Pre-Professional Program Pre-Nursing

PSU nursing student working with a client

Pre-Nursing Pre-Professional Program Overview

Nurses are hands-on healthcare professionals that provide patients with direct, personalized care. They are important members of the healthcare team and are extensively involved in helping patients with the maintenance and promotion of health, in adapting to acute or chronic illness, and in coping with the final stages of life. Nurses work shifts (day, evening, and night) and weekends, and many nursing activities require physical strength. Most health care services involve some form of care by nurses.

Pre-Nursing students at PSU complete a set of prerequisite courses designed to fulfill admission requirements for Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs at other institutions. Students may also choose to complete a different degree at PSU and then apply to accelerated BSN programs to earn a 2nd undergraduate degree.

Most pre-nursing students attend PSU for 2-3 years working on prerequisites with the goal of applying for acceptance into a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program elsewhere. Pre-Nursing is a professional track, not a major or a degree program at PSU. Admission to nursing school is limited and extremely competitive. In years past, Oregon students admitted to OHSU’s nursing program had an average prerequisite GPA of 3.65. If a student applies to nursing programs and they are not accepted, they often continue taking courses to earn a bachelor’s degree at PSU while they re-apply to nursing programs. PSU does not have admission agreements with local nursing programs and PSU students are not given special consideration in the application process.

Prospective students interested in attending PSU can meet with a pre-nursing advisor to learn about the pre-nursing program.

Degree Details

  • PPT
    Pre-Professional Track
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Pre-Nursing Pre-Professional Program: Why PSU?

PSU has dedicated pre-health advisors to help students plan their coursework, support them in gaining relevant healthcare experience, and guide them through the process of applying to medical schools (including both MD and DO programs).

There are a very wide range of clinical and other volunteer opportunities available in the Portland area to help students better understand the role of nurses and other healthcare providers, and gain exposure to different clinical settings.

Beyond the pre-requisite courses needed to apply to nursing school, PSU offers many additional courses of interest to pre-nursing students, including Communicable and Chronic Disease (PHE 363), Gender, Race, Class, & Health (PHE 452), Biomedical Ethics (PHL 446), Sociology for the Health Sciences (SOC 250), and many others.

Many of Portland State’s departments and schools offer student research opportunities, including Biology, Chemistry, and the School of Public Health.

PSU has the Ignite Scholarship program, developed in collaboration with Kaiser Permanente and Portland Leadership Foundation, which emphasizes a culture of support and community for students in healthcare career pathways that can sometimes be complex and overwhelming. Students who receive the Ignite scholarship will be part of a program emphasizing leadership and mentorship (supported by a $5,000 scholarship), which includes serving as mentors for incoming pre-health students.

Incoming pre-health students seeking mentorship can apply to be matched with PSU's Ignite mentors. This is a one-year commitment (fall, winter, and spring terms) for mentors and mentees.

Student organizations on campus help students to connect with peers pursuing pre-health tracks or science fields, as well as many different multicultural, social, and community involvement focused groups. Examples of student groups include the Health Promotion Student Organization, Portland State Women in STEM, Science Outreach Society, Biology Investigation and Outreach, and the Neuroscience Club at PSU.

What can I do after completing the Pre-Nursing Track?

Students in the Pre-Nursing track at PSU go on to complete nursing school or other clinical positions to gain practical experience for nursing school or other similar programs. Graduates from PSU's Pre-Nursing program have gone on to professional schools and programs at:

  • Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)
  • Linfield College
  • University of Portland
  • Walla Walla University
  • George Fox University
  • Duke University
  • Harvard University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Seattle Pacific University
  • University of Washington

OHSU and Linfield College offer an accelerated Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) program for students with a prior bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field.

Featured Courses

  • PHE 363 Communicable and Chronic Disease
  • PHY 337 Physics in Biomedicine
  • PHE 452 Gender, Race, Class, & Health
  • PHL 446 Biomedical Ethics
  • SOC 250 Sociology for the Health Sciences


Pre-Nursing is a pre-professional track, not a major. Students can select any major of their choice.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).