Accelerated BSN program going to four semesters

Western Carolina University’s accelerated bachelor of science in nursing degree program is transitioning from a 12-month to a four-semester program, and faculty members in WCU’s School of Nursing said they are excited to offer the revised schedule that will be more student-friendly for individuals who want earn their nursing degrees while working part time.

The program will continue to be taught at WCU’s instructional site at Biltmore Park Town Square in Asheville. “Applications are being accepted through Monday, May 5, for prospective students who want to start the revised program next fall,” said Mary Knowlton, associate director of undergraduate nursing for the School of Nursing. “Course work and clinical requirements for that group of students will be spread out over four semesters, instead of the three semesters in the current 12-month program,” Knowlton said. Students who begin the program in the fall are expected to graduate with their bachelor of science in nursing degree in December 2015.

“The accelerated BSN provides a fast track for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field and are ready for a career change to nursing,” Knowlton said. “The more student-friendly curriculum format will allow for a better school, life and work balance.”

Additionally, students beginning the revised program in the fall semester should have more options for financial aid in the form of scholarships and loans because the program will be more in sync with the typical academic cycle, she said.

Schedules will vary each semester, but will usually include classes two days each week and clinical work one or two days each week at area health care facilities. After completing the program, students will be eligible to take the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

Jessica Shirley, the School of Nursing’s director of student services, conducts advising sessions monthly at the Biltmore Park site for prospective students who are interested in the ABSN. The next session is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20, and additional sessions will be announced soon.

For more information or to register for an advising session, contact Jessica Shirley at 828-654-6499 or