Nursing at Rockhurst

Pre-Nursing Students

Program Description 

The future of nursing at Rockhurst is an exciting one! Rockhurst University and the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences have entered into a formal agreement to become one university, pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission and other regulatory bodies expected in spring 2020. Once approved, the planned brand-new Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences at Rockhurst University will offer one of the premier 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs in Kansas City, educating future health care leaders who will have a profound impact on our city and the Midwest.

To ensure Rockhurst is providing our nursing and health care students with an unmatched educational experience, the University is renovating Sedgwick Hall to create new lab spaces and classrooms to dramatically enhance the learning environment. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2022. Nursing and health science classes will continue to be held at the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences site on Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza until Rockhurst’s reimagined Sedgwick Hall is open.

Although the two institutions must wait for the agreement to be approved to officially become one institution, we didn’t want to wait that long to launch the partnership and grow with one another!

Rockhurst is proud to offer 70 guaranteed direct entry seats to the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences nursing program for the fall 2020 Rockhurst freshman class through our Pre-Nursing Scholars program (pending admission requirements have been met; details on the program below). Until the agreement has been approved, this serves as a 2+2 program, where pre-requisite courses anchored in leadership, service and Jesuit values are completed at Rockhurst University for two years, followed by nursing courses at Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences.


Learning Outcomes 

This partnership offers multiple associates, bachelor’s and graduate degree programs and certificates – offered both on campus and online – at the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences. Once the agreement is approved, Rockhurst will become the first Jesuit institution to offer associate degrees, creating several pathways for students from varying backgrounds to engage in a transformational educational experience suited to their needs, learning styles and career goals.

Rockhurst University and Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences are dedicated to providing unique, hands-on, tailored academic experiences with low faculty-to-student ratios, impactful networking opportunities outside the classroom, as well as academic advising and peer tutoring to help our students to be successful. The College’s affiliation with Saint Luke’s Health System – the largest health care employer in KC – helps 100% of its students find jobs after graduation.*

*Graduate employability data provided by Saint Luke’s College 2017 Survey

Course Map 

Nursing Degree Types

Associate Degrees
Apply by December 6, 2019, for the spring 2020 semester.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degrees

  • BSN Program - Apply by December 31, 2019, for the fall 2020 semester.
  • RN-BSN Program - Apply by December 6, 2019, for the spring 2020 semester.

Master of Science in Nursing Degrees, Certificates and Second Master's
Apply by December 6, 2019, for the spring 2020 semester. 

Prospective Students 

Current Students 


Students enrolled in the Saint Luke’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program experience a mix of learning on campus and online, with several hands-on, lab-oriented courses to test your skills.

  • Engage in nursing school courses rooted in a wide range of areas in human life and medical health needs, including maternal child nursing, gerontology, mental health and pharmacology.
  • Apply your humanistic and critical thinking skills in Nursing Leadership and Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing.
  • Complete clinical rotations at the Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City on The Plaza.


Nursing Jobs, Salary, Grad School

  • Qualified entry into the nursing field, which will have more than 1 million estimated registered nurse job openings by 2024, and 15% projected job growth by 2026 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • An emphasis on leadership and service provides students with the foundation to become caring, professional nurses
  • $70,000 median salary for nurses
  • 9 out of 10 Rockhurst students who apply to professional or graduate school are accepted to their first-choice programs
  • 98% of RU students start their careers or are enrolled in post-graduate school within six months of graduating from Rockhurst

Pre-Nursing Scholars Program

Eligibility Requirements

  • First-year freshmen starting in fall 2020 who meet specific academic criteria from their high school GPA and ACT or SAT test scores are invited.
  • Invited students secure their seat by submitting their $200 enrollment deposit to Rockhurst. Seats are secured in order of deposit.
  • Eligible students who deposit after the 70 seats are secured are added to a wait list for if/when spots become available (both prior to and after fall 2020 enrollment begins).

Direct Admission Requirements

  • Attend full-time and complete 63 pre-nursing pre-requisite credit hours from Rockhurst University.
  • Maintain a 3.50 cumulative GPA at Rockhurst with no grade below a B, and meet the Saint Luke's College of Health Sciences clinical readiness requirements.

Tuition Rates

  • Until the agreement to become one university is approved, tuition rates for all Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences programs will remain the same as previously advertised by the College.
  • Once approved, the new Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences at Rockhurst University commits to maintaining all Saint Luke’s tuition rates at 2020-2021 levels with increases of no more than 3% annually.
  • Pre-Nursing Scholars Program: Students eligible for the Pre-Nursing Scholars program will pay Rockhurst University tuition (minus all merit and need-based financial aid) while completing all pre-nursing pre-requisite courses. After completing the direct admissions requirements, students become Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences nursing students (whether the College is part of Rockhurst University at the time or not) and will then pay the Saint Luke’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program tuition rates.
    • Note: BSN program tuition is not reduced by merit scholarship aid, but students in the program are eligible to apply for need-based scholarships.


I am admitted to Rockhurst as a freshman and indicated pre-nursing as my primary academic program. How do I know if I am eligible for Pre-Nursing Scholars?

Congratulations on your acceptance to Rockhurst! Students academically eligible for the Pre-Nursing Scholars program are notified separately from their general admission to RU. Typically, students earning a Breen or McCabe academic scholarship meet the GPA and ACT requirements.

