University of Nevada Las Vegas Nursing School Review

The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) was established in 1951 as an extension campus of the University of Nevada Reno. The Las Vegas campus operated in Las Vegas High School until it was able to secure some donations and funds to put up a campus building of its own. Then, the campus was known as Nevada Southern until 1968 when the campus was given autonomy from its mother campus to become a fully fledged independent university with the current name UNLV.

UNLV School of Nursing

The school of nursing offers 4 main nursing degree programs starting with the bachelors to the master and the two terminal nursing degree programs: Doctor of Nursing Practice and PhD. Several tracks fall under each of the four mainstream degree programs giving students different entry options and specialty choices. The nursing programs are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Nevada State Board of Nursing. Details of each program are given below:


The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a traditional 4-year degree program whose curriculum prepares students for initial licensure as registered nurses. All candidates are admitted as Pre-nursing major students in Pre-Nursing program before they can take any nursing courses. Courses for the pre-nursing portion can be completed on full time and part time study plans. Those who make it through the 61-credit pre-nursing program are welcome to apply to the upper division baccalaureate nursing program. Transfer students from other pre-nursing programs are also welcome to apply but preference is given to UNLVs pre-nursing graduates.

After enrollment in the BSN major, students must take another 64 credits in order to fulfill the graduation requirements of the Bachelor of Science in nursing degree. The 64 credits are designed to be completed in 4-semesters of full time study taking 16 months instead of the usual 24 months. As such, it is a kind of accelerated program and applicants are advised to give-up employment. Completion of all the courses awards the student a BSN degree and grants them educational capacity to apply and write the NCLEX-RN exam to become Registered Nurses (RN).

Collaborative RN to BSN Program

The collaborative registered nurse to Bachelor of Science degree program is offered by the University and the Nevada State College. The program is designed for associate or diploma registered nurses who wish to earn a baccalaureate degree.  Most of the courses are taken at Nevada State College campuses with only 6 undergraduate credits being completed from the UNLV curriculum. Full time and part time study plans are offered by the college. It is worth noting that the undergraduate courses need not be taken at UNLV campuses but can be completed at Nevada. UNLV faculty teaches the courses.

The program is also designed to help RNs who wish to have a Master of Science in nursing (MSN) degree cover some courses during their baccalaureate program. Students who choose this arrangement take between 6-9 credits hours of graduate nursing courses from UNLV while still at the College. These 9 credits are double edged meaning they cover the requirements for the BSN but can still be used towards the Master of Science in nursing at UNLV.


The Master of Science in nursing (MSN) degree program at UNLV provides a flexible way to obtain an advanced practice RN status. The program has two specialty roles namely:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner Track
  • Nurse Educator Track

Most of the coursework for the program is offered online and students come for on-site classroom instruction once/semester for the Nurse Educator track and  thrice for the nurse practitioner track. Students can also choose between the 4 semesters of a full time study plan or the 6 semesters of a part time study plan. The full time option takes 18 months to complete including 1 summer semester while the part time option has 2 summer sessions. 48 and 39 credit hours are required for graduation for the nurse practitioner and educator tracks respectively.

The university also offers an accelerated option for students taking the nurse educator track that can be completed in a record 12 months. Graduates students of Nevada State College RN to BSN program who have taken master-level nursing courses during their study may be considered for this program. These students receive up-to 9 credits for the MSN tracks at UNLV.

PhD in Nursing

The PhD program offers MSN-prepared students two options of specialization namely:

  • Nurse Education option
  • Urban Sustainability: Health Option

Students can choose from any of the 2-full time or 2-part time options for each track consisting of 65-credits. This precisely means that each track has 4 entry options to choose from. The option chosen depends on whether some of the MSN courses taken at master level that are applicable for exemption at PhD level. Such students follow a ‘fast track’ option in either a full time or part time plan. Those who do not have any transferable credits take the generic track with the same plans to choose from. Generally, the full time tracks take 3 years while the part time tracks take 4 years to complete including full-load summer sessions.


The University of Nevada Doctor of Nursing Practice (UNDNP) is a joint terminal degree program offered by both Reno and Las Vegas campuses.  The program offers students two tracks to choose from namely:

  • Advanced Practice
  • Nurse Executive

All DNP students are admitted as full time Cohorts in fall and spring semesters and must progress as so throughout the program. Each track consists of a minimum of 39 credit hours taken through distance/ web enhanced formats. However, students are required to visit campus for 2-3 times to present and defend their DNP practice-based project. It takes 2 years of five semesters to complete the program including a summer session in the 1st year.

Continuing Education

Nursing continuing education offers chances for professional development. Such courses can be used towards license renewal in Nevada or for lifelong learning purposes. The courses are offered at the Division of Educational Outreach of the University. Through the states board of nursing, the university is an approved provider of CE for nurses by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

University of Nevada Las Vegas
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas,
NV 89154