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of surveyed alumni within 9 months of graduation
NCLEX pass rate
Far above the national average
Receive scholarships or grants

Setting the standard for nursing education

Discover our Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Mount Mercy University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is one of the longest-established and most-recognized baccalaureate nursing programs in Iowa.

Mount Mercy offers high-quality, integrated theoretical nursing content, clinical lab simulation, and hands-on experience. Part of the Martin-Herold College of Nursing and Health, our full-time Nursing faculty are recognized as the best in their field. Nurses from local hospitals and agencies also serve as professors—bringing their real-world experience from the bedside into the classroom.

Already a Registered Nurse? Nurses with a valid RN license can enroll in our RN-BSN program for working professionals.

What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in nursing?

Earning your nursing degree is a pivotal step toward advancing in the field, expanding your career opportunities, and increasing your lifelong earning potential.

Nursing majors contribute in the field in many different ways, from hospitals to clinics, to home care and community programs. With your nursing bachelor’s degree, you’ll be ready to serve in the community at every level—from direct patient care to nursing administration.

Graduate prepared to pursue a path as a caregiver, clinical expert, policy maker, or faculty member. Mount Mercy graduates have gone on to work regionally and nationally:

  • UnityPoint, St. Luke’s Hospital, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Mercy Medical Center, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa
  • Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • The University of Wisconsin Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Veterans Administration Medical Center, Iowa City, Iowa
  • CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska

Why a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Mount Mercy?

For 90+ years, Mount Mercy has been the standard for nursing excellence in Eastern Iowa. Our nurses are prepared to provide outstanding care, offer compassionate service, and continue the legacy of Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy.

As you work toward your Nursing bachelor’s degree, you’ll grow your professional network and become a leader in the field.

Special programs for Nursing students

Through the MercyReady ProgramRegional Medical Center RN Education Assistance Program, or UnityPoint Health Career Launch Program, you can receive financial support, gain paid work experience while you’re still in school, and graduate with a guaranteed nursing job waiting for you.

At Mount Mercy, my advisor and mentors have encouraged me to define my career goals in the abstract, and then build my career trajectory around those terms.

Registered Nurse, PeaceHealth | Vancouver, Washington

What can you do in our Bachelor of Science in Nursing program?

Our nursing bachelor’s degree combines classroom learning with hands-on clinical experience. Work alongside professors who are practicing professionals. Gain beyond-the-classroom learning in our Clinical Simulation Laboratory (CSL).

What will you learn in our Bachelor of Science in Nursing program?

Gain knowledge of everything from disease paths and the essentials of nutrition to pharmacotherapeutics and population-based nursing. Graduate with your Nursing degree prepared to succeed and lead change within the field.

Our proven legacy of educating nurses for professional roles prepares Mount Mercy’s nursing graduates to achieve a NCLEX-RN national exam pass rate well above the national average.

The nursing bachelor’s degree curriculum is based on the belief that socialization of nursing students into the profession is a journey that continues throughout and beyond their bachelor’s degree in nursing. The faculty has adopted “the hero’s journey” as presented by anthropologist Joseph Campbell as a unifying theme for the nursing curriculum.

What courses will I take?

Nursing Major


NU 101Answering the Call to Nursing1
NU 113Medical Terminology1
NU 120Integrated Foundations of Biology and Chemistry for Nursing4
BI 273Human Anatomy 14.5
CO 101Oral Communication3
Writing Competency4
PS 101Introductory Psychology3
PS 224Developmental Psychology3
SO 122Introduction to Sociology3
Total Hours26.5

For pre-licensure Nursing students: Admission to the major plus:

Required Courses 

BI 150Basic Microbiology4.5
BI 274Human Physiology3
Total Hours7.5

Required Nursing Courses

NU 224Nursing Skills for the Journey3
NU 230Pharmacotherapeutics3
NU 232Holistic Human Assessment4
NU 240Disease Paths4
NU 260Pathways to Professional Nursing5
NU 320Essentials of Nutrition2
NU 330Beginnings: Maternal Newborn Nursing3
NU 332Challenges Along the Journey: Nursing Interventions for Clients with Mental Illness3
NU 350Challenges Along the Journey: Interventions for Core Body System Alterations6
NU 352Challenges Along the Journey: Intervention for Alterations in Regulatory and Protective Mechanisms6
NU 411Professional Preparation1
NU 465Integrating the Journey: Complex Concepts and Clinical Immersion6
NU 470Extending the Journey: Population Based Nursing3
NU 471Professional Aspects of Nursing4
Total Hours53

This course also requires a Lab.

