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connell school of nursing


Connell School of Nursing

Founded in 1947, the Boston College Connell School of Nursing offers a four-year program of study leading to a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Nursing. At the completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the national examination for licensure as a registered nurse (R.N.). The program of study is approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Visit for more information.

The mission of the Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing is to prepare compassionate, professionally competent nurses whose practice and scholarship are scientifically based and grounded in humanizing the experience of health and illness. In keeping with the Jesuit, Catholic ideals, we focus on formation of the whole person and promotion of social justice. The Connell School of Nursing educates students as reflective life-long learners who use knowledge in service to others. The graduate of the baccalaureate program is prepared as a generalist who promotes, maintains and restores the health of individuals, families, and communities/populations across the life span.

Nursing courses are designed to include more complex concepts and content at each level. Consequently, students must take courses in a specific sequence and pass each course before proceeding to the next level. To be eligible for graduation, students must successfully complete the courses that comprise the curriculum, nursing requirements, and electives.

The study of nursing is based on a common intellectual heritage transmitted by a liberal education and the art and science of nursing. (See Core Curriculum under the University Policies section of this catalog.) Students are encouraged to complete their history, philosophy, theology, and English Core courses in their first and second years.

Nursing students use the clinical reasoning process to assess, plan, implement and evaluate care. Judgments made by the nurse result in selection of interventions and outcomes in concert with the client's choices. Most nursing courses have a theory and a clinical component, and the curriculum includes content on the care of children, childbearing families, and adults of all ages across the continuum of wellness to illness. Faculty members guide student learning in campus laboratories and in a variety of healthcare agencies in the Greater Boston area.

Students should consult the curriculum plan and see their advisors as they plan for registration.

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Typical Plan of Study for Class of 2019 and Forward

Note: CSON Undergraduates are obligated to register a minimum of 12 credits per semester but normally should take 15 credits in almost all semesters to meet all program requirements on time.

Freshman Year

Semester I

  • BIOL1300, BIOL1310 Anatomy and Physiology I
  • CHEM1161, CHEM1163 Life Science Chemistry
  • NURS1010 Professional Development Seminar
  • Core or elective
  • Core or elective

Semester II

  • BIOL1320, BIOL1330 Anatomy and Physiology II
  • MATH1180 Principles of Statistics for the Health Sciences
  • NURS2070 Introduction to Professional Nursing
  • Core or elective
  • Core or elective

Sophomore Year

Semester I

  • BIOL2200, BIOL2210 Microbiology for Health Professionals
  • NURS2120 Nursing Health Assessment Across the Life Span
  • NURS2121 Nursing Health Assessment Across the Life Span Clinical Laboratory
  • NURS2080 Pathophysiology
  • Core or elective

Semester II

  • NURS2230 Adult Health Nursing Theory I
  • NURS2231 Adult Health Nursing Clinical I
  • NURS2204 Pharmocology/Nutrition
  • NURS3170 Principles of Evidence-based Nursing
  • NURS2090 Sophomore Formation Seminar 
  • Core or elective

Junior Year

All students will have a flexible semester in their junior year. The flexibility will allow for study abroad (if approved by the Office of International Programs and their specific program) or other co-curricular activities. Students who are not abroad in their "flex" semester will be scheduled to take at least one clinical course.

This is one example of the flexible junior year schedule below. The Undergraduate Program Office will determine the exact clinical sequence for each junior.

Semester I

  • NURS3242 Adult Health Nursing Theory II
  • NURS3243 Adult Health Nursing Clinical II
  • NURS3244 Childbearing Nursing Theory
  • NURS3245 Childbearing Nursing Clinical
  • Core or elective

Semester II

  • "Flex" Semester

Senior Year

The Undergraduate Program Office will determine the exact clinical sequence for each senior.

Semester I

  • NURS4250 Child Health Theory
  • NURS4251 Child Health Clinical
  • NURS4252 Psych-Mental Health Theory
  • NURS4253 Psych-Mental Health Clinical
  • Core or elective

Semester II

  • NURS4260 Population Health Nursing Theory
  • NURS4261 Population Health Practice in the Community
  • NURS4263 Nursing Synthesis Clinical Laboratory
  • NURS4270 Transition to Professional Nursing
  • Core or elective

The Connell School of Nursing reserves the right to alter any program or policy outlined.

