Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

If you enjoy caring for others and contributing to a healthier community, seek new experiences and daily challenges, and are drawn to the profession of nursing, St. Ambrose has a remarkable program that can prepare you for a rewarding future.

Our graduates work at Mayo Clinic Health System, Baylor University, Rush University Medical Center, Genesis Health System, UnityPoint, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Loyola University Medical Center.

BSN Fact Sheet (pdf)
RN-BSN Fact Sheet (pdf) | Online RN-BSN Program

Ambrose Advantages

  • Small Classes, High Level of Support
  • Hands-On Learning
  • State-of-the-Art Facilities
  • Faculty With More Than 300 Years of Combined Nursing Experience

students with mannequin

nursing students sitting

professor and student

Our faculty are committed to program excellence and your development as a nursing professional who is ready to advance the health and wellness of our communities.

See Our Nursing Program Fact Sheet (pdf)

Bee the Difference
Join Us!

Our students make an impact on campus and in the community! In 2018, more than 600 took part in Bee the Difference Day. It is an annual volunteer event coordinated by SGA in which our students help 120 campus neighbors get their homes and yards ready for winter. It is work, fun, and so rewarding.

More Information on the Nursing Program

What will I learn?

Our curriculum places special emphasis on innovation, evidence-based practice, whole person caring, service, social justice, professional trends, and biomedical ethics.

Early in your studies, you learn physical examination techniques, communication skills, health assessment, development of interventions, and evaluation of patient outcomes. You will learn to use advanced electronic data and patient record data management systems.

You will get real experience in real health care environments. Our students take part in clinical rotations in various areas, including obstetrics, pediatrics, medical surgical, mental health, and community health. As a senior, you complete a semester-long preceptorship in your area of interest. You can practice in acute care and community settings.

We want you to succeed in nursing, so we have woven standardized testing prep into our curriculum. Throughout the program, students complete competency exams to determine their knowledge and readiness for the NCLEX nursing licensure exam.

How can I supplement my classroom learning?
  • Get involved! You can participate in a range of service-learning projects, from flu immunizations clinics to community health fairs.
  • Join the St. Ambrose Student Nursing Association which helps to organize, represent, and mentor students preparing for initial licensure as registered nurses, as well as those enrolled in baccalaureate completion programs.
  • Study abroad in Australia, Ecuador, England, Ireland, New Zealand or other countries to gain a better sense of world health issues and other cultures. Click here to search our programs. 
  • Work in a nursing setting. This will boost your communication, organization, and early professional development.
  • Network at statewide student nursing conventions and interview with potential employers.
  • If service is included in your future plans, we one of few universities in Iowa offering Peace Corps Prep, a program that can make you a stronger candidate for volunteer positions within the Peace Corps or other service programs. You'll gain skills and a cultural worldview that employers value and best of all, most students can earn the certificate - awarded by the Peace Corps - without taking extra courses. Peace Corps Prep is a competitive edge that sets you apart and broadens your opportunities, no matter what path you choose. Click here to learn more or talk to your faculty advisor.
Study Abroad

You've heard people say it before: "College will be the greatest time of your life!" With Study Abroad, you can add even more to your college years.

You can study in another country – without paying extra tuition – in a semester-long or short-term study abroad program (with a few offered during spring and winterim breaks). No matter the duration, these trips deepen your professional education while earning credit toward graduation.

There are also opportunities through an exchange program, an overseas internship, or volunteering. The limits for Study Abroad are only ones you set for yourself! SAU students have studied in Italy, Costa Rica, Australia, Korea, United Kingdom, Spain, Ecuador, Japan, Germany, Peru, Cyprus, Croatia, Belize, Canada, Chile, and more.

SAU students returning from their Study Abroad locations talk about their time away as life-changing - personally, emotionally, culturally, and academically. Click here to search our Study Abroad programs, and for general information click here.

Where will I learn?

SAU offers the best BSN program in the Midwest, and our deep commitment to your education is readily apparent in our classroom facilities and our community connections.

The Nursing Department is located in the Center for Health Sciences Education on the Genesis Medical Center West campus. Our state-of-the-art simulation and hospital lab allow students to safely practice and rehearse skills before working with real patients. If you take accelerated classes toward your BSN, you will take 100% of your classes online.

You also get to practice in top-notch facilities in the Quad Cities. There are several major hospitals and healthcare providers in the area, so you have a range of local clinical placement options. We also seek opportunities to work with students in allied health professions such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and physician assistant studies.

Our BSN program is just one of the health science programs offered by the SAU College of Health and Human Services.

Does SAU offer an accelerated RN-to-BSN degree?

Yes, and because we listen to the needs of our students - and prospective students like you - we now offer our RN-to-BSN degree program fully online.

This program is perfect for working nurses whose work schedules and private-life demands require a more flexible learning option – and you can earn your degree in as few as 15 months.

Even alumni from our traditional 4-year program see the advantages of a fully online program.

Contact us at 563-333-6300 for more information or click here for RN-BSN program information.

What are some potential career outcomes?

BSN graduates can work in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, mental health organizations, and public health departments. Careers include staff nursing, advanced practice nursing, home health nursing, travel nursing, private duty nursing, research, telehealth, nursing education, emergency relief, military nursing, forensic nursing, quality assurance, and case management.

And, SAU can help you launch your career. The Career Center hosts an annual health sciences career fair to help you find summer internships and jobs. And, the center offers workshops throughout the year to help you create a résumé and write cover letters.

What have alumni of this program done?

Courtney Davis '06 MSN, RN, BSN is a faculty member at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Megan Van Hoorn '14, RN, BSN, works in Oak Lawn, Illinois, at the Advocate Children's Hospital.

Degree Requirements

BIOL 101 Principles of Biology
BIOL 211 Introductory Microbiology
BIOL 230 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
BIOL 232 Human Anatomy and Physiology II
CHEM 103 Principles of Chemistry
PHIL 310/THEO 319 Biomedical Ethics
PSYC 105 Introductory Psychology
PSYC 212 Life-Span Developmental Psychology
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology
STAT 213 Applied Statistical Reasoning for the Sciences

Required Nursing Courses:
NURS 305 Introduction to Nursing Concepts 
NURS 315 Nursing Process I Across the Lifespan
NURS 325 Applied Health Assessment Across the Lifespan
NURS 335 Pathophysiology and Pharmacology
NURS 350 Applied Learning Experiences I
NURS 360 Introduction to Theoretical Concepts
NURS 365 Nursing Process II Across the Lifespace
NURS 370 Applied Learning Experiences II
NURS 375 Pathophysiology/Pharmacology
NURS 380 Nursing Concepts of Mental Health
NURS 395 Clinical Application II
NURS 410 Concepts of Population Health
NURS 415 Nursing Process III Across the Lifespan 
NURS 425 Applied Nursing Experiences III
NURS 435 Concepts of Children and Women's Health
NURS 440 Evidence-Based Practice
NURS 445 Clinical Application III
NURS 460 Concepts of Applied Nursing Care
NURS 465 Concepts of Chronicity and Palliative Care
NURS 475 Leadership and Contemporary Issues 
NURS 485 Professional Nursing Capstone
NURS 495 Advanced Nursing Practicum

Click here to read Nursing course descriptions

Already have your RN? You might be interested in our RN-BSN accelerated program

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.

This plan assumes the student has taken three years of foreign language in high school.

Download the BSN Plan of Study (pdf)

Year One

ENGL 101 English Composition 3 COMM Oral Comm 3
MATH 171 Elementary Functions 3 THEO/PHIL 100-200 level 3
PSYC 105 Intro to Psychology 3 SOC 101 Intro to Sociology 3
BIOL 101 Principles of Biology+Lab 4 CHEM 103 Principles of Chemistry+Lab 4
NSS 101 New Student Seminar 1 PHIL or THEO 3
IL 101 Information Literacy 1
KIN 149 Wellness Concepts 1
Total 16 16

Year Two

STAT 213 Statistics 3 PSYC 212 Life Span Development 3
BIOL 230 Human Anatomy & Physiology+Lab 4 BIOL 232 Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology II+Lab 4
BIOL 211 Microbiology+Lab 4 Humanities 3
Creative Arts 3 PHIL or THEO 3
Humanities Elective 3 KIN Activity 1
CNA: Take at Community College
Total 17 Total 14

Year Three

NURS 305 Introduction to Contemporary Nursing 3 NURS 360 Introduction to Theoretical Concepts 3
NURS 315 Nursing Process I Across the Lifespan 3 NURS 365 Nursing Process II Across the Lifespan 4
NURS 325 Applied Health Assessment Across the Lifespan 3 NURS 370 Applied Learning Experiences II 2
NURS 335 Pathophysiology/Pharmacology 4 NURS 375 Pathophysiology/Pharmacology II 3
NURS 350 Applied Learning Experiences I 2 NURS 380 Nursing Concepts of Mental Health 3
PHIL or THEO (can also take in semester 4) 3 NURS 395 Clinical Application II              2
Total 15/18 Total 17