Academic Requirements

Students must maintain a C or above (C- does not count) in all nursing courses, and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.00.

The following is the typical sequence of courses required for the major*:

NU 1204Core Domain3BI 1504.5
Writing Competency4 NU 1011
PS 1013 NU 1131
CO 101 (or SO 122 or PS 224)3 BI 2734.5
  CO 101 (or SO 122 or PS 224)3
 14 3 14
NU 2324NU 2243NU 2404
Math Competency or Core Domain3 NU 230 or BI 1503
BI 2743 NU 2605
CO 101 (or SO 122 or PS 224 )3  
 16 3 12
NU 3506Core Domain3NU 3526
Core Domain3 NU 3303
NU 230 (or Math Competency or Domain)3 Core Domain3
  NU 3202
 12 3 14
NU 4714Elective3NU 4703
NU 4656 NU 4111
Elective3 ME 4501
Elective2 Core Domain3
  Core Domain3
  NU 3323
 15 3 14
Total Hours: 123


The course offerings, requirements, and policies of Mount Mercy University are under continual examination and revision. This Catalog presents the offerings, requirements, and policies in effect at the time of publication and in no way guarantees that the offerings, requirements, and policies will not change.

This plan of study represents a typical sequence of courses required for this major. It may not be applicable to every student. Students should contact a College of Nursing faculty member to be sure of appropriate course sequence.


NU 101 Answering the Call to Nursing: 1 semester hour

This course is a “call to adventure” that prepares students to embark on their journey as future nurses. The course is designed to facilitate transition into college, to create a mentoring relationship with nursing faculty, and begin the role identification and enculturation into the profession of nursing. This course introduces students to the knowledge, skills, values, meanings and experiences of the nursing profession. In the spirit of compassion as reflected in the Sisters of Mercy Mission, this course provides students with a foundation of commitment to serve human needs where they exist.

NU 110 Exploring Complementary Therapies: 1 semester hour

This elective course offers students the opportunity to explore various alternative therapies that may be encountered when determining treatment options for oneself or another. The course is designed to inform the student of current modalities available in the community for persons seeking to take greater responsibility for their health status. Reflective judgement will be required as one responds to the theory and practice of alternative therapies thus enabling the student to draw conclusions that are holistic and accurate. This course does not satisfy the Holistic Health Domain requirement.

NU 113 Medical Terminology: 1 semester hour

This course provides an overview of terminology used in the health care professions. Students will independently study a textbook of terminology and progress through a series of on-line learning activities and exams. No prerequisites.

NU 120 Integrated Foundations of Biology and Chemistry for Nursing: 4 semester hours

A contextual (health care) and integrative approach will be used in studying the major topics of human cellular biology and chemistry, which are foundational for an understanding of normal and pathological processes in humans.

NU 224 Nursing Skills for the Journey: 3 semester hours

This course provides theoretical and clinical application content for nursing skills. Students will have the opportunity for hands-on experiences, working independently and closely with faculty and peers learning from a variety of teaching methodologies. Upon completion of this course students will be expected to perform selected nursing skills safely and accurately under the direct supervision in the clinical setting. Equipped with skills and knowledge, students are empowered to continue their journey with confidence and competence. Prerequisites: 75 hour CNA course, NU 232, and BI 274.

