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 feel 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, and Genesis Health System.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Smaller Classes, Higher Levels of Support
  • Hands-On Learning
  • State-of-the-Art Facilities

students with mannequin

nursing students sitting

professor and student

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

See Our Nursing Program Fact Sheet (pdf)

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.
  • Study abroad in Australia, Ecuador, England, Ireland, New Zealand or other countries to gain a better sense of world health issues and other cultures.
  • 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.
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.

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.

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.

Admission Prerequisites

In preparation for obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at St. Ambrose University, students must first complete the following courses:

1. Complete the following pre-requisite courses with a C grade or higher prior to admission to the Nursing Program.

  • +BIOL 101 Principles of Biology (or higher level Biology), 4 credits (plus lab)
  • BIOL 211 Introductory Microbiology, 4 credits (plus lab)
  • BIOL 230 Human Anatomy and Physiology, 4 credits (plus lab)
  • BIOL 232 Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology, 4 credits (plus lab)
  • +CHEM 103 Principles of Chemistry (or higher level Chemistry), 4 credits (plus lab)
  • STAT 213 Applied Statistical Reasoning for the Sciences, 3 credits
  • +PSYC 105 Introduction to Psychology, 3 credits
  • PSYC 212 Life-Span Developmental Psychology, 3 credits
  • +SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology, 3 credits

+applicable toward general education requirement2. Complete all except 7 or fewer general education requirement credits.

3. Achieve a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.

4. In addition to the above courses, the following are required prior to being fully accepted into and starting the Nursing Program (Nursing Admissions Requirements):

  • CNA Certification must be completed before beginning nursing courses and includes a copy of active status on state registry.
  • CPR Certification must be American Heart Association BLS Provider (formerly known as Healthcare provider)

Additional recommendations:

  • Completion of the SAU Foreign Language Requirement: 3 years of high school foreign language or 2 semesters of college-level foreign language prior to starting the Nursing Program.
  • Review the health documentation requirements for acceptance in the Nursing Program.
  • Meet with your advisor or the Nursing Academic Advisor/Recruiter for review.

Program Progression

1. Achieve a grade of C or above in ALL nursing courses and required pre-requisite and co-requisite courses. A student who receives one unsatisfactory grade (C- or lower, or Withdraw) may repeat the course one time. A student who has two unsatisfactory attempts (C- or lower and/or Withdraws) in nursing courses at any time during the program, in either the same course or in separate courses, will be dismissed from the nursing program.

2. Achieve a minimum of 74% average on all course exams. If the average exam scores for a course falls below 74%, the student will receive the exam average as the course grade.

Degree Requirements


BIOL 101
BIOL 230
BIOL 232
BIOL 211
CHEM 103
PHIL 310/THEO 319
PSYC 105
PSYC 212
SOC 101
STAT 213

Required Nursing Courses:

NURS 305, 315, 325, 335, 350, 360, 365, 370, 375, 380, 395, 410, 415, 425, 435, 440, 445, 460, 465, 475, 485, and 495.

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-level 3
PSYC 105 Intro to Psychology 3 SOC 101 Intro to Sociology 3
BIOL 101 Principles of Biology 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 & lab 4
BIOL 211 Microbiology & lab 4 Humanities 3
Creative Arts 3 PHIL or THEO 3
Humanities Elective 3 KIN Activity 1-2
CNA: Take at Community College
Total 17 Total 14-15

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 310 or THEO 319 Bio-Medical Ethics or Bioethics and Healthcare (also available to 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 3
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
NURS 440 Evidence-Based Practice 3 NURS 485 Professional Nursing Capstone 3
NURS 445 Clinical Application III 2 NURS 495 Advanced Nursing Practicum 3
Total 16 Total 15/18

Meet Our Alumni

Apply Visit Info


Deb Frankie-Lasher, Advisor/Recruiter

Center for Health Sciences Education
1320 W. Lombard St.
Davenport, IA 52804

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 50 programs and 26 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!