nursing program at another college or university within the last five years must submit a letter to the College of Nursing indicating their reason for transfer. They must also apply for admission to SDSU, as well as to the College of Nursing.

For more detailed information, please select the site that you would like to attend: