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Program Overview


Prenursing Certificate Program

The prenursing certificate program admits students with an undergraduate degree who are seeking the courses required for admission to accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs and entry-level master's degree nursing programs. Students are advised to contact the schools in which they are interested before applying to ensure that the SPS program fulfills their requirements. This program is designed for career changers who do not have an extensive background in science.



About the Prenursing Certificate Program

Prenursing Required Courses

All of the following courses are required:
  • BIOL SCI 170 Concepts of Biology
  • BIOL SCI 217 Physiology
  • BIOL SCI 313 Human Anatomy
  • BIOL SCI 316 Human Structure and Function
  • BIOL SCI 317 Regional Human Anatomy Lab
  • BIOL SCI 328 Microbiology
  • CHEM 110 Quantitative Problem Solving for Chemistry
  • CHEM 131 General Chemistry 1 (with lab, CHEM 141)
  • CHEM 132 General Chemistry 2 (with lab, CHEM 142)
  • CHEM 210-A Organic Chemistry I
  • PSYCH 110 Introduction to Psychology

In addition to the program requirements, prenursing students have the option to take any of the courses offered at SPS as electives. Based upon federal financial aid requirements, elective courses are not eligible for financial aid.

For more information and current course schedule, see the Prenursing Courses page.

Transfer Credit Policy for Prenursing

Students in the Prenursing post-baccalaureate certificate program may transfer up to six semester hours, or nine quarter hours of academic credit. A transcript and grade of B or better are required for transferred courses in the prenursing program. Courses audited or taken with the pass/no credit option cannot be applied toward a certificate program. Courses earned for a bachelor's degree at SPS may not be applied retroactively toward certificate requirements. Required courses that have been completed in the past two years by students-at-large may be applied toward the completion of a certificate, subject to the approval of the admissions committee, and provided admission requirements for the program are met. All transfer credit must be approved before a student begins his or her course work at SPS.

Prenursing Tuition

Post-baccalaureate students at Northwestern's School of Professional Studies pay per course. For more information about financial obligations and tuition, please visit the Tuition page.

Admission for Prenursing

In addition to completing an online application, you'll also need to submit a few supplemental materials. A list of requirements for admission including application deadlines and tips on how to apply can be found on the Admission page.

Prenursing Registration Information

Whether you're a first-time registrant or current and returning student, all students register using our online student registration and records systems. Important information about registering for courses at SPS, including registration timelines and adding or dropping courses in which you are already enrolled, can be found on the Registration Information page.

Prenursing Pre-Health Professional Student Group

Learn how students support one another through forums, resources and social networks on the Prenursing Pre-Health Professional Student Group page.

Prenursing Sample Course Plans

Review Sample Course Plans for the Prenursing Certificate Program offered by Northwestern University School of Professional Studies.

Find out more about the Prenursing Certificate Program

Program Courses:Course Detail
Concepts of Biology <> BIOL_SCI 170-CN

This course will introduce the fundamental concepts of biology, including: Chemical composition and organization of living material, cellular organization, energy conversion by organisms, genetics and reproduction, ecology, evolution, and other topics. These topics will build the foundation needed for students to further explore the biological sciences. Through a mixture of lecture and discussion, students will apply the knowledge from the course into critical analysis of the scientific method and hypothesis testing. There are no course prerequisites; the course is geared toward students with an interest in the topic but without a background in biological sciences.

View BIOL_SCI 170-CN Sections
Concepts of Biology <> BIOL_SCI 170-DL

This is an introductory general biological sciences course. Topics include evolution, biomolecules, cell biology, genetics, population biology, and the relationship between structure and function in organisms. The significance of core concepts in relation to practical life applications will be discussed. Teaching methods will be varied, with an emphasis on lecture with also time for discussion. Evaluation will include several tests. Students will write about, and give presentations on, topics of their choice. There are no course prerequisites; the course is geared toward students with an interest in the topic but without a background in biological sciences. This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition. 

View BIOL_SCI 170-DL Sections
Physiology <> BIOL_SCI 217-CN

This course is the second in a four-course sequence that is completed by BIOL SCI 308 in the winter and BIOL SCI 219 in the spring. The physiology course covers organization and functioning of the major organ systems in mammals.

A lab course, BIOL SCI 221 Cellular Processes Laboratory, may be taken concurrently with this course. Prerequisite: CHEM 131.

