School of Natural Science and Mathematics
The nursing advisor, Dr. Dana Ward, has compiled a list of FAQs regarding the 3/2 program in biology and nursing at the Mount, offered in conjunction with either University of Maryland School of Nursing or Shenandoah University. Please click on a question to view its answer. If you have a question that is not answered here, please email Dana Ward.
Does Mount St. Mary's offer a major in nursing?
No, we would need a hospital to do that. But we do offer an option that is even more attractive for many students, a 3/2 program in biology and nursing offered in conjunction with either University of Maryland School of Nursing or Shenandoah University.
It is a program in which a student spends three years at one college, then two years at another college, and earns two bachelor's degrees, one from each school. These programs are more common when the first degree is in the liberal arts (as is the case here) and the second is an engineering degree.
That's great, but there are a lot of colleges where I can get a B.S. degree in nursing in four years. The 3/2 option takes five years. Why would I want to do that?
Think of a college education as having several dimensions. The liberal arts dimension gives you skills you can use in any career – writing, reasoning, critical thinking, ethics – as well as in life beyond your job. The pre-professional dimension gives you the skills more specifically targeted toward your intended career. A 3/2 program gives both dimensions the full attention that they deserve, and it more explicitly separates them. Mount St. Mary's is very different from University of Maryland and Shenandoah University, but they all do a very good job at what they do best, and that's what you will experience in this program.
But doesn't it cost me more to go to college for five years than for four years?
Yes, but you are likely to derive financial benefit down the road by listing two bachelor's degrees on your resume. Most nurses will change jobs several times over the course of a career, and you will be able to claim real educational advantages over job candidates who have only a B.S. in nursing.
Why is a 3/2 program better than simply attending two different colleges and getting two bachelor's degrees?
Because that would take six years instead of five. This specially designed cooperative program has real economies built in. The fourth year of the program (i.e., the first year at Shenandoah University) effectively counts double. One year of your time and one year of your tuition count toward both degrees.
How does the Mount's 3/2 program work?
You spend the first three years at the Mount. You take our full nationally-recognized Veritas Program and the pre-nursing courses that both the University of Maryland and Shenandoah University require. You declare your major to be biology, but unlike regular biology majors, you take five full biology courses instead of eight and two chemistry courses instead of four. We count certain of your courses at either University of Maryland or Shenandoah as the remaining science courses, and you get your Mount degree after successfully completing your first year at either University of Maryland or Shenandoah University. You can even participate in graduation ceremonies with your classmates. After successfully completing your second year at either University of Maryland or Shenandoah University, they award you the B.S.N. degree.
What courses do I take?
See the suggested curriculum. It shows the courses you take and a recommended order for taking them.
Should I take some of these courses in summer school?
For the most part, that's not necessary, and in fact, there are a lot of restrictions on what you can take at other schools. You can fulfill math and foreign language proficiencies in summer school anywhere, as well as some courses in the Veritas Program. We do not offer Nutrition, but many community colleges offer it in the summer. However, many core courses are unique to the Mount, so they must be taken here — these are often available here in summer school. We want you to take all of your science courses here, and they are not offered in the summer.
I finished my freshman year before deciding that I want to do the 3/2 nursing program. Am I way behind?
If you have taken core courses, you are probably not behind at all. You can change the ordering in the suggested curriculum, as long as you do not take any courses before taking their prerequisites. You can get prerequisite information from the college catalog.
I have been invited to join the Mount's Honors Program. Since that's a four-year program and I will be at the Mount for only three years, would participation in the Honors Program be impossible?
No, you can do it. The Honors Program's senior year activity is a research project with a faculty member in your academic discipline. Faculty members are willing to work with Mount students on such projects.
What would be good elective courses for nursing students to take?
The schedule does not have much room for electives unless you have advanced placement credit, or take overloads, or take summer school. But some students choose to make room for electives, and we offer some very good electives for future nurses. Examples are Genetics, Immunology, and Abnormal Psychology.