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Satisfactory Academic Progress

The CSON Academic Standards Advisory Committee meets at the end of each semester to review the records of students with course failures, course deficiencies, low GPAs, or other academic concerns. Decisions about progression in the program are made by this committee in accordance with the policies outlined in the CSON Baccalaureate Program Handbook (on the CSON website) and other relevant university policies.

Credit and Graduation Requirements

Students registered for at least 12 credit hours per semester are considered full-time students. Usually 15 credits are carried each semester and a minimum of 117 credits are required for graduation.

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Information for First Year Students

During the first year students typically complete two semesters of Anatomy and Physiology with laboratories, Life Science Chemistry with Laboratory, English Writing and Literature, Statistics, Modern History I and II, Introduction to Professional Nursing, and Nursing Professional Development Seminar. Electives may be substituted in certain situations (e.g., the student has Advanced Placement credits for Core courses or wishes to continue foreign language study). During orientation, students will meet with faculty members who will assist them with registration for the fall. In September, students will be assigned advisors who will guide them through the Nursing program.

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Special Opportunities

Study Abroad

Students in the William F. Connell School of Nursing are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to study abroad for one semester. Normally, students may study abroad during fall or spring semester of junior year. Most students take electives and can sometimes complete Core courses while they are abroad. Students are free to study abroad in any location approved by the Office of International Programs. A minimum GPA is required for all study abroad programs.

Nursing Synthesis Course

The Nursing Synthesis course in the senior year offers students an advanced nursing practicum where they work with an individually assigned professional nurse preceptor. Students write a proposal in the semester prior to the course indicating their special learning interests.

Independent Study (NURS4911)

Junior or senior nursing students develop a proposal for independent study in an area of nursing in which they wish to obtain further knowledge and/or experience. Guidelines are available on the CSON undergraduate website. Students should consult an academic advisor and/or the Associate Dean of the undergraduate program about their proposal.

Undergraduate Research Fellows Program

Students in excellent academic standing may apply to assist faculty in a faculty-directed research project and gain valuable experience in nursing research.

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Minors in the Connell School of Nursing

Nursing students may minor in any Morrissey College Arts and Sciences or Lynch School of Education and Human Development discipline by fulfilling the requirements of those departments.

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Minor in Hispanic Studies

Nursing students may minor in Hispanic Studies by completing 18 credits in Spanish/Hispanic Studies that are approved by the Associate Dean. CSON students who wish to declare a CSON Hispanic studies minor should meet with the Associate Dean.

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Minor in Psychology

The minor is awarded to CSON students who complete 18 credits in psychology. Courses should include PSYC1110 Introduction to Psychology as a Natural Science and PSYC1111 Introduction to Psychology as a Social Science. Students who received AP credit for PSYC1110 and PSYC1111 may select alternate courses. Courses that may be applied to the minor include the following (or others approved by the undergraduate Associate Dean):

  • ADPS1100 Introductory Psychology (Woods College; no credit for ADPS1100 if PSYC1111 was taken)
  • APSY1030 Child Growth and Development
  • APSY1032 Psychology of Learning
  • APSY2041 Adolescent Psychology
  • APSY2241 Abnormal Psychology
  • FORS5315 Victimology
  • FORS5317 Forensic Mental Health
  • FORS5318 Forensic Science 1
  • PSYC1011 Psychobiology of Mental Disorders
  • PSYC1029 Mind and Brain
  • PSYC2241 Social Psychology
  • PSYC2260 Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC2268 Psychological Development through the Life Span
  • PSYC2272 Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC2274 Sensation and Perception
  • PSYC2285 Behavioral Neuroscience
  • PSYC3329 Psychology of Stress
  • PSYC3331 Developmental Psychopathology
  • PSYC3334 Interpersonal Violence
  • PSYC3336 Clinical Psychology
  • PSYC3338 Topics in Abnormal Psychology
  • PSYC3344 Psychology of Gender
  • PSYC3345 Social Motivation
  • PSYC3354 Culture, Identity and the Asian-American Experience
  • PSYC3366 Social and Emotional Development
  • PSYC3367 Art and Creativity
  • PSYC3371 Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSYC3372 Affective Neuroscience
  • PSYC3377 Psycholinguistics
  • PSYC3382 Neurobiology of Stress
  • PSYC3383 Neurobiological Basis of Learning
  • PSYC3384 Neurophysiology
  • PSYC3386 Psychopharmacology
  • PSYC3391 Ethical Controversies in Psychology and Neuroscience

