Credits and costs
Learn to Bridge the Gap between Medicine and Law with a Certificate in Nursing Forensics
A high number of patients who access health care services are the victims of violence, abuse, or neglect. Professionals trained in forensic nursing are often the first line of defense for these victims when they enter the health care system.
With the patient as the first priority, the actual role of forensic nurses goes far beyond medical care. They have specialized knowledge of the legal system and skills in injury identification, evaluation, and documentation. Often their proper observation, collection, and preservation of evidence can be critical in determining the legal outcome of traumatic events.
The 12-credit Undergraduate Certificate in Nursing Forensics can help you gain foundational knowledge in forensic nursing, including:
- evidence collection and preservation
- forensic documentation
- the recognition of domestic violence, assault, and stalking
- legal and ethical issues
This program can prepare you to provide more specialized care for victims and perpetrators of physical, psychological, and social violence or abuse.
Why Penn State World Campus?
Earn a renowned credential — The Undergraduate Certificate in Nursing Forensics is an outreach program of the highly respected Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing and delivered online through the innovative World Campus.
Build a solid foundation — In addition to being an excellent stand-alone credential, 6 of the 12 credits in the certificate can be applied toward electives in Penn State's online RN to BSN degree program. Some of the courses in the certificate program may also satisfy continuing professional education requirements.
Usable skills — With curriculum that focuses on fundamental forensic nursing topics, you can acquire skills that you can put to work immediately, helping those who are dealing with violence or abuse.
Flexibility — The online learning format offered by Penn State World Campus makes it possible for you to fit a degree program into your life, even with your current responsibilities. The flexibility of studying when and where you want can give you the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge you need to stand out among your peers.
Who Should Apply?
Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing's online nursing forensics certificate program could be right for you if you have a valid RN license and you wish to enhance your professional credentials. The courses can show you how to help your patients by providing a bridge between the health care system and the criminal justice system.
The online nursing forensics certificate is a 12-credit program of study, which may be earned as part of the RN to BSN program or as a stand-alone certificate. To earn this certificate, you must successfully complete a grade of "C" or better in all prescribed courses.
Prescribed Courses (12 credits)
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||If you have 59 or fewer credits||If you have 60 or more credits|
|11 or fewer||$620 per credit||$664 per credit|
|12 or more||$7,527 per semester||$8,125 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
Paying for Your Certificate
Students pursuing a certificate are considered "nondegree," a status that is not eligible for federal student aid, including the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program. A private alternative loan may be an option to consider.
Additionally, Penn State offers many ways to pay for your education, including an installment plan and third-party payments. Penn State World Campus also offers an Employer Reimbursement and Tuition Deferment Plan. Learn more about the options for paying for your education.
Students pursuing a degree and meeting all other eligibility requirements may qualify for financial aid.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
- Summer Deadline: Apply by May 7 to start May 15
- Fall Deadline: Apply by August 14 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by January 1, 2024, to start January 8, 2024
All supporting materials should be sent following the submission of your application.
For current and future course registration deadlines, visit the Registrar's website to view the academic calendar by semester.
If you have questions about the admissions process, contact [email protected].
To apply for the Undergraduate Certificate in Nursing Forensics, you must be a high school graduate, or have completed your GED.
Additionally, persons who want to enroll in any or all of these courses must be a currently licensed registered nurse.
Review the technical requirements for this program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State undergraduate certificate?
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
For questions about admissions and applications, please contact World Campus Central:
World Campus Central
Email: [email protected]
DegreeDNP, Johns Hopkins University
DegreeMSN, Clinical Nurse Specialist - Forensic Nursing, Johns Hopkins University
DegreeBSN, St. Cloud State University
Dr. Jocelyn Anderson's research has focused on the health outcomes of violence and interventions to prevent and respond to violence. She is particularly interested in using technology-based interventions to improve health and justice outcomes at the intersections of violence, substance use, and mental health issues. Dr. Anderson is also an internationally certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, caring for patients who have experienced physical or sexual violence.
Mary Alyce Nelson
DegreeDNP, Penn State
DegreeMSN, Bloomsburg University
DegreeBSN, Villa Maria College
Dr. Mary Alyce Nelson is the coordinator of the Penn State World Campus RN to BSN program and an assistant professor/undergraduate nursing coordinator at Penn State University Park. She has held various administrative roles in inpatient, outpatient, and educational settings, and her areas of expertise are mental health and health care leadership. Her research area of interest is alternative models of mental health treatment in rural outpatient clinics.