BSN Program Overview

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Program Overview – Academic Year 2015-2016

Program of Study

The degree offered is the bachelor of science in nursing.

The School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers an undergraduate program of study designed to provide students with the knowledge, skill, and understanding necessary to function effectively in all areas of professional nursing. The curriculum leading to the bachelor of science in nursing (B.S.N.) degree offers two options for study: 1) two years of upper-division courses in the School of Nursing, which follow two years of lower-division courses in the General College (or equivalent courses completed at another college/university) OR an earned previous bachelor’s degree plus the noted pre-requisites (B.S.N. Option); 2) an accelerated second degree option for students with a previous bachelor’s degree (A.B.S.N. Option). Students are subject to the requirements in place when they are admitted to the School of Nursing; consequently, the requirements described on this page particularly apply to students admitted to the School of Nursing during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Admission to the School

First Degree Students:

Students seeking a first bachelor’s degree are admitted to the upper division (junior/senior) B.S.N. (6-semester) option, typically in the spring semester of the sophomore year¹. Students must complete all lower-division (first-year/sophomore) courses prior to matriculating into the School of Nursing. The first nursing courses begin in the first summer session (May) preceding the junior year.

Admission Criteria:

Admission to the School of Nursing is competitive. Effective May 2014 matriculation (December 2013 application deadline), all applicants to the BSN option must have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 2.8. Admission to UNC–Chapel Hill as a first-year student does not guarantee admission to the School of Nursing as a junior. Applicants must be eligible to return to all institutions previously attended.

At the time of application, applicants to the B.S.N. option must have completed at least three of the five key science courses within the past ten years. The key science courses are: BIOL 252/BIOL 252L**, PHYI 202**, MCRO 251, PSYC 101, and STOR 151 or 155. Effective May 2014 matriculation (December 2013 application deadline), a grade of B- or better is required in BIOL 252**, PHYI 202**, MCRO 251 and a C or better is required in PSYC 101 and STOR 151/155 (Faculty approved 4/15/13). STOR 155 is strongly recommended for students interested in graduate study.

The admissions committee critically evaluates each applicant’s academic performance, descriptive essays, community service history, and special skills and abilities that have the potential to affect care delivery or contribute overall to the nursing profession. The ideal applicant will clearly demonstrate a strong academic history as well as a commitment to the ideology of nursing and service to others. Performance in required science courses is particularly important.


Applications may be submitted by the December deadline for summer (May) matriculation. UNC–Chapel Hill students applying to the School of Nursing as sophomores or juniors complete the electronic nursing application. The application link, instructions, deadlines, and decision timeframe can be found on the Applications page.

Second-Degree Students:
Applicants who have completed a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than nursing may pursue admission to the B.S.N. (6-semester) option OR the more accelerated and intensive A.B.S.N. (4-semester) option. Second degree students will have 60 credit hours from their previous degree counted toward the B.S.N. degree. Applicants have to complete (or verify completion as part of their previous degree) only six courses from the lower-division requirements: BIOL 252/BIOL 252L**, MCRO 251, PHYI 202**, PSYC 101, STOR 151 or 155, and a U.S. diversity or global issues Connections course. STOR 155 is strongly recommended for students interested in graduate study.

Admission Criteria:
Admission to the School of Nursing is competitive. Effective May 2014 matriculation (December 2013 application deadline), the minimum cumulative grade point average for admission to the B.S.N. option will be a 2.8 on a 4.0 scale. The minimum cumulative grade point average for the A.B.S.N. option is a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. All applicants seeking admission as second degree students must have earned the first degree prior to submitting the nursing application. Applicants must be eligible to return to all institutions previously attended. At the time of application, applicants to the A.B.S.N. option must have completed all five key science courses noted above while applicants to the B.S.N. option must have completed three of these courses. The key science courses much have been completed within the past ten years. The key science courses are: BIOL 252/BIOL 252L**, PHYI 202**, MCRO 251, PSYC 101, and STOR 151 or 155. Effective May 2014 matriculation (December 2013 application deadline), a grade of B- or better is required in BIOL 252**, PHYI 202**, and MCRO 251. A C or better is required in PSYC 101 and STOR 151/155. STOR 155 is strongly recommended for students interested in graduate study. The admissions committee review is as described previously.


