The Top Pre-Nursing Programs of 2024

9 Min Read Published December 21, 2023
The Top Pre-Nursing Programs of 2024

If you’re considering becoming a nurse, you don’t need to wait for nursing school to start your education. Pre-nursing programs allow you to start working toward your goal of becoming a nurse before you’re even in a nursing program. Read on to learn more about pre-nursing programs and learn about some of the top pre-nursing programs of 2024. 

What Are Pre-Nursing Programs?

Pre-nursing programs are designed to lay the foundation for aspiring nurses before they formally enter a nursing program. Think of it as a stepping stone towards your nursing journey. 

These programs usually include a set of prerequisite courses in subjects like biology, chemistry, anatomy, and psychology, providing you with a solid academic grounding in the sciences. 

This coursework helps you build a strong knowledge base and prepares you to excel in the rigorous nursing curriculum. Additionally, pre-nursing programs often offer mentorship, counseling, and guidance to help you explore different nursing specialties, understand the profession, and navigate the application process for nursing schools. 

Types of Pre-Nursing Programs

All pre-nursing programs offer a foundational education program prior to the dedicated nursing curriculum. However, those taken at the same educational institution where the nursing courses will be offered can often include the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. Others are offered at community colleges or are set up as four-year undergraduate degrees designed to facilitate entry to MSN programs

Community college-based pre-nursing programs are often affiliated with specific bachelor's degree programs, while others provide associate degrees that can be used for credit when applying to a BSN program. Similarly, four-year BSN programs often have agreements with MSN programs

The curriculum offered in pre-nursing programs varies by school, but most represent the same general education courses offered by most liberal arts colleges, with an emphasis on mathematics, biology, anatomy, and physiology. 

In addition to STEM-based classes, most pre-nursing programs require students to study psychology and sociology so they will be well-prepared to connect and engage with patients.  

What Can You Do with a Pre-Nursing Program? 

Completion of a pre-nursing program is an indication that you are fully prepared and equipped to take on either a BSN degree program or an MSN program

The curriculum not only offers invaluable experience within an advanced learning environment, but it will also expose students to the basics of nursing to ensure that nursing is the right career for them.  

Students who have completed a pre-nursing program have the credentials needed to apply to and enroll in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, or in some cases, an Accelerated BSN program or an MSN program.  

Fast Facts About Pre-Nursing Programs

Program Length

  • Approximately 2 years


  • High school degree

  • Some programs have minimum math proficiency requirements

Top Pre-Nursing Programs  

There are many high-quality pre-nursing programs offered through community colleges as a component of their four-year BSN program. 

So, the top program for you will be different from the needs of another student. In assembling this list, our ranking methodology considered the following factors: 

  • Tuition 
  • Curriculum 
  • Faculty-to-student ratio 
  • Admission Criteria
  • Affiliation with BSN nursing program 
  • Accreditation

1. Ohio State University 

Ohio State University offers one of the top BSN programs in the country. The pre-nursing program offers all of the prerequisites necessary for entry into the school’s BSN program. 

Every pre-nursing student enrolled in Ohio State University’s program is assigned a dedicated academic advisor who guides them through the application process and the requirements for entry into the BSN program. 

  • Tuition: $12,485 
  • Program Length: One year 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Application Deadline: February 1
  • Requirements: Must be admitted to The Ohio State University and meet one of the following criteria:   
    • Composite ACT score of 25 or higher  
    • Composite SAT Score of 1200 or higher  
    • Be in the top 10 percent of your high school class  
  • Contact Information:  
  • Phone: (614) 292-4041 
  • Email  
  • Online Options Available? No 

2. University of Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin’s two-year pre-nursing program is designed to guide aspiring nursing students through the completion of all nursing program prerequisites, as well as all other degree requirements not built into the nursing program. 

Students are given priority enrollment for anatomy and physiology classes but also complete coursework in science, math, social sciences, humanities, and electives.  

Upon successful completion of the two-year pre-nursing program, students move onto the University of Wisconsin’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing curriculum.  