NU 230 Pharmacotherapeutics: 3 semester hours

This course provides an introduction to the broad field of pharmacology. Several concepts will be covered with particular emphasis on pharmacotherapeutics, the use of drugs for therapeutic purposes. Major drug groups will be addressed in relation to specific drug prototypes, actions, therapeutic and adverse effects, uses, interactions, contraindications, methods of administration, and consumer information. Principles of safe administration of medications, including drug calculations, will be reinforced. In addition, drug effects on specific populations will be addressed. Prerequisite: NU 224 and NU 232. Co-requisite or prerequisite of NU 240 and NU 260 or permission of the College of Nursing Clinical, Admission, Progression, and Graduation Committee.

NU 232 Holistic Human Assessment: 4 semester hours

This course is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform assessments of humans as holistic persons. Lecture will provide theory to guide the students in developing subjective and objective assessment skills. Clinical application in the acute care setting will focus on assessment, communication and nursing skills. Prerequisite: admission to major.

NU 240 Disease Paths: 4 semester hours

Pathophysiology is the study of altered physiological functioning caused by disease. This course provides an overview of the biologic basis for disease in adults and children. The focus will be on the etiological factors, pathogenesis, and clinical manifestations of altered physiological processes. Students will examine how altered physiological functioning impacts the individual's personal journey. Prerequisites: NU 232, NU 224, and BI 274.

NU 242 Concepts in Baccalaureate Nursing Education: 4 semester hours

This course is designed for RN-BSN students seeking a baccalaureate degree with a major in nursing. The purpose of the course is to provide a transition between the student’s basic nursing education, associate degree or diploma and baccalaureate nursing education. Students will explore the philosophy of nursing along with studying the current issues in nursing practice and nursing education. Prerequisite: Current and valid RN licensure. This course is a prerequisite to all other RN to BSN nursing courses.

NU 260 Pathways to Professional Nursing: 5 semester hours

This course facilitates the integration of knowledge for the liberal arts, sciences and nursing as the foundation for the professional nursing practice. A variety of clinical experiences within the health care environment will be encountered as the students journey across the threshold toward professional nursing. Prerequisites: NU 224 and NU 232.

NU 320 Essentials of Nutrition: 2 semester hours

This course will provide the student with essential foundational nutrition background and the knowledge necessary for evaluation of the nutritional status of clients across the lifespan. This course will focus on nutritional applications and intervention for health promotion and disease/illness. Prerequisites: NU 224, NU 232, NU 240, and NU 260. Coerequisite: NU 232.

NU 330 Beginnings: Maternal Newborn Nursing: 3 semester hours

This course focuses on the nursing care of families as they journey through the childbearing experiences. Junior level nursing students are introduced to the normal process of pregnancy and delivery in addition to typical complications. Knowledge acquired from this course and previous learning experiences is applied in health care settings. Prerequisites: NU 224, NU 232, NU 240 and NU 260.

NU 332 Challenges Along the Journey: Nursing Interventions for Clients with Mental Illness: 3 semester hours

Proposed change: This course is designed to prepare the student to provide competent nursing care to patients experiencing mental illness. Concepts will include etiological theories, diagnostic terminology and criteria, and therapeutic nursing interventions. Therapeutic use of self and the nursing process are utilized in providing care to individuals with mental illness in a variety of settings. Prerequisites: NU 224, NU 230, NU 232, NU 240 and NU 260.

NU 350 Challenges Along the Journey: Interventions for Core Body System Alterations: 6 semester hours

This course will prepare students to meet the challenges associated with caring for adults and children experiencing acute and chronic illnesses involving core body systems. Nursing interventions for persons across the lifespan will be a central theme. Emphasis will be placed on assessing how illness impacts the holistic being as well as end-of-life, and the use of evidenced based practice in the clinical setting. The focus will be on nursing interventions for persons with alterations involving the respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, genital/reproductive, and gastrointestinal systems, as well as those interventions required for persons experiencing multi-system failure. Interventions will be discussed in theory, applied in case scenarios, and in clinical settings. Prerequisites: NU 224, NU 230, NU 232, NU 240, and NU 260.

