RN-to-BSN Online Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Student sitting outside in the sunlight reviewing a packet of information.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I begin the program before I’ve earned my RN license?

  2. Are there prerequisites for the program? Is there anything I can take in advance to help prepare?

  3. What are the major differences between the face-to-face program and the online program?

  4. How much is tuition?

  5. Are there any times that I am required to be online?

  6. How much time per week should I set aside for each Nursing class?

  7. Will I have to register for my courses?

  8. What exactly is a “cohort?” What do their names mean?

  9. How often do cohorts start, and how many seats are available in each cohort?

  10. Is your program accredited?

  11. What are the basic requirements I must fulfill to be considered for admission?

  12. When can I apply? How far in advance should I apply?

  13. I’m already a part of the face-to-face RN-to-BSN Program at Millersville University. Can I still join the online program? Is there a cost to switch?

  14. If I start with the RN-to-BSN Online Program and decide I’d rather go with face-to-face, can I switch? Is there a cost to switch?

  15. When can I expect to know what classes I will need to take? Will you evaluate my transcripts?

  16. What kind of structure are the learning modules offered in? How many modules should I expect there to be in each class?

  17. What kind of assignments and learning activities should I expect?

  18. Will the assignments be meaningful in my workplace?

  19. Is there a clinical component to the program? If so, what is it like?

  20. I already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. What courses will I need to take?

  21. My residency is in a state other than Pennsylvania. Should I still apply?

  22. What sort of technology will I need to succeed in the online program?

  23. How long will it take me to complete the whole program?

  24. I am interested in the MSN Program you offer. Is there any kind of “bridge” into the MSN?

  25. What kind of support will I receive during my time in the program?

  26. How will I be billed?

  27. What resources, like advising, tutoring, or technical support, will be available to me as a student?

  28. What kind of technical support will be available to me as a student?


Can I begin the program before I’ve earned my RN license?

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In short, yes.  So long as you have successfully completed your Associate’s or diploma program, you can start with the 300-level Upper Division Nursing courses (which comprise the first four courses of the sequence).  If you are still working on your Associate’s or diploma, you will not be able to start your Nursing courses in advance; however, you can get a head start on any general education courses you may need.

Are there prerequisites for the program?  Is there anything I can take in advance to help prepare?

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There are not any prerequisites for the program, aside from completion of your Associate’s degree or diploma program. However, there are a number of courses that you can take in advance that will help to meet your general education requirements; often, students need an additional Humanities (G1) course, and one or two Science (G2) courses. That said, these needs are very individualized and a conversation with one of the Millersville University Nursing faculty is the best way to ensure you get the right information.

To view all requirements for the program, check out our Program Fact Sheet. To find out if your previous coursework will help cover any requirements, take a look at the Transfer Equivalency Page. If you have any questions, you can reach the Nursing Department at (717) 871-4274.

What are the major differences between the face-to-face program and the
online program?

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Overall, the online and face-to-face programs are fairly similar; in fact, their curricula are essentially identical.  That said, there are some differences:

  • Cost
    • There is a small difference in cost between the 100% online program and the face-to-face program. (See our answer regarding tuition below for more details.)
  • Scheduling and pacing
    • Our online Nursing courses are offered in an accelerated, 7-week format (sometimes called "mini-mesters"), two per semester, one after the other.  Only online Nursing courses follow this format (other online and face-to-face courses last the typical 15-week semester).
    • Furthermore, online Nursing courses are strictly asynchronous, meaning you will never be required to be online at any specific time (which is great for busy nurses).
    • The RN-to-BSN Online Program follows a cohort model, meaning you will proceed through the program with the same group of students (though we are willing to be flexible if you have any specific scheduling needs).
  • Delivery format
    • The RN-to-BSN Online Program is 100% online, and you are never required to come to campus (though you are certainly welcome)!  The face-to-face program does include some online components, but requires in-person meetings at specific times each week.

How much is tuition?

