Diploma of Nursing and Bachelor of Nursing

Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by

The Diploma of Nursing and the Bachelor of Nursing share a common curriculum with only some small variations. The Diploma is offered over 3 years, while the Bachelor takes an extra twelve months for students to develop advanced clinical skills and hone their knowledge in preparation for their chosen field (eg. adult emergency care, mental health nursing, or rural nursing). A Bachelor of Nursing is a highly sought-after qualification that can open a wide range of doors and give you access to a number of challenging and intriguing careers.

Getting the information on diploma of nursing vs bachelor of nursing, diploma in nursing requirements in the article below is an easy process.

Not just that, you will also discover related posts on list of nursing diploma programs, diploma in nursing fees on collegelearners.

Diploma of Nursing and Bachelor of Nursing

Difference Between Degree Nursing and Diploma Nursing


To become a registered nurse, you must complete an accredited training program that may or may not include an associate’s degree (ADN). You must also have passed the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s National Council Licensure Examination.


A BSN, or bachelor of science in nursing, requires completion of a four-year program unless you have earned your RN first, in which case you may be able to earn your bachelor’s in only two years.

It can take as little as one year to receive your RN diploma, so that’s a faster option for those looking to take a fast track to a nursing career. However, RNs have limited career advancement opportunities and they earn less than nurses with BSN degrees. For students who need to work full-time while earning their BSN degree online, however, it can make sense to earn an RN nursing diploma as a steppingstone to a BSN degree. RNs who work while pursuing their BSN degrees online are able to gain hands-on experience while at the same time continuing their education. This is also a good way to make sure nursing is the right career fit for you before you decide to commit to a longer BSN program.

Enrolling in a diploma program is beneficial to a wide range of individuals, from those just embarking on their higher education journey to those established in careers. Students working towards a diploma will generally find that they leave their schooling with a good balance of knowledge learned in the classroom and hands-on experience. What is a diploma in nursing? These programs help to prepare students for what could be extremely satisfying and rewarding work in the field of nursing. Diploma seekers cultivate their desire to help others through the completion of courses with a general focus on health and wellness, confidentiality, privacy and workplace safety. Sometimes specific areas of nursing, such as rehabilitation and community, are included in the course selection. Graduates with this diploma will likely find benefits both outside of their jobs and at work, thanks to learning how to communicate and work effectively with patients and other professionals. They may also develop skills to keep accurate patient records and use and understand medical terminology.

Considering a Diploma of Nursing and Bachelor of Nursing and don’t know what it entails, be it the List of Nursing diploma programs or Diploma in Nursing or even Diploma Nursing qualification, you are definitely in the right path.

what is a diploma nursing program

A nursing diploma degree is usually a one to three-year course of study, depending upon the institution, which prepares a student nurse for entry-level nursing positions. Curriculum covers prerequisite courses prior to the start of the nursing coursework, the nursing-specific courses include:

  • clinical practice
  • basic pharmacology
  • nursing informatics
  • elements of patient care
  • introduction to patient care specialties
  • psych nursing
  • lifespan nursing concepts (infant, child, adult, family, geriatric)
  • psychology/sociology
  • and much more

diploma in nursing requirements

Even though the application requirements for a Bachelor’s in Nursing differ per university and per country, there are some general expectations you can have of what you’d need to get into one of these studies.

Required documents

When applying to a study, there’s a whole lot of documents you’ll need. Some examples are:

  • Official transcript of records (grade list)
  • GPA scores
  • A resume with relevant experience in the field of Nursing
  • Letters of recommendation from past teachers or employers
  • A letter of motivation or personal essay
  • Proof that you paid the application fee (if there is one)

You will be able to find the full list of required documents on the university website or in the application itself.

Grade requirements

The grade requirements for a degree will often depend on how prestigious or highly ranked the university is. These are some grade requirements you may run into when applying for a Nursing degree abroad:

  • GPA: 3 or higher on the US 4.0 grading scale
  • A levels: AAB – ABB
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL
  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6
  • ATAR: 71 or higher
  • 104-112 points to include 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 32 points from a Science or Social Science subject
  • A “B” average or better in secondary school

According to Health Education England, Nursing degrees are the UK’s most employable type of degree. Because the healthcare in the UK is quite advanced, many students choose to study there. Bear in mind, though, that some universities in the UK have very early deadlines. Prepare your application for schools such as Oxford and Cambridge well in advance so that you don’t run into any last-minute trouble.

