Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education

Many master’s and doctoral nursing graduates will enter faculty roles with little preparation for teaching. This 9-credit hour Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education is designed to prepare nurses for educational roles in their setting of interest — hospital, community, or academic settings.

The purpose of this certificate is to provide specialized knowledge and skills in the area of nursing education to nurses who desire to concurrently develop these skills in teaching and learning along with their advanced nursing preparation.

Students enrolled in this certificate program will examine curricular foundations and expectations of contemporary nursing and health care education in academic or clinical settings. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the role of technology in curriculum development, implementation, and evaluation procedures in educational settings including academic education, staff development, patient education, and lifelong learning programs.

Presently in NC nursing faculty who teach in academic programs leading to initial RN licensure must provide evidence within 3 years of employment of having preparation in teaching and learning principles for adult learning This certificate will meet one of the current pathways for demonstrating these competencies – 9 credit hours of education coursework.
Completion of the Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education requires a minimum of 9 credit hours of course work. Courses do not need to be taken in numerical sequence. For example, if 882 fits into your summer schedule you can enroll in it without having had 875 or 875.

Courses include:

NURS 875 Principles of Teaching Applied to Nursing (3 cr) Fall semester
NURS 876 Innovations in Nursing and Health Care Educational Curricula (3 cr) Spring semester
NURS 882 Clinical Teaching in Nursing (3 cr) Summer
NURS 950 Analysis of the Academic Role in Nursing Education (3 cr) (Doctoral students; MSN with permission)

Phd Students Only

NURS N899.001 Mentored Teaching Practicum (1-3 cr)  Fall 2017: You must arrange this with a PhD faculty member. If taken for 3 cr, this course could be taken as a variable credit elective or could meet the requirements for one of three courses required for the Nursing Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) or the Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education (GCNE).

Registered nurses (RNs) who are enrolled as graduate or postgraduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill.

To participate in the certificate program, students must be in good academic standing, that is, be actively pursuing the program of study in which they are enrolled and making satisfactory progress toward the completion of program requirements.

NOTE: If you are an education major in Health Care Systems, you do not need to apply for the certificate as these courses are a part of your degree program.

The certificate can be completed in one calendar year, typically with one course in the fall, spring, and summer semester.
Certificate programs are under the 40% rule, meaning that up to 40% of the credit hours in the certificate program may count towards the student’s degree program. That is, three credits of the 9-credit certificate program may count for both the certificate and the student’s degree program. The remaining six credits must be in addition to the student’s degree requirements. Whether you will be able to apply the 40% rule will depend on your program of study and the requirements of the University.

Once you apply, the GCNE coordinator will review your program of study and specify whether you have three credit hours that may be used for the 40% rule. You will receive an email outlining how many credits you will need to fulfill the certificate requirements and the requirements of your degree program.

Carefully read the information below. Keep in mind it may not represent your exact situation, however, the email you received at enrollment should clarify your situation.

MSN: For MSN students, there are no elective hours, thus, the 9 credits of nursing education courses must be in addition to your required degree requirements. The only exception to this are HCS-Clinical Nurse Leader students as one 3-credit nursing education course is in their required program of study (40% rule) — thus, they need only 6 credits above their required program total.

REMEMBER: If you are a MSN-education major in Health Care Systems, you do not need to apply for the certificate as these courses are a part of your degree program.

DNP and PhD: DNP and PhD students have required elective hours in their programs of study. Only one of the 3-credit nursing education courses may count for both the certificate and your doctoral degree.

  • For DNP Students: Since you are required to have 4 credits of electives, you will need to take another 1 cr elective to meet the required program hours for your degree. This additional 1 credit cannot come from taking another nursing education certificate course.
  • For PhD Students: For example, if you are required to complete 51 credit hours, you must have  57 cr hours to graduate with the certificate. That is, three credits of the 9-credit certificate program may count for both the certificate and your degree program

DNP—HCS: If you are required to have a substantive focus for your specialty area such as informatics, nursing education courses will not meet a substantive focus requirement. Thus, you need 9 credits above your required program total.

Yes. If you have successfully completed the 9-credit certificate program it will be indicated on your transcript. It is the responsibility of the student to make certain that 9-credits of coursework have been completed by the projected date of graduation.

Download and complete the (PDF) Graduate_Certificate_NE_Application and email to:

For additional information, contact:
UNC School of Nursing, Office of Student Affairs
(919) 966-4260