FAQ - BSN

General questions

1. Do I have to start my studies in a nursing assistant program?

No. An entry point for nursing studies is the Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at UNMC. You begin by taking prerequisite courses.

2. Are prerequisite courses offered by UNMC College of Nursing?

No. You may take these through the University of Nebraska (online or on campus in Lincoln, Omaha or Kearney) or at any accredited community college, 4-year college or university.

3. Does UNMC offer Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Certified Medication Assistant (CMA) or 2-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs?

No. Those programs are offered at many community colleges. Some course credits from such programs may transfer to the UNMC College of Nursing as prerequisites. UNMC nursing programs begin at the bachelor degree level (BSN).

4. What makes a nurse an RN?

A registered nurse is known as a RN. To become registered, you first get a nursing degree then pass a national nursing license exam after you graduate. Both associate degree (ADN) and bachelor's degree (BSN) graduates earn the same RN designation, but there are important differences between the two in training, types of care and career range. See RNs — ADN vs BSN.

5. Where and when should I apply?

You apply online through NursingCAS. Your application should NOT be submitted until you have completed almost all prerequisite courses. If you are uncertain when to apply, contact a Student Services coordinator.

6. Do I need to apply to the nursing campus I want to attend? (Omaha, Lincoln, Norfolk, Kearney, Scottsbluff)

No. A single online application (above) includes a campus preference section, so you need only apply once even if you're considering two or more campuses. Note: campus flexibility may aid admission if you meet all requirements but your first campus preference is already filled.

7. When are application due dates?

Please see our key dates/calendar page.

8. How do I know if my transcripts are acceptable?

See prerequisites for nursing preparation coursework you must complete before admission. Admission requirements list minimum GPA for those courses.

9. Does UNMC accept College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits?

UNMC accepts a maximum of 12 hours of pass/fail and CLEP credits. Excluded are anatomy, physiology, chemistry, nutrition, statistics, microbiology and math (beginning 2013) — all of which must have assigned letter/number grades meeting minimum requirements. You must have received college credit for each CLEP instance.

10. How do I know if credits for my previous coursework will transfer?

Course credits will generally transfer if they meet three conditions: 1) your course listings meet prerequisite description, 2) your grades meet minimum admission requirements, and 3) your previous college or university is accredited.

11. Where do I have my transcripts sent?

Send all official college/university transcripts to NursingCAS when you apply.

12. What about scholarships and financial aid?

The UNMC financial aid office will help you get the best available financial aid package, including scholarships, grants and loans. There are many nursing scholarships available through the federal government, private foundations and the UNMC College of Nursing. The link to the application for UNMC scholarships is sent to you via email following your acceptance to the College of Nursing. The deadline to apply is April 1st or within 30 days after acceptance if accepted after April 1st. One application is used for all scholarship awards made by the College of Nursing. Limited scholarship money is available for academic merit, financial need, and specific donor criteria. Scholarships are awarded annually and are not guaranteed for following years. You are strongly encouraged to apply each year. Multiple forms of financial aid are available through UNMC. All students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by April 1st or within 30 days after acceptance if accepted after April 1st.

13. Is student health insurance available?

Health insurance — and many other support services and resources — are available through UNMC student services.

14. How do I qualify for Nebraska resident tuition rates?

You must have established a home in Nebraska for one year before applying for resident status.  More details on Nebraska residency are located on the student services website.

15. Is there any tuition assistance for out-of-state residents?

Students who are not Nebraska residents should be prepared to pay the non-resident tuition rate.  UNMC has a limited number of Non-Resident Tuition Scholarships (NRTS). These scholarships do not cover the full difference between resident and nonresident rates. NRTS are awarded annually and are not guaranteed for following years. Questions about financial assistance should be directed to the UNMC financial aid office.

16. Are dorms available?

There are no nursing student dorms — nor any housing requirement. You may live where you choose. For the Omaha campus: UNMC has rental units available on/near campus and other housing locator assistance.

17. How new are your nursing education facilities?

The Kearney division moved into the new Health Science Education Complex in summer, 2015. New nursing buildings opened in Norfolk and Omaha in 2010. On the Omaha campus, the Sorrell Center for Health Science Education opened in 2008. The Scottsbluff  campus facility is located in the Harms building on the WNCC campus. Lincoln is scheduled for a new nursing building — with completion anticipated in May, 2018.

