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Glossary of Nursing Degrees

* indicates a program designed for non-nurses who hold degrees in other disciplines

Select a Degree Type in order to view participating programs

Degree Type Degree Description Level
LPN
LPN (or LVN) Licensed Practical Nurse (Also LVN – Licensed Vocational Nursing)
A program that requires at least one year of full-time equivalent coursework and awards a diploma or certificate of completion as a LPN/LVN.
Undergraduate
LPN to ADN Licensed Practical Nurse (or LVN) to Associate Degree in Nursing
Admits licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and awards an associate degree in nursing.
Undergraduate
LPN to BSN Licensed Practical Nurse (or LVN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Admits licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and awards a baccalaureate nursing degree.
Undergraduate
Certificate
Post Baccalaureate Certificate Post Baccalaureate Certificate program (PBC)
Admits students with baccalaureate nursing degrees and awards at completion, a certificate.
Undergraduate
Post Graduate Certificate Post Graduate Certificate program
Admits nurses with a graduate degree in nursing, and, at completion, awards either a certificate or other evidence of completion, such as a letter from the program director.
Graduate
Associates
RN Diploma RN Diploma
A program that is typically housed within a hospital based structural unit and awards a diploma or certificate of completion as a Registered Nurse (RN).
Undergraduate
Associate Degree in Nursing Associate Degree in Nursing
A program that requires at least two academic years of full-time equivalent college academic work and awards an associate degree in nursing.
Undergraduate
Bachelors
Accelerated BSN for Non-Nurses (Second Baccalaureate Degree) Accelerated BSN for Non-Nurses (Second Baccalaureate Degree)
An accelerated program that admits students with baccalaureate degrees in other disciplines and no previous nursing education and awards a baccalaureate nursing degree.
Undergraduate
ADN to BSN Associate Degree in Nursing to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
A program that is for registered nurses (RN) with an Associate Degree or an RN Diploma in nursing that leads to a bachelor of science in nursing.
Undergraduate
BSN (Pre-Licensure) Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Pre-licensure, Generic, Traditional, or Entry-Level)
Admits students with no previous nursing education and awards a baccalaureate nursing degree.
Undergraduate
RN to BSN RN (Registered Nurse) to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
Admits RNs with associate degrees or diplomas in nursing and awards a baccalaureate nursing degree.
Undergraduate
Masters
BSN to MSN Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Admits students with baccalaureate nursing degrees and awards a master’s nursing degree usually through a combination of “bridge”/transition and core courses.
Graduate
Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (Entry-Level Master’s for Non-Nurses) Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (Entry-Level Master’s for Non-Nurses, 2nd Degree Master’s, CNL Entry)
Admits students with baccalaureate degrees in other disciplines and no previous nursing education. Program prepares graduates for entry into the profession and awards a master’s degree in nursing. Although these programs generally require a baccalaureate degree, a few programs admit students without baccalaureate degrees.
Undergraduate
Master’s (MSN, MS, or MN) Master of Nursing (MN), Major in Nursing (MS), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Admits students with baccalaureate nursing degrees and awards a master of nursing, master of science with a major in nursing, or a master of science in nursing, respectively.
Graduate
RN to MSN RN (Registered Nurse) to MSN (Master of Science in Nursing)
Admits RNs without baccalaureate degrees in nursing and awards a master’s of science degree in nursing. Typically these programs require students have an associate degree to be admitted.
Undergraduate
Dual Degree Master’s Dual Degree Master’s (such as MSN/MBA)
Admits RNs with baccalaureate degrees in nursing and awards a master’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in another field (e.g., Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Health, Master of Public Administration, Master of Hospital Administration, Master of Divinity, or Juris Doctor).
Graduate
Doctoral
DNP (Post-Baccalaureate) Doctor of Nursing Practice (Post-Baccalaureate or BSN to DNP)
Admits nurses with a baccalaureate degree who want to pursue a doctoral degree that focuses on practice. This program prepares graduates for the highest level of nursing practice beyond the initial preparation in the discipline and is a terminal degree. Also known as BSN to DNP.
Graduate
DNP (Post-Master’s) Doctor of Nursing Practice (Post-Master’s)
Admits nurses with a master’s degree who want to pursue a doctoral degree that focuses on practice. This program prepares graduates for the highest level of nursing practice beyond the initial preparation in the discipline and is a terminal degree.
Graduate
DNS Doctor of Nursing Science
Admits RNs with master’s degrees in nursing and awards a doctoral degree. This program prepares students to pursue intellectual inquiry and conduct independent research for the purpose of extending knowledge.
Graduate
DNAP Doctor of Nursing Anesthesia Practice
Admits nurses with a baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing or an appropriate major with an unemcumbered license as a regestered profesional nurse and/or an APRN in the United States or its territories or protectorates who want to pursue a doctoral degree that focuses on practice specializing in anesthesia. This program prepares graduates for the highest level of nursing practice beyond the initial preparation in the discipline and is a terminal degree.  A minimum of 1 year full-time work experience, or its part-time equivalent, as a registered nurse in a critical care setting. (Source: The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs).
Graduate
Dual Degree Doctoral Dual Degree Doctoral (such as DNP/MBA)
A program that awards a doctoral degree in nursing and a degree in another field (e.g., Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Health, Master of Public Administration, Master of Hospital Administration, Master of Divinity, or Juris Doctor).
Graduate
EdD Doctor of Education
Admits RNs with a master’s degrees in nursing and awards a doctoral degree. This program prepares students in the field of education.
Graduate
PhD (Post-Baccalaureate) Post- Baccalaureate Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Admits RNs with baccalaureate degrees in nursing and awards a doctoral degree. This program prepares students to pursue intellectual inquiry and conduct independent research for the purpose of extending knowledge.
Graduate
PhD (Post-Master’s) Post- Master’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Admits RNs with master’s degrees in nursing and awards a doctoral degree. This program prepares students to pursue intellectual inquiry and conduct independent research for the purpose of extending knowledge.
Graduate
Postdoctoral Program Postdoctoral Program (PDP)
A program environment for multidisciplinary research training involving more than one unit of a university, and a recruitment plan that will attract the most highly qualified candidates from throughout the nation. Postdoctoral fellows must hold a doctoral degree in nursing and the nursing unit has the ability to demonstrate that graduates of the program remain active in research.
Graduate
Non-Degree Nursing
Non-Degree Nursing Non-Degree Nursing
Coursework in nursing, often required as prerequisities or to fulfill pre-nursing requirements.
Undergraduate