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Tuition is calculated on a per-credit basis, with fully-online students paying $362.00 per credit (in-state rate, including fees, as of Fall 2017).  For comparsion, face-to-face students pay about $417.50 per credit (in-state rate, including fees, as of Fall 2017).  See the Tuition and Fees Chart for a breakdown of costs, and be sure to check out our Costs Estimates Sheet for an idea of overall costs for the program.  (Students with a residency out-of-state do pay a slightly higher rate; check the Tuition and Fees Chart for more details, and be sure to contact the Office of Online Programs with any questions.)

Are there any times that I am required to be online?

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No.  As mentioned, our RN-to-BSN Online Program is strictly asynchronous; in other words, you are never required to be online at a particular time.  Should a course ever have anything set at a specific time (a video presentation, for example), it will always be strictly optional and would not affect your grade.

How much time per week should I set aside for each Nursing class?

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For a three credit course, it is recommended that you set aside 10-15 hours per week for study and assignments.  A few of your courses are more than three credits, so you will want to set aside additional time for those.

Will I have to register for my courses?

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The Office of Online Programs will always automatically register you for your Nursing courses throughout your time in the program, in order to ensure you remain with your cohort (or other advisement plan).  However, you must consult with your academic advisor before registering for any general education courses (though the staff in the Office of Online Programs is happy to help with the actual registration once you have discussed it with your advisor).

What exactly is a “cohort?”  What do their names mean?

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The MU RN-to-BSN Online Program is offered via a cohort model, which means that most students begin and end the program with the same group, or cohort, of students, proceeding together at the same pace. 

Cohorts names are based upon the starting semester, for example:

  • Cohort Fall 2016 A begins in Fall 2016, in the first half, or module, of the semester (known as module “A”).
  • Cohort Spring 2017 B begins in Spring 2017, in the second module (module “B”), halfway through the semester.

How often do cohorts start, and how many seats are available in each cohort?

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There are six starts throughout the year:  two in Fall (August and October), two in the Spring term (January and March), and two in Summer (May and July).  In order to keep class sizes small, each cohort accommodates a maximum of 25 students.

Is your program accredited?

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Yes.  All of our Nursing programs are accredited through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), formerly known as the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).  You may visit their website at: http://www.acenursing.org/

What are the basic requirements I must fulfill to be considered for admission?

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  1. You must have successfully completed a Registered Nursing program (either Associate’s or diploma) or will have completed a program prior to the semester for which you are applying.
  2. You must have a minimum GPA of 2.0. 
  3. While not required for admission, you will also need an active RN license to be eligible to complete the 400- and 500-level Nursing courses.

When can I apply?  How far in advance should I apply?

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The RN-to-BSN Online Program has rolling admissions, so you can apply at any time throughout the year.  We highly recommend you apply as early as possible, as cohorts sometimes fill up several months in advance.  If you do not see your preferred term listed on the application, please email OnlinePrograms@millersville.edu or give us a call at (717) 871-7200 letting us know what you prefer, and we will let you know if it would be possible to accommodate you.

I’m already a part of the face-to-face RN-to-BSN Program at Millersville University.  Can I still join the online program?  Is there a cost to switch?

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If you have applied, been accepted to, or even started with the face-to-face RN-to-BSN Program at Millersville University, you can switch your delivery format.  You will need to fill out a brief Change of Delivery Form (F2F to Online).  Either way, you won’t be charged anything extra.

If I start with the RN-to-BSN Online Program and decide I’d rather go with
face-to-face, can I switch?  Is there a cost to switch?

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Just as with students switching from face-to-face to online, if you have applied, been accepted to, or started with the RN-to-BSN Online Program and you wish to switch your delivery format to face-to-face, you can.  You will need to fill out a brief Change of Delivery Form (Online to F2F), and there are no additional charges.

When can I expect to know what classes I will need to take? 
Will you evaluate my transcripts?

