University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) School of Nursing | 96% NCLEX Pass Rates

The focus of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is a mission of excellence in nursing education, research and practice.

  • 3.2 Avg
    Avg Rating: 3.2
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  • 96%
    NCLEX Pass Rates
  • On Campus
  • Public
  • Accreditation ccne Accredited
  • Programs RN-to-MSN, PhD, Entry-Level BSN, MSN-to-DNP, CNL, BSN-to-PhD, BSN-to-DNP, Accelerated BSN, BSN, DNP, MSN, Post-grad Certificate, MSN to PhD, NP, Other
  • Location Chapel Hill, NC
  • Telephone 1-919-966-4260
  • Website URL Visit Website
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100% of reviewers agree that tuition and other associated costs are reasonable.
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100% of reviewers believe academic standards help students reach their goals.
Great Support!
100% of reviewers believe support provided by teachers and staff are great.

Academic Programs Available

  1. Traditional BSN program
  2. Accelerated BSN program for those with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees
  3. Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation (joint BSN and PhD program)
  4. MSN program with advanced practice and healthcare systems specialties
  5. Post-MSN option in advanced practice specialties
  6. PhD program in nursing science
  7. Pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships
  8. Doctor of Nursing Practice


Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides a bachelor of science in nursing program for students who want to become registered nurses. The courses are based upon the knowledge, skill, and understanding necessary to function effectively in all areas of professional nursing.

There are two options for students who want a BSN degree:

1) Four-year option that includes two years pre-nursing/general courses and then two years in the School of Nursing or for the student who has earned a bachelor’s degree plus pre-requisites.

2) Those who have a previous bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing has an accelerated option available to them, called the ABSN.


  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Currently, two Post-Master’s Certificate programs are offered:

  1. Health Care Systems
  2. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Programs are only available on campus but offer a hybrid-learning curriculum. The curriculum offers specific knowledge and practice opportunities in the advanced practice nursing specialization(s).

Clinical practice sites are in central North Carolina although some locations may be a 1.5-2 hour drive away.

Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification examinations associated with their specialty area of practice.

Master of Science in Nursing

Entry pathways: BSN to MSN and RN to MSN (full-time study with limited availability for part-time study).

The MSN program builds upon the student’s baccalaureate nursing education and professional experience. In the end, the graduate will be prepared for a position in leadership.

The MSN program options include:

1 - Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (includes an Oncology option)

2 - Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Administration
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Education
  • Informatics
  • Outcomes Management

3 - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care

4 - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Post-Master’s Certificate Programs

Currently, the Post-master’s track offerings respond to the increased need for health care system specialists and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners in rural and underserved areas in North Carolina.

Upon program completion, graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification examinations for the specialty chosen. This includes:

  • Informatics
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Entry pathways - BSN to DNP (full-time study only) and MSN to DNP (full- or part-time study)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program will prepare the nurse for the highest level of professional nursing practice. The focus of the program is to prepare graduates for leadership roles with a focus on administration and health policy.

The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice requires all DNP programs to prepare nurses in key areas including evidence-based practice, organization and systems leadership, finance, health policy, information technology, population health, patient safety, and translational research; all with the goal of improving health outcomes.

BSN to DNP Pathway

All