18. What is your faculty-student ratio?

There is approximately one faculty member for each ten students — another UNMC advantage for your nursing education.

19. What is the profile of current successful applicants?

Most accepted applicants have completed nearly all prerequisite coursework with a GPA of 3.0 or above. You must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be considered. Please see BSN Admission Requirements for more information. Admission is competitive and capacity is limited. Applicants with strong academic backgrounds have higher likelihood of admission.

20. What factors besides academics are considered in applicants?

We look for well-rounded candidates — including extracurricular activities, leadership roles, community service, life/work experience, certifications, honors, awards and other distinguishing characteristics. In cases where applicants have similar academic/GPA qualifications, these factors can make a difference in admission decisions.

21. What supplies and equipment will I need?

For clinical training, you'll need basic health-profession uniforms, sometimes called scrubs, and your own stethoscope. A student services coordinator can provide more information and cost ranges. Supplies are available online through the UNMC bookstore. At your induction ceremony, you'll be presented with an alumni-sponsored white lab coat — yours to keep — as a symbol of your entry into the nursing profession. For all BSN coursework, having your own laptop/netbook computer is  required. The College has desktop computers students may use in its learning resource centers and elsewhere.

Traditional BSN program

1. Can I apply while in high school for the Traditional BSN Program?

You may apply only if you have a 3.8 GPA, a 28 ACT score or 1270 SAT score, and meet specific requirements in English, math, science, social studies and foreign language courses. See Honors admission. Otherwise, you first take prerequisite courses, then apply for admission.

2. Will my high school advanced placement courses transfer to UNMC?

Yes — if you received college credit from an accredited college or university.

3. Is there a way I can qualify for guaranteed admission?

Yes — by meeting high academic and provisional standards. See Honors admission.

4. How long does the program take to complete?

Traditional BSN nursing courses are completed over 4 semesters or 2 years. Prerequisite courses must be satisfied first. Including prerequisites, you may finish comfortably in 4 years. But you can go at your own pace, completing prerequisites faster or slower as your time and resources allow.

5. Are all nursing courses offered every semester?

No. Students take Traditional BSN courses in a certain progression over 4 semesters. See plan of study.

6. Are Traditional BSN courses online?

The College offers multiple online and web-based resources, including the Blackboard Learning System™, for course materials, assignments, interactive learning, discussion boards, testing, grades and more. Class attendance is required, with digital resources as 24/7 on-demand learning support tools.

7. Are there summer classes?

There are no summer classes in the Traditional BSN Program. You may take prerequisite courses from any accredited college or university (on campus or online) over the summer.

8. Where will I do my clinical training?

You'll get learning lab/clinical instruction through the College's state-of-the-art clinical training facilities/simulators. You'll also do clinical rotations at area medical centers, hospitals and other health facilities. While faculty make every effort to notify you well in advance of your clinical schedules, things do sometimes change due to circumstances outside our control. Please plan some flexibility in your schedule to allow for unforeseen changes in your clinical rotation schedule. A student services representative can provide information about specific clinical sites for the campus you attend.

9. Can I live on campus?

Depending on the campus you attend, you can live on or close to campus. There are no dorms — and no housing requirements. You may live where you choose. In Omaha, UNMC has rental units available on/near campus and other housing locator assistance.

10. Can I work during the Traditional BSN Program?

Yes. Many Traditional BSN students work on weekends and during the summer. We recommend that you work part-time only during semesters in order to devote adequate time and energy to your nursing studies. Please understand that clinical rotation schedules may sometimes change so we recommend asking your employer if you can have some schedule flexibility if needed.

Accelerated BSN program

1. How fast is the Accelerated BSN Program?

It is an intense, full-time, 12-month program.

2. What are entry qualifications?

You must have a bachelor's degree in another field, have a strong academic history (successful applicants currently have a GPA over 3.0, some well above), and be mentally and emotionally prepared for a demanding, full-time curriculum.

3. Is the Accelerated BSN Program offered on every UNMC nursing campus?

The Accelerated BSN Program is currently offered only on the Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney and Scottsbluff campuses. Class sizes are limited, and admission is competitive.

