what classes are required for BSN

Ultimate List of Required BSN Classes

Which BSN courses are needed to graduate?

Today, one of the most impactful steps you can take in your nursing career is to advance your education. While an associate degree is the standard requirement to become a registered nurse, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) can advance your quality of care, improve your job prospects, and prepare you to handle more complexities within the healthcare field. Research shows that nurses who earn their BSN degree are well-equipped to meet the evolving demands of healthcare, as they possess a wider range of competencies in areas like health policy, leadership, research, and evidence-based practice. Why, exactly? It’s because of the in-depth curriculum that BSN classes provide.

BSN classes are designed to prepare both current and aspiring nurses with advanced knowledge in healthcare, as well as hone soft skills that can be applied to their careers: collaboration, teamwork, leadership, and critical thinking are just a few. The advanced curriculum positions them for larger salaries, specialized credentials, supervisory roles, and more. While it’s true that all trained nurses, no matter their education level, are capable of providing high-quality patient care, nurses with a BSN degree have completed more courses of study and, in turn, have gained more proficiency within the field.

BSN overview

A Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) typically takes four years to complete. This degree combines general education courses, nursing-specific classes, and clinical experiences to prepare the next generation of nurses. However, a BSN is not solely for those who are entering the nursing field. A BSN degree is also a great option for seasoned nurses (with an associate degree) who are looking to advance in their careers. For these nurses, an RN-to-BSN program can be completed in just 12 months, part-time.

Whether you are new to nursing or an experienced RN, you may be wondering if a BSN program is right for you. Will BSN classes really help to level up your career? Which BSN classes will be most valuable to you, and which are required to complete?

BSN course requirements vary from school to school, and the steps needed to enroll (and graduate) will differ depending on your program of choice. However, there are absolute areas of study you must complete before graduating with a BSN. There is also a range of BSN classes you will want to take if they are available to you. We’ve broken this all down below.

Your BSN class list

The BSN curriculum provides students with a well-rounded education in nursing theory, practice, and related sciences. However, before enrolling in a BSN program, you will need to cover some basic prerequisite classes first.

Prerequisite classes to complete before your BSN

The prerequisite courses you need will depend on the type of BSN program you’re entering. If you are enrolling in a direct-entry, four-year BSN program, you will likely need to check off some general education courses in the basic sciences and liberal arts. These courses may include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Microbiology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

However, if you are a licensed RN looking to advance your degree, you will be applying to an RN-to-BSN program–which has its own set of requirements. The good news is, completing an RN-to-BSN degree is a much faster process than starting a BSN at the entry level. You have already completed many career-oriented courses; the BSN is meant to build on those existing credits. Most RN-to-BSN degrees require some basic science and nursing courses, such as:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • English Composition
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Microbiology

As well as lower-division nursing courses, such as:

  • Adults and the Wellness Continuum
  • Health Assessment
  • Nursing Skills Development

One of the greatest aspects of an RN-to-BSN program is that you can often transfer previously earned credits. At Goodwin, for example, up to 35 nursing credits may be awarded through the Connecticut Articulation Agreement, upon passing NUR 300 (Foundations of Professional Nursing). This allows students to complete their BSN degree in a matter of months, not years.

Common BSN course requirements

BSN course requirements will depend on the type of BSN program you pursue. Direct-entry BSN programs, for example, will require you to complete foundational nursing courses (such as those above) as well as advanced BSN coursework. Meanwhile, RN-to-BSN degree programs will require only the more advanced subject matter, since RN students know the basics of the field.

All types of BSN programs provide students with the knowledge they need to become ethical caregivers and problem-solvers. Examples of required BSN courses you might take include:

Foundational BSN courses:

  • Adult, Pediatric, and Geriatric Nursing
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Emergency Care
  • Ethics in Public Health
  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Microbiology
  • Nursing Skills Development

Advanced BSN courses:

  • Clinical Nursing Leadership
  • Evidence-based Practice
  • Health Assessment
  • Healthcare Policy
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Nursing Research
  • Nursing Theory
  • Leadership and Management in Nursing
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Public Health Nursing
  • Women’s and Reproductive Health

Clinical BSN courses and rotations:

Depending on the BSN program you choose, you may find a range of clinical course components. Direct-entry or entry-level BSN programs will typically require students to complete clinical rotations, for example, where they can gain experience working in a real healthcare setting. Many on-campus classes also involve practical laboratory work, where students can hone their technical skill sets in the nursing field.

RN-to-BSN programs, however, do not typically require a hands-on, clinical component. These BSN classes are usually offered online so that nurses can continue working their jobs while completing their degrees.


Are you a registered nurse looking to take advanced BSN classes? Get information here!


Valuable BSN classes you won’t want to miss

Now that you know about the BSN class requirements, you may be wondering how else to fill your class schedule. Nursing students have the opportunity to take elective courses tailored to their interests and talents. Here are four of the most popular BSN classes available at Goodwin:

Mental Health Nursing (NUR 320)

In recent years, there has been an alarming rise in mental health disorders, particularly among young people. Nurses who have experience in mental health and psychiatric disorders will be especially valued in the modern workforce, as more patients demand these services. As part of your BSN program, look for opportunities to take a mental health nursing course, so that you can better understand and respond to mental health issues.

Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice (NUR 311)

Evidence-based practice is an incredible competency to have in the healthcare setting. Combined with research skills, this is a value-add for BSN graduates. This course explores the research process and its application to evidence-based nursing practice. Qualitative and quantitative research methods are explored and studied, with an emphasis on critical thinking.

Leadership and Management in Nursing (NUR 461)

BSN-educated nurses are uniquely prepared for leadership positions, largely because of courses like this. RNs looking to advance their careers to the next level, and facilitate change within the healthcare system, must take leadership-focused BSN classes. This course is designed to foster awareness in nursing students, enabling them to recognize their knowledge, skills, and behaviors through self-assessment. Further, students can apply and integrate these skills into leadership applications. Ultimately, Leadership and Management in Nursing helps students become change agents in the clinical setting, which is an appealing quality to employers.

Career Exploration in Nursing (NUR 442)

A BSN degree can truly expand your career horizons, but what are your options outside of basic patient care? A career exploration course like this one, offered at Goodwin, allows students to pursue clinically-focused experiences in a specialty area that is new to them. This experience is customized to students’ interests and needs. At the end of the course, students will be able to determine if this new area of practice is a future career option. Often, career exploration courses require clinical, hands-on work.

Explore the full BSN class list at Goodwin University

Goodwin University offers an array of valuable BSN courses for current registered nurses looking to complete a flexible RN-to-BSN program. Our program is designed for already-licensed RNs who are interested in advancing their roles in the field, and takes only 12 months part-time to complete.

For aspiring nurses with bachelor’s degrees in a non-nursing major, we also have BSN classes for you. Our accelerated BSN (ABSN) program is a fast-paced, intensive program designed for students who are switching career fields to nursing. To learn about either program, please don’t hesitate to visit us online here, or call 800-889-3282 for details.

Learn more about our nursing programs online here.