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Center for Health Workforce Planning and Analysis

Nursing Programs

Print friendly Modified October 15, 2009

Types of Nursing Programs

The University System of Georgia has nursing programs at 25 institutions, comprised of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level degree programs. The Technical College System of Georgia and private institutions also have nursing degree programs. Several levels of nursing degree programs exist:

  • Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN): an entry-level nursing degree. Graduates are qualified to sit for the NCLEX-RN and apply for licensure as a Registered Nurse

  • Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN): a four-year academic degree in the science and principles of nursing that prepares nurses to provide care in a variety of settings; to base nursing practice on best evidence and research; to assume leadership roles; and to pursue graduate nursing education. Graduates are qualified to sit for the NCLEX-RN and apply for licensure as a Registered Nurse.

  • RN to Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN): a BSN completion degree that enables practicing Registered Nurses with an associate’s degree to earn a bachelor’s degree

  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): an advanced-level degree for Registered Nurses. It is required to become an advanced practice nurse, such as Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Midwife, or a Clinical Nurse Leader. A Master of Science degree also exists for an entry-level RN program that offers an advanced degree option for individuals who have degrees in other fields that also prepares students to take the RN licensure exam.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): an advanced-level practice degree that focuses on the practice or clinical aspect of nursing instead of academic research like the PhD degree. The focus of the specific DNP degree varies by educational institution but generally includes advanced practice, leadership and application of clinical research related to nursing. The DNP is an advanced practice doctorate that primarily prepares nurses to become advance practice nurses (Nurse Practitioner, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Certified Nurse Midwife, Clinical Nurse Specialist).

  • Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS): an applied research, clinical doctorate in nursing science that emphasizes the application of research to clinical practice. Graduates are prepared as scholars with the inquiry skills of a researcher, and the clinical and leadership skills necessary to influence the health care system. Common focus areas include health outcomes measurement, health care economics, statistical analysis, and informatics.

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD): an academic doctorate degree that provides training in research methods (including statistics and data analysis), the history and philosophy of nursing science, and in leadership skills.

The Georgia Board of Nursing approves nursing degree programs at Georgia institutions. The Board of Nursing website maintains a list of approved nursing degree programs.