Online RN to BSN

Online RN to BSN

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Patient care is evolving.
Your education should too.

Nurses are more focused than ever on providing the best patient care possible. Today’s nurses do more than care for their patients; they are leaders among medical staff and educators in health management.

You already have the nursing skills and experience. Now it’s time to advance your education and grow as a nurse leader. Duquesne University’s 100% online RN-BSN program is designed for you to continue working and gain career momentum — simultaneously.

Study 100% online

3 start dates
per year

Accelerated track
to MSN

Transfer credits

Why Earn Your BSN Online?

As an RN, your schedule is packed. Long hours, shift work and personal obligations can make it difficult to maintain a structured calendar. This is why online learning is an ideal choice.

Duquesne’s online BSN gives you the freedom and flexibility to study when and where it’s most convenient. Best of all, as a practicing nurse, you’ll have the opportunity to apply your past educational experiences to the curriculum in our program. As more career opportunities become available for BSN-prepared nurses, the chance to earn a higher salary increases as well. Continuing your education by earning your BSN is an investment in your career and lifetime earning potential.

Earning your BSN goes beyond patient care. With a Bachelor of Science in Nursing you’ll acquire an understanding of how to advocate best for your patients and how to educate them on their specific health situations. A BSN can grant you opportunities to play a role in the development of healthcare policies that affect a vast number of populations and communities.

The smart choice — an online RN to BSN.

  • 100% online coursework. Study online with no residency requirements.
  • One-on-one faculty mentorship. You’ll be assigned a dedicated faculty mentor to help guide you through the program, from enrollment through graduation.
  • Collaborative assignments. You’ll have the opportunity to connect and network with other BSN students from around the country.
  • Study at a respected school. Duquesne is ranked among the top 100 schools of nursing by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Tuition assistance. Many employers offer tuition assistance to RNs who earn their BSN because they know their education will result in a higher quality of patient care.

“One of the things that attracted me to the online program is that it’s on your time and you have to have self-discipline. If you do have that, then it’s a really good program that’s flexible with your schedule.”

— Thomas Collins, RN-BSN Program, 2016

What Can You Do with a BSN?

Your BSN is more than a degree. It’s a sign of credibility that demonstrates your commitment to the nursing field and ability to influence the health system. 

You can work in a variety of health settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Federal agencies
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Trauma centers
  • Private practice
  • Community centers
  • Correctional facilities
  • Retirement homes
  • Research labs
  • Schools and universities

Career opportunities for BSN grads can include:

  • Clinician
  • Charge nurse
  • Medical sales representative
  • Nurse manager
  • School nurse
  • Quality improvement project leader
  • Community nurse
  • Corporate wellness coordinator

BSN-prepared nurses are poised to work in hospitals with Magnet designation.

Magnet hospital recognition was created by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) in 1990. The purpose behind its creation is to identify work environments that meet standards of excellence in patient care and improved patient safety and satisfaction.

Only 8% of hospitals in the U.S. have Magnet recognition, which makes it a valuable credential that recognizes high-quality nursing. While the Magnet program does not require specific education levels of its nurses, during the application process hospitals can choose to establish education objectives for their staffs — like setting a goal to have the majority of RNs hold their BSN.

What’s the market outlook for registered nurses with a BSN?

  • High expectations. In 2010, Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a report entitled “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” that recommended for 80% of nurses to hold at least a bachelor’s degree by 2020 — and many employers are heeding the call.
  • Growing demand. The need for experienced RNs continues to surge, in part due to an aging population and an increased emphasis on preventative care. Multiple studies show a strong correlation between nurses with a BSN education, increased patient outcomes, and lower mortality rates.
  • Increased earning potential. Your BSN is more than a credential. It’s a pathway to increased financial security. On average, BSN-level nurses earn over $380,000 more than RNs who don’t hold their BSN over the lifetime of their career.

Why Choose Duquesne for Your Online BSN?

We know nursing leadership because we are nursing leaders. We’ve been teaching nurses for over 80 years, we introduced Pennsylvania’s first BSN program in 1937, and we created the nation’s first online nursing Ph.D. program in 1997. As leaders in the nursing field, we are uniquely positioned to help expand your nursing expertise.

As an RN, you already have nursing experience to bring to the table. You’ll use that expertise throughout your journey toward your BSN. For the most efficient path to earning your BSN, Duquesne offers each of our RN-BSN students a customized degree plan that takes full advantage of the education you’ve already completed.

Duquesne’s RN-BSN doesn’t stop at granting you a BSN degree. Students in our online program have the chance to take master’s-level courses, so you can get a jump start on your MSN. You’ll be continuing your commitment to your own professional development, while also improving the quality of patient care and opening new doors of opportunity for your nursing career.

We’re consistently recognized for excellence:

Best U.S. News Rankings

  • No. 45 in the nation for “Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs”
  • Top 20 among the “Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs for Veterans”
  • Top 100 Popular Schools in the nation
  • Listed among “America’s Best Colleges”

The Princeton Review

  • Ranked among the “Best 380 Colleges” — which profiles only 15% of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges.


  • Named as one of “America’s Top Colleges” and listed among “Best Value Colleges” and “Best Value Private Colleges.”

NLN - National League for Nursing

  • Recognized for Outstanding Achievements in Student Learning and Professional Development by the NLN as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education.


  • Recognized as a Gold-Level Military Friendly School by Victory Media.

Our faculty drive excellence in nursing practice.

Meet Dr. Cindy Walters.

Cindy Walters

“Anything of value takes time and effort. If you decide to earn your BSN, we will do everything in our power to help you succeed.”