Applications for the A.B.S.N. option may be submitted by the August deadline for spring (January) matriculation, while applications to the B.S.N. option may be submitted by the December deadline for  summer (May) matriculation. All first and second degree applicants must complete the electronic nursing application. The application link, instructions, deadlines, and decision timeframe can be found on the Applications page.

Majoring in Nursing: Bachelor of Science

The baccalaureate program in nursing prepares graduates to employ critical thinking and caring in 1) understanding the problems of contemporary health and illness; 2) utilizing a systematic approach to assess human responses to actual and potential health problems in a variety of settings; 3) directly providing and managing competent care for individuals, families, and groups who have simple to complex health care needs throughout the lifespan; 4) employing interpersonal processes and therapeutic communication skills; 5) integrating professional values and role behaviors; and 6) collaborating with other groups in shaping health policies that affect both individual and community health.

Courses in the nursing major are taken at the upper-division level. The courses build on a strong foundation in the sciences and humanities to develop the knowledge and skills needed to practice nursing in contemporary society. Clinical experiences take place in a broad variety of settings that reflect current patterns of health care delivery and provide opportunities for students to develop competence in empathetic care, critical thinking, technical skills, clinical judgment and decision making, interdisciplinary collaboration, and management of care.

Lower Division Courses in the General College
Students are admitted to the baccalaureate nursing program at the upper-division level. All lower-division courses must be completed before beginning nursing courses. Lower-division courses taken at another college or university must be approved for transfer by the UNC–Chapel Hill Office of Undergraduate Admissions as comparable to the courses offered on this campus. Prospective students can request an unofficial transcript evaluation to determine the status of compliance with lower-division requirements. The unofficial transfer evaluation request form should be attached to copies of all United States college transcripts and sent to the UNC–Chapel Hill School of Nursing address on the form.

should be attached to copies of all United States college transcripts and sent to the UNC–Chapel Hill School of Nursing address on the form.

Students with a bachelor’s degree must complete only the six courses marked with an asterisk (below) or verify completion of these courses as a part of the previous degree. Note: second degree applicants may meet either the global issues or U.S. diversity prerequisite.

(Lower Division Requirements)
– English 101, 102
– Foreign Languages (Through level 3 unless you place into level 4)
– Statistics (STOR) 151 or Statistics (STOR) 155 (QR)
– (1) Lifetime Fitness (LF)
– *Global Issues (GL)
– *US Diversity (US)
– Experiential Education (EE)Two of the following:
– Communication Intensive (CI)
– Quantitative Intensive (QI)
– The North Atlantic World (NA)
– Beyond the North Atlantic World (BN)
– The World Before 1750 (WB)
– Psychology 101 (Physical/Life Science) (PL)
– (1) Physical and Life Science w/ Lab (PX)
– (1) Social Science (SS)
– (1) Historical Analysis (HS)
– (1) Additional course from SS or HS
– (1) Philosophical and Moral Reasoning (PH)
– (1) Visual and Performing Arts (VP)
– (1) Literary Arts (LA)
(some may also satisfy General Education Prerequisites)
  • *Psychology 101 Introduction to Psychology
  • *Statistics (STOR) 151 Basic Concepts of Statistics and Data Analysis OR Statistics (STOR) 155 Introduction to Statistics – Note: STOR 155 is strongly recommended for students interested in graduate study.
  • Biology 101/101L Principles of Biology
  • Chemistry 101/101L and Chemistry 102/102L General Descriptive Chemistry OR  Biochemistry 107 and Biochemistry 108 Introduction to Biochemistry
  • *Biology 252/BIOL 252L Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology with lab (Note: online lab is unacceptable)**
  • *Physiology 202 Introduction to Physiology**
  • *Microbiology 251 Introduction to Medical Microbiology (Note: online lab is unacceptable)
*Second degree applicants take only six course prerequisites: five designated science courses plus either a US Diversity OR a Global Issues course.