I am interested in nursing, but am not academically eligible for the Pre-Nursing Scholars program. What are my options at Rockhurst?

Pre-Nursing Scholars is a unique direct admission partnership between Rockhurst University and the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences. However, Rockhurst offers a general pre-nursing program that can also support non Pre-Nursing Scholar Program students in pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing degree from one of several potential accredited nursing programs. Our academic advisors and faculty work with students to tailor their time and coursework at RU to become competitive applicants to their target nursing schools.

Additionally, Rockhurst University is known for producing exceptional graduates in the health sciences. We also offer bachelor’s degrees in Health Science, Exercise Science, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Biomedical Physics, programs in Pre-Med, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Occupational Therapy, and graduate degrees in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Communication Sciences and Disorders. Therefore, there are several opportunities to pursue a career in healthcare with Rockhurst University. Visit our list of majors for more information.

I have received my invitation to be a Rockhurst/Saint Luke’s Pre-Nursing Scholar. What do I do now?

Congratulations! If you choose to accept your offer for one of our 70 direct admissions seats, your next step is to submit your $200 enrollment deposit to Rockhurst University. These limited seats are secured in order of when the enrollment deposit was received. Eligible students who deposit after the first 70 seats have been secured will be added to a wait-list and notified once one of the program spaces becomes available. A wait-listed student can still attend RU as a general pre-nursing student, and could secure a cohort seat if/when it becomes available based on original enrollment deposit date and current RU academic performance.

Does this mean I do not have to apply to nursing school later?

Correct! If you secure one of the 70 direct admission seats within the Pre-Nursing Scholars program, complete the 63 credit hours pre-requisite coursework at Rockhurst, earn a cumulative GPA of 3.50 with no grade below a B, then you will automatically be direct admitted into the fall 2022 starting term with Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences – no competitive application process required.

What will my major be at Rockhurst?

Pre-Nursing is not a full degree program at Rockhurst University, and program participant’s final bachelor’s degree will be from the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences. During the 2 years of a student’s pre-requisite courses at Rockhurst, they can major in any of RU’s over 50 academic programs as long as they complete the required 63 credit hours in specific pre-nursing pre-requisite courses.

What if I have an opportunity to go to a different nursing school while at Rockhurst?

The Pre-Nursing Scholars program is not intended to hinder or prevent talented students from competitively applying to any other accredited bachelor of science in nursing program. It is designed to provide a clear successful pathway from a world-class Jesuit education at Rockhurst, to a nationally renowned BSN program at Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences. At any time, Pre-Nursing Scholars can work with their Rockhurst advisors to competitively apply to any BSN program of their choosing, and our pre-nursing academic preparation can make them strong candidates for competitive consideration at Saint Luke’s and other strong nursing programs.

How does my Rockhurst scholarship and financial aid work with this program?

Pre-Nursing Scholars’ Rockhurst scholarships and financial aid are applied during their first 2 years while enrolled at RU. Once a Pre-Nursing Scholar transfers into Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences, they then pay tuition and fees, and file for financial aid, with that institution. Rockhurst University scholarships and grants do not transfer or apply to students once they enroll in the full BSN program with Saint Luke’s.

I am a student athlete. How does my NCAA eligibility work with this program?

Because NCAA eligibility is associated with a student athlete’s primary institution, once a student transfers into the BSN program at Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences they will no longer be eligible to participate in Rockhurst University Athletics.

Where will my classes be held?

For the first two years, Pre-Nursing Scholars take their pre-nursing pre-requisite courses as a full-time students on the Rockhurst University campus. The program includes multiple opportunities to engage with current Saint Luke’s students, faculty and staff as they prepare to transfer into the full BSN program. Following the completion of pre-requisites, nursing courses will be held at the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences location at 624 Westport Road, located near Saint Luke’s Hospital on the Plaza. Rockhurst has partnered with Helix Architecture + Design, Co Architects and JE Dunn Construction to renovate Sedgwick Hall on the Rockhurst campus, with completion anticipated in Fall 2022. If HLC and other regulatory bodies approve the formal agreement between Rockhurst and Saint Luke’s to become one institution, all classes will move into Sedgwick Hall once the renovation is complete. If regulatory bodies do not approve the transaction, then classes will continue to be held at the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences location.

What happens if I don’t meet the Pre-Nursing Scholars direct admission continuation criteria of a 3.50 cumulative GPA and no grade below a B from Rockhurst?

Pre-Nursing Scholars who do not meet the direct admission transfer requirements of a 3.50 cumulative GPA from 63 credit hours of pre-requisite coursework and no grade below a B will forfeit their direct admission seat. However, they can continue in Rockhurst’s general pre-nursing program and pursue competitive application to any bachelor of science program of their choosing (including still competitively applying to Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences).

What about Accreditation?

Rockhurst and Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences expect to continue to hold their current accreditation statuses while the transaction is pending. When the transaction is finalized, they anticipate that the new Rockhurst University – including the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences – will hold all appropriate accreditations, including specialized accreditation for health science programs. For more information about current accreditation status, see the Rockhurst and Saint Luke’s accreditation web pages, respectively.