4. Since I already have a bachelor's degree, do I have to take prerequisite courses?

Prerequisite coursework must be satisfied by all BSN program applicants. Liberal arts prerequisites may already be satisfied by your bachelor's degree — as perhaps many science prerequisites depending on your college major.

5. Is an interview required as part of the admission process?

Yes. An interview allows you to present a fuller picture of your undergraduate academic record, your college activities history, and your readiness for an intense, full-time nursing curriculum.

6. Are summer classes required?

Yes. The program starts in May and continues full time over 12 months.

7. Are Accelerated BSN courses online?

The College offers multiple online and web-based resources, including the Blackboard Learning System™, for course materials, assignments, interactive learning, discussion boards, testing, grades and more. Daily class attendance is required, with digital resources as 24/7 on-demand learning support tools.

8. Where do students do clinical training?

You'll get learning lab/clinical instruction through the College's state-of-the-art clinical training facilities/simulators. You'll also do clinical rotations at area medical centers, hospitals and other health facilities. Some evening and weekend clinical education may be necessary. A student services representative can provide specific clinical sites for the campus you attend.

9. Can I work during the Accelerated BSN Program?

Given the intense, full-time nature of the accelerated curriculum, working — including part-time hours — is not advised. You should therefore have adequate resources for a year's living expenses as well as tuition, fees and books.

10. What's the profile of Accelerated BSN students?

They're a widely diverse group as reflected in ethnicity, cultural background and country of origin. Well over 12% are males. Their existing bachelor's degree is often in biology or other life sciences. They tend to be highly motivated, self-disciplined and goal-oriented, with a passion for learning and strong interest in a professional career that involves close interaction with people. Reflecting their purpose-driven dedication, our Accelerated BSN graduates have a very high, first-attempt pass rate on the RN licensure examination.

RN to BSN program

1. How long does the RN to BSN Program take?

You can finish in one-year (full-time) or 1.5 to 3 years (part-time).

2. Is the program online?

Yes. You'll use multiple online, distance and web-based resources, including the Blackboard Learning System™, for course materials, assignments, interactive learning, discussion boards, testing, grades and more. Digital resources are available as 24/7 on-demand learning support tools. Some courses may occasionally require synchronous login — that is: live, time-specific classes.

3. Can I satisfy the clinical requirement locally?

Yes. The clinical requirement in your Population Centered Care course may be met in your city/town or one nearby.

4. Will I get educational credits for my previous nursing education and experience as a nurse?

Yes. Up to 42 credits are granted for your prior nursing education/experience.

5. Since I'm already a RN, do I have to take prerequisite courses?

Prerequisite coursework must be satisfied by all BSN program applicants. Some/many prerequisites may already be satisfied by courses taken for your associate degree in nursing or diploma in nursing.

6. I went to a community college on a quarter system. How do those credits count in a semester system?

Quarter credits are 1.5 times semester credits. For example: 4.5 quarter credits = 3 semester credits; 6 quarter credits = 4 semester credits. Thus: divide applicable quarter credits by 1.5 to determine semester credits.

7. I took classes while serving in the military. Will those credits transfer?

Yes — if you received credit through an accredited college or university.

8. I became a RN some time ago. How do I know if my credits will transfer?

The College can assist you in assessing how your nursing education transcripts count towards prerequisites. Please contact a Student Services coordinator for instructions. To transfer, your credits must be from an accredited college or university.

9. How many nursing courses are required?

Once prerequisite coursework is satisfied, 6 courses (20 credits) are required. A minimum of 20 credits must be completed at the UNMC College of Nursing. Students complete a gap analysis by portfolio and earn an additional 11 credits based on that assessment and filling any knowledge gaps at the BSN level.

10. I'm a community health nurse. Must I do the clinical component in the Community Health Nursing course?

Our faculty will work with you based on your education, experience and nursing role. It's possible that you may satisfy the clinical component in another area.

11. Is there financial assistance to help me advance as a nurse?

Don't forget that many employers reimburse all or part of tuition costs — often based on satisfactory grades, progression to graduation and a service commitment. Your advancement as a nurse benefits your employer, too — so be sure to inquire about educational benefits/incentives at your place of work.

More questions?

Contact a Student Services coordinator for answers and for guidance on requirements, application and admission.