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UNC Nursing - Top 10 Nursing Schools

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) School of Nursing is one of the top nursing schools in the country. It was recently tied with University of California-San Francisco for the number four school in the nation based on rankings by U.S. News and World Report. UNC School of Nursing was established in 1950 and has been a leader in nursing education since its inception. It was the first school in the state to offer a bachelor degree in nursing in 1950, and later the first to offer a master's degree in 1955, a nurse practitioner program in 1970 and a doctor of philosophy (PhD) in 1989. UNC School of Nursing strives to offer the best in nursing education with its emphasis on nursing research, education and practice.

Why choose UNC School of Nursing?

Currently, there are 379 bachelor degree students, 274 master's degree students, 24 post-master's degree students and 45 doctoral students for a total enrollment of 722 students. There are 98 research faculty and 43 tenured faculty. It is important to attend an accredited nursing school. UNC School of Nursing is accredited by Collegiate Commission on Nursing Education and the North Carolina State Board of Nursing. UNC cares about its nursing students and wants them to succeed. Students at UNC are overwhelmingly successful, with a first-time NCLEX pass rate of 95 percent.

UNC is one of the only schools in the country that offers a Biobehavioral Laboratory. The laboratory is meant to aid and encourage faculty and graduate student research in biobehavioral measures and biophysiologic guidelines. The school is also known for its study of prevention and management of chronic diseases. UNC was awarded $4 million in research funding in 2010-2011.


Admission to the UNC School of Nursing is very competitive. The overall acceptance rate at UNC is 31 percent. The minimum GPA required for admission to the baccalaureate program is 2.5 out of 4.0. Students apply to the UNC School of Nursing once they have achieved junior standing and have completed the necessary prerequisites. Admission to UNC does not guarantee admission to the nursing program. Admission criteria taken into account include academic performance, quality of admission essay, community service history and special skills and abilities. Previous academic performance is heavily weighted, especially prior performance in science courses.

Applicants to the graduate degree programs must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited nursing school, hold an active nursing license and have an average of "B" or better in all nursing courses. Successful applicants have a GRE score meeting or exceeding the 50th percentile, a minimum of 1 year of nursing experience and two letters of reference.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Degrees and Specializations

UNC School of Nursing offers several different degree program options. A Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree is offered to students with no prior degree. There is an accelerated BSN program for students who already hold a bachelor degree in a non-nursing field. Master degree programs include a nurse practitioner focus or a health systems focus. Nurse practitioner subspecialties include adult/gerontology, family, pediatric and psychiatric mental health. Health systems subspecialties include administration, clinical nurse leader, informatics, education and outcomes management. An RN-MSN program is available for RNs with an associate degree or diploma to go directly to a graduate degree. Specialization options include education, clinical nurse leader and administration. A PhD program is offered to prepare nursing scholars for nursing science.

Currently there are no online options for the BSN and PhD degrees. There is a completely online option for the RN-MSN program. Some of the MSN programs offer a hybrid option, where some coursework is available online.

Tuition and Financial Aid

UNC School of Nursing is a public university. It charges a higher tuition rate for non-residents compared to residents. The cost of attendance for the traditional BSN program is $26,113 for residents and $73,317 for non-residents, not including room and board. Tuition cost for the accelerated BSN program is $20,675 for residents and $55,775 for non-residents, not including room and board. Cost for the MSN degree programs varies by specialty, but range from $25,279 for residents to $69,214 for non-residents, not including room and board. The PhD program is currently being revised to shorten the length of the program, increase flexibility for students and improve course content. There is no tuition pricing information for the PhD program available at this time.

UNC nursing students are eligible for financial aid to offset tuition costs. These resources include scholarships, federal grants and loans. Scholarship funds may be awarded based on financial need and academic performance. Federal grants are needs based. Loans can be taken out by students to pay for education needs and repaid after graduation. In addition to scholarships available through UNC, there are outside funds from other donors and agencies. UNC has a student resource center that can help students identify and find financial aid sources. Traineeships, funded by federal grants, are also available to graduate students that pay tuition and fees and provide a monthly stipend.

UNC School of Nursing is a top nursing school choice for anyone wishing to start a nursing career or to work toward an advanced practice nurse role. Admissions to the school are competitive, but once admitted, students receive a high quality education from top nursing faculty. Clinical experiences are provided both within and external to the school via the Education-Innovation-Simulation Learning Environment. When choosing a nursing school, potential students should consider UNC nursing school for its rich history in nursing education, top nursing education programs and strong reputation as a leader in nursing education.

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