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Frequently Asked Questions About the Nursing Dual Degree

I am a prospective UH student and would like to schedule a visit to learn more about this program. Who should I contact?

Visits with our office and staff are arranged by the Honors College Recruitment Staff, who can schedule a campus tour as well as a visit to our office and other programs offered by the Honors College. To request an individual visit, simply go here.

The Honors College also hosts larger Senior Open House events throughout the school year, and you can find more info and the scheduled dates for these events here.

What is the UH-UTHealth School of Nursing Dual Degree program?

This program is the result of a partnership between the UTHealth School of Nursing (UTSON), the UH College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences (CLASS), and the Honors College at the University of Houston. It is designed to award eligible students two Bachelor’s degrees in about five years: the first few years are spent on coursework for a Bachelor’s degree in the major of your choice, and then, around year four, the transition is made to completing coursework for a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree for the remaining two years. Here is a quick example:

Typical 5 year plan for Nursing Dual Degree:
Year 1-UH coursework, UH degree
Year 2-UH coursework, UH degree
Year 3-UH coursework, UH degree
Apply to UTSON at the conclusion of the Fall semester in Year 3.
Year 4-UTSON coursework, UH AND UTSON degrees
        *transfer 30 hours UTSON credit back to UH after year 4
Year 5-UTSON coursework, graduate from both UH and UTSON at end of year 5
.

What are the benefits of belonging to this program?

The program allows first time in college (FTIC) students entering UH to complete both a bachelor’s degree from UH and a bachelor’s degree from UT after five years (150 semester credit hours, or ten semesters) of study. As a result of the gifted and talented nature of our cohort UTSON reserves up to 25% of their seats in each entering class for those students participating in the UH-UTSON dual degree program.

Is this program the only route into nursing school offered at UH?

No, not at all: this is an academically intensive program for a cohort of highly motivated students but it is by no means the only pathway to success. Students apply to nursing school in many different ways. Some apply as soon as they have completed the required nursing school pre-requisite coursework and take the standardized nursing entry examination to a nursing school. Others pursue nursing as a second degree -- see, for example, the post-baccalaureate programs offered by UH’s own School of Nursing. If you are considering a career in nursing but for whatever reason do not think the UH-UTSON dual degree program is a good fit for you, then please know that UH offers support for all pre-health professionals (including pre-nurses) through Pre-Health advisor Sandy Pricer.

What are the eligibility requirements for the program?

First, it’s important to note that only FTIC (First Time in College) students at UH are eligible for the dual degree program. FTIC students are defined as “recent high school graduates enrolled at UH as freshmen who did not transfer into the University after attending a community college or other post-secondary institution.”

To put it more simply, to be eligible for the program, if you have already graduated high school by the time of application to UH, you must not have taken any non-UH college coursework after high school.

Students in the Nursing Dual Degree are also required to choose a major from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

In addition, as of Spring 2017 all students wishing to enter the dual degree program must be accepted to the Honors College at the University of Houston.

Lastly, there are a number of specific requirements for a student to be eligible for and remain in the program over time. This program is geared towards high-performing students ready for a full course-load of at least 30 credit hours per year (at least 15 hours each for Fall and Spring semesters). All nursing pre-requisites (see page 2 of the document for course numbers specific to UH) for the UT-Health School of Nursing must be completed within the 3 years at UH. Finally, the minimum 3.5 cumulative and 3.0 science GPA requirement translates to an average somewhere between a B+ and A- for all coursework, so it’s important to honestly consider your academic readiness for a rigorous program such as this.

How do I apply for admission to the Honors College?

Follow this link for more information about the College, including how to apply. As of Spring 2017 all students wishing to enter the dual degree program must be accepted to the Honors College at the University of Houston.

Can I use my dual or AP credits?

You may not use dual or AP credit for any math or science pre-requisite courses required by UTSON. Dual and AP credits for math and science of course can be very helpful in preparing you for your UH science and math coursework – but again, these courses must be completed at UH.

You may, however, use AP or dual credit to cover non-math and non-science pre-requisites, as well Texas Core requirements. 

What about transfer credits once I’ve begun coursework at UH? Can I take certain courses, say, over the summer at a community college after my freshman year?

Once you have begun coursework at UH, do know that ALL remaining coursework towards those first 90 hours of your first UH bachelor’s degree MUST be from UH. A major part of the agreement between UH and UTSON regarding this dual degree program is that we send only our most accomplished, prepared, motivated, and high-performing students to UTSON, and one major way of insuring this is by having students only take courses at UH. As we obviously have no control over coursework at other institutions, we also cannot accept transfer credit from other institutions for this program. Students who prefer to utilize transfer credits from other schools to apply to a nursing program as a general applicant may of course do so, but this will also make them no longer eligible for the Nursing Dual Degree and its benefits.

What are the benefits of completing one bachelor’s degree before doing a second degree Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing? Can’t I simply do the pre-requisite coursework before applying to nursing school?

