Articulation Agreements Among Nursing Education Programs

Articulation agreements are important mechanisms that enhance access to baccalaureate level nursing education. These agreements support education mobility and facilitate the seamless transfer of academic credit between associate degree (ADN) and baccalaureate (BSN) nursing programs. Typically negotiated by faculty from both types of academic institutions, these renewable agreements help to ensure equivalency between community college and university courses. Though a formal contract is not necessary to transfer credit between junior and senior colleges, these frameworks do help to inform students' course selection, eliminate curriculum redundancies, streamline the application review process, and promote collaboration among educators across nursing programs.

Though some agreements exist to facilitate progression from associate degree to master's level nursing programs, this report focuses on ADN to BSN articulation. Currently, 32 states and the District of Columbia maintain broad articulation agreements between ADN and BSN programs, including 8 states that mandate credit transfer between programs at public institutions. Most agreements were developed through statewide collaborations among nurse educators, boards of nursing, and other interested parties.

In the remaining 18 states, hundreds of individual school-to-school articulation agreements exist to facilitate credit transfer and baccalaureate degree completion. Though each agreement is different and unique to nursing programs within each state, most allow for the transfer of 60 semester credits, which is consistent with transfer agreements between two- and four-year institutions for other academic disciplines.

Download Fact Sheet [PDF]

Articulation agreements among nursing education programs fall within three general categories: Mandated, Statewide, and Individual.

Mandated Articulation Agreements: These formal agreements exist as part of legislation and mandate credit transfer between nursing programs. In Florida, for example, State Board of Education Rule 6A-10.024 provides that all graduates of approved ADN programs in the state will be granted admission into a baccalaureate program offered by any state institution with few exceptions. The law further states that 72 credit hours, including 42 hours of nursing core courses, will be transferred into BSN programs, which cannot exceed 128 credit hours to complete. States with mandated articulation agreements include:

Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Texas, Washington

Statewide Articulation Agreements: These voluntary articulation plans and models are usually developed through the collaborative effort of nurse educators, regulators, legislators, and other stakeholders wishing to enhance educational mobility for registered nurses (RNs). These agreements are generally accepted by all community colleges and public universities in a given state, though private institutions often choose to participate as well. For example, all state-funded nursing programs in Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have adopted the nursing education articulation model and use this framework to guide credit transfer and admissions decisions. Statewide articulation agreements and models exist in the following states:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Individual School-to-School Articulation Agreements: In states without mandated articulation plans and statewide models, individual agreements are often established between ADN and BSN programs. These arrangements typically delineate which nursing courses will transfer between programs as well as the maximum number of credits accepted. Several states including California, Illinois, and Indiana offer online resources to help students and educators identify which courses will transfer from junior to senior colleges. Hundreds of individual articulation agreements have been created in the following states:

California, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia

Finally, private schools and nursing programs located in areas with statewide articulation models and/or plans in place often develop individual school-to-school agreements as well.

AACN Research and Online Resources

AACN has compiled the following resources related to articulation agreements among nursing education programs:

Key to Articulation Agreement Types
Individual: Arrangements are made on a school-to-school basis. A blanket agreement does not exist.
18 states

Mandated: State laws exist regulating the transfer of credit between public institutions.
8 states

Statewide: Articulation plans and models are in place for public and sometimes private institutions. Often, these agreements apply to all programs in a state's university and community college system.
24 states and the District of Columbia

State   Agreement Type
Alabama   Statewide
Alaska   Statewide
Arizona   Statewide
Arkansas   Statewide
California   Individual
Colorado   Statewide
Connecticut   Mandated
Delaware   Statewide
District of Columbia   Statewide
Florida   Mandated
Georgia   Statewide
Hawaii   Individual
Idaho   Statewide
Illinois   Statewide
Indiana   Individual
Iowa   Statewide
Kansas   Statewide
Kentucky   Individual
Louisiana   Statewide
Maine   Individual
Maryland   Mandated
Massachusetts   Individual
Michigan   Individual
Minnesota   Mandated
Mississippi   Statewide
Missouri   Statewide
Montana   Individual
Nebraska   Individual
Nevada   Individual
New Hampshire   Statewide
New Jersey   Statewide
New Mexico   Individual
New York   Individual
North Carolina   Mandated
North Dakota   Statewide
Ohio   Statewide
Oklahoma   Statewide
Oregon   Individual
Pennsylvania   Statewide
Rhode Island   Individual
South Carolina   Mandated
South Dakota   Statewide
Tennessee   Statewide
Texas   Mandated
Utah   Individual
Vermont   Individual
Virginia   Individual
Washington   Mandated
West Virginia   Individual
Wisconsin   Statewide
Wyoming   Statewide

Mandated Articulation Agreements

Articulation and General Studies Committee, State of Alabama

All of the states ADN programs are offered through the University of Alaska system, which permits seamless articulation into the BSN program.

Arizona Transfer Articulation Support System

Arizona Nursing Program Matrix

Arkansas Nursing Articulation Model

Project Assist – Student transfer information for California public schools

Colorado Commission on Higher Education Statewide Articulation Agreements

Colorado Nursing Articulation Model

Connecticut Public Act No. 01-165

Delaware Connected Degree/Transfer Options

Statewide Articulation Manual

With a network of 22 colleges and 88 campuses, the mission of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) is to recruit and grow a globally competitive workforce through education, training, and career services for Georgia businesses and industries. TCSG aims to enhance the economic opportunity and prosperity of Georgia’s citizens, employers, and communities.

Idaho's Statewide Nursing Articulation Plan

Illinois Articulation Initiative

Iowa Articulation Plan for Nursing Education

Kansas Nursing Articulation Pathways

Louisiana Nursing Education Articulation Model

Annual Report on Selected Maryland Acute Care and Special Hospital Services

Maryland Board of Nursing Articulation Information

ARTSYS - Articulation System of Maryland Colleges and Universities

MNSCU Statewide Nursing Articulation Agreement

Mississippi’s Statewide Articulation Agreement between MS Community Colleges and Public Universities

Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning

Missouri Articulation Plan

New Hampshire
Transfer Opportunities

New Jersey
New Jersey Nursing Education Articulation Model

North Carolina
Comprehensive Articulation Agreement Between the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Community College System 

North Dakota
North Dakota University System Articulation Agreements

Ohio Nursing Articulation Model

Oklahoma Board of Nursing

University of Oklahoma Transfer Equivalencies

Pennsylvania Nursing Articulation Model

Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Center

South Carolina
Statewide Agreement on Transfer and Articulation

South Dakota
South Dakota University Nursing Articulation Plan for ADN to BSN Graduates

Tennessee College and Career Planning System

Field of Study Curriculum for Nursing 

2023-2028 Texas State Health Plan

University of Wisconsin Transfer Information System

Transfer Agreements with Four Year Institutions: Articulations

Original Publication Date: June 2005
Updated: February 2024


Robert Rosseter