Central’s highly respected behavioral and natural sciences programs provide the strong background nursing students need while also offering a clear path to advanced studies in nursing. Internships and shadowing opportunities are available through Central at local health centers, and Central graduates have gone on to graduate programs at top institutions.

Central students have completed the BSN program at Allen College
Since 2010, Central has partnered with Allen College to provide nursing students with a B.A. from Central and a B.S.N. from Allen
Nursing students can major in biology, psychology, sociology, exercise science, communication studies, integrated studies or anthropology

The Central Difference

Accelerated BSN Program

A dual-degree nursing program offers freshmen entering Central College a guaranteed place in the accelerated nursing program at Allen College, provided they complete the requirements.

After completion of three years at Central College, students transfer to Allen College for a 12-month accelerated BSN program — credits transfer from each school so students receive a B.A. from Central and a BSN from Allen College.

Students may also opt to spend all four years at Central to complete the B.A. degree and then continue their nursing at another institution.

Research in a Developing Country

Future med student Cierra Rustad ’20 examines the factors leading to type 2 diabetes in a developing country.

Individualized Attention

Thanks to Central's small class and laboratory section size, faculty are able to provide each student with individualized attention and the opportunity to develop skills necessary for graduate school. Our faculty members also provide personalized advising that ensures you meet the coursework requirements for graduate school.

And to help students get into graduate school, faculty provide letters of recommendation that make a vital difference in the decision process for acceptance into medical programs.

Central's Health Professions Club also provides mentoring, informs students about opportunities related to healthcare, and coordinates visits to and from various graduate programs. The club's faculty advisor also provides free workshops to address a range of interests, from career exploration to preparing for graduate entrance exams and application.

Hands-On Research

Central faculty provide students with many research and professional development opportunities, of which students are encouraged to take full advantage while on campus including undergraduate research and presentations at scientific meetings, internships, shadowing programs, targeted service-learning opportunities related to career goals and much more.

Heartland Global Health Consortium

Central College is a founding member of the Heartland Global Health Consortium whose mission is to establish and expand multidisciplinary educational, research and service opportunities to inspire and equip students to become leaders in global public health. The consortium provides additional opportunities for students to participate in educational, global research and global medical service experiences.

Off-Campus Experiences

Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.


Central’s Vermeer Science Center was awarded the silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the United States Green Building Council, the first LEED-rated building in the state. Students have direct access to classrooms and laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and presentation technology.

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

While the nursing program is only a few years old, a Central education has left earlier graduates well-equipped for a nursing career.

  • Gabrielle (Muse) Eckermann ’14, Pediatric Nurse Coordinator, University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, Iowa City, Iowa
  • Kylie Gerstein ’18, Registered Nurse, Waverly Health Center, Waverly, Iowa
  • Regan Nelson ’18, Registered Nurse, St. Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Shannon Stuart ’17, Registered Nurse, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Keegan Overbey ’14, ICU Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa
  • Ashley (Ramker) Rosas ’14, Primary Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Vera French Community Mental Health Center, Davenport, Iowa

Latinos Unidos of Iowa Awards Scholarships to Central Students

Jenna-Marie Hernandez ’24 and Julian Rodriguez ’23 received Latinos Unidos of Iowa scholarships. 


  • SCATE (Students Concerned About The Environment)
  • Tri-Beta (national biological sciences honor society)
  • Health Professions Club

Graduate Placement

  • University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Mercy College of Health Sciences, Des Moines
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock
  • Lake Michigan College, Benton Harbor, Mich.
  • John Hopkins University, Baltimore


Students interested in nursing are able to shadow local professionals for limited hours. Shadowing opportunities are available across the state including Pella Regional Health Center and Broadlawns Medical Center.

Central College student

Courses & Faculty

Students enrolled at Central College interested in earning a B.A. in biology, exercise science, anthropology, sociology, communication studies, psychology or integrated studies from Central and a BSN from Allen College may apply to the accelerated nursing program at Allen College a year before the intended start date at Allen.

  • Central students who wish to pursue dual degrees through a 3-1 program apply during the second semester of the sophomore year.
  • Central students who intend to complete the B.A. at Central prior to attending Allen apply during the junior year.

For students who indicate an interest in participating in the accelerated program with Allen College, a robust health professions advising system is in place to work with students and assist in the application process. Central's health professions advisors will work with Allen College student services personnel and academic advisors to ensure that students are aware of all courses required for entry (or admission) to Allen College and will help students develop schedules to complete these requirements.

Students planning to transfer to Allen College after three years at Central must major in biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, integrated studies, communication studies or exercise science. Students planning to graduate from Central before attending another nursing program may major in any discipline that fits with personal and professional life goals. Regardless of their major choice, students are required to successfully complete a series of courses in each of the following areas: biology, chemistry, psychology, human growth and development, social sciences, statistics, communication and English for the pre-nursing program.

Students must have the CNA course completed prior to nursing school enrollment. Additionally, most nursing programs require TEAS testing with the application.

For additional information, please contact us at or complete the information form below.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty

  • Keith Jones, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Mark and Kay De Cook Endowed Chair in Character & Leadership Development and Professor of Psychology
  • Paul Weihe, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology
  • Jon Witt, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Sociology

Sample Coursework

First Year

  • Intersections
  • General Chemistry
  • General Psychology
  • Principles of Sociology
  • Introduction to Cells

Sophomore Year

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II
  • Writing-Intensive Course
  • Communication Course
  • Language

Junior Year

  • Microbiology
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Writing-Intensive Course

Senior Year

  • Anthropology Course*
  • Senior Capstone*
*can shift to a different year if enrolling in 3+1 program


Learn More

Want to find out more about Pre-Nursing at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.


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