Students find a lot of competition to get into a nursing program. Prerequisite classes are necessary before the specific nursing part of the program admits a student. Many nursing schools have specific requirements for admission, but most schools have a similar list of general classes required.


Besides the basic math skills, prospective nursing students should take algebra, probability and statistics. Nursing classes use math, especially in pharmacology. Nurses must be able to calculate dosages for medications using certain formulas.


A biology class, covering human anatomy and physiology, is a major course that students must complete before entrance into a nursing program. Schools often separate this complex class into two sections and both include a laboratory section. Microbiology and chemistry may be required at certain schools and is necessary if going for a bachelor's degree. Before both these classes, the student must pass a general biology course as well, unless the school exempts it through high school credit.

English and Psychology

Two college-level English courses may be required before entrance into a nursing program. In the nursing program, a student can expect to do research on nursing topics and write papers, making these courses necessary for success. General psychology and developmental psychology are required before nursing school. Topics covered in psychology will often reappear in the nursing classes. They will give insight into human behavior so a future nurse can better understand patients.


Various classes are available for the prospective nursing student that will enhance their application and aid them during nursing school. These classes are electives and don't fall into a specific category. Included are foreign languages, ethics and public speaking, though there are many more. Taking these classes will make the student more competitive as there are many applicants to nursing schools each term. The prerequisite classes take about two years to complete, less if the student attends summer school. If a student attends a community college or technical school and plans to transfer to a university later, it is important for the student to make sure the classes transfer.

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