College Major Help

Hello, I am a high school student, about to be a senior, and am currently starting on college applications. I just had a quick question that I hope to gain insight regarding college majors. I am hoping to go for a career as a registered nurse, but I was wondering if I could become a nurse if I major in cognitive science with an emphasis on neuroscience? Or should I just stick with biology or some sort of science major? (the college I hope to go to doesn’t have a nursing major, but I believe they have a program for students who already have a bachelor’s degree)

The thing is, cognitive science seems interesting to me, and I would like to choose this as my major, but it isn’t exactly related to the career I am going for… Sorry for such a long post!

No, you can’t become a nurse if your major is cognitive science. You need to get your bachelors of science in nursing (a BSN).

You can get an associates degree IN nursing if you want to be a nurse as well.

Or you can get your bachelors in neuroscience, then go back to school for either an associates, BSN, or a generalist RN masters program. But that would be a much more expensive options having to get 2 degrees.

To be a nurse, you have to complete a nursing program and graduate. You then are given permission to take the NCLEX exam which licenses you as a Registered nurse.

1 Like

Above post is accurate. To become a nurse, you MUST get a degree in nursing. Sure, you can do an undergrad in something else…but why would you do that if you want to be a nurse?

You are about to be a high school senior. I think you need to look at your list of colleges to apply to a little better. If you only apply to places that do not have nursing as degree, you won’t be a nurse when you finish undergrad.

How to become a Nurse:

There are several ways to become a registered nurse with a BSN these days.

The easiest and most direct way is to major in nursing as an undergrad the first time around. You’d need to go to a university that offers a BSN (bachelor’s of science in nursing) program. These usually take four years, and sometimes take five. There are two flavors of these BSN programs. A small number of schools offer direct admission as a freshman (e.g., you’re admitted to the school of nursing when you apply to the college, and you are guaranteed to be a nursing major as long as you keep your grades up). But most make you apply to the nursing school in your sophomore year to start your junior year. In those, you complete pre-nursing prerequisites in your first two years and then start nursing classes in your third year.

This is what you are considering by getting a degree in Cognitive Science
The second way is to complete a regular bachelor’s degree (in anything, although a science major makes this easier), then go back to school and get an accelerated second BSN. ABSN programs usually take 14-18 months after your first bachelor’s degree, which adds time and expense to getting your BSN. This route is usually chosen by people who didn’t realize they wanted to be a nurse until after they were already in college, but I’ve known a couple of college students who chose to go this route because they wanted to go to a liberal arts college to undergrad and yet still wanted to be a nurse. If you do this you have to plan your prerequisites carefully, since colleges without nursing programs tend not to have classes like anatomy and physiology.

The third way is to complete a regular bachelor’s degree (in anything, although again, a science major makes this easier) and then go into an entry-to-practice MSN program. Entry-to-practice programs are 3-year programs in which you get your RN in the first year and then your MSN in the last two years, which allows you to practice as a nurse practitioner. This is only a good idea if you know you want to be a nurse practitioner (an NP is a nurse who gives primary care).

  • Really, if you know you want to be a nurse now, the best way is to go to a college/university that has a nursing undergrad major.*

One additional option is to get an Associates degree in nursing from a Community College that has an approved RN program. Those programs are usually competitive for entry, unlike most other community college programs. Often, the community college has a waiting list for nursing and will make you take a number of science classes first to prove that you are capable of handling it, before you are accepted as a nursing major. Your job opportunities will not be as wide as if you have a BSN, but you should still have no problem getting hired. Many of those grads then go onto later get a BSN, while taking classes part-time. Many health care employers will subsidize those classes.

1 Like

My daughter wants to be a health professional but doesn’t know what type. Physical therapy, nurse, PA, etc. All the options can be confusing but since she’s not in a nursing school, we’re pushing her to go PT or PA (whatever path that is). My nieces got RNs after three years of community college.

Yes, you can get an RN at some community colleges. Then work, and earn your BSN later.

But you can’t be a nurse without a nursing degree…and that is what this poster is asking about.

1 Like

Yep, if you know you want to be a nurse go to nursing school. However, what does a BSN in nursing at a prestigious university get you that you can’t get at a regional university?

1 Like