View BIOL_SCI 217-CN Sections
Human Anatomy <> BIOL_SCI 313-CN

This course is an introduction to human anatomy. Topics include: system approach to anatomical organization; sections of the body; musculoskeletal and nervous systems; embryology development. Lectures are supplemented by selected prosections of human cadavers and dry exercises using bones, models, and computer animations. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 165, 170, or equivalent course.

View BIOL_SCI 313-CN Sections
Human Anatomy <> BIOL_SCI 313-DL

This course is conducted completely online.This is a course on human anatomy, focusing on morphology and function. It follows both a regional and systems approach. All course content, activities, and assessments will be online learning activities and assessments. The course will also have a broad emphasis on clinical application that is applicable to all health care professions. The course covers gross anatomy of the human body; therefore, images of human cadavers will be presented in your textbook, as well as in other course resources. Readings are assigned from the Marieb, Wilhelm and Mallatt text. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 165, 170, or equivalent course.

This course will be conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition. There will be optional online office hours on Thursday from 6:15-9:15pm.

View BIOL_SCI 313-DL Sections
Human Structure and Function <> BIOL_SCI 316-CN

Students will gain a good working knowledge of the function of the musculoskeletal system in modern humans in this course, along with a comparative perspective emphasizing the adaptive contexts of the evolutionary transformations leading to our modern anatomy. The course examines the structural, functional, and evolutionary anatomy of humans, with primary focus on the musculoskeletal system of the postcranium. The regional anatomy of the muscles, bones and joints in the human body serves as a basis for more general biomechanical principles of anatomical systems. Discussions of the development evolution and clinical significance of human structure complement the functional emphasis on these anatomical regions. Class lectures are supplemented by selected prosections of human cadavers, in-class lab sessions examining bones and models, and computer animations and exercises. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 313, equivalent anatomy course, or permission of instructor. Class is limited to 15 students.

View BIOL_SCI 316-CN Sections
Regional Human Anatomy Lab <> BIOL_SCI 317-CN

This is a lab course utilizing prosections and demonstrations of human cadavers. It is an advanced anatomy course examining the details of human body systems. Topics include: Body wall and cavities, contents and features of the thorax and abdomen (cardiac, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal systems), pelvis (genito-urinary system), spinal cord and back, innervation and blood supply of the upper and lower limbs, cranial cavities and contents, cranial nerves and blood supply of the head and neck. The majority of the coursework will be done in the cadaver lab, with limited lectures to introduce topics. The lab work will be guided by a lab workbook, handouts and instructor demonstrations. Models, bones (skeletal materials), skulls, and medical images will supplement the cadaver prosections. Lab work will be assessed by the weekly lab assignment, three practical quizzes and a written final exam. A research project will be assigned to allow the student to bridge their knowledge of lab anatomy with more clinical concepts. Students are expected to follow all lab safety guidelines including the cadaver lab dress code; also students should show respect for the cadavers at all times.

Credit for this course is 0.34 units. Enrollment is in the course limited to 15 total, and is limited to students in professional health careers certificate programs.

Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 313. Only students who have completed the prerequisite will be able to register for this course.

View BIOL_SCI 317-CN Sections
Microbiology <> BIOL_SCI 328-CN

This course provides an introduction to microbiology with an emphasis on bacteria and viruses and their impact on human health and society. Topics covered include: introduction to microbiology including the evolution of microorganisms; essentials of bacterial, archaeal, eukaryotic and viruses; morphological, physiological and genetic elements; the general principles of bacterial growth and control of microorganisms in the environment; principles of microbial molecular biology and genetics including basics of bacterial genome replication; bacterial pathogenesis and current challenges regarding antimicrobial resistance. This course will also provide an introduction to the primary microbiology literature. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 210-C or BIOL SCI 217.

This course will have a lab component, BIOL SCI 328-A, integrated into the lecture time. A lab fee will be applied to tuition.

View BIOL_SCI 328-CN Sections
Quantitative Problem Solving in Chemistry <> CHEM 110-CN

Solution strategies for traditional word problems and their application to basic chemistry quantitative problems: dimensional analysis, chemical equations, stoichiometry, limiting reagents

View CHEM 110-CN Sections
General Chemistry 1 <> CHEM 131-CN

Quantum mechanics, electronic structure, periodic properties of the elements, chemical bonding, thermodynamics, intermolecular forces, properties of solids and liquids, special topics in modern chemistry. Must be taken concurrently with the CHEM 141-CN General Chemistry I Lab. Prerequisite: completion of CHEM 110-CN (grade of C- or better), or current enrollment in CHEM 110-CN.