— Dr. Cindy Walters, Clinical Professor of Nursing

She’s more than a professor of nursing at Duquesne University. She’s also an alumnus, having earned her BSN, MSN, and DNP from the Duquesne School of Nursing.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Nursing

  • DNP, Nursing, Duquesne University, 2012
  • MSN, Nursing, Duquesne University, 2004
  • BSN, Nursing, Duquesne University, 2003

Dr. Cynthia Walters has a diverse nursing background that includes forensic nursing, community health nursing, occupational health, and holistic nursing. She is board-certified as an Advanced Holistic Nurse through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC), and she integrates holistic healthcare modalities and cultural applications into Duquesne’s undergraduate nursing curriculum.

After joining Duquesne’s School of Nursing as a part-time clinical instructor in 2004, Dr. Walters became a full-time faculty member in 2008. Today, her scholarship focuses on holistic nursing and community health and wellness. In one of her recent projects, Dr. Walters formed a partnership with the Allegheny County Housing Authority and Sudden Infant Death Services of Pennsylvania. Her aim was to help educate individuals and communities about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Through this work, Dr. Walters demonstrated safe-sleep environments to caregivers of infants in multiple housing projects in the Pittsburgh area and ultimately presented her work at the Cribs for Kids Second National Conference.

She developed an interactive, online SIDS training module for nursing students and continues to promote SIDS awareness to all her nursing students. As a result, she and a colleague won the Duquesne University Creative Teaching Award for implementing SIDS into a web-based teaching module called “The Virtual Clinic.”

Dr. Walters stands out as an experienced nursing leader and teacher:

  • Member, American Holistic Nursing Association
  • Member, International Association of Forensic Nurses
  • Member, Pennsylvania State Nurses Association
  • Member, Duquesne University School of Nursing Alumni Association

Online RN to BSN Curriculum

Our RN to BSN is designed based on the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) Synergy Model for Patient Care, which emphasizes prioritizing skills and competencies aligned with the needs and characteristics of patients, clinical units and systems. Consistent with this model, you’ll focus on learning how to deliver the services that can best address your patients’ needs.

Our RN-BSN program is structured for registered nurses who have already earned a diploma in nursing or an associate degree in nursing, and is uniquely customizable to your background. By having your RN license, you automatically earn 60 of the required 120 credits in our program. For students who hold an RN license and have earned a bachelor’s degree in another field, you only need to complete the required RN-BSN courses (30 credit hours) in order to earn your BSN. Every nursing student has a unique educational experience — and your program curriculum plan is customized to your specific background.

If you have plans to further your nursing education past the BSN level, our curriculum offers an opportunity for you to complete three master’s courses as a part of your bachelor’s-level curriculum.

Note: 120 credits required – 60 are awarded for an RN license, up to 30 are awarded for additional approved 4-year college coursework, 30 minimum required. Curriculum is subject to change.

Required RN-BSN Courses 30 Credit Hours (9 Courses)

UPNS 112 Information Technology in Nursing 3 Credits
UPNS 222W Examining Contemporary Nursing and Healthcare Issues 3 Credits
UPNS 223 Population Based Health and Community Health Nursing 6 Credits
UPNS 326 Pathophysiology for Nursing Practice 3 Credits
UPNS 327 Practice, Advocacy and Policy Issues for the Older Adult 3 Credits
UPNS 339W Genetics in Nursing and Health 3 Credits
UPNS 411 Nursing Ethics Across the Lifespan
or the Graduate* Course: GPNG 526 Health Care Ethics in Practice and Policy
3 Credits
UPNS 423W Evidence Based Approaches to Professional Nursing
or the Graduate* Course: GPNG 524 Evidence Based Nursing Practice and Policy Development
3 Credits
UPNS 428 Organizational and Clinical Leadership and Management in Nursing and Healthcare
or the Graduate* Course: GPNG 525 Organizational and Clinical Leadership in Nursing and Healthcare
3 Credits

*RN-BSN students in good standing may enroll in a maximum of three graduate-level courses (nine credits total). If you’re interested in this opportunity, please contact your Academic Advisor to see if you qualify.

University Core* 21 Credit Hours (7 Courses)

MATH 125 Fundamentals of Statistics 3 Credits
UCOR 101 Thinking & Writing Across the Curriculum 3 Credits
UCOR 102 Imaginative Literature and Critical Writing 3 Credits
UCOR 132 Basic Philosophical Questions 3 Credits

Creative Arts 3 Credits (Choose 1 Course)

ARHY 100 Understanding Art 3 Credits
MUNM 170 Enjoyment of Music 3 Credits

Theology Core 3 Credits (Choose 1 Course)

UCOR 141 Biblical Historical Perspectives 3 Credits
UCOR 142 Theological Views of Human Person 3 Credits
UCOR 143 Global and Cultural Perspectives 3 Credits

Faith and Reason 3 Credits (Choose 1 Course)

HIST 174 Sacred Places 3 Credits
THEO 282 Christian Faith and Reason 3 Credits

Electives 9 Credit Hours (3 Courses)

*Note: Students have the option to take the university core and elective courses either at Duquesne University or at another accredited college or university. Some students may not be required to take all of these courses. Please speak to an Academic Advisor for more information regarding your situation.



Discover your next nursing challenge.

Earning your BSN is a good way to make yourself competitive for the next step in your nursing career. But to elevate your skills to the highest level, you’ll need to plan beyond your BSN.

While you earn your BSN at Duquesne, you’ll have the opportunity to take three graduate-level (MSN) courses and get a head start on the next step in your academic journey.

And when you’re ready to go even further, we offer a number of great online graduate degree options:

  • A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program with three in-demand specializations
  • A Post-Master’s Certificate (PMC) program with three options from which to choose
  • A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program
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