University of South Carolina Nursing School Review


The University of South Carolina (USC), located in Columbia, is the flagship university of the South Carolina higher education system. The university has a long history of academic excellence, dating back to 1805, and currently serves over 30,000 students in over 300 different degree programs. Among those degree programs are several in the field of nursing, at the undergraduate and graduate level.  All programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Through the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, a prospective Registered Nurse (RN) will receive a background in the liberal arts as well as the nursing training that she needs to pass the National Council Licensing Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). During the first two years, students complete lower division coursework, which consists of forty-five credits of general education courses and introductory nursing courses. After completing lower division coursework, a student can apply to the upper division BSN program, which begins in the fall only.

Approximately 200 students are accepted each year, and about sixty students at the University of South Carolina – Lancaster and the University of South Carolina – Salkehatchie may also participate in the upper division nursing coursework.  If accepted into the upper division, a student will focus completely on nursing for the next two years, taking classes and completing clinical rotations. In total, a BSN student must earn 122 credits to graduate.

Master of Science in Nursing – Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

After completing a BSN program, an RN may prepare to provide primary care to adults with serious health problems through the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. This program will prepare him to take the certification exam for Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (ACNP). The course sequence starts in the fall, and can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. In total, a student must earn at least forty credits and complete clinical hours. He also has the option of taking two elective classes that cover acute care nursing for children. Most courses for the MSN program are offered online.

Master of Science in Nursing – Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

In order to function as a primary caregiver for both adults and children, a BSN-prepared nurse can complete the MSN program, working toward certification as a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PCNP) with an emphasis on family care.  The courses are offered online, for the most part, although students will have to come to campus occasionally. The program requires forty-five credits total (including clinical hours), and takes six semesters to complete on a full-time basis. Students also have the option of studying part-time. The course sequence begins in the fall only.

Certificate of Graduate Study in Advanced Practice Nursing

An MSN-prepared nurse can become an advanced practice nurse more quickly than a BSN-prepared nurse. In order to take an advanced practice certification exam, she only needs to complete three core graduate nursing classes, and four or five classes in her chosen area of specialization. The University of South Carolina offers two specializations: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Primary Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner. In total, a student must earn twenty-four to twenty-seven credits in order to receive a certificate of graduate study in advanced practice nursing. Classes are available online, and a student must begin the course sequence in the fall.

Certificate of Graduate Study in Advanced Practice Nursing for Certified Nurse Practitioners

A nurse who has earned an MSN degree and already has advanced practice certification can earn certification as an ACNP or PCNP/FNP even more quickly than a nurse who has an MSN degree but no advanced practice certification. He does not need to complete the core graduate nursing classes; he only needs to complete eighteen credits in his chosen area of specialization. The course sequence begins in the fall, and classes are available online.

Doctor of Nursing Practice – BSN Entry (Online BSN to DNP Program)

A BSN-prepared nurse can enter the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program and prepare himself to take on the highest level of clinical responsibility as an advanced practice nurse. The curriculum is intense, as a nurse with a BSN degree must complete coursework leading to advanced practice certification in addition to the DNP coursework. This requires seventy-five credits, if he wishes to specialize as a PCNP/FNP, and sixty-eight credits if he wishes to specialize as an ACNP. On a full-time basis, this requires ten semesters. He also has the option of studying part-time. Over the course of the program, he will complete at least 1000 clinical hours. The course sequence starts in the fall only, and classes are offered online.

Doctor of Nursing Practice – Master’s Entry (Clinical): (Online MSN to DNP Program)

A nurse with an MSN degree and advanced practice certification can earn a DNP degree online in just five semesters of full-time study. In total, she must earn thirty-three credits and complete at least 500 clinical hours. The course sequence begins in the fall only, and courses are available online.

Doctor of Nursing Practice – non-BSN Entry

The DNP program is also open to students who hold a degree in a field other than nursing and are not yet RNs. From this entry point, a student can expect to study on a full-time basis for six to eight years, including summers. The course of study includes any necessary prerequisites for the undergraduate nursing classes, upper division BSN coursework, MSN coursework leading to advanced practice certification as an ACNP or PCNP/FNP, and finally the thirty-three credits of DNP coursework.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science Degree (Online Nursing PhD Program)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD in Nursing) program prepares nurse scholars, researchers, and educators. The University of South Carolina accepts students who have an MSN degree, a BSN degree, or a master’s degree in a field other than nursing. Credit requirements for this doctoral program vary, depending on the incoming student’s education level. An MSN-prepared nurse or nurse with a master’s degree in a field other than nursing needs to earn sixty credits. A BSN-prepared nurse must plan on earning at least eighty-seven credits. Courses are offered online, and the course sequence starts each fall.

Center for Nursing Leadership

There is also a nursing leadership development program for experienced nurses, nurse executives and academics in the healthcare field. The center has the “The Amy V. Cockcroft Nursing Leadership Development Program” which is targeted towards nurse executive leaders and healtcare managers. Training involves enhancing the nurse leaders communication skills, conflict resolution ability, understanding of modern management theory and healthcare systems. The program lasts for one year and takes place in 5 sessions that are each 3 days long.

The Center for Nursing Leadership also offers continuing education credit classes and 6 hours of graduate credit through the University of South Carolina. You will need to have at least a BSN to be elligible for any of the centers classes.

Nursing Scholarships

Each year there are several nursing scholarships available to undergraduate and graduate students that you can apply for. Examples are the:

– Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Fund

– Carol R. Collison-Alpha Xi Scholarship 

– Bobbi Rossi Memorial Scholarship

– Brenda F. Weaver Memorial Scholarship

– Alpha Xi Nursing Scholarship

Contact:
University of South Carolina – College of Nursing
1601 Greene Street,
Columbia, SC 29208

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You might also be interested in one of the following featured nursing programs that are currently accepting students and have online or hybrid nursing programs. You can get in touch with these featured programs directly to get your questions answered. Be sure to check with each program on specific prerequisites for their program!

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