What Is an ABSN Program?

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What is an ABSN program? - UST ABSN student working with sim manikin

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or some college experience, one option that could be a good fit for you on your journey to become a nurse is an ABSN program.

What is an ABSN program? An ABSN, or Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, program is a fast-track option that allows you to leverage your non-nursing college experience into a B.S. in Nursing in as few as 12 months.

Generally, an ABSN program requires a non-nursing Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. Depending on which of these you hold, or which classes you have previously taken, you may have to complete some prerequisites successfully before earning acceptance into an ABSN program.

That’s a high-level look at why some people choose an ABSN program like the University of St. Thomas accelerated nursing program, or ABSN@UST for short. Let’s take a deeper look at what ABSN@UST offers to see if an accelerated path to nursing is right for you.


A big reason to choose an ABSN program like ABSN@UST is if you already have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and want to utilize your prior education to become a nurse sooner.

nursing student standing in front of blackboard

ABSN@UST empowers you to leverage your previous education into a life-changing career as a nurse in as few as 12 months. But first, you will need to meet the following academic requirements:

  • Complete the prerequisites for the program prior to enrollment.
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (including a 3.0 GPA for all prerequisite science courses).
  • Earn a score of 80 or higher on the Health Education Systems, Inc. (HESI) Admission Assessment exam (required 80% in each of the following sections: Reading Comprehension, Grammar, Vocabulary, Math, and A&P)

If you meet those requirements, ABSN@UST might be a good fit for you. Another great reason to choose an ABSN program is that it offers a hybrid learning curriculum that makes completing your program run a little more smoothly around your life.

Hybrid ABSN Curriculum

Our ABSN combines online and hands-on learning. The hybrid approach empowers you to have flexibility when it comes to completing your online nursing theory coursework, which you can do from anywhere. Then, you’ll be challenged to apply what you’ve learned online and put it into practice during hands-on skills and simulation labs and clinical rotations at top hospitals in Houston.

University of St. Thomas nursing student using computer

Online Learning

Our intuitive e-Learning platform keeps you engaged with videos, discussion boards and modules that guide you through each component of nursing theory. Plus, you can complete your coursework at your own pace (within the deadlines set forth by instructors) and from anywhere that is convenient for you.

Additionally, our online nursing courses are designed with every learning style in mind. We incorporate elements that cater to visual, aural, tactile, or social learners to ensure our curriculum will help you retain the material, no matter how you learn.

Plus, you won’t feel isolated. Even though the online portion of the curriculum isn’t in a classroom, you will still stay connected to your instructors and classmates through chatrooms and email.

Skills and Simulation Labs

Skills and simulation labs allow you to put your online work into action in a safer, low-risk environment that features state-of-the-art hospital equipment and lifelike manikins that respond to treatment. In labs, you’ll role play, use the manikins and consult with your peers to get the most out of this hands-on learning opportunity.

University of St. Thomas nursing students working in simulation lab

Clinical Rotations

You’ll complete clinical rotations inside top Houston-area hospitals, where you’ll help real patients in need under the supervision of a lab instructor who will be there to support you. Clinical placements can pave the way for networking and building relationships with members of the local healthcare community.

Now that you know the three big components of an ABSN program, let’s look at how an ABSN differs from a traditional BSN program.

ABSN vs BSN Programs

The biggest differentiating factor that separates a traditional BSN from an Accelerated BSN is the time it takes to earn the degree. Traditional BSN programs take four years to complete, but most Accelerated BSN programs take 12–24 months, depending on prerequisites and program requirements.

Another big difference is that traditional BSN programs, also referred to as “campus-based programs,” are generally geared toward students who have no previous college experience, and usually require only a high school diploma for acceptance.

Conversely, ABSN programs are built for students who already have non-nursing degrees or, at the very least, enough college credits to qualify for admission. Our ABSN requires a previous non-nursing degree, as we mentioned earlier.

ABSN or BSN: Which Is Right for You?

Whether a traditional BSN or an ABSN program is best for you will center around your current education level, dedication, and time commitment. For example, if you need to hold a full-time job while on your path to nursing, a traditional program may be a better fit because it’s not as compressed and may allow you more time to work.

UST nursing students studying at table with binders

If you are ready to become a nurse and already have a non-nursing bachelors degree, ABSN@UST may be the quickest path to your new career. However, if you do not hold a previous degree, a four-year BSN program is probably a better fit.

It’s time to make a bold move for your future as a nurse.

ABSN@UST has three start dates a year in January, May and August. If you want to see if you meet the requirements for admission, give us a call today. Our admissions team can answer any question you have and make sure ABSN@UST is a great fit to help you start your journey towards a rewarding career as a nurse.

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and are interested in accelerating your nursing career, contact our admissions team to get started.