What Are the Prerequisites for Nursing?

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The prerequisite for nursing school may include courses in: chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, sociology, English composition, statistics, lifespan development and nutrition. Prerequisite courses help students lay a solid framework before beginning their accelerated nursing coursework. Your previous education will determine which courses you may need to take.

woman sitting in class raising her hand

Before you begin your accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing coursework, it’s possible you’ll need to first meet the prerequisite for nursing. The Harding University ABSN prerequisites lay the foundation for your nursing education. Depending on your previous education, you may take courses in English, science and math to help set you up for success in our ABSN program in northwest Arkansas.

Below, we will walk through each prerequisite offered by Harding and discuss some more reasons why prerequisites in nursing are so important.

Prerequisites for Nursing School

It’s important to note that speaking with the Harding University ABSN admissions team is the only way to identify exactly which prerequisites you may need to complete. Based on your academic history and unofficial transcripts, they’ll help you develop a plan for completing these courses in time for your target start date in our program.

Common prerequisite courses for nursing include anatomy, nutrition and statistics. Prerequisite courses in humanities, advanced science, and college-level reading and writing may also be required.

Let’s look over what these courses cover and which courses you may enroll in on your way to applying to the Harding ABSN program.

Harding ABSN student smiling with manikin


An understanding of chemistry is vital for registered nurses. In this course, you’ll focus on how atoms, ions, molecules, biological substances and mixtures are structured, and you’ll get an idea of cellular processes. You’ll also gain knowledge of various chemical reactions and become comfortable writing chemical equations.

Harding Prerequisite CourseCredits
CHEM 1020/1020L: Fundamentals of Chemistry OR CHEM 1040/1040L: College Chemistry4 credits
Smiling nurse standing with arms crossed

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Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and physiology courses focus on the structure and functions of the human body. In this prerequisite for nursing school, you’ll learn the terminology and identify key systems within the human body. You’ll start to have a deep understanding of how the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems work and how diseases can affect certain systems. The human cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory and urinary systems will also be key elements of the advanced course. Be prepared to put in some lab hours and even dissect some specimens.

Harding Prerequisite CourseCredits
BIOL 2405: Anatomy & Physiology II for Nurses OR BIOL 3210: Anatomy & Physiology BIOL4 credits
2400: Anatomy & Physiology I for Nurses OR BIOL 3200: Anatomy & Physiology 14 credits


In your biology prerequisites, you’ll cover cell structures, taxonomy and reproduction, evolution, ecology, and genetics. All of these topics are stepping stones to a well-rounded nursing education.

Microbiology will help you understand how microorganisms function within the human body. You’ll learn about the diseases and infections caused by microorganisms. Once you understand how diseases spread and behave, you can also learn how to suppress transmission of these microorganisms — an essential skill in your future career as a nurse.

Harding Prerequisite CourseCredits
BIOL 2410: Intro to Microbiology for Nurses OR BIOL 3400: Microbiology4 credits


The statistics prerequisite for nursing school will show you the importance of analyzing data and teach you how to do just that. You’ll learn how to provide evidence-based care to patients and how to decipher the latest research articles and studies.

Harding Prerequisite CourseCredits
MATH 1200: Elementary Statistics3 credits
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Lifespan Growth and Development

From the infant stage to senior living, this course covers all the changes humans go through in their lifespan. Here, you’ll learn about the cognitive and psychological developments people undergo at each stage of their lives and examine the role of genetic and social factors.

Harding Prerequisite CourseCredits
FCS 3230: Lifespan Human Development3 credits

English Composition

As a nurse, being able to communicate effectively is imperative. This course will bolster your ability to express yourself via the written word. With a heavy focus on punctuation, grammar, research and presentation, this prerequisite course will prepare you to write formally.

Harding Prerequisite CourseCredits
ENG 1110: Intro to University Writing & Research3 credits


This nutrition prerequisite examines how food plays a part in general health. You’ll learn how nutrition can be a key component in a patient’s well-being and how to adjust dietary habits in a beneficial way.

Harding Prerequisite CourseCredits
FCS 3310: Nutrition3 credits


Sociology and psychology are instrumental to the practice of nursing. In this course, you’ll gain an introduction to neuroscience, personality theory and behavior, social psychology, and psychological disorders and their treatments.

Harding Prerequisite CourseCredits
PSY 2010: General Psychology3 credits
SOC 2030: General Sociology3 credits

Additional Prerequisite Requirements

You will need to meet the above nursing prerequisites assigned to you by our admissions team. Additionally, you may also need to meet Harding University’s liberal arts requirements. Every student is individually evaluated and will be notified of any extra course requirements. A prior baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution will waive specific liberal art requirements. So, depending on your previous education, you may or may not have to complete this component before embarking on your ABSN coursework.

Harding ABSN student typing and smiling at computer

Enroll Today

Now that you understand the importance of prerequisites, it’s time to take the first step toward your nursing education! Harding’s 16-month curriculum uses three components — online courses, skills and simulation labs, and clinical rotations — to prepare you with the key nursing skills and knowledge you need to succeed. With three start dates a year, we can help you earn a BSN sooner. To be eligible for admission to the program, you’ll need a prior non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 64 non-nursing college credits.

Complete this online form to connect with one of our dedicated admissions counselors today and begin your nursing journey.