All first-degree students must meet the Foundations and Approaches requirements as outlined below:

• *For the Foundations quantitative reasoning requirement: either STOR 151 Basic Concepts of Statistics and Data Analysis or 155 Introduction to Statistics. STOR 155 is strongly recommended for students interested in graduate study.

• For the Approaches physical and life sciences requirements (for a total of 28 credits):

◦ BIOL 101/101L Principles of Biology

◦ *BIOL 252/BIOL 252L Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology (with lab; online lab is unacceptable)**

◦ CHEM 101/101L and CHEM 102/102L General Descriptive Chemistry or BIOC 107 and BIOC 108 Introduction to Biochemistry

◦ *MCRO 251 Introductory Medical Microbiology (with on-site lab; online lab is unacceptable)

◦ *PHYI 202 Introduction to Physiology**

◦ *PSYC 101 General Psychology

Nursing students also must satisfy the following Connections requirements: global issues*, U.S. diversity*, and at least two others, bringing total credit hours required of B.S.N. applicants to 68. Effective May 2014 matriculation (December 2013 application deadline), a grade of B- or better is required in BIOL 252/BIOL 252L**, MCRO 251 and PHYI 202**. A C or better is required in PSYC 101 and STOR 151/155. STOR 155 is strongly recommended for students interested in graduate study.

Special Note:

  • Effective January 2012 matriculation (August 2011 application deadline), applicants must have completed the two-course combination, Anatomy and Physiology I and Anatomy and Physiology II sequence from the same college/university, OR a complete course in Anatomy and a complete course in Physiology. If these courses are not completed on this campus, they must be approved equivalencies to the courses offered at UNC-Chapel Hill.
  •  ** Students at UNC-CH may take either BIOL 252/BIOL 252L and PHYI 202 OR BIOL 352 and 353.

Overview of the Major

ABSN/BSN Options:

  • NURS 253, 254, 261, 360, 361, 362, 364, 366, 371, 382, 456, 470, 472, 477, 479, 588, 590, and one of the following courses: 487, 488, or 489.

Critical Information for ALL Nursing Students

Technical Standards

The curricula leading to degrees in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing require students to engage in diverse and complex experiences directed at the acquisition and practice of essential nursing skills and functions. Unique combinations of cognitive, affective, psychomotor, physical, and social abilities are required to perform these functions satisfactorily. In addition to being essential to the successful completion of the requirements of a nursing degree, these skills and functions are necessary to ensure the health and safety of patients, fellow students, faculty, and other health care providers.

The Essential Standards document describes the nonacademic qualifications, required in addition to academic qualifications, which the School considers critical for entrance to, continuation in, and graduation from a UNC–Chapel Hill School of Nursing degree program. Candidates for nursing degrees, with the exception noted for selected graduate programs, must be able to meet these minimum standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, for successful completion of degree requirements. Refer to the School’s Web site for additional information: 

Professional Risk

The practice of nursing involves the care of individuals who are ill or injured. Communicable diseases are common in health care delivery settings and may be a threat to nursing students. During the performance of clinical practice/research activities, a student may have contact with patients/subjects with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and other infections. Such contact, although rare when proper preventive measures are used, may result in a student’s being exposed to infectious agents and/or transmitting an infectious disease to other students, faculty, patients, family members, and subjects. During pregnancy, the fetus may be at risk. As a student enrolled in the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, students are expected to provide care to patients who may have known or unknown communicable diseases. Application to and acceptance of an offer from the School of Nursing indicates a student’s understanding of related professional risks.

Fitness for Practice

All students admitted to the School of Nursing are required by the North Carolina Board of Nursing to provide documentation of their fitness to provide safe nursing care to the public. Failure to provide requisite documentation will result in the withdrawal of the admission offer. Additionally, North Carolina law requires incoming students to present to the University, before the first day of enrollment, evidence verifying that the student has received all required immunizations.

