Health Prerequisites

Interested in pursuing a career in health care, but need to complete the prerequisites before starting your program? Now you can take many of the prerequisites commonly required for various health disciplines, including our own bachelor of science in nursing program. All courses are available online in spring, summer or fall — whatever works for your schedule.

Courses are offered in all three semesters in a 10-week format and are open to all students who need to fulfill prerequisites for nursing or other health programs. 

Available Courses

This 10-week course provides a basic understanding of ethical theory and principles as they relate to common ethical and moral dilemmas that challenge nursing professionals in clinical practice. The course introduces you to methods of analyzing and resolving moral dilemmas using clinical decision-making frameworks, as well as methods for increasing self-awareness by examining and understanding the impact of your own personal value systems.

Course Objectives

  • Define commonly used principles and theories involved in bioethical decision-making.
  • Identify historical factors that shaped the evolution of health care ethics.
  • Describe the major bioethical dilemmas encountered by age, role and population-specific groups.
  • Apply clinical decision-making frameworks to address bioethical dilemmas in clinical practice situations.
  • Recognize the impact of personal values in ethical reasoning and nursing practice.
  • Collaborate with group members to analyze contemporary bioethical issues.

Required Texts

Butts, J.B. & Rich, K.L. (2016). Nursing Ethics: Across the curriculum and into practice, (4th Ed.) Boston: Jones and Bartlett.

Piccoult, J. (2004). My Sister’s Keeper. New York: Washington Square Press.

Suggested Texts

American Psychological Association (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th Ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

This 10-week course addresses the fundamentals of human nutrition and their scientific foundations. You will learn about nutritional requirements related to changing individual and family needs, such as food choices, health behaviors, food safety, prevention of chronic disease and nutrition-related public health in the United States and globally.

Course Objectives

  • Describe the six classes of nutrients and explain their molecular structure, dietary source, and roles in physiological functioning.
  • Explain how nutrients are digested, absorbed, and excreted, and the consequences of toxicity or deficiency.
  • Discuss dietary recommendations and how nutrition is portrayed in research, on food labels, and in the media.
  • Compare the role of nutrition in different life stages in human development and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Explain how diet and physical activity impact body weight and risks for certain diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  • Provide an overview of causes of foodborne illnesses and discuss strategies for keeping foods safe.
  • Explore the relationship between poverty, malnutrition, and obesity and describe food insecurity.
  • Summarize the process of assessing an individual’s nutritional status, developing a care plan, and evaluating progress.
  • Identify strategies for assessing readiness to change and counseling individuals on dietary changes, taking into account different cultural and environmental settings.

Required Texts

Sizer, F. & Whitney, E. (2014). Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies. (13th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

This 10-week course focuses on the fundamental structures and functions as they relate to the human body: homeostasis; anatomical language and body organization; tissues and histology; and integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous and endocrine systems. You will need to have a basic background in introductory cell/molecular biology.

Course Objectives

  • Describe the interrelationship between anatomy and physiology as they relate to the various systems of the human body.
  • Describe the levels of structural organization in an organism and the characteristics that define life.
  • Utilize descriptive anatomical and directional terminology in the proper identification of various body structures.
  • Describe homeostasis and explain how the body uses feedback mechanisms to maintain homeostasis.
  • Describe the major characteristics, structure, function and location(s) of the various tissues of the human body.
  • Describe the structural features and functions of the integumentary system, neurological system, endocrine system, skeletal system and muscular system.
  • Apply knowledge of body systems to practical problem solving situations or case studies.
  • Summarize the consequences or body’s response to physiological and anatomical changes.

Required Texts

Amerman, E.C. (2015). Human Anatomy and Physiology Plus Mastering A&P access code. (10th ed.) San Francisco, CA: Pearson Publishing. ISBN: 0134170393 (E-Text only ISBN: 0134052390)

Note: You will be required to have access to the publisher materials that accompany this book (Mastering A&P). The access code can be purchased alone (providing an e-text) or with the textbook (which will still give you access to the e-book and online resources)

This 10-week course emphasizes the fundamental structures and functions as they relate to the human body:  homeostasis; anatomical language and body organization; tissues and histology; cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive systems. 

