East Carolina University Nursing School Review

East Carolina University (ECU) is located in Greenville, North Carolina. It is the third-largest university in the University of North Carolina system with almost 28,000 students enrolled in various programs. Nursing is one of the most popular programs, and East Carolina is renowned for this and for some of its other programs. There are over 100 Bachelor’s Degree programs, 85 Master’s Degree programs, 21 Doctoral programs, and 62 Certificate programs at the university.

Nursing Programs

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

East Carolina University offers a campus-based Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) that takes four years plus one summer session to complete. After the prerequisite courses are completed in humanities and sciences, students may apply for admission to the nursing program. After completing the program, graduates take the NCLEX-RN to become licensed as Registered Nurses. There is a demand for nurses and opportunities to work in many settings besides hospitals, such as schools, community agencies, clinics, doctor’s offices, and others.

Many applicants want to attend East Carolina University’s College of Nursing because it is one of the eight schools in the U.S. to be recognized for the way it teaches nursing students. The College of Nursing has been awarded a Center of Excellence for 2011 to 2015 by the National League for Nursing. The College of Nursing offers much more than great teaching, such as the housing opportunity offered for intended nursing majors. Thirty freshmen with the intention of becoming RNs live in the same dorm and take classes together in their first two semesters at the university. They work together to prepare to take the nursing school entrance test, practicing time management and test taking skills.


Registered Nurses (RNs) with an Associate Degree who want to continue their education have the opportunity to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with this program. There are many opportunities for RNs by choosing East Carolina University’s program, such as the fact that there are no placement exams and students receive 34 semester hours of advanced placement to senior status. Students need to only complete 34 additional hours to qualify for graduation. Courses are online, which is a very convenient way for working professionals to complete their work. The program is specifically designed for working RNs who may complete their BSN on either a part-time or full-time basis. This means that it takes either three, four, or five semesters to complete the program. Another convenience is that the practicum and field experience are completed in the area close to the student’s home.


The Registered Nurse (RN) to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is designed for RNs with an Associate Degree who want to earn their MSN. Students do not earn their BSN. This program is highly selective, and students must complete their undergraduate prerequisite courses and 15 to 18 semester hours of RN to BSN coursework before they may enter the MSN program. Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in the BSN courses to qualify for the program. The MSN courses are mainly online courses. Students must choose one of the following advanced nursing specialties to focus on after completing the general MSN courses.

Adult Nurse Practitioner

This MSN program prepares RNs to serve as primary healthcare of adults. The entire program is taken online, and students need only to go to the campus on 9 dates. Only 25 students are admitted annually to the program. There are at least 45 semester hours of coursework plus 616 clinical practicum hours required for this program. Either a part-time or full-time curriculum may be chosen. The full-time plan takes two years to complete and the part-time program can be completed in three years. Graduates take the national certification exam to become Adult Nurse Practitioners.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

This MSN program prepares RNs to work in complex care settings. Students focus on specializing in adult medicine and gerontology in this 42 credit program. At graduation, students take the national certification exam to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist. An additional option is to complete another 3 credit course in Critical Care. This also requires a certification exam after its completion. The courses are offered online and the program takes two years of full-time study or three and one-half years of part-time study.

Nursing Leadership

This MSN program prepares students to become leaders in the healthcare field. Students choose from Leadership in Acute Care Health Systems, Leadership in Community-Based Health Systems, or Leadership in Health Care Educational Systems. Students learn financial and human resource management, law and regulation, and more. There is also a required 252 hour practicum in the student’s focus area. A total of 41 credit hours are also required, and they are all offered online.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

RNs who want to work with newborns and their families may want to continue their education with this online MSN program. Graduates take the national exam to become a certified Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. All courses are offered online and 41 credit hours are required for graduation. The full-time curriculum takes 18 months to complete, while the part-time plan takes two and one-half years to complete.

Family Nurse Practitioner

This MSN program is an online program that is designed to prepare RNs to practice nursing in primary healthcare settings. Students are required to go to the university campus only 9 times over the course of their studies. At least 50 credits must be completed plus 728 clinical practicum hours. Graduates take the national exam that leads to certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner. The full-time version of the program takes two years to complete and the part-time plan takes five years to complete.


This MSN online program is offered to prepare students for a career in Nurse-Midwifery. Graduates take the exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board. There is a special need for graduates to work in rural areas where there is a great need for this nurse specialist. At least 50 credits are needed for graduation, and students may complete the program on a full-time basis in two years or part-time basis in three years.

Nursing Education

This MSN program prepares RNs to become Nurse Educators. North Carolina law requires Nurse Educators to have a minimum of two years of clinical experience, so students must have one complete years’ experience before enrolling in the program. The program requires that 36 to 39 credits are completed. Students may work on either a full-time or part-time basis. Upon graduation, students take the Certified Nurse Educator Exam.

Nurse Anesthesia

East Carolina University also offers a Nurse Anesthesia program that must be completed on campus for five semesters. This 28 month program prepares students to take the national certification exam. Afterwards, Nurse Anesthetists work in hospitals, outpatient surgical facilities, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare facilities.

Post-Master’s Certificates

RNs who have already earned their MSN may complete the advanced nursing specialty programs and receive a certificate in this area. All programs prepare students to take national exams for certification. These programs are Adult Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, Nurse Anesthesia, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nursing Leadership, or Family Nurse Practitioner. Nursing Education is also available.

MSN Alternate Entry Option

This program is designed for those with a baccalaureate degree in another field of study. It is an accelerated program that leads to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. There are two phases of this program. The first phase that prepares students to become RNs and to meet licensure requirements requires 39 credits. The next phase that prepares nurses for a career in advanced nursing requires 39 to 50 credits, depending on the specialty that is selected. The total credits required are anywhere from 78 to 89.

PhD Program

This program is designed for nurses who want to become researchers or teach nursing education. The length of study depends on the individual student. Graduates from this program are prepared to work as administrators in public and private healthcare organizations, as university faculty, policy makers and analysts, and researchers.

East Carolina University
600 Moye Blvd.,
Greenville, NC 27834