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Minor in Humanities, Health, and Culture

This is a minor for students who are interested in examining health and health care from new and varied perspectives. Currently, students from pre-med and pre-health professions throughout the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences and other backgrounds such as law, psychology, public/global health, social work, and journalism are enrolled in the MCAS version of the minor. A special version of the minor has been created for CSON students to accommodate constraints in the B.S. (nursing) schedule. CSON students who are comfortable with significant writing assignments, have room in their schedule to accommodate added classes (especially those who have brought in AP credit and/or fulfilled a majority of their core in the freshman year), and may wish to engage with a range of academic fields may consider this minor.

Minor Requirements:
  • ENGL2212 Introduction to Medical Humanities (Enrollment is based upon acceptance to the minor)
  • BIOL1300 and BIOL1310 Anatomy and Physiology I with Lab
  • BIOL1320 and BIOL1330 Anatomy and Physiology II with Lab
  • NURS4270 Transitions to Professional Nursing
  • A paper/article (minimum 20 pages) approved by the Undergraduate Associate Dean (original, from a course, or extended/adapted from a course) on a topic relevant to the minor to be submitted previous to graduation.
  • 2 electives from the approved list:

The Humanities, Health, and Culture minor is only open to the Class of 2019 and forward. Applications are available in the early spring semester for first-year students only.

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Special Requirements for CSON Students

Health Requirements

In addition to the health and immunization requirements for all undergraduate students, nursing students must have immunity to varicella (chicken pox), hepatitis B, and MMR with an annual screening for tuberculosis (PPD) and flu shot. Other requirements may be required.

Other Clinical Requirements

Nursing students are required to be certified in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) before enrolling in Adult Health I clinical, and must keep this certification current. Nursing students must also undergo the expanded multistate criminal offense background checks that are required by affiliating health care institutions.

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General Information

Cooperating Hospitals and Health Agencies

Students in the baccalaureate nursing program have planned learning experiences in teaching hospitals and community agencies in the Boston metropolitan area. The facilities used for these experiences are located in Boston and the surrounding area. Students are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from those facilities. Sites are accessible by public transportation.


School of Nursing students pay the same tuition, fees, and room and board costs as other colleges' enrollees. In addition, nursing students have the following expenses:

  • Standardized examination (NCLEX Assessment Test) $70.00
  • Laboratory Fee up to $200.00 (Payable for certain clinical nursing courses)
  • Costs for transportation to clinical sites, additional health requirements, and CPR certification
College Credit for Transfer Students

Candidates possessing a bachelor's degree in another field and candidates possessing college credit in either nursing or non-nursing programs apply to the Office of Transfer Admissions, located in Devlin Hall. A maximum of 60 credits will be accepted in transfer. Nursing courses taken at another institution will be evaluated on an individual basis. Students applying for transfer will be asked to submit course syllabi to the School of Nursing for use in evaluating prior course work. Additional information on transfer credits may be found in the Baccalaureate Program Handbook on the BC website.

Career Opportunities

The field of nursing offers a wide variety of career options, including positions in hospitals, long-term care facilities, community health agencies, clinics, and day care centers for children and the elderly. Nurses are establishing private practices and group practices with other health professionals. Business, industry, and occupational health settings employ nurses.

The baccalaureate program of study prepares its graduates for entry into master's and doctoral degree programs in nursing. With graduate study, advanced practice nurses see clients in primary care, teach students and other health professionals, establish programs of research, provide consultation, serve as health care planners, and participate on governmental committees dealing with health care issues. Many graduates of the Boston College Connell School of Nursing have gone on from clinical careers to become researchers in clinical settings and to serve on faculties of schools of nursing and administrators of clinical and educational institutions.

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