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Official Transfer Credit Evaluations are completed when a student has been offered a seat for acceptance.  So if you are accepted, your evaluation will be included with your offer letter, which is mailed directly to you.  After the evaluation has been done, an Advisement Plan can also be completed by your academic advisor; this academic plan outlines exactly which Nursing courses and any General Education courses (if any) you will need to graduate.

What kind of structure are the learning modules offered in?  How many modules should I expect there to be in each class?

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Each course is offered in 7 modules – one per week.  You should expect to complete readings, online videos, and other activities, along with approximately 2-3 assignments per week.  The online courses are very structured, and have specific due dates for all assignments.  After completing and submitting an assignment, you can expect feedback (and a grade) from your professor within 5-6 days.  We understand our students are working adults, so we are very accommodating when students request additional time for assignments – just be sure to ask in advance!

What kind of assignments and learning activities should I expect?

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Each course’s assignments are tailored to meet the outcomes of the course, and you can expect to engage in a variety of assignments.  Some common assignments include (and are certainly not limited to):

  • Posting on discussion boards and responding to peers,
  • Creating patient educational materials,
  • Utilizing spreadsheets,
  • Uploading videos (don’t worry, we have tutorials for this!),
  • Writing formal papers, and
  • Taking quizzes or exams (though keep in mind that some courses do not have any tests).

Some common learning activities include:

  • Completing readings,
  • Viewing and assessing videos,
  • Executing web searches,
  • Participating in interactive discussions,
  • And more.

We are very proud of the courses we have developed for the RN-to-BSN Online Program and are confident that they provide excellent opportunities for student engagement and learning.  Each module is structured in the same way, so you will always know where to look for information in your courses.

Will the assignments be meaningful in my workplace?

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Part of the MU Department of Nursing’s philosophy is recognizing the unique experience and knowledge our students bring to the classroom, whether it be online or face-to-face.  We believe that your educational experience should enhance your work and professional life.  To that end, many of our assignments are structured so that you can use them in your workplace.

For example, in our Nursing Research class, we encourage you to talk with your nursing management about what issues they would like more evidence about.  And in our Health Policy & Nursing Issues class, you will write a patient care exemplar that can become part of your portfolio to be used when applying for promotion or clinical ladder steps.

Is there a clinical component to the program?  If so, what is it like?

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Technically, yes.  Two courses in the program do have a clinical component, at 28 hours each.  With that said, they are quite flexible, and not nearly as demanding as clinicals in many Associate’s programs (it may be more fair to think of them as practicum):

  • In NURS 421 (Population-Based Health), you will find ways to be engaged in a community of interest.  You will complete a focused assessment of that community in order to identify its unique needs.  Other options you might choose include participating in a community health fair, attending a town council or school board meeting, etc.  Your faculty will assist you in finding the right experiences to meet the course objectives, as well as your own objectives.
  • In NURS 478 (Transformational Leadership), your capstone course, you will self-identify your objectives for the experience and then seek opportunities to meet your stated objectives.  Interested in nursing informatics?  You could choose to shadow an informatics specialist.  Want to learn more about budgeting?  You could schedule an appointment with a nurse administrator to review a unit budget.  And so on.  There are many ways these clinical hours can be met, and again, the faculty are happy to discuss your ideas and thoughts!

I already have a bachelor’s degree in another field.  What courses will I need to take?

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For students who already have a bachelor’s degree, only our nine nursing courses (31 credits) and statistics are required.  If you have taken statistics (of any type) previously, you will only need our nursing courses!

My residency is in a state other than Pennsylvania.  Should I still apply?

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Yes, and we encourage you to do so!  Our program is available to many students with residencies outside Pennsylvania, with the exception of a few states. Please complete the application and we will follow up with you to determine your exact eligibility.  If you would like more details, please feel free to contact us in the Office of Online Programs directly at OnlinePrograms@millersville.edu or (717) 871-7200.

What sort of technology will I need to succeed in the online program?

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At the very minimum, you will require a webcam, microphone, and (this is the most important part!) a reliable high-speed Broadband Internet connection.  If you think you might need a new device or are wondering if your current device will be enough, just give us in Online Programs a call at
(717) 871-7200 and we would be happy to help you out.

