Nursing schools that offer non-degree nursing courses do so for BSN and MSN RNs looking for standalone coursework at the graduate level, with no degree goal. Because degrees come bundled with credit requirements and other course requirements they fail to provide an academic strata important to many working RNs. The main advantage to non-degree nursing study is the flexibility to strengthen your professional goal and sharpen your skills without the time commitment necessary of a full-blown degree.
Most undergraduate and graduate schools of nursing offer a selection of courses to non-degree students. However, most offer limited space and may require you obtain the permission of the instructor, beforehand.
Non-degree nursing courses are usually open to BSN or MSN RNs and on a first-come, first-served basis. Stipulations and limitations could include:
Why not just pursue a whole nursing degree versus studying non-degree courses?
Think about it: say you have your BSN or your MSN, but you only want/need 3 courses in nursing leadership/management. Instead of the time commitment involved in pursuing a MSN or a PhD in Nursing, you may spend a couple of quarters studying a few standalone courses. The non-degree option saves time for you as well as the school that could put its resources to use on nursing students who are totally focused and committed to a degree program.
You may use non-degree grad level nursing courses to leverage your career in a couple of key ways. Many RNs may need more focused study in particular specialty, but may not be required to secure an entire degree, which can demand a lot of time and energy. Stacking a few extra ultra-targeted non-degree courses can give you sharper professional skills and know-how. Second find out if the non-degree courses in which you’re enrolled satisfy any of the CE requirements of your state board of nursing. If it’s relevant to your scope of practice you could kill two birds with one stone.