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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/LVN (Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse) 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/LVN to BSN/BS (for Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses) Admits licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and awards a baccalaureate nursing degree. Undergraduate
Certificate
Post-Bachelor’s Certificate Admits students with baccalaureate nursing degrees and awards at completion, a certificate. Undergraduate
Post-Graduate Certificate 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 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 A program that requires at least two academic years of full-time equivalent college academic work and awards an associate degree in nursing. Undergraduate
Bachelor’s
BSN/BS (2nd Degree) for Non-Nurses with a Bachelor’s 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
BSN/BS (for Non-Nurses) Admits students with no previous nursing education and awards a baccalaureate nursing degree. Undergraduate
RN to BSN/BS (for Registered Nurses) Admits RNs with associate degrees or diplomas in nursing and awards a baccalaureate nursing degree. Undergraduate
Master’s
Master’s (Entry-Level) for Non-Nurses with a Bachelor’s degree 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/MN) 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/MS/MN (for Nurses without a Bachelor’s degree) 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
Doctoral
DNP (Post-Bachelor’s) 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) 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 unencumbered license as a registered professional 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
PhD (Post-Bachelor’s) 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) 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
Non-Degree Nursing
Non-Degree Nursing Coursework in nursing, often required as prerequisities or to fulfill pre-nursing requirements. Undergraduate