NU 352 Challenges Along the Journey: Intervention for Alterations in Regulatory and Protective Mechanisms: 6 semester hours

This course will prepare students to meet the challenges associated with providing holistic care for adults and children experiencing acute and chronic illnesses involving alteration in regulatory and protective mechanisms. The initial focus will be on health promotion, growth and development, children’s response to illness, and family support. Nursing interventions for persons across the lifespan will be a central theme. The clinical judgment skills required to prioritize and delegate care appropriately will be introduced and then integrated throughout the course. Interventions for persons with fluid, electrolyte and acid-base imbalance, impaired immunity, infection, and cancer, as well as those required for alterations in the endocrine, renal, and musculoskeletal systems will be included. Interventions will be addressed in theory and applied in case scenarios and/or a variety of clinical settings. Prerequisites: NU 224, NU 230, NU 232, NU 240 and NU 260.

NU 360 Nursing Clinical Internship: 1 semester hour

This elective course will provide nursing students with oversight by a Mount Mercy faculty member while they participate in an established internship offered by a health care facility in Iowa. The student will be permitted to perform as a nursing student during the internship starting at the Junior level under the supervision of the clinical agency staff. Students will be expected to apply for the internship on their own and verify that they have been accepted by the clinical agency.

NU 404 Nursing Program: 6 semester hours

Escrow credits for RN-BSN Program.

NU 405 Nursing Program: 6.5 semester hours

Escrow credits for RN-BSN Program.

NU 406 Nursing Program: 6.5 semester hours

Escrow credits for RN-BSN Program.

NU 411 Professional Preparation: 1 semester hour

The course will help students to gain an understanding of the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) test plan, recommended testing and study strategies, anxiety-reduction techniques, and the overall licensure procedure. It involves activities to assist students in their preparation for their professional roles as registered nurses and for successful completion of the NCLEX-RN. Students will work with the faculty to develop and carry out individual plans to prepare for the exam. They will be introduced to the responsibilities associated with obtaining and maintaining a professional license and communicating with professional licensing boards and organizations. To be completed in the final semester of the nursing program.

NU 425 Pathophysiology, Assessment & Genetics RNs: 3 semester hours

Building on the educational foundation and experiences of the registered nurse student this course focuses on pathological and genetic conditions encountered in clinical assessment and practice across the life span. Emphasis is placed on regulatory and compensatory mechanisms as they relate to commonly occurring diseases. Specific disease processes are examined incorporating the role of development physiology, embryologic, genetic, and environmental factors in the epidemiology of disease.

NU 441 Independent Study: 1 semester hour

Independent studies are open to students applying to the nursing major and whose qualifications and academic achievements meet with faculty approval.

NU 442 Independent Study: 2 semester hours

Independent studies are open to students applying to the nursing major and whose qualifications and academic achievements meet with faculty approval.

NU 443 Independent Study: 3 semester hours

Independent studies are open to students applying to the nursing major and whose qualifications and academic achievements meet with faculty approval.

NU 465 Integrating the Journey: Complex Concepts and Clinical Immersion: 6 semester hours

This course supports the transition from nursing student to the role of professional nurse in an immersion experience in a clinical setting. The student, working with a registered nurse (RN) preceptor, develops clinical judgment skills to prioritize and delegate care for multiple patents. This course integrates evidence, collaboration with the interprofessional team, and the person’s perspectives in planning, implementing, and evaluating outcomes of care. There is an emphasis in quality and safety in caring for clients with multiple systems pathologies and /or critical incidents. Prerequisites: NU 230, NU 320, NU 330, NU 350, NU 352.

NU 470 Extending the Journey: Population Based Nursing: 3 semester hours

This course engages students to focus on population based nursing and community health, through local, state, regional, national, & global health perspectives. Population health management will include systems thinking, crisis preparedness, and collaborative partnerships to address vulnerable population needs and achieve equitable population health outcomes. Prerequisite: Prelicensure nursing students: NU 224, NU 230, NU 232, NU 240 and NU 260; Prerequisite or co-requisite of NU 350 or NU 352.

