Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the most common pace that students take to complete this program? What is
considered full-time or part-time?
Our RN to BSN program is very flexible. Most of our students are working full-time
so the most common pace is to take 1-2 courses a semester. However, students are not
locked into taking a certain number of courses every semester. They can choose to
increase or decrease the number of courses they are taking a semester without these
choices affecting their progression in the program. To qualify for financial aid,
undergraduate students need to be taking at least 6 credits a semester, which usually
consists of 2 courses. If undergraduate students take 12 credits a semester, they
are considered full-time students.
- Do I have to take courses in a certain order or sequence?
Yes, there is a suggested sequence, but it is possible for some variation to meet
the needs of individual students. A suggested sequence is posted on the website under
the link “RN to BSN Schedule Options”. This sequence is designed to provide students
with the appropriate preparation for each course. If you want to take courses outside
of the suggested sequence, you should check with your advisor to see if your plan
- Are all the courses offered only online?
No, the program is also offered in a mixed delivery format (see # 4) at some geographic
locations when there are enough students to offer the courses in this format. However,
the online option is by far the most popular format, with close to 400 students enrolled
in the online courses.
- What is meant by the term “mixed” or “blended” delivery?
This means that a course is offered face to face on designated dates at an off-campus
site with the rest of the course meeting online. This will vary from course to course,
but at least half of the class meetings take place online in this kind of format.
The BSN Schedule Options & Current Sites link can be accessed from the website and
will reflect all the current and proposed sites where mixed delivery is an option.
- How do I know if online learning is right for me? Is it easier than face-to-face?
If you would like to know if online classes are right for you, you can review the
information and complete the online skills assessment at Ferris Online. Online learning is time-intensive for both faculty and students. Although there is
more flexibility in the online learning environment, it is not easier than a face-to-face
class. Instead, learning is different where students are more accountable for and
directive of their learning and faculty are facilitators to guide students in meeting
their learning needs. It is important for students to learn effective time-management
strategies to guide them in this new, flexible environment. Prior to the start of
each fall or spring semester, an orientation program is provided in designated regions
of the state to help students acclimate to online learning. Students are urged to
participate in one of these sessions if they have not enrolled in an online course
- If I start taking courses in a mixed delivery format, can I move to the fully online
Yes, the program is designed to allow for this kind of flexibility.
- Do I have to own a computer in order to enroll in this program?
Yes, or at the very least, you need to have daily access to a computer. Whether you
are in a fully online or a blended/mixed delivery course, you will need frequent computer
access to be successful in this program. See Connection Speed information and the Technology Assistance Center website for further information regarding technology and support available for our
online students almost 24/7.
- How many hours can I expect to have to commit each week to each course? Can I manage
taking 2 courses at a time?
In online learning, students need to think differently about the total amount of time
they spend completing a course. Success in a traditional classroom-based course often
requires 3 hours of classroom time each week, travel time, and perhaps 7 to 10 additional
hours for reading, research, and projects, the total time may remain the same in online
courses but be distributed differently. In online learning, there are usually increased
student-student and student-faculty electronic communication as well as an individualized
time schedule for the student to complete the online learning assignments. Whether
students can take 1 or more courses concurrently really is an individual decision.
This decision is dependent upon the amount of hours the person is committed to work
a week and time outside of work that is dedicated to professional and personal activities.
Additionally, other responsibilities such as caring for an ill-parent or child, will
determine how much coursework a person can manage at one time. Finally, there is personal
perception. What one person may feel is manageable, may not feel manageable to another
- What if I find I cannot take any courses for a semester or two?
If conditions arise where students cannot take courses for a semester, they should
communicate with their advisor so a plan is in place for continuation. Most courses
are offered every semester online, which makes it easy to continue the program after
an interruption. If students do not take courses for more than one semester, it is
a university requirement that they will need to reapply for admission to the university.
This can easily be done online by filling out another application. As with the original
application, there is no fee.
- If I select the online program will I ever have to come to the Ferris State University
campus in Big Rapids or meet face-to-face?
There is a 4 hour orientation prior to starting the program which is delivered on
both the east and west sides of the state or offered virtually for those who are out-of-state
or have scheduling conflicts. This orientation provides students with the skills to
be able to access our FLITE library services from their computer; ability to meet
other students & the RN to BSN program coordinator and advisor; opportunity to learn
how to access and navigate FerrisConnect, the online learning platform; and ability
to receive additional information that will help them to be successful in the program.