Year Four

NURS 410 Concepts of Population Health 3 PHIL 310 Biomedical Ethics/THEO 319 Bioethics and Healthcare
(may also take in semester 1)
NURS 415 Nursing Process III Across the Lifespan 3 NURS 460 Concepts of Applied Nursing Care 3
NURS 425 Applied Learning Experiences III 2 NURS 465 Concepts of Chronicity & Palliative Care 3
NURS 435 Concepts of Children & Women's Health 3 NURS 475 Leadership & Contemporary Issues 3
WI-NURS 440 Evidence-Based Practice 3 WI-NURS 485 Professional Nursing Capstone 3
NURS 445 Clinical Application III 2 NURS 495 Advanced Nursing Practicum 3
Total 16 Total 15/18

WI=writing intensive

What is Early Decision Placement?

If you are a high-achieving high school student considering earning your BSN at St. Ambrose, why not secure your place in the program? You must meet specific criteria and there is a deadline for applications, but it's a great opportunity. Learn more and complete your application today.

If you don't qualify for Early Decision Placement, don't worry, there is still plenty of time. The majority of our students apply to the Nursing program their sophomore year after they have completed some general education requirements.

Faculty and Staff

Kathy Andresen, DNP, Chair and Assoc. Professor

Andrea Archer, DNP, Assoc. Professor
Jenny Atzen, DNP, Clinical Asst. Professor
Katie Browning, MS, Clinical Instructor
Kara Cozadd, Office Administrator
Stacy Eckley, Office Assistant
Deb Elmer, MSN, Clinical Instructor
Deb Frankie-Lasher, Advisor/Recruiter
Ann Garton, MSN, Clinical Asst. Professor
Danielle Hoffman, BSN, Asst. Professor
Kathy Kilen, MA, Clinical Assoc. Professor
Beth Laubenthal, MS, Clinical Assoc. Professor
Amy McCormick, DNP, Asst. Professor
Juleann Miller, PhD, Professor
Michelle Robnett, PhD, Asst. Professor
Heather Scott, BSN, Clinical Instructor
Kurt Sturmer, DNP, Asst. Professor


Scholarships and Grants

For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award; some of them are listed below. For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

There are several SAU endowed scholarships for nursing students. Inquire with the Financial Aid Office about applying for one or more. You may also find information about nursing scholarships at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Institutional scholarships (2018-19)

To receive an institutional grant or scholarship students must meet specific criteria, and some may require a certain GPA to stay eligible. There is no need to apply for these; students automatically are eligible if they meet the criteria.

The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

Ambrose Scholar
For First Year, on-campus residents only. Straight As on high school transcript and a minimum 30 ACT score. Applicants who meet Ambrose Scholar criteria will be invited to compete for a full tuition scholarship for $@{17-18-Tuition}.

Trustee Scholar
$@{Trustee-Scholarship-18-19}/year - For First-year, on-campus residents only. Unweighted 3.8 GPA, 28+ACT. May be offset by state and/or federal aid if eligible.

Academic Scholarship
$$14,000-17,000/year - Based on GPA and ACT/SAT score

University Grant
$@{University-Grant-18-19}/year - Based on high school GPA and ACT/SAT score

Additional Awards

If you want to apply for any of the scholarships below, contact the Admissions Office.

Fine Arts Scholarships
Award based on performance and ability in art, music, or theatre. Includes the Michael Kennedy Theatre Scholarship. Audition or portfolio required.

Athletics Scholarships
Award varies. Based on performance and ability. Marching Band scholarships available. See below.

Freeman Pollard Minority Scholarship
$1,000 for on-campus students; $500 for off-campus. For accepted minority students.

Diocese of Davenport Catholic Parish Scholarship
Award varies. For First Year students only who are recommended by their parish pastor in the Diocese of Davenport. Recommendation to be completed by your pastor available here (pdf).

Father Welch Alumni Scholarship
$1,000/year. For on-campus students only whose parent is a St. Ambrose graduate.

Athletic Scholarships

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) awards millions of dollars annually to student-athletes at more than 250 colleges and universities. These scholarships allow you to earn a college education while competing in the sport that you love. At Ambrose, we embody that value of developing both the mind and body.

How do I qualify for an athletic scholarship?
You must first be eligible to play a sport at St. Ambrose. You can read about those qualifications here. The NAIA also has a complete website on how to register for eligibility at

Transfer Scholarships

Amounts are for transfer students entering St. Ambrose in the 2019-20 academic year. 

