University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Nursing School Review

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC, UNC-CH, UNC Chapel Hill) is located in Chapel Hill and is a public research university. It is one of the institutions claiming to be the oldest public university in the U.S. It is a very large university with almost 30,000 students enrolled in 77 undergraduate, 107 master’s, and 69 doctorate and programs. The university has the reputation of being one of the best universities in the world. As a research university, inventions such as the low-dose x-ray machine and a drug delivery system for cancer patients. There are also many activities that students may participate in such as more than 320 study abroad programs in 71 different countries.

Nursing Programs

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at the university may be pursued in several ways. A student may complete two years of upper division courses in the School of Nursing after finishing two years of lower division courses in the General College. Those who have already completed a bachelor’s degree in another field may pursue the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degree. In addition, there is a Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN option for professional nurses who have completed an associate’s degree or a diploma in nursing.

Students working on their BSN as their first degree are admitted to the program on a competitive basis. Applicants must have completed at least three of the five required science courses within the past ten years and must have earned a minimum grade of C. Other factors that are considered by the admissions committee are the student’s academic performance, writing ability, community service history, and abilities to successfully complete the BSN program. Students working on their second degree may complete the BSN program in one of two ways. They may either complete the BSN six semester curriculum, or they have the option of completing it in four semesters in the Accelerated BSN program. These students have 60 credits transferred from their first degree to their BSN. All BSN students must complete all of the upper division nursing courses and clinical experience before taking the NCLEX-RN, the national exam that leads to certification as a professional Registered Nurse.

BSN students with high grade point averages of at least 3.4 are eligible to complete undergraduate research during their last two semesters in the program. The student is assigned to an advisor who guides the student in an independent study honors project. All graduates of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill are eligible to apply for a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at the college after graduation.

The university’s RN to BSN program is indefinitely suspended due to budgetary constraints.

Master of Science in Nursing

RNs with a BSN may want to continue their studies for a career in advanced practice that requires a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Students admitted to the program must complete the MSN core courses plus those related to their concentration. The various concentrations are discussed below.

Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

This program prepares nurses to provide primary care for adults aged 13 years to the end of life. The program may be pursued on either a full-time or part-time basis, and at the completion of the courses, graduates take the exams to become certified as Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners. Full-time students can complete the program in four semesters and one summer practicum session while part-time students require six semesters and one summer term. Students in this program may choose an Oncology Focus program that prepares them to provide care for patients with cancer as a nurse practitioner. Students learn diagnostic methods and treatment of various types of cancer. Admission criteria include a B average or better in undergraduate work, competitive GRE scores, and at least one year of clinical experience working as an RN, preferably in the specialty area that the applicant wishes to pursue. At the completion of the program, students are granted their MSN and take the national exam for certification as an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner.

Health Care Systems

This MSN prepares RNs for positions as nurse leaders in a variety of healthcare settings, including management, education, informatics, human resource management, and other areas. The Health Care Systems program offers advanced practice in the following areas: Administration, Clinical Nurse Leader, Nurse Educator, Education, Informatics, or Outcomes Management. Those accepted into the program must choose one of these specialties, such as Administration that emphasizes human and financial resource management or Clinical Nurse Leader, a 32 credit program that focuses on clinical care of patients in hospital and other settings.

The Nurse Educator concentration prepares RNs to instruct student nurses in various educational settings, and the Education concentration prepares RNs to facilitate patient education, staff development, or to work in academic settings. Informatics teaches students to manage and process the data, information, and knowledge needed to practice nursing in the best ways, and Outcomes Management focuses on innovative ways to improve patient and systems outcomes. Full-time student complete the program in five semesters and part-time students require three to five years for completion.

Dual Degree MSN/MSIS or MSN/MSLS

The School of Nursing and the School of Information and Library Sciences offer two dual degree programs at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Science in Information Science (MSN/MSIS) and the Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Science in Library Science (MSN/MSLS) prepare RNs to focus on Informatics to meet the needs of today’s healthcare environment. Earning one of these dual degrees takes less time than pursuing the degrees separately. Students may complete either of these degrees in three academic years. Applicants must first apply for graduate study in the School of Nursing. Students accepted into the graduate nursing program must then apply to the School of Information and Library Sciences after completing some of the graduate nursing courses.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Primary Care

This MSN program prepares RNs to provide primary care to infants, children, adolescents, and their families. Full-time students are required to study for four semesters and one summer practicum while part-time students usually take six semesters plus one summer term. Applicants to the program are required to have at least a B average in their nursing courses plus competitive GRE scores of at least 1000 in verbal and quantitative scores. In addition, RNs are expected to have worked in a professional healthcare setting for at least one year before applying to the program.

Family Nurse Practitioner

This MSN program in advanced nursing practice trains RNs to serve as the primary care provider for all members of a family. Both full-time and part-time studies are available. Students who are interested in global health or other areas of healthcare may pursue studies related to their interests through clinical placements, elective courses, and the Master’s Paper.

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

This MSN specialty area of advanced nursing practice prepares RNs to provide primary care to patients by serving as psychotherapists and case managers in a variety of healthcare settings. Students may complete courses on a full-time or part-time basis, and clinical placements are in mental health centers and inpatient settings as well.

Post-Master’s Programs

RNs who have already completed a MSN degree may earn certificates in the specialty areas offered in the MSN program. These are Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, including the Adult Oncology focus, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Health Care Systems, including Administration, clinical Nurse Leader, Education, and Informatics. Other areas that present an opportunity to earn a certificate are Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Primary Care, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. After completing any of these programs, graduates sit for the certification exam that leads to licensure in the specialty nursing area.

Doctoral Program

RNs interested in furthering their studies may complete the Doctoral Program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Students focus on advanced data management, research that adheres to the standards of scientific integrity, and other research skills. A Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing is awarded after a student completed all course requirements and a dissertation. Need-based financial aid is available as well as merit-based scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships for students interested in this doctoral program in nursing.

Pre- and Postdoctoral Fellowships

Doctoral Fellowship applicants must be enrolled in the Doctoral Program at the university. Postdoctoral Fellowship candidates must have earned a doctoral degree in nursing or in a related field.

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
153A Country Club Road,
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514
(919) 966-3621