NU 471 Professional Aspects of Nursing: 4 semester hours

This course is organized around issues that are key to the success of professional nurses in today’s constantly changing health care environment. Course content will address leadership and management, evidence-based practice, professional development, legal issues, quality & safety and current trends and issues in nursing. Prerequisite: Prelicensure nursing students: NU 224, NU 230, NU 232, NU 240, and NU 260; Prerequisite or co-requisite of NU 350 or NU 352. RN-BSN Prerequisites: NU 242, NU 230.

NU 472 RN-BSN Practicum Seminar: 3 semester hours

The course focuses on the clinical application of various skills covered in the RN-BSN courses. Clinical experiences will provide opportunities for application of population and community health concepts in community health settings and the application of leadership, management, professional development, legal issues, and evidence-based practice in a variety of professional settings. Prerequisites: NU 470 and NU 471.

Graduate in as little as two years

At Mount Mercy University, we recognize that every individual’s path to education is different. That’s why we believe each student’s curriculum plan should be built with your experience and goals in mind.

Whether you’re an 18-year-old entering college for the first time, an established adult looking for a career change, or a practicing nurse hoping to advance your skill set—we can build a path tailored for you.

We offer a two-year curriculum plan for students who have the appropriate credits and experience, as well as a three-and-a-half-year and traditional four-year plan.

Mount Mercy also offers a Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice. Students pursuing their BSN can begin taking master’s-level courses during their fourth-year—smoothly transitioning into our MSN after graduation.

Nursing degree admission options

Admission into Mount Mercy’s nursing degree program is competitive. Annually, 93 students are accepted into the nursing program. Students interested in Mount Mercy’s nursing bachelor’s degree program have two options.

BSN Early Admission

BSN Early Admission to Mount Mercy’s nursing program is designed for high-achieving students. The policy allows early acceptance into Mount Mercy’s Bachelor of Science of Nursing program and the ability to complete the major in 3.5 years. Students must satisfactorily complete nursing pre-requisite requirements to proceed into the nursing degree program.

  • Incoming Freshmen
  • High school GPA of 3.5 on a scale of 4.0, at the time of your application. (The GPA requirement must be maintained through graduation from high school and your final official high school transcript must be submitted to Mount Mercy University.)
  • Minimum ACT score of 25 or SAT of 1200
  • To complete MMU's program in 3.5 years, it is encourages that students complete a minimum of 12 college credits (community college, AP, IB, or CLEP credits) during their high school career.
  • To continue as a nursing major, student must satisfy pre-requisites.

  • Apply and be admitted to Mount Mercy prior to March 1.
  • Complete the Early Admission Application by March 1.
    • As part of the application, you will be asked to complete a 200-word essay on "What influenced you to pursue a career in nursing? Where do you see yourself in five years?"
  • Submit your $200 enrollment deposit by April 1 to guarantee your spot.

BSN Standard Admission

Incoming freshmen not meeting early admission requirements are eligible for BSN standard admission. Standard admission allows students to begin nursing pre-requisites directly during their freshmen year and granted admission into the nursing program upon satisfactory completion of nursing pre-requisites.

Transfer students should contact the admission office during their freshmen year to learn about pre-requisite requirements.

BSN Early Admission is a great opportunity for students to get a jump start on their education and career. We look forward to continuing to develop outstanding caregivers and the health care leaders of tomorrow.

What are the next steps?

Mount Mercy offers competitive tuition and generous scholarships.

We also encourage all students to apply for federal, state, and other kinds of financial assistance.

Learn more about:

We make it easy by accepting applications year-round! No deadline, no fee, no pressure.

  1. Create your application
  2. Apply under standard admissions criteria or go "test optional"
  3. Request official transcripts from all institutions previously attended. Mail to:

* Mount Mercy University Admissions
  1330 Elmhurst Drive NE
  Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402

* If you are applying for an accelerated program, please mail to "Accelerated Programs"

For more detailed instructions on how to apply, see our Admissions page.