University of Northern Colorado Nursing School Review

The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) has been a fixture in Greeley, CO, since 1889. The school has over 12,000 students enrolled each semester and offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs.

The School of Nursing is located in the College of Natural and Health Sciences.

Nursing Programs

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

The traditional BSN degree program is for students with no prior nursing degree. It is a four-year program (including one summer semester) and students must finish at least 126 credit hours.

Students enter UNC as a Clinical major and apply for the BSN program during their sophomore year. Students must be Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) and have a 3.0 GPA or better in their last 45 credit hours.

After graduation, students receive their BSN degree and are allowed to take the state licensure exam (NCLEX-RN). Upon passing, they will become licensed Registered Nurses (RNs).

BSN-Second Degree Program

This program is for students who already have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and now wish to have a BSN and pursue a career in nursing. Students who are admitted to the program will complete their nursing courses and earn their BSN degree in five consecutive semesters (20 months). The program begins in the Summer semester, and students graduate in December of the following year.

Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their last 45 credit hours and must be certified as CNAs.

RN to BSN Program

Working RNs who have graduated from an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or diploma program may take the RN to BSN program. This course of study is online and takes 16 months to complete. The program begins each summer and students graduate in the Fall of the following year. The program has been structured so that nurses may still work full time while working toward their degree.

To apply, students must be graduates of an accredited Nursing program, hold a current RN license, and have a minimum GPA of 2.5.

Nursing MS Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

This program is designed to prepare students for advanced clinical practice and to treat patients throughout the life span. This program is offered in a one-day-per-week format, and some classes are offered online, so students can continue with their work and family obligations while earning their degrees.

The FNP program requires 36 to 39 credit hours in the emphasis. Graduates may apply to be nationally certified as an advanced practice nurse in the primary care of families.

Nursing MS Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

This program is for nurses who will provide advanced care directly to patients. After graduation, nurses will be allowed to take the exam for Clinical Nurse Leader Certification.

This program is 36 credit hours and 450 practicum hours. The program takes three years part-time to complete. Some classes are offered in-person and some are online.

Nursing Education PhD

This program is designed to train nurse educators and is offered online only. Graduates will be qualified as nursing faculty in universities and health care facilities.

To apply, students must have a BSN degree and an MS in nursing or a related field. The program requires four years of study and 65 credit hours of study.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The DNP program is geared toward nurses who want to achieve the highest level of nursing practice. Nurses with a DNP may apply to the State Board of Nursing for national certification as an Advanced Practice Nurse.

Nurses with BSNs or MS degrees in Nursing may apply to the DNP program. For those with a BSN degree, it will take approximately 4 years of study, including summers, to complete the DNP program. Those with an MS degree will need about two years to complete the program.

Nursing Education Graduate Certificate Program

The Nursing Education Certificate program is an online course of study for masters or doctoral students who want to become nurse educators. The certificate program requires 12 credit hours of study.

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Certificate

The FNP certificate is for graduates of the MS in Nursing program who want to study advanced practice in FNP. Students will complete 720 practicum hours in addition to 33 credits of coursework for this certificate. The curriculum meets the guidelines of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.

When they have completed the program, students will be eligible to apply for national certification and advanced nurse practice status.


University of Northern Colorado
501 20 St.
Greeley, CO 80639