  • Tuition: $497.81 per credit 
  • Program Length: Two years 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education 
  • Application Deadline: January 15 
  • Requirements: Online application listing nursing as desired major and fee, High school degree, ACT or SAT scores (optional), two essays, letter of recommendation, English language proficiency  
  • Contact Information:  
  • Phone: (608) 263-5180 
  • Email Information: 
  • Online Options Available? No 

3. University of Illinois at Chicago

The pre-nursing program at the University of Illinois at Chicago provides courses that prepare students to apply to the school’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at the UIC College of Nursing. All prerequisite coursework must be completed with a grade of C or higher for consideration for admission. 

Courses include academic writing, microbiology, anatomy, human development, and nutrition. 

  • Tuition: $5,388 per semester 
  • Program Length: Two years 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education 
  • Application Deadline: January 15 
  • Requirements: Common Application, fee, High School transcript, ACT or SAT scores 
  • Contact Information:  
  • Phone: (312) 996-7800  
  • Email 
  • Online Options Available? No 

4. Thomas Edison State University

Thomas Edison State University offers a pre-nursing track that leads to admission to the school’s Accelerated BSN program. 

Students will complete both nursing prerequisite requirements and general education requirements. Students also have the opportunity to earn their AAS in Applied Health Sciences. 

Classwork will include intellectual and practical skills, civic and global leadership, knowledge of human cultures, scientific knowledge, and applied health study requirements. 

  • Tuition: $3,686 per term 
  • Program Length: Two years 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education 
  • Application Deadline: Rolling 
  • Requirements: High school degree, GED, or equivalent. 
    • Be 20 years of age or older
    • Be at least 16 years of age and demonstrate self-direction in one of the following ways*:
      • Serving as an active member of the United States military (not applicable to military spouses, dependents or relations),
      • Participating in an apprenticeship as recognized by the US Department of Labor or as evaluated by TESU for academic credit,
      • Having at least 12 transferable college-level credits from a Professional Learning Review conducted by TESU, or 6 credits from an accredited institution recognized for transfer by TESU with a grade of C or higher, or 6 credits of Advanced Placement (AP) credit.
      • If between 16 and 20 years of age and unable to meet any of the self-direction criteria above, students will be required to complete a no-cost online Orientation Course.
  • Contact Information:  
  • Phone: (609) 777-5680 
  • Email Information: 
  • Online Options Available? Yes 

5.  University of Colorado at Boulder 

The University of Colorado does not offer a nursing degree. However, the university’s pre-nursing program is designed to allow students to either complete their nursing prerequisites at Colorado University at Boulder so that they can then transfer their credits to a school offering a BSN degree or to complete their bachelor’s studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and then to pursue an Accelerated BSN program.  

Students will take courses including biology, chemistry, math and statistics, and psychology. The school’s Office of Pre-Health Advising (OPHA) also strives to help students achieve their goals. 

  • Tuition:  $30,452 
  • Program Length: Varies 
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission 
  • Application Deadline: January 15 
  • Requirements: Application and fees, High school transcripts, personal essay, letter of recommendation 
  • Contact Information:  
  • Phone: (303) 492-6301 
  • Email Information: 
  • Online Options Available? No

6.  Roanoke College 

Roanoke College offers a pre-nursing program that works directly with the school’s Health Professions Advising Group. The program is designed for students who seek entry to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. 

The pre-nursing program provides both a strong liberal arts background and all of the prerequisites and clinical experiences needed for entry to graduate programs.  

The school has a partnership with the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing to facilitate student clinical experience as well as admission.  

7.  University of Montana 

The University of Montana does not offer a four-year BSN program, but students interested in a career in nursing can complete all prerequisite courses for transfer through the school’s pre-nursing program.  

These credits can be applied to any nursing degree program but are particularly convenient for students pursuing the school’s affiliated programs. These include the BSN program at Montana State University, Montana Tech, and Salish Kootenai College. Students are also able to use the credits towards an Associate of Science in Nursing degree from Missoula College.  