Further, federal and state statutory regulations and clinical affiliate contractual mandates require that nursing students demonstrate particular cognitive and clinical competencies consistent with their minimum professional practice standards. As such, students must attain and maintain full compliance with all requirements. The school also requires students to undergo a criminal history database check following admission acceptance at the student’s expense. The check covers all addresses in which the student has lived, worked or attended an educational institution in the past seven years or since the 16th birthday, whichever is less. Database checks will address all criminal charges, felony and misdemeanor level convictions (except minor traffic related violations), and the Sexual Offender/Predator Registry for all states in which the student has lived. Reports are shared with clinical agencies who require all charges be resolved prior to the start of clinical practice. Questions about these requirements may be directed to the Office of Student Affairs.

Multiple clinical agencies now require students undergo drug testing prior to the start of clinical practice at their sites. A 12-panel urine screen to test for drugs is required per contract specifications and conducted at student’s expense.

Disability Statement

Students who seek reasonable accommodations for disabilities must contact the Office of Accessibility Resources & Service (919-962-8300). Staff in this office will determine a student’s eligibility for, and recommend, appropriate accommodations and services. More information may be obtained through the website: Also see the School of Nursing’s policy located at:

Consistent with its mission and philosophy, the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to providing educational opportunities to students with disabilities. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the school provides reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified students with disabilities. The decision regarding appropriate accommodations will be based on the specifics of each case.

Computer Requirements
All School of Nursing students are required to use e-mail for conveying course/clinical/research/other School related business.  All e-mail communication regarding School of Nursing matters must utilize the student’s University MS-Exhange e-mail address only. The use of external email services is not permitted. Most School of Nursing courses use the Sakai Learning Management Systems which requires frequent reliable access to Internet resources. For both these reasons easy access to personal computers and the Web are imperative. The School of Nursing provides a PC lab solely for the use of undergraduate students, and students may also access PC lab facilities elsewhere on campus.

All B.S.N. and A.B.S.N. option students are required to have a laptop computer that meets the minimum requirements specified for the preloaded laptop computers available through the University’s Carolina Computing Initiative (CCI) program. Specifications can be found at Additionally, the School requires that students purchase an extra battery to ensure an adequate power supply for extended classroom, lab, or special project use. Choosing a vendor for the laptop purchase is the student’s prerogative; however, it is important to note that the University provides “software and operating system support for non-CCI laptops on a best-effort basis, and hardware support for non-CCI laptops is the responsibility of the owner” (source: In addition to the computer itself, students must have an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and an account for a high-speed access service.

Vehicular Requirements

Because of the broad scope of clinical facilities and locations, undergraduate nursing students must have access to a car. For information about the North Carolina requirements for automobile liability insurance, vehicle registration, and operator’s license, write to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, Raleigh, NC 27602. Students and/or parents are responsible for maintaining appropriate insurance coverage. Some insurance companies may consider such travel as “business driving.” Expenses for travel are the responsibility of the student.

Registered Nurse Licensure Examination Requirements
The North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) requires all graduates of the School of Nursing who apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to undergo a routine criminal background check, which necessitates submission of a complete set of fingerprints with the NCLEX application. Note: a Social Security Number is required for licensure application to the NCBON.


All first degree students intending to major in nursing have a primary academic advisor in Steele Building. Students are strongly encouraged to meet regularly with their advisor and review their Tar Heel Tracker each semester. In addition, students can visit the Health Professions Advising Office (second floor, Hanes Hall) soon after entering the University to learn the latest course requirements and other preparations necessary to become an outstanding candidate for a career in nursing. Advising information, advising hours, and information about joining the pre-health information listserv may be found on the office’s web site.

New Student Orientation

All newly admitted BSN and ABSN students are required to attend a mandatory orientation session one business day prior to the start of courses during their first semester. To determine when classes begin, view the University’s Academic Calendar. UNC-CH students who are studying abroad in the spring semester prior to matriculation should ensure their study abroad program will allow them to return to Chapel Hill prior to new student orientation.

