RN-BSN frequently asked questions

Questions about applying and paying

If you are a new student, apply here. If you have attended Northwestern as an undergraduate in the past, simply re-enroll here.

New RN to BSN students may begin their coursework in any semester, fall, spring or summer. Students can also begin in the 2nd 8-week class in each semester. Talk with an enrollment counselor about the best time to start. 

We accept all qualified candidates until we have reached our program cap of 20. It is recommended that you apply and deposit early to improve the likelihood of acceptance for your preferred term.

The following criteria are required:

  • Valid RN license
  • Minimum GPA of 2.7 (conditional admission with GPA below 2.7)
  • Completed application
  • No felonies on your record
  • Free of physical, psychological or social impairments that would prevent you from providing safe nursing care

Once you have been accepted, you must provide proof of immunizations and professional liability insurance before your first course begins.

Current tuition for the RN to BSN program are posted on the tuition and fees page. Offering affordable and valuable programs is important to us, that's why we strive to offer one of the most affordable online RN-BSN programs in the nation!

We encourage you to complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. The financial aid specialists at Northwestern will evaluate your FAFSA to determine your eligibility for federal student aid, including grants and loans. Be sure to check with your employer about other forms of assistance including tuition reimbursement and tuition assistance programs.

Questions about the program

You can expect to finish your degree in about 2 years. It may take more or less time, depending on how many credits you transfer in and how many classes you choose to take each semester.

The coursework in this program is offered 100% online. You will have a required clinical for public health that can be fulfilled at a location near your home or work. You will never be required to come to campus, though we would love to have you participate in our graduation ceremony!

Courses are 8 weeks long so you can focus on taking one course at a time, but still complete two courses each semester. Most students need to take 6 credit hours in a term (part-time status) to be eligible for financial aid. Our structure ensures you will remain eligible for financial aid but still be able to balance school with the rest of your life and responsibilities.

The RN to BSN was developed as a part-time program for working nurses. We create a custom plan of study to best fit you and your goals. You are free to take more than two courses per term if we offer more than two that work in your schedule.

The only course requiring a clinical that may likely be outside the scope of your current position is in public health. You may arrange your public health clinical at a location of your choosing near your home as long as it fits the requirements.

See our program requirements for a list of required courses. Only the last 30 credits must be completed through Northwestern. The total number of credits and general education courses needed depends on the courses you transfer into the program. 

You will need to meet Northwestern's general education requirements and take at least 30 credits from Northwestern. General education requirements may also be met through the courses you transfer. There are 22 nursing credits in our program, so you will need to take 9 additional credits from Northwestern to earn your BSN from Northwestern.

Generally no. Our coursework is intended to be asynchronous, which means it doesn’t happen at a specific time. Your professors will create a discussion thread each week with a topic to discuss. You will be required to engage in that discussion a specific number of times during the week, but you are free to engage at whatever time of the day or night works for you. You will have weekly assignments with deadlines, but you can work on them whenever you would like.

Northwestern is a Christian college, but our students have a wide range of biblical knowledge. When we talk about faith and learning at Northwestern, we’re describing how we will walk beside you in your personal faith journey. Expect to grow spiritually in ways that are meaningful to you. 

Northwestern's nursing graduates strive to provide Christ-like caring to patients, acknowledging the importance of healthy bodies, minds and souls.

You enrollment counselor and academic advisor truly walk alongside you throughout the program and will help connect you with all other support available. Tutoring is available online and on our campus. Library resources including online databases, interlibrary loans, writing and style guides, and digital librarian assistance. Technical support is provided online and by phone. Counselors in our Career Development Center are prepared to assist you in career planning online. The financial aid, business and registrar’s offices will work with you online and by phone.

Yes, Northwestern’s BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing. Northwestern College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Questions about transferring

You may transfer in as many credits as you wish, but the last 30 credits of your program must be completed at Northwestern College. Your enrollment counselor can review your transcripts to show you what transfers and fulfills requirements as well as what courses you will have left.

Northwestern grants up to 66 credits to working nurses with confirmation of 7 years RN experience along with an ADN degree or Hospital diploma. You may have also completed additional elective credits that will transfer.

If your bachelor’s degree is from Northwestern College, you will have most of the general education courses that will transfer in but you will need to obtain your associate’s degree in nursing prior to starting in the program. If your bachelor’s degree is from another institution, you must meet Northwestern’s general education requirements and obtain your associate’s degree in nursing.  You will need to take at least 30 credits from Northwestern. General education requirements may be met through the courses you transfer. There are 22 nursing credits in our program, so you will need to take 9 additional credits from Northwestern to earn your BSN from Northwestern.

please send a copy of your unofficial college transcripts to online@nwciowa.edu to receive a transfer evaluation and tentative program of study. Official transcripts are required for acceptance into your program and can be mailed to the admissions office.

At this time we only accept nurses with a valid RN license. Northwest Iowa Community College offers a hybrid LPN to RN program, as do other community and technical colleges. Consider pursuing an LPN to RN program and then transferring to Northwestern to complete your BSN.