  • Tuition:  $677 per credit hour 
  • Program Length: Two years 
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities 
  • Application Deadline: Rolling 
  • Requirements: Admission application and fee, Minimum 2.5 GPA in High School, Class rank in the upper 50%, High school curriculum must meet college preparatory requirements, and students must demonstrate proficiency in mathematics and writing. 
  • Contact Information:  
  • Phone: (406) 243-2835 
  • Email Information:  
  • Online Options Available? No 

8. Thomas Jefferson University 

Thomas Jefferson University’s pre-nursing students attend a two-year educational program that includes foundational courses in psychology, the sciences, and the humanities, as well as practice in clinical and simulated environments. 

Students also interact with students pursuing other disciplines. The courses offered in the pre-nursing program fulfill the prerequisites and guarantee entry into Thomas Jefferson University’s College of Nursing Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. 

  • Tuition: $43,100 
  • Program Length: Two years 
  • Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools 
  • Application Deadline: March 1 
  • Requirements: Admission application and fee, High school transcripts, Letter of recommendation, Personal essay,  
  • Contact Information:  
  • Phone: (215) 951-2800 
  • Email  
  • Online Options Available? No 

9. Texas A & M University 

The pre-nursing program at Texas A&M University is offered as a degree plan within the School of Public Health. It focuses on health promotion and disease prevention to improve the quality of life of individuals, families, and communities. 

Students graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health that prepares them to pursue either an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or a Master of Science in Nursing.  

The curriculum includes core general education classes, including life and physical sciences, psychology, and public health coursework. 

  • Tuition: $5981.45 per semester 
  • Program Length: 4 years 
  • Accreditation: Council on Education for Public Health 
  • Application Deadline: December 1 
  • Requirements: High school transcript, personal essay, admission application, and fee 
  • Contact Information:  
  • Phone: (979) 436-9463 
  • Email Information:  
  • Online Options Available? No 

10. Rutgers University 

Rutgers University offers a 10-week pre-nursing program called Pathways that is only open to students attending Rutgers University at Newark. 

This pre-nursing track is offered as a traditional program for students with less than 60 credits to transition into the school of nursing and pursue a BSN.  It can also be used as a second-degree track for students who have already accrued more than sixty credits. 

The second degree program also fulfills the requirements to transition into the School of Nursing but provides entry to the School of Nursing’s Accelerated BSN program.  

  • Tuition:  Based on undergraduate status
  • Program Length: 10 weeks 
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education 
  • Application Deadline: December 1 for spring start 
  • Requirements: Applicants must be Rutgers University students with a minimum of 24 credits and a GPA of 3.3 or higher 
  • Contact Information:  
  • Phone: (973) 353-5293 
  • Email Information: 

Online Options Available? No 


  • What is Pre-Nursing Called?

    • Pre-nursing is a program that provides the prerequisite courses for entry into nursing programs. 
  • Is Pre-Nursing the Same as RN?  

    • No. Pre-nursing is an educational program that provides a path to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program or a Master of Science in Nursing program that leads to becoming a registered nurse. 
  • What is the Point of Pre-Nursing?  

    • Pre-nursing provides the foundational prerequisite education needed to enroll in a nursing degree program. 
  • Should I Take Pre-Nursing?  

    • If you are interested in a career in nursing and you have not taken the foundational classes that are required for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, then pre-nursing is an excellent way to achieve your goals. 
  • What is the Difference Between Pre-Nursing AA and AS? 

    • An AA is an Associate of Art, and an AS is an Associate of Science. Most pre-nursing programs do not confer degrees. Rather, they offer a pathway to entering a program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. 


Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer Contributor

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is a freelance writer and editor who is driven by details. She loves to dive into research, ensuring that the information she provides educates, engages and illuminates. Before starting her own business she spent years working in advertising and raising three kids. Today she lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where her she and her husband enjoy travel, the Jersey Shore, and spoiling their grandchildren.

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