Nurse serves lunch to senior man

English language requirements

When studying abroad, most people will do so in English. That does mean that since universities want to make sure every student can keep up with the language, they have language requirements in place in their application procedure.

The requirements, again, will differ per university, but here are some examples of requirements you can expect when applying for a Nursing degree abroad:

  • IELTS: a score of 6.5 to 7 or above, with at least 6.5 in the writing section and at least 7 in the reading, listening and speaking sections
  • TOEFL iBT: a score of 75 to 90 or above, with possible minimum scores for the separate sections as well
  • PTE Academic: a score of 44 to 61 and above
  • Cambridge English C1 Advanced (formerly CAE) or Cambridge English C2 Proficiency (formerly CPE): a score of around 176 or above

All requirements are listed on the university website, which is often also where you’ll be able to send in your application. Be sure to check this website and find their specific requirements. The above numbers are only averages, after all.


Because a diploma program is hospital-based the emphasis in most cases is on patient or clinical practice and care. Keep this in mind when you’re shopping for a school. You will spend a great deal of time working in a position as nurse or nursing assistant while you earn your degree.

A common misconception is that the nursing diploma is somehow subordinate to an Associates degree or doesn’t carry similar weight. Again the institution determines the scope of the study, from one to three years, but in most cases you are adequately prepared and urged to take the NCLEX licensure exam for your Registered Nurse license at the completion of the degree program. AND you’re ready to hit the ground running in a variety of patient care settings as a working and skillful RN.

Advantages to Nursing Degree Programs

Earning a nursing degree can lead to employment in many different healthcare settings. Regardless of the specific degree level, these programs teach students how to adequately care for their patients through best practices and research-driven skills training. Learners in advanced degree programs may also focus their knowledge in specializations, such as mental health and addictions, geriatrics, or pediatrics.

Nursing Certifications

Nursing certifications help practicing nurses demonstrate their advanced, specialized knowledge about working with a particular illness/disease or population. Students can pursue certification at every level, but nurse practitioners (NPs) most commonly become certified in specific areas.

Specific patient populations include families and individuals across the lifespan, acute or primary adult-gerontology care, women’s health, neonatal, acute or primary pediatric care, and psychiatric/mental health.

NP specialties and certifications include options such as emergency medicine, palliative care, surgery, and research. Individuals interested in pursuing certifications should check with their state board of nursing and local/online colleges to understand which types they can pursue locally.

Entry Level Nursing Degree Programs

Students can pursue diplomas, certificates, and associate degrees to earn entry-level nursing degrees. Each qualification leads to different jobs. Learners can often complete diplomas and certificates in as little as a year, while an associate-level program requires two years of full-time study. Graduates must take and pass the NCLEX examination before they can begin practicing.

Diploma in Nursing Program

Schools, hospitals, and other training facilities typically feature nursing diploma programs, which take 1-3 years to complete. These programs cover foundational topics in the discipline, including lifespan nursing concepts, foundations of patient care, anatomy and physiology, and introductory pharmacology.

Associate Degree in Nursing

An associate degree in nursing (ADN), generally offered by community colleges and technical/vocational schools, typically takes two years of full-time study to complete. These programs explore applications of basic nursing skills, population health and education concepts, nursing practice concepts, and developmental psychology.

Licensed Practical Nurse

Schools offer licensed practical nurse (LPN) training programs through diplomas and certificates, typically taking one year to complete. Requirements vary by educational institution but commonly include pharmacology for nurses, fundamentals of practical nursing, and mental health nursing.

Bridge Nursing Degree Programs
Bridge programs

help nurses who already possess diplomas, certificates, or ADNs to complete bachelor’s-level degrees in a shorter amount of time. Building on knowledge already gained through previous education, these programs take less time to complete than a standalone bachelor’s program. Most require 1-4 years, depending on the student’s education level.

Coursework covers community-based nursing, transitioning to professional nursing, health assessment, and nursing research. Each enrollee must also complete a clinical experience, which often takes place at the student’s current place of employment.

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Programs

Earning bachelor’s degrees in nursing allows graduates to work as RNs and earn higher salaries than their colleagues with ADN, diploma, or certificate qualifications. After meeting all academic and clinical requirements, graduates must also pass the NCLEX-RN examination to receive licensure in their state.