Special Opportunities in Nursing

Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation

UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing is one of only three schools nationally that has been awarded a Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation grant.  The program’s primary goal is to create a new cadre of nurse scientists and leaders who will design innovative solutions for healthcare delivery.  This highly competitive program is open to new BSN and ABSN students and provides a pathway for students to earn their BSN and PhD in five to six years.  Six academically talented nursing students will be admitted to the program each January and receive financial and enhanced mentoring support to facilitate their progress towards the PhD.  By completing a PhD earlier in their career, Hillman Scholars will have a longer time to influence patient care through leadership, innovation and research in academic and clinical settings.  For additional information about the program, please visit

Departmental Involvement
Students are encouraged to participate in student leadership opportunities. These include the elected class governance system, the dean’s Student Advisory Council or course management team options, the Association of Nursing Students (the only preprofessional nursing organization available), and the Student Health Action Coalition. More details can be found online at

Experiential Education
The nursing program requires extensive direct clinical practice in a wide variety of acute care, chronic care, and community-based settings considered essential for the preparation of competent practitioners. Clinical contact time varies by study option and course but averages approximately 12 to 16 hours per week.

Financial Aid
Students granted admission to the School of Nursing seeking the baccalaureate degree at UNC–Chapel Hill may be considered for a variety of nursing-specific scholarships and other financial aid opportunities. For assistance, contact the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid by phone at (919) 962-8396 or through the Web at, or call the Office of Student Affairs at (919) 966-4260.

Study Abroad
Students may participate in selected study abroad options offered through required or elective courses.

Undergraduate Awards

During the final semester of study, the top one-third of students in each option will be invited to membership in Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society. The George Livas Award recognizes the graduating student who most clearly demonstrates academic excellence and leadership. Other awards presented during the school’s commencement ceremony honor those students achieving the highest grade point average in their respective option.

Undergraduate Research
Through the honors program, the University and the School of Nursing recognize undergraduates who have demonstrated exceptional academic ability and independent work in their major ( Qualified and interested students in their last two semesters of study will be paired with a faculty advisor who guides the student in an independent study honors project. The director of the undergraduate program supervises the honors program. Students participating in the honors program must have a cumulative University grade point average that meets University requirements. In addition, students must have and maintain a 3.4 cumulative nursing grade point average. Calculation of the cumulative grade point average is based solely on the required hours earned to date for the nursing degree. Grade point averages are not rounded. The student and honors advisor must complete a written contract, and the student must register for NURS 691H and 692H Honors Study in Nursing. Each honors course carries three hours of credit and is assigned a letter grade by the advisor. A student’s project must show evidence of independent, creative, abstract, analytical, and critical thinking.

The School of Nursing is located in Carrington Hall and its new addition. The Education-Innovation-Simulation Learning Environment (EISLE) provides undergraduate students with a simulated clinical environment in which to practice and acquire fundamental psychomotor and psychosocial skills necessary for clinical application. Under the close supervision of nursing faculty and teaching assistants, students learn therapeutic techniques and procedures, utilize problem solving approaches, and prioritize patient care in simulated situations.

Graduate School and Career Opportunities
The school offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and a PhD in nursing science. BSN graduates may pursue the MSN or DNP after one year of clinical practice, or they may pursue the PhD directly following the BSN, prior to completion of any master’s level course work. For further information on the graduate program, contact the Office of Student Affairs (919-966-4260) or click here.

The school works closely with University Career Services to prepare all B.S.N. graduates for the transition from student to professional practitioner. A preparatory career development series and career fair are offered annually. Additionally, the school cooperates with clinical agencies across the country to make available to students an array of information on employment opportunities in a myriad of settings and entry-level roles.

¹Students applying to the School of Nursing during their junior or senior year may be subject to a tuition surcharge. Visit the Office of the University Registrar website for additional information.