View CHEM 131-CN Sections
General Chemistry 2 <> CHEM 132-CN

Solutions and colligative properties, chemical equilibrium, aqueous solution equilibria, chemical kinetics, metals in chemistry and biology, oxidation-reduction reactions and electrochemistry, special topics in modern chemistry. Must be taken concurrently with CHEM 142-CN General Chemistry Lab 2. Prerequisite: completion of CHEM 131-CN and CHEM 141-CN (grade of C- or better), or current enrollment in CHEM 131-CN/CHEM 141-CN.

View CHEM 132-CN Sections
General Chemistry 1 Lab <> CHEM 141-CN

Chemical analysis of real samples using basic laboratory techniques including titration, colorimetric analysis, density measurements, and atomic spectroscopy. Planning, data collection, interpretation, and reporting on experiments. Credit for this course is 0.34 units. Must be taken concurrently with CHEM 131-CN General Chemistry 1. Prerequisite: completion of CHEM 110 (grade of C– or better), or current enrollment in CHEM 110-CN.

View CHEM 141-CN Sections
General Chemistry Lab 2 <> CHEM 142-CN

General Chemistry Lab 2 is a laboratory course in which techniques applied to materials science and nanotechnology, acid-base chemistry, and chemical kinetics will be employed. Major objectives involve work involving planning, data collection, interpretation, and reporting on experiments. Credit for this course is 0.34 units. Must be taken concurrently with CHEM 132-CN General Chemistry 2. Prerequisite: completion of CHEM 131-CN and CHEM 141-CN (grade of C- or better), or current enrollment in CHEM 131-CN/CHEM 141-CN.

View CHEM 142-CN Sections
Organic Chemistry <> CHEM 210-A

This course is the first of a three-course sequence that is completed by CHEM 210-B in the winter quarter, and CHEM 210-C in the spring quarter. Basic concepts of organic chemistry will be presented, including hybridization, resonance, nomenclature, stereochemistry, and reaction mechanisms. The preparation and reactions of alkyl halides, alkenes, alkynes, and alcohols will also be covered. There will be some additional lectures, to be arranged once the quarter begins. Prerequisite: completion of General Chemistry Sequence (CHEM 110, 131, 132 and 141, 142) with a grade of C- or better, or equivalent transfer credit with qualifying score on the Chemistry Placement Exam.

View CHEM 210-A Sections
Intro to Psychology <> PSYCH 110-CN

Psychology is a science that seeks to answer a wide range of questions about how we think, feel, act and interact with others. This course will give a broad overview of the entire field of psychology, which students will learn about through in-class demonstrations, outside observations, discussions, and presentations. We will explore human behavior from a biological, psychological and socio-cultural perspective. We will discuss the history of psychology beginning with an overview of psychology's roots, observing how prevailing paradigms have shifted throughout the centuries. We'll then discuss how to think like a social scientist, with an attitude of open mindedness and skepticism, as we observe people in different social settings. Discussion will include the tools and methods that are used by social scientists to formulate their questions and propose answers. With the tools of neuroscience we will explore the biological underpinnings of mind and emotions and how they influence behavior. We will seek to understand and have empathy with individuals suffering from psychological disorders ranging from mild depression to severe psychosis. Discussion will cover ways to diagnose psychopathology and therapies that have been proposed to heal such internal suffering. Practical skills for coping with stress and emotions will also be explored. Finally, we try to uncover group dynamics that can give rise to pathological and sometimes destructive behavior as that observed in cults. The course will conclude with a theme of malleability that challenges assumptions about how we perceive, remember and think. Carries social science credit.


View PSYCH 110-CN Sections
Intro to Psychology PSYCH 110-CN

The purpose of this course is to present an overview of the field of psychology. Among the topics we will cover are: history of the field, methods in psychological research, biological bases of behavior, perception, learning, memory, motivation, emotion, social influences on behavior, and psychological disorders. Class lectures, readings, and discussions will convey a sense of some of the foundational questions and methods of the science of psychology. Ultimately, the goal of this course is to impart an initial understanding of some fundamentals of human nature and behavior, as well as instill a deeper appreciation for the science of psychology. The class will have weekly quizzes and a comprehensive final exam. Carries social science credit.

View PSYCH 110-CN Sections
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