Iowa Nursing Programs and Degrees Guide

The following guide contains important information on the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs in Iowa. The state’s colleges and universities, some of which offer students the opportunity to complete coursework on campus and online, feature a wide range of concentrations: community and public health nursing, family nurse practitioner, and adult gerontology nurse practitioner. Students, who need convenience and flexibility, might want to consider pursuing an online bachelor’s or a master’s degree in nursing from such online universities as Western Governors University or Capella University.

Iowa School Facts:

  • 22 colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree in nursing.
  • 19 colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • 9 colleges and universities offer a master’s or advanced degree in nursing.
  • Highest graduation rate: Allen College 84%.1
  • Highest transfer-out rate: Saint Ambrose University 25%.1
  • Highest net price: Allen College $26,207.1
  • Lowest net price: University of Dubuque $13,873.1
  • Annual undergrad tuition range for schools in Iowa with a bachelor’s in nursing program: $18,103 – $36,100.2
  • 1 school in US News Best Nursing Schools (2011) Top 100: University of Iowa (11).

Read below to learn more about several of the undergraduate and graduate nursing degree programs offered in Iowa’s colleges and universities.

Bachelor’s in Nursing Programs in Iowa

University of Iowa
Currently registered nurses, who possess an associate’s degree in nursing or a diploma in nursing, may pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at the University of Iowa through the nursing department’s RN to BSN program. Full-time students complete program requirements in three semesters while part-time students require five semesters to fulfill degree requirements. General education requirements must be completed prior to entering the nursing major. Students, who already have an associate’s degree in nursing, may be able to transfer those credits to the BSN program. Nursing majors will take courses in pathology, health finance, introduction to human genetics, improving health systems, and leadership and professional engagement.

St. Luke’s College
St. Luke’s College allows current registered nurses to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) through the nursing department’s RN to BSN program. Nursing majors may complete the 120 credit program on a part-time or a full-time basis. Students, who have already earned an associate’s degree in nursing, are generally able to transfer those credits to the BSN program. Classes are held on campus and online, allowing for flexibility and convenience for students who maintain a job outside of school. Nursing coursework focuses on population-focused nursing practice, health promotion and disease prevention, strategic decision making, and adaption to chronic health issues. Students also complete mandatory practicums to fulfill degree requirements.

Master’s in Nursing Programs in Iowa

Mount Mercy University
Mount Mercy University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program features three tracks: health advocate, nurse educator, and nurse administrator. Students must complete 36 total credits – 15 core courses, 12 courses in the concentration, and 9 cognate courses – to fulfill degree requirements. Core courses focus on nursing theory and research, health care systems, health promotion and disease prevention, and professional role and skill development. A practicum or a project is mandatory for all graduate students. Courses are taken one at a time with each course spanning five weeks. Full-time students generally complete the program in 18 months. Applicants must possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and have a current Iowa registered nursing license.

Allen College
Graduate students pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at Allen College may choose one track in which to specialize or may opt for a combined program. Single tracks include leadership in health care delivery, nursing education, community public health nursing, and one of five nurse practitioner specializations. Students interested in a combined program may choose between community/public health nursing and family nurse practitioner and community/public health nursing and adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner. The MSN program can be completed in two years full-time or four years part-time, and many of the courses are completed online. However, students do have to attend classes on campus periodically, depending on the concentration. Applicants do not have to submit GRE scores and accepted students can begin the program in the fall, in the spring, or in the summer.

Student Reviews

The Iowa Central Community College Nursing Program was a great experience. I didn’t follow through and work as a Nurse, and while it may seem contradictory, that is one of the most amazing examples I can give of how attentive and caring the instructors were. While I was finishing up the program, doing a practicum at a nursing home, one of my instructors pulled me aside and asked why I chose this profession, and if I loved it. I answered that I didn’t know, and I wasn’t sure that I did. She told me that being a Nurse takes time and dedication and that it would only be rewarding for me if I truly loved what I was doing. She set aside any fear of losing her perfect pass rate or looking bad in the College’s eyes for losing a student and truly cared for me as a person. She was not the exception to the rule, either. All of my instructors cared about their students on a personal level, and wanted them to succeed. The program is set up to be rigorous to get you through in a timely manner, but also managable, with resources to help you get through. It also provided opportunities for growth beyond the program, partnering with a local University to allow students to complete their Bachelors of Science in Nursing, giving them the ability to teach or go on to get a Nurse Practitioner’s license if they so chose.” – Student at Iowa Central Community College

My experience with the Iowa State Nursing Program was definitely above average. I had friendly, well informed instructors, and felt that I learned a lot from them and their own personal experience in the field. One complaint that I had was the lack of online coursework available. It seemed to be that some coursework could be done online, and learned when/where it was convenient for us, and then we could have later been tested on it. Beyond that, I was very satisfied with my educational experience, and think that Iowa State would be an excellent choice for anyone interested in pursuing a career in the health industry. I enjoyed my clinicals and really appreciated the hands on experience that it provided. Knowing in advance what I would be doing once I graduated helped me appreciate the importance of what I was learning at the time.” – Student at University of Iowa

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/?state=IA&sort=best