While some students may prefer to only do pre-requisite coursework before applying to nursing school, participation in the the Nursing Dual Degree does require the completion of coursework for two bachelor’s degrees in the span of five years. Various students do have different priorities, of course, and many students do indeed go on to rewarding nursing careers after simply doing the nursing pre-requisite coursework and applying to nursing school from there.

However, we believe that pursuing a bachelor’s degree before attending nursing school gives students a more well-rounded education that will not only meet the minimum requirements to get them into nursing school, but also prepares them to face challenges and fully succeed while there as well: to have instilled in them the critical thinking skills, study habits, discipline, and greater knowledge and understandings that upper-level coursework in a bachelor’s degree will offer before the rigors of nursing school. Also, if you are considering further career plans beyond what a bachelor’s nursing will offer (such as Advanced Practice, or becoming a Professor/Ph.D. in Nursing) then this first bachelor’s degree will serve as a strong foundation for such further studies.

Or, if for any reason in the midst of your studies you decide to make a change in your planned career, by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from the beginning you will also still be able to easily transition and adapt to this new career path while still completing a degree — whereas, for example, focusing only on pre-req coursework will of course only leave you with many lower-level credits if your career plans no longer include nursing school.

Lastly, even outside of the Nursing Dual Degree, not pursuing a bachelor’s degree before nursing school can limit your options in terms of schools you may apply to. For example, UH’s own School of Nursing (among others) actually requires a bachelor’s degree before admission, while schools like UT-H School of Nursing accept applications from students with only pre-reqs — but those applications are also part of an applicant pool that includes students applying with full bachelor’s degrees as well.

So again, there are numerous pathways to nursing, and what is most important of course is for you to find which one best suits you, both for now and for your professional future.

I’m eligible! Do I need to apply, and how do I get started with the program?

Beginning in Spring 2017, students admtted to UH must also be accepted into the Honors College at the University of Houston in order to enter the Nursing Dual Degree Program. You can apply for the Honors College at the same time as you apply to UH by checking the relevant box on your online application. (See UH’s general admission requirements.) Although you are strongly encouraged to major in Liberal Studies if you are pursuing the dual degree track as this is the degree plan best suited to the shortened time you will be on campus at UH, you may choose any major offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Once your acceptance to the Honors College has been confirmed, please contact Dr. Aaron Reynolds to discuss your interest in the Nursing Dual Degree as well as your future professional plans and goals. You can book an appointment with him online here.

This meeting/discussion is not only required so that we can get to know you and your plans/goals better, but also so that we can track your progress and be ready to certify you as qualified for the program after thirty hours of coursework.

What if I don’t meet the FTIC status, GPA, semester hour, or Honors College membership requirements? Can I still go to nursing school?

Instead of the five year (3+2) dual degree plan, you will complete a four-year bachelor’s degree that will prepare you to apply to the Nursing School programs of your choice. In short, you are still pursuing the same undergraduate path to an eventual Nursing degree. You are encouraged to make sure that you have completed the pre-requisites for your desired school but all students with competitive GPAs and test scores on the standardized nursing exam are encouraged to apply to nursing school. If you are not part of the dual degree program and you still want to apply to UTSON for their BSN track then you will be considered as part of the UTSON’s general pool of applicants. 

If you decide to just do the 2 years of nursing school pre-requisite coursework, you will not be in any specific pre-nursing program with preferential admission, and you should choose Exploratory Studies (or undecided/undeclared) as your major, and visit the UH Pre-Health Advising website for guidance regarding the pre-requisite-only track.

What will happen if I do not successfully complete my first year at UTSON?

If for some reason you do not successfully complete your first 30 semester hours at UTSON, you may continue to complete your UH bachelor’s degree, although you must do so under the usual rules of the college and university requirements with none of the exemptions and waivers provided by the dual degree program. For example, if your degree is in Liberal Studies, then you would simply pursue your final minor and other requirements to complete your bachelor’s degree following the conditions laid down by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and UH. For more on the Liberal Studies degree, click here.

How will financial aid and housing work once I begin coursework at UTSON? Can I still handle these through UH?

Once you begin coursework at UT-Health, you are now a student there, so you will need to designate UT-Health as your primary institution for matters of financial aid and scholarships. Similarly, as you are no longer taking courses at UH by this point, you will no longer be eligible for UH campus housing, so you will want to be making new living arrangements ahead of time before beginning at UT-Health. You will of course eventually be transferring UT-Health credits back to UH to complete your UH degree, but beyond that, for all intents and purposes you are a UT-Health students once you begin their nursing program.

Can I simply complete my nursing pre-requisite coursework, apply to nursing schools, and then, if I don’t get accepted, continue with my degree coursework and apply to UTSON still as a Nursing Dual Degree student?

Nursing Dual Degree students who apply to any nursing program before they are set to complete the required 90 hours of coursework towards intended for a UH degree will no longer be eligible for the Nursing Dual Degree program.