If I am accepted to Mount St. Mary's, am I automatically accepted into UMD or Shenandoah University?
No. You must apply for admission in the fall of your junior year. But as part of our articulation agreement with both universities, students from the Mount have priority for admissions if they have high enough grades and the recommendation of the pre-nursing advisor.
What constitutes 'high enough grades'?
Imagine writing down all of your Mount courses and drawing concentric circles around them. The biggest circle encompasses all of your courses. You must have at least a 3.0 average for these courses. A smaller circle encompasses just the pre-nursing courses. You must have at least a 3.0 average here as well. A smaller circle encompasses just the science courses. You must have at least a 3.0 average here also. Finally, you must have at least a B in each of the three most important courses: Anatomy, and Physiology I, Anatomy and Physiology II, and Microbiology.
Should I repeat courses in which I got poor grades so I can meet these standards?
It can’t hurt, but it probably won’t help. Both University of Maryland and Shenandoah University look at all of your grades and expect you to do well in courses the first time.
Do most Mount students who apply to either University of Maryland or Shenandoah University get accepted?
Every student in the 3/2 program who has applied to Shenandoah University who met the standards described above has been accepted. But students who come up short in one or two categories are not likely to be accepted.
Will my financial aid from the Mount transfer to either University of Maryland or Shenandoah University?
No. The 3/2 program is simply a cooperative agreement between two independent institutions. Most students will not receive financial aid, so plan your finances carefully. But you will be in demand due to the nationwide shortage of nurses, so you may be able to find creative ways to pay for your education.
I am completing my freshman year at another college. Can I transfer to the 3/2 program at the Mount?
You can certainly transfer to the Mount, but you are not admitted into a particular program. Transfer students will find it more difficult to be accepted by University of Maryland or Shenandoah University if their courses elsewhere are deemed to be less rigorous than Mount courses. Also, they will have less time at the Mount to impress people and get strong recommendations. So we discourage transfer students from being in the program.
I am a sophomore in the 3/2 program, but my grade point average is only 2.4. What should I do?
Develop a back-up plan. This is good advice for all pre-professional students, no matter how strong their grades, because you are never guaranteed admission to a professional school, but it is especially important for this student.
What is a good back-up plan if I cannot get accepted into either the University of Maryland or Shenandoah University (or do not choose to go there)?
You could transfer to a four-year college or university that offers a nursing degree, but nursing is now very popular, so those colleges are becoming very selective. If you want to graduate from the Mount, you can do that, then go for two more years to a college that offers a nursing degree. You can have any major you want at the Mount, but you should also take the pre-nursing courses that most nursing schools will require (anatomy, physiology, microbiology, foundations of sociology, foundations of psychology, and a developmental psychology course; the chemistry requirements will vary).
So if I am not in the 3/2 program, it will take two more years to get a nursing degree after graduating from the Mount?
Normally, yes, but for very good students, both Shenandoah University and the University of Maryland offer accelerated programs that take a little over a year. We have had graduates who successfully completed these programs.
I am in the 3/2 program, but I have become very attached to the Mount and to my classmates, and I don't want to miss my senior year. What should I do?
We had a student who had such a change of heart. She had already been accepted to another school, and it was the summer before she was to start there! The people at the other school advised her to finish at the Mount and guaranteed her a spot in their accelerated program after she graduated. So there was a happy ending – in a little more time than the 3/2 program would take, she had her two bachelor's degrees.
Does the Mount have a pre-nursing advisor?
Yes. Dr. Dana Ward advises students in the 3/2 program after their freshman year. Feel free to contact her with any additional questions. Be sure to mention that you have already seen this web page.
I would like a career as a midwife. Can you give me information about that?
A specialization in midwifery is available not as part of the dual program, but rather after you obtain your nursing degree. But in general, for questions like this one which are more specific to the nursing degree, contact Shenandoah University directly.