Students can pursue BSNs in several different formats to align with their varying amounts of education experience. Programs usually last 1-4 years, and degree-seekers can pursue accelerated BSN programs to graduate more quickly.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

BSNs appeal to first-time students who know they want to work as an RN. These degrees require four years of full-time study, though accelerated options also exist. Courses commonly covered include nursing anatomy and physiology, nursing informatics, statistics for evidence-based practice, and microbiology. Learners must also complete a clinical requirement and seek licensure in their state before practicing.

LPN-to-BSN Programs

LPN-to-BSN bridge programs build on existing knowledge and typically take 24-36 months to complete. These differ from traditional BSN programs by allowing learners to skip some foundational courses already taken to complete clinical requirements at their current place of work. LPN-to-BSN programs explore foundations of nursing practice, nursing management of health problems, genetics and molecular therapeutics, and nutrition for clinical practice.

RN-to-BSN Programs

RN-to-BSN programs serve the needs of learners who already possess ADNs but want to take their careers to the next level. These programs usually require two years of full-time study, but some schools offer accelerated options. Common courses explore mental health nursing, advanced nursing practices for acute/chronic care, nursing care for the elderly, and community health nursing. Students typically complete their clinicals at their places of employment.

Master’s Degree in Nursing Programs

An MSN can take between 1-4 years to complete, depending on the type of degree a student holds when they start the program. Each applicant must already possess an active and unencumbered RN license. After graduating, they must earn advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) licenses.

Earning an MSN helps graduates compete for advanced practice roles such as NPs, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), and nurse educators, among other roles. In addition to taking on more leadership and managerial responsibilities, nurses with these credentials also earn higher salaries.

Direct-Entry MSN Program

This type of MSN program appeals to individuals who already possess bachelor’s degrees in unrelated subjects. Students usually spend three years meeting all course and clinical requirements for direct-entry MSN programs. Learners with no required prerequisites on their transcripts usually need longer to graduate than those who studied a related topic. Degree-seekers must complete coursework and clinical rotations to graduate. Upon finishing coursework, they must seek licensure.

RN-to-MSN Program

RN-to-MSN bridge programs help students who possess ADNs to earn master’s-level qualifications. These degrees usually take 18-30 months to complete, depending on whether the student enrolls on a part- or full-time basis. Enrollees must gain both RN and APRN licensure to practice. Common courses include advanced pharmacology fundamentals; leadership and the role of the advanced practice nurse; population health and epidemiology; and advanced physical assessments.

BSN-to-MSN Program

Designed for RNs who already hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing, the BSN-to-MSN bridge program takes between 15-24 months of full-time study. Part-time options also exist that take between 3-4 years. Learners complete coursework in areas of healthcare technology and informatics, interprofessional organization and systems leadership, and evidence-based practice essentials.

Many schools also offer concentrations to help degree-seekers specialize their studies. In addition to coursework, learners participate in clinicals to gain advanced hands-on skills.

Dual Master’s Degree Programs

Dual master’s degrees allow students to complete two advanced programs concurrently. Degrees vary by institution but options often include MSN/MBA, MSN/MHA, MSN/MPH, and MSN/MPA. Learners should plan to spend 3-4 years enrolled in these programs, though timelines vary for each program. These degrees appeal to learners who want to use their nursing expertise in related fields, such as healthcare administration, public health policy, or nonprofit management.

Doctorate Degree in Nursing Programs

Earning a DNP

gives graduates the credentials needed to work in the highest echelons of the profession. It also entitles them to higher salaries. DNP graduates commonly find work as university professors, researchers, or chief nursing officers.

Students usually spend 2-4 years enrolled, depending on the type of degree they held previously. Those who already possess MSNs graduate more quickly than those with bachelor’s degrees in nursing. Most DNP graduates possess APRN licensure. While a DNP focuses on practice, a Ph.D. in nursing aims to build research skills.

BSN-to-DNP Program

BSN-to-DNP bridge programs support students who possess BSNs but know that their ideal roles require doctoral degrees. Most degrees require 3-4 years of study if enrolled on a full-time basis. An interested degree-seeker should already possess an active and unencumbered RN license when applying. Common coursework includes health promotion and disease prevention, clinical scholarship, advanced pharmacotherapeutics, and clinical inquiry.

MSN-to-DNP Program

Learners who already possess advanced nursing degrees can complete MSN-to-DNP programs in 1-2 years. Individuals who work as NPs or educators for a few years may decide to take their education to the next level by pursuing DNP degrees. Coursework usually includes topics such as health systems leadership, health policy and finance, research methods, and applied statistical analysis. Each student must also participate in a residency and complete a nursing project.

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