The timeline and conditions of the Nursing Dual Degree are all part of an agreement between UH and UTSON so that we send only our most accomplished, prepared, motivated, and educated students to UTSON. To put it another way, those special reserved spots set aside for qualified Nursing Dual Degree students at UTSON represent an investment and assurance that students will be highly successful in completing both their UH and UTSON bachelor’s degrees. Therefore, students may certainly opt out of this program and its benefits at any time, but such a decision needs to be final.

What major should I choose?

Regarding what major you should pursue for your first Bachelor’s degree before beginning the BSN, you may choose any major in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, though we strongly recommend majoring in Liberal Studies – also known as the “triple-minor” major. Here is a link to the Liberal Studies Programs website. 

If you wish to declare Liberal Studies as your major, simply email Liberal Studies advisor Kelly Moore.

What are the benefits of choosing the B.A. in Liberal Studies as my major?

If you choose the Liberal Studies B.A. as your major and remain eligible for the dual degree program, the third minor and foreign language requirements will be waived – this is because you will be continuing on to coursework at UTSON your fourth year. Thus, on the dual degree track you simply need to complete the requirements for the Texas Core, the Liberal Studies major, 2 College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences minors of your choice, and the nursing school pre-requisites (and any additional Honors requirements if applicable).

HOWEVER, if you become ineligible for continuation in the program – because of, say, a below-3.5 GPA – the above waivers will no long apply, and you will simply continue on with the traditional four year degree plan and requirements for the Liberal Studies major. 

Can I do a B.S. in Liberal Studies instead of a B.A.? Shouldn’t I be doing a bachelor’s of science? What’s the difference between a B.A. and B.S. here?

The main difference between a B.A. and a B.S. in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences is that while a B.A. has a foreign language requirement, the B.S. instead requires further math coursework. As noted in the question above, the Nursing Dual Degree program is able to waive that foreign language requirement – but if you choose to pursue a B.S. instead, no waiver is in place for the extra math courses, and you will be required to complete them along with the remaining degree/pre-requisite requirements. For this reason, we recommend doing a B.A. for your UH degree as part of this program.

If your concern is that you wish to have a B.S. for a science-related field such as nursing, remember of course that at UTSON, you will in fact be getting a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) so that goal will be reached there.

If I declare the recommended Liberal Studies major, what 2 minors should I choose?

Although both minors must be from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS), you have a lot of flexibility in choosing what you want to study!

Click here for a complete list of the minors that students in the Nursing Dual Degree may choose from.

Do you recommend foreign language minors?

Foreign language minors are only recommended for students who enter UH with either substantial dual credit or for students who can place into the intermediate level or higher, via placement testing. Foreign language minors require many hours of higher-level coursework and can take longer to complete, which may delay your completion of the program and graduation. 

How does the Medicine & Society office factor into the dual degree or 3+2 program? Do I have to be a Medicine & Society student?

After 30 hours coursework, we do a certification process where we will review your GPA to determine continued eligibility for the program. You must have a 3.5 cumulative GPA and a 3.0 science and math (nursing pre-reqs only) GPA to remain eligible. All Math and Science pre-requisite courses must also be taken at UH.

If you are certified after completion of 30 hours, you will have priority registration for future semesters. You also go into a separate applicant pool to UTSON, who is guaranteeing admission to eligible dual degree students (UTSON has additional admission requirements that you must meet as well). You would then start the UTSON degree after completing a minimum of 90 hours of your UH degree (or all of your major requirements, whichever is greater). We would count the first 30 hours from the UTSON degree toward the UH 120 hour requirement so you would be completing 2 degrees in less time, with fewer hours. Again, see the typical example below:

Typical 5 year plan for Nursing Dual Degree:
Year 1-UH coursework, UH degree
Year 2-UH coursework, UH degree
Year 3-UH coursework, UH degree
Apply to UTSON at the conclusion of the Fall semester in Year 3.
Year 4-UTSON coursework, UH AND UTSON degrees
        *transfer 30 hours UTSON credit back to UH after year 4
Year 5-UTSON coursework, graduate from both UH and UTSON at end of year 5
.

As advising for this program is based out of the Medicine & Society office, we of course encourage you to consider the Medicine & Society minor to help you get that well-rounded education that health professions schools emphasize today. You can find out more about Medicine & Society (including a link for declaring the minor) by going here

Please note that while based out of the Honors College, the Medicine & Society minor is open to all UH undergraduates – and even if you choose not to pursue this minor, students planning to pursue a nursing degree are still encouraged to get academic and professional advising from the Medicine & Society office.

Can I still come to the Medicine & Society office for academic and career advising, regardless of my eligibility or involvement with the Nursing Dual Degree program?

Whether you're part of the dual degree program or following the traditional 4-year track, you are strongly encouraged to meet with us in the Medicine & Society office for Pre-Health Professions advising, course recommendations, and so on.