New Mexico State University-Las Cruces Nursing School Review

New Mexico State University-Las Cruces (NMSULas Cruces, NMSU-LC) was formed after the merging of two colleges: New Mexico Agricultural and Mechanical Arts College and Las Cruces College established in 1988 and 1989 respectively.  The merge happened in 1890 and it continued operating from the former Las Cruces college site before moving to a new site south of Las Cruces.  NMSU is one of the largest land-grant universities in the state and has expanded with a number of branch campuses. Most of its branch campuses are 2-year community colleges namely NMSU- Carlsbad, Alamogordo, Grants, Albuquerque and Dona Ana Community College.

Nursing Programs at New Mexico State University-Las Cruces

NMSU-Las cruces nursing programs can be classified into those offered on-site at Las Cruces and those offered at each of the branch campuses. In this guide, we will discuss the programs offered at the Las Cruces campus or online/distance from Las Cruces. NMSU offers a variety of options for the prospective nursing student with its dynamic bachelor’s, masters and doctoral programs. 

Within the undergraduate category, there are 3 options: the generic 4-year Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN), a 2nd degree in nursing option and an online registered nurse (RN) to BSN completion option. At master level, the university has one Master of Science in nursing (MSN)-Administration track. The two terminal nursing degree programs are also offered: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and the PhD in nursing.  Programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

This is the generic program that offers a pre-licensures curriculum for recent high school graduates or those with no prior nursing experience. The program is designed to cover 68 credits of pre-requisites and general education courses only during the freshman and sophomore years. If students successfully complete this section, they can take 61-67 nursing major/upper division nursing credits in the junior and senior years.  Completion of this curriculum makes the students eligible to take the NLCEX-RN exam to become registered nurses besides. Students are also awarded a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree.


This program is also offered to students of NMSU-Grants at the same timing and schedules as the main campus. This means that BSN students at Grants follow classes live from Las Cruses through Live Interactive Television. All courses offered at the main campus are delivered in a real-time synchronous mode via videoconferencing.  Student at Grants earn the same degree and eligible for the NLCEX-RN exam.

Online RN to BSN Option

The RN-BSN completion program is designed for registered nurse graduates of associate programs. New students are admitted once annually during the summer session. Candidates are expected to have completed all general education requirements for the NMSU BSN prior to starting the program.

Coursework from earlier programs is evaluated against that of the school of nursing and credits awarded appropriately. Credits transferred are only lower division courses, to a maximum of 41 credits.  All outstanding requirements for the lower division must be completed. All courses for the upper division nursing are offered 100% online; students only need to come to campus for a 3-day orientation session at the very start of the program.  The program is projected to take one year of full time, online learning. This track is offered as a Distance Learning option at other NMSU-branch campuses.

2nd Baccalaureate Degree

The 2nd degree pathway is offered for students with undergraduates degrees in other fields other than nursing. The program admits new students biannually for the fall and spring semesters. Students receive most of the lower division degree requirements from their earlier programs. As such, the curriculum offered is a 67-credit pre licensure package designed to prepare the students take the NCLEX-RN exam to become registered nurses. It is a rigorous track and demands full time commitment on the part of the student.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program

The MSN program at NMSU offers two degree plans to qualified students as follows:

Nursing Administration

This track is open for the registered nurse who has a BSN degree. It is a 42 credit hour program available in part time and full time options.  The full time option takes 2 years of 4 semesters and 1 summer while the part time option requires 3 years of 6 fall and spring semesters and 1 summer semester.  Professional busy student in the MSN program can also choose to complete the coursework 100% online otherwise,  one can attend onsite classes. This track is also offered as a Distance Learning options at other NMSU-branch campuses

Roadrunner MSN (2nd degree option)

The roadrunner MSN program is specifically meant for students without prior nursing experience but have undergraduate or graduate degrees in other fields. All student are admitted in cohorts and must remain as so to the end. The program offers nursing courses in undergraduates and graduates levels to enable the student become a MSN generalist yet eligible for the NLCEX-RN exam.

Due to lack of prior nursing experience, this track is offered in a hybrid of online and classroom instruction-especially for clinical purposes. All undergraduate courses with a clinical component are offered within Lac cruces. Students can complete the 92-nursing credits in 2.5 years: 5 semesters and 3 summer sessions of year-round study and become registered nurses after the NLCEX-RN exam.

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

The DNP program at NMSU is a terminal degree that has two entry options: Post BSN DNP and Post-MSN DNP cohorts. It has been designed in line with the requirement of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to convert all advanced practice MSN tracks to the DNP by 2015. As such, this program offers students the freedom of choosing among Mental/Psychiatric Health Nursing, Public health or Adult Health options as their area of concentration. These options; previously available as MSN specialties are no longer offered as so at NMSU.

Post-BSN to DNP students are only admitted for a full time study plan in contrast with the Post MSN to DNP which has both full time and part time options. On a further note, the mental health track is offered in odd numbered years while the adult and public health tracks are offered in even numbered years. All courses for both options are offered online/ web enhanced formats with an annual 2-3 day onsite seminar. Failure to attend the orientation leads to dismissal from the DNP.

Online PhD in Nursing

This terminal degree program is designed for MSN prepared nurses who wish to become nurse researcher/scholars in contrast to the practice-based DNP. Like the DNP, all courses are offered online with full time and part time options. Students must attend a 1 week campus residency session in addition to a mandatory research conference annually.

The program carries a curriculum of 72 credits: 51 didactic and 21 dissertation credits. Full time students can take 3 years of 6 semesters and 3 summers while the part time track can take 5 years 5 summers and 10 semesters.

New Mexico State University – Las Cruces
1780 East University Avenue, Las Cruces,
NM 88003