How long will it take me to complete the whole program?

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Most students can expect to complete the program in about two (2) years.  Depending on your previous coursework, you may be able to complete the program in as little as 18 months.  And for students especially determined to complete the program as quickly as possible, "accelerated" (full-time) options are available; while these accelerated plans are obviously demanding, they can virtually cut completion time in half.

I am interested in the MSN Program you offer.  Is there any kind of “bridge” into the MSN?

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Our RN-to-BSN Program (both formats) shares a course with the MSN Program (NURS 504), so if you proceed into the MSN program you will have one less course required to take.  The MSN Program is only available in the blended/face-to-face format; however, the program is offered both at Millersville University as well as at our off-campus location in Harrisburg, PA.

What kind of support will I receive during my time in the program?

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We are committed to ensuring that your time in the RN-to-BSN Online Program is successful and pleasant.  Even after the admissions process is over, we in the Office of Online Programs will continue to be here to help you with any non-academic questions you may have.  Questions on your bill?  Trouble with accessing your courses?  Need to modify your schedule due to life changes?  Our Student Support Specialist will be your main point of contact for all of these things, and more.

For anything academic-related, the Nursing Department, and your assigned academic advisor, are always there for you.  Not sure whether a particular general education course fits in your plan?  Trying to decide between different electives?  Your advisor can help sort out all of these kinds of questions.

Furthermore, you will be provided with a number of resources to assist you in getting started when you first begin classes.  You will be enrolled in our Online Orientation, which will help get you situated in the online space.  And you will receive a copy of our Roadmap, which helps address almost any other question you could think of!  And as always, if you are still stumped, the Office of Online Programs, as well as the Nursing Department, are here to help you.

How will I be billed?

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All bills are provided to the student in a strictly electronic format.  You may view and pay your bills online through MAX.  If you have any general questions on billing, feel free to let the Office of Online Programs know, though for questions relating to your own bill you may wish to contact the Office of Student Accounts at (717) 871-5101.

What resources, like advising, tutoring, or technical support, will be available to me as a student?

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As a Millersville University student, you will have access to numerous resources to aid you during and even after your time as a student.  This includes (but is certainly not limited to):

  • Office of Online Programs
    • The Office of  Online Programs are always here to assist you, from your very first inquiry and beyond.  Our Student Support Specialist will be available throughout your time in the RN-to-BSN Online Program to assist you with any non-academic questions or issues you may have.
  • Nursing Department
    • You can always contact the Nursing Department and your Advisor, with any questions you have.  Whether academic, career planning or other professional issues, the nursing faculty is here to help you! 
  • Writing Center
    • The Writing Center offers both online and in-person tutoring for writing papers, and is a great resource for any writing-intensive courses you may take (keep in mind these services may not be available during the Summer terms).
  • Library
    • As an RN-to-BSN Online student, you will have full access to all Library resources, which includes a huge array of online references, periodicals, and much more.  Millersville librarians are available for phone consults and live chats, and if you live nearby, you are also welcome to come visit and utilize the Library’s in-person resources.  More information on accessing and utilizing library resources will be provided to you in the Online Orientation.
  • IT Help Desk
    • For any technical issues you may experience, the Help Desk is available with extended hours to assist you.
  • Learning Services
    • Learning Services offers many useful workshops (soon to be available online!), provides tutoring services, and coordinates academic accommodations for students with learning and physical disabilities.
  • Career Services
    • Career Services is available for all students to assist you in preparing for developing and advancing your career during and after your time at Millersville.

What kind of technical support will be available to me as a student?

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The IT Help Desk is available for almost any technical questions you may have.  You are also welcome to contact us in Online Programs as well -- we are happy to help with many general questions, such as advice on purchasing a new computer or assistance in accessing your accounts.  Local students are also welcome to bring their computer in directly to the Technical Assistance Center (TAC) for repairs, free of charge.  If you’re not local, remote assistance is also available from either office.