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Approval was granted for expansion of a Montana State University program designed to prepare students who already have a bachelor’s degree for a career in nursing.

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program began in 2011. On Oct. 9, the Montana State Board of Nursing granted the MSU College of Nursing’s request to extend the program to its Billings campus.

The accelerated degree program allows students who have already completed undergraduate studies in another discipline to forgo core coursework if they meet the nursing degree’s prerequisites. It admits students in each of the College of Nursing’s five campus locations — Bozeman, Great Falls, Kalispell, Missoula and, now, Billings — for 15 months, or four semesters, of classroom and clinical nursing education. Billings, Bozeman and Great Falls each admit 16 students every May. Kalispell and Missoula admit eight.

The expedited program lets students concentrate their learning and enter the workforce earlier than a full four-year course load. When they graduate, students will be eligible to take the national licensing examination to enter professional nursing practice and to become licensed in Montana or any other state.

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is specifically designed for individuals with a previous bachelor’s degree in any area or discipline other than nursing.