St. Ambrose scholarships are awarded for fall and spring semesters only and renewable up to 120 credits of undergraduate study, which includes credits transferred to St. Ambrose from prior attendance. For example: If you transfer in with an AA/AS degree, you would receive a scholarship for two additional years at St. Ambrose.


Phi Theta Kappa
Criteria: awarded to all Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society members transferring from a community college
Award: $14,000


Transfer Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on GPA
3.5-4.00 GPA $13,000 
3.0-3.49 GPA $12,000
2.5-2.99 GPA $11,000 
2.0-2.49 GPA $9,000 

Out-of-State Grants
Criteria: non-Iowa resident
Award: $2,000 per year

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate; on-campus students only
Award: $1,000 per year

Dual Admission Scholarships
Criteria: participant in SAU/community college dual admission program
Award: $1,000 per year

Freeman Pollard Diversity Awards
Criteria: diverse student
Award: $1,000 per year on-campus; $500 per year off-campus

Federal and State Aid

Federal Pell Grant
Criteria: based on financial need; file FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $6,095 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Criteria: based on financial need, priority to Pell Grant recipients. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1.
Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study
Criteria: based on financial need. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $1,850

Iowa Tuition Grant
Criteria: based on financial need, Iowa residents only. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1, deadline July 1.
Award: $5,650

Award Terms

FAFSA forms must be filed every year.

  • To be considered for an Iowa Tuition Grant, the filing deadline is July 1.
  • The St. Ambrose priority deadline is March 15 for some institutional funds. 
  • The Financial Aid Office has the right to adjust your award at any time due to changes in your financial, academic, enrollment, or housing status. 
  • Awards offered from State and Federal programs are contingent upon legislative allocation of funds and maximum limits allowed.
  • You must report any assistance you receive from outside sources – including assistance from your employer – to the Financial Aid Office.

Institutional Aid

Undergraduate level students must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester to receive Institutional money. All students, undergraduate or graduate, must be enrolled at least half-time per semester to be eligible for student loans. (Half-time for Undergraduate level = 6 credits; Graduate level = 5 credits)

There is no institutional aid for summer sessions. Federal Loans may be available if you are enrolled at least 1/2 time.

You are eligible for institutional financial aid for up to eight semesters, including semesters taken at other schools, before or after time spent at the university (i.e. if you transfer in as a junior, you will receive 4 semesters of institutional aid; or you attended St. Ambrose, left to attend another school, and then returned). This means that if you continue into a fifth year of classes, you will not be eligible for any institutional funds you may have received previously. (Institutional funds are those awarded by the university, not state, federal, or outside based scholarships or grants.)


All financial aid awards, including loans, are disbursed in two disbursements: one for the fall term and one for the spring term. If you are a first-time borrower, there is a 30-day hold on your first disbursement. Once the loan funds have been applied to your account and if you have awards in excess of your costs, you may receive a refund. Any other questions regarding your financial aid should be directed to the Financial Aid Office.

Work Study

If you are receiving assistance under the work study program, you must understand that the amount shown on your award letter is the amount we expect you to earn during one academic year if you work all your allotted hours. Any additional earnings must be approved by your department supervisor and taken into consideration in your financial award package.

Endowed Scholarships

Part of the financial aid funds that St. Ambrose awards come from monies provided through the generous support of St. Ambrose University benefactors. Most endowed scholarships are meant to provide financial support for St. Ambrose University's academic and need based awards. Due to this, in some cases you may see a portion of your Academic Scholarship, for example, being replaced by a named endowed scholarship. The total dollar amount you receive between the two awards, however, will remain unchanged.

Recipients are chosen based on the criteria established by the donor, which include, but are not limited to: major, class rank, GPA, performance in a fine art, or residency. You may be contacted by the Advancement Office to write a thank you letter to the donor.

What happens if I withdraw or need to drop a class?

  • If you drop a class, it may affect the amount of aid you can receive. It is very important to visit your Financial Aid counselor if you are planning on dropping a class.
  • If you are going to withdraw completely from all your classes, your financial aid awards will be prorated according to the amount of time you were actually enrolled. It is possible that you may end up owing the University for a portion of your expenses incurred.
  • More information regarding this policy is available in the University catalog.
  • Please contact your Financial Aid counselor if you are considering dropping classes or withdrawing from the University.

Meet Our Alumni

As an Ambrosian, Molly Galbaldo '14 learned how she could make a difference in the lives of her peers, her community, and the world. Today, those lessons continue to define her views, and most importantly, her actions.

Read about Molly

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 27 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!