Course Objectives

  • Apply concepts of homeostasis, regional and directional terminology, and histology to the study of body systems.
  • Describe gross anatomy and physiology of reproductive, cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary, lymphatic, and digestive systems.
  • Describe the relationship between anatomical features of the systems and their related tissues.
  • Calculate physiological parameters and interpret data.
  • Recognize and explain the anatomical and physiological interrelationships within and between systems of the human body.
  • Apply knowledge of the systems to practical, problem-solving situations.
  • Demonstrate the consequences of physiological and anatomical changes on the body.

Required Texts

Amerman, E.C. (2015). Human Anatomy and Physiology Plus Mastering A&P access code. (16th ed.) San Francisco, CA: Pearson Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-0805382952

Book with Modified Mastering Access Code: 03218692493

Hole Punch Text with Modified Mastering Access Code: 0134270940

Mastering A&P Access Code with Ebook: 0134042336

Note: You will be required to have access to the publisher materials that accompany this book (Mastering A&P). The access code can be purchased alone (providing an e-text) or with the textbook (which will still give you access to the e-book and online resources)

This is a 10-week course in the summer semester and a 15-week course in the fall and spring semesters. This is an introductory course in probability and statistics for those studying health sciences. This course explores the foundational concepts in descriptive and inferential statistics, including probability, sampling distribution, estimation, correlation, t-Test, simple linear regression and chi-square. Coursework will focus on the application of statistical concepts and methods within the health sciences.

Course Objectives

  • Describe the role of descriptive and inferential statistics within the framework of scientific method.
  • Differentiate the types of data numerically and graphically.
  • Describe the theories and practices of statistical inference, probability and confidence intervals.
  • Interpret inferential statistics, including correlation, simple linear regression and t-Test.
  • Apply statistical concepts to health sciences scenarios.

Required Texts

Mendenhall, W., Beaver, R.J., & Beaver B.M. (2013). Introduction to Probability and Statistics. (14th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning. ISBN-13:978-1133103752.

Additional reference material will be provided on Blackboard.

This course explores principles of microbiology, with an emphasis on microorganisms that affect health and cause human disease. Topics include an overview of microbiology and aspects of medical microbiology, identification and control of pathogens, disease transmission, host resistance and immunity.

Course Objectives

  • Compare the major differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms.
  • Interpret the main morphological features of bacteria.
  • Discuss microbial growth and metabolism of bacteria.
  • Analyze the mode of action of antibiotics and the function of immunity against pathogens.
  • Examine the causative agents of commonly encountered human infectious diseases.
  • Interpret bacterial staining characteristics.
  • Compare and contrast the biochemical tests used to differentiate bacteria.

Required Texts

Cowan, M. Kelly., Herzog, Jennifer. (2016). Microbiology Fundamentals: A Clinical Approach. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. ISBN-9780078021046

Important notes for students:

  • Prerequisites offered through the GW Nursing satisfy our B.S.N. prerequisite requirements, but other schools may have different requirements. If you are taking these prerequisites for another school, we encourage you to contact one of their officials to determine if the course(s) meet their requirements there prior to your enrollment.
  • Current GW undergraduate students must be granted a waiver to enroll in GW online prerequisite course offerings. Please see your academic advisor or school official.

How to Apply

Apply through the GW Application system, using the non-degree application section. You will receive an email with instructions on how to register for individual courses. If you have any questions about your application or the process of submitting an application, contact the Office of Admissions at 571-553-0138 or [email protected].


Tuition is charged per credit hour unless otherwise noted, and is listed under “School of Nursing” by the university’s Student Accounts Office. Tuition is due by the start date of the course 

  • $350 per credit — $1,050 per 3-credit course and $1,400 per 4-credit course
  • $35 registration fee

Prerequisite courses do not qualify for financial aid.

Withdrawal and Refund Schedule

From the first day of the academic semester or session until the end of the second week of the academic semester or session.
From the first day of the third week of the academic semester or session until the end of the fourth week of the academic semester or session.
On and after the first day of the fifth week of the academic semester.