Otherwise all of the Nursing courses are online. We do encourage students to attend
the graduation ceremony on campus upon completion, but it is not required.
- Can I transfer other undergraduate courses that I took elsewhere into the RN to BSN
When admitted, students can submit syllabi from previous graduate coursework to be
reviewed and considered for transfer credit allocation. These courses must be able
to be substituted for courses within the RN to BSN program curriculum in order to
meet degree requirements. Not all transfer courses will necessarily apply to the program.
A minimum of 30 credits of the total 120 program credits must be from FSU.
- Do I need to take courses that are not in the nursing major?
Yes. There are 26 nursing (NURS) credits in this program. In addition, students must
meet the general education requirements for the BS degree from Ferris. Much of the
coursework from the basic ADN or Diploma program will meet degree some of those requirements.
However, students must fulfill general education requirements in areas outside of
the nursing major: Communication, Scientific Understanding, Social Awareness, Cultural
Enrichment and Mathematics. Most basic nursing programs include some but not all of
these requirements. In addition, students earning a BS degree must have at least 40
credits at the upper division level, which means course numbers at the 300 level or
higher. Students can complete remaining general education courses at Ferris or at
another institution. Students should always consult their advisor to be sure that
selected courses will fulfill the designated general education category.
- Are there any clinical courses in this program?
There are no traditional “clinical” courses in the program. However, the last course
you will take as part of the program capstone experience is NURS 495 Senior Capstone
Leadership Practicum. This is a project based leadership course that will require
you to take a leadership role in the completion of a project. This 4 credit course
requires a total of 120 hours for the project, with 90 of those hours as hands on
project work. You can learn more about this course by clicking on the “NURS 495 Senior
Capstone Leadership Practicum” link on the program website.
- Can I complete my practicum project at my current place of work?
Yes. However, the hours related to the project must occur outside of the student’s
regular work hours. The intent is for the student to take on the role of student and
active learner. If the student is in a work role with the responsibilities and accountability
related to that role, he or she does not have the freedom to be in the learner role.
- Do all of the required hours for the practicum project have to take place face-to-face
with my preceptor/mentor?
No. It is expected that there will be regular meetings with the preceptor/mentor but
that additional activities will take place away from these face-to-face meetings.
For example, if a student is leading a project in a hospital during their practicum,
he or she would probably create materials independently and then meet with the preceptor
- What does the portfolio requirement entail?
As part of the RN to BSN program graduation requirements, students must submit a professional
portfolio in NURS 450 Senior Capstone as they prepare for graduation. The framework
for this portfolio is developed in the first NURS course, NURS 320. Then, the student
continues to build his/her portfolio throughout the program that is reflective of
the student’s academic and experiential attainment of the program outcomes.
- What does the Service Learning requirement entail?
Service Learning is a form of practical experience that enhances learning in all areas
of a nursing program, and the experience of service learning reinforces the moral
and civic values inherent in serving others. The faculty view service learning as
an important component of the professional nursing program and, as such, you will
be required to complete these activities prior to graduation. The nursing faculty
at Ferris State University defines Service Learning as work done, or help provided,
for another or others by faculty, staff, and students. Such activities for the professional
nursing student will include documented service occurring outside assigned program
activities and those not required by their employer. This activity may involve service
to the community, University, or a health care institution or the nursing profession.
Such activity is expected to enhance their professional development and should be
related to health care.
- What about financial aid and / or scholarships?
Students should contact the financial aid office to discuss options for financial
aid awards. We offer scholarship opportunities as they are presented to our university,
however scholarships for students earning an advanced degree are less plentiful that
scholarships for students in their first degree program. As scholarships become available,
students who are eligible are notified by the School of Nursing. Students are also
encouraged to contact their professional organizations because there are many additional
scholarship opportunities available through state and national nursing organizations,
such as the Michigan Organization for Nurse Executives, Sigma Theta Tau International
and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses to name a few.
- Who should I contact if I have further questions about the RN to BSN program?
The initial contact person for all of our online or off campus programs is Debby Buck
in the College of Health Professions Student Academic Affairs Office. You can email
Debby at email@example.com. She will be able to assist you or direct you to the appropriate
Updated: June 12, 2013