Portland State University (PSU) does not have a nursing program. The pre-nursing program at PSU is designed to prepare students to transfer into Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs in Oregon.  The following schools in Oregon currently offer BSN programs: Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), Linfield College – Portland Campus, University of Portland, Warner Pacific University, Walla Walla University, and George Fox University.  In addition, OHSU and Linfield each offer an accelerated BSN program for students with a prior bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. Admission requirements and prerequisites vary by institution.

Portland State University Pre-Nursing Course List 

Based on courses commonly required and recommended by nursing schools, PSU recommends the courses listed below as a solid foundation for pre-nursing students.

Successful completion of this course list will result in fulfillment of the prerequisites at many nursing schools; however, students are responsible for researching the requirements at the schools in which they are interested and adding any necessary extra coursework.

Prerequisite Course(s) PSU Equivalent Courses


BI 207, 208, 209 Biology for Allied Health w/labs (12 credits): 3 term sequence, Fall start only 

Note: BI 207 will meet the biology with genetics/cell requirement for OHSU & BI 207, 208, & 209 will meet the year of lab science requirement for Linfield. 

Chemistry with lab 

Introductory Chemistry with labs: CH104/107, 105/108, 106/109 (15 credits) 3 term sequence, Fall start only

Note: Many programs require a full year of chemistry. University of Portland requires successful completion of high school chemistry or completion of one term of college-level chemistry. One term of chemistry is highly recommended for OHSU, but not required.

Microbiology BI 234 Elementary Microbiology & BI 235 Microbiology Lab
Anatomy & Physiology

Human Anatomy & Physiology BI301, 302, 303 (12 credits) 3 term sequence, Fall start only

Note: PSU requires that students complete BI 207 or BI 211/214 prior to enrolling in the Human Anatomy & Physiology sequence.

Statistics STAT243: Intro to Probability & Statistics (4 credits) 

Nutrition: CH250 (4 credits) OR PHE325 Nutrition for Health (4 credits)

General Psychology PSY 200 Psychology as a Natural Science or PSY 204 Psych as a Social Science
Human Development PSY 311U Human Development (4 credits) 
Writing Composition

Two courses: WR121 and 222, or 323

Note: University Studies may meet all or part of the writing requirements for many programs.

Pre-Nursing students typically choose between two pathways for nursing school. 

One option is to attend PSU to focus on completing the prerequisite courses required for admission into a nursing program.  If a student is accepted they would then earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing from that nursing program. 

The other option is to work on a degree at PSU while also working on the prerequisites for nursing school.  This option would have the student apply for admission into a nursing program where they will earn a second bachelor's degree.

If a student intends to graduate from PSU, then they will need to declare a major at PSU. Nursing programs do not give priority or preference to one major over another. Advisors will encourage students to pursue a major that is of interest to them.  The most common majors for PSU Pre-Nursing students are Public Health Studies: Pre-Clinical Health Science and Psychology.  

If you are here working on prerequisites for nursing school and do not intend (at this point) to graduate from PSU, then you can declare yourself as an Exploratory/Undecided major and have Pre-Nursing as your Pre-Professional track.

Additional Recommended Prerequisite Courses for Students Preparing to Apply to a Non-Accelerated BSN program

This list is not a comprehensive list of all possible courses to meet general education requirements. These requirements vary by program, check directly with the nursing schools for additional general education course options.

Course(s) PSU Course Equivalency
Introductory Sociology

SOC200 Introduction to Sociology (4 credits)

Introductory Philosophy

PHL201 Introduction to Philosophy (4 credits)

English Literature – 1 course

Choose 1: ENG 201, 204, 205, 253, or 254 (4 credits each) 

History based Art or Music course – 1 course

Choose 1: ARH 204, 205, 206, MUS 201, 202, 261, 304, 305, 306, 355, or 361 (4 credits)


PHL308: Ethics (4 credits) 

History – 1 course 

Choose 1: HST 104, 105, 106, 201, 202, or 203 (4 credits)


COM220: Public Speaking (4 credits)

Privilege & Oppression

SOC337 Prejudice, Privilege, & Power (4 credits)

Physical Education

Any PE course



Course timing: In addition to advising, it is important to use the Course Projection Guide to help you in planning course. Science sequences, such as many Biology (including Human Anatomy & Physiology) and Chemistry courses, only begin in the Fall term. 

Required grades: Nursing programs generally require a “C” or higher in all prerequisite courses, though some may require higher grades. Check with your preferred nursing schools to confirm minimum required grades. 

University Studies: PSU’s general education requirements are referred to as the University Studies Program.  Students who elect to take prerequisites for nursing school at PSU do not need to enroll in the University Studies Program, UNLESS they know that they will be receiving a bachelor’s degree from PSU.  If a student completes the full year of Freshman Inquiry (15 credits total), this sequence could meet all or part of the writing requirement for various nursing programs.  Students are encouraged to review how university studies credits transfer by visiting:

If a student elects not to take Freshman Inquiry when they begin at PSU and later decide that they would like to earn a bachelor’s degree from PSU, they must meet with their pre-nursing advisor who will then assess if the student has completed pre-nursing courses and check to make sure the student has completed at least two terms of writing.  The student will then be placed back into the University Studies program based on how many credits they have earned on the pre-nursing track.


George Fox University 

Linfield University: 

Oregon Health & Science University (OCNE partner school): 

University of Portland: 

Walla Walla University - Portland Campus:

Warner Pacific University: 

Community College Nursing Programs: OCNE partner schools share common prerequisites and admissions standards. OCNE students take the same core nursing courses in year 1 and year 2, regardless of which campus they attend. Students on OCNE community college campuses have the option of completing the Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing, taking the RN licensure exam, and continuing directly to OHSU senior level coursework required for the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree through the Portland campus or online/distance delivery. With the distance option, OCNE students can complete coursework for the BS without leaving their home community.

Clackamas Community College: 

Mt. Hood Community College: 

Portland Community College: 

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN): AACN is the national voice for academic nursing. AACN works to establish quality standards for nursing education; assists schools in implementing those standards; influences the nursing profession to improve health care; and promotes public support for professional nursing education, research, and practice.

NursingCAS: NursingCAS is the centralized application service that allows applicants to use a singe online application and one set of materials to apply to multiple programs at participating schools.