A large crowd of people, including students and representatives of many universities' medical schools, at the HPAO-hosted Health Professions Career Fair


Nurses are advocates and health educators for patients, families, and communities. When providing direct patient care, they observe, assess, and record symptoms, reactions, and progress; assist physicians during treatments and examinations; administer medications; and assist in convalescence and rehabilitation. Some nurses work in an independent capacity, depending on credentials, education, and state of practice. For a more detailed description of nursing opportunities and median income please see the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook.

There are multiple avenues to becoming a nurse and multiple levels of nursing credentials. 

The NursingCAS Comparison Chart summarizes the different avenues students can take to pursue a career in nursing. There are many things to consider when deciding about your nursing education, and we hope to illuminate several of the options here, but it is important that you speak to the Nursing Advisor, Aaliyah, to see which path is best suited for you. For a complete list of nursing programs in the United States please visit The American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Use their Nursing Programs Search database to search for nursing programs by type and/or state filters.  


  • Attend a Community College and earn an ADN degree
  • Attend a Four-Year College or University and earn a BSN 
  • Attend a Four-Year College or University and earn an ABSN (for career changers who already have a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field)
  • Attend a Four-Year College or University and earn an entry into practice MSN (for career changers who already have a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field)


ADN - Associate Degree in Nursing

BSN - Bacehlor's Degree in Nursing

MSN - Master's Degree in Nursing (Has tracks for APRN options)

DNP - Doctor of Nursing Practice  (Has tracks for APRN options)

PhD - Doctor of Philosphy in Nursing (Research)

DNS - Doctor of Nursing Science  (Has tracks for APRN options)


RN - Registered Nurse, must pass the NCLEX for liscencing and have at least an ADN

APRN - Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Umbrella group of nurses that have credentials to practice in specific capacities (below). 

NP - Nurse Practitioner, requires an MSN (NP specific) or DNP

CNM - Certified Nurse Midwife, requires an MSN or DNP

CCNS - Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist, requires an MSN or DNP

CRNA - Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, requires a DNP 


The University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) has a Guaranteed Pathway Program in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore (UMSON). Students who do not qualify for the program would be Traditional applicants to their nursing schools of choice. 
Traditional Students may complete two years of prerequisite courses at the University of Maryland College Park, and then apply for admission into a professional nursing school to complete two years of professional course work, which includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical education. After these four years, the student will earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the school where they completed their final two years. Please note that UMCP does not guarantee admission to nursing school for those outside of the specified Guaranteed Admission Pathway. UMCP does not have a nursing or pre-nursing major for students to choose from outside of the pathway. You can follow any major of your choosing, which allows you to complete your prerequisite courses on your timeline. Some students decide to complete a bacehlor's degree along with nursing prerequisites, and then go on to a BSN, ABSN, or MSN program. 
Guaranteed Pathway See the Guaranteed Pathway drop down for more information. 


Pre-Nursing is not a degree-granting program at the University of Maryland, College Park. Admission to professional schools is competitive and is not promised outside of the guaranteed nursing pathway. Admission requirements vary depending upon the institution and prerequisites are subject to change. Contact programs for most current requirements.

The University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) offer a guaranteed admission pathway for high-performing students that will streamline progression from UMCP to UMSON, allowing students to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in as few as four years. This elite program guarantees admission to UMSON for eligible applicants on a space-available basis. All pathway students will submit an application to UMSON at a specified time as a formality. Adherence to the specified four-semester plan and consistently meeting the GPA minimums are a condition of remaining on the pathway. Students typically matriculate to the School of Nursing within 4 semesters. However, students must matriculate within three years.

The student will choose which School of Nursing campus to attend-either in Baltimore or at the Universities at Shady Grove.

For students not directly admitted to the pathway upon acceptance to the university, progression will be evaluated after the completion of CHEM131 and 132 within the first 30 credits. A secondary audit can be completed at 45 credits, if necessary. 


How to request an evaluation to join the Guaranteed Pathway:

  1. Watch the Pre-Nursing Introduction Workshop.
  2. Complete the Pre-Nursing Planning Template for Traditional and Guaranteed Pathway Students (File > Make a copy to edit).
  3. Set an appointment with the Nursing Advisor to discuss your plan, options, and eligibility.
    1. If you are not able to find an appointment slot, feel free to come to allied health drop-ins to discuss. 
  4. Request to join  HPAO's Pre-Nursing Canvas Course.


Students who meet all of the following criteria after the evaluation will have their major changed to UMB Nursing:

  • Completion of BSCI170 and 171 with a minimum grade of C-
  • Completion of CHEM 131 and 132 
  • For all science courses completed prior to the audit, a minimum 3.0 science GPA, with no lower than a single grade of "C-"
    • Science GPA Courses: CHEM 131 & CHEM 132, BSCI 223, BSCI 201, and BSCI 202
  • Earned minimum 3.25 overall GPA

Students who do not meet the requirements can continue to work with the HPAO nursing advisor.

If a student is ineligible for the Guaranteed Nursing Pathway, they may apply as a traditional applicant and still matriculate to the school of nursing prior to completing their Bachelor’s degree at UMD, if admitted.


Once a student enters the pathway, they must:

  • Maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA (all institutions attended) 
  • Maintain a 3.0 science GPA (CHEM131/2, BSCI201, BSCI202, BSCI223).
  • Progress through pre-requisite courses as outlined in their pre-nursing plan and agreed upon during mandatory advising sessions 
  • Earn no less than a C- in non-science GPA courses
  • Earn no less than a B- in science GPA courses (note: You can have a single C/C-, but your overall sGPA must be 3.0 or greater)
  • Pathway students have to matriculate to the School of Nursing within 3 years (6 standard semesters) at UMD



If a student fails to meet the expectations outlined above, they will have a single semester to remedy the situation and remain on the pathway. Depending on when the failure occurs, a student may have to delay their application by a semester. This may not be an option if a student is in their 5th semester at UMD, since all students must matriculate after 6 semesters. Once a student exits the pathway, they may not re-enter. 



  • Pathway students can use up to 16 college credits from outside institutions as part of the total 59 credits, only 4 credits of which can satisfy a single science prerequisite. Transfer students are eligible to join the pathway if they meet this above criteria. UMSON will accept AP scores of 4s and 5s and IB scores of 6s and 7s for prerequisite credit. AP and IB scores do not count in the 16 college credit limit. 


UMCP and the School of Nursing reserve the right to make changes to these requirements or cancel the MOU without notice and in keeping with each institution’s admission trends.

The most common prerequisites are:

  • Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2
  • Microbiology
  • General Chemistry
  • Nutrition 
  • Statistics
  • Human Growth and Development

In addition, there are many Minors that cover topics critical to expanding understanding of the various determinants of health. Coursework related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion can be helpful in developing cultural awareness, cultural humility, and an understanding of systemic discrimination in the health care system. Even if your academic plan does not permit adding a minor, it is worth reviewing the curated course lists for courses that will stretch you, increase your language for difference and disparity, show your intellectual curiosity, and improve your critical reasoning skills. 

Example 4 Semester Plan for Traditional and Guranteed Path Students

Pre-Nursing Planning Template for Traditional and Guranteed Pathway Students (File > Make a copy to edit).

This completed form is required prior to scheduling an appointment with the Nursing Advisor. 

Most nursing programs do not require clinical experiences for applicants, however, we highly recommend students make the time to shadow nurses in different fields. This gives you good insight into what your career could look like and what patient population interests you most. Many students elect to gain their CNA certification to gain paid nursing experience. Active participation in pre-nursing and health organizations are a great way to network with peers and industry professionals.

UMD Pre-Nursing Society

Charles R. Drew Pre-Medical/Pre-Health Society

Latinx Pre-Health Society

Academic Resources


Financial Resources

Institutional Scholarships: Nursing programs often provide merit and need based scholarships to students at the time of application and/or during students tenure. UMCP institutional scolarships and financial aid will not follow you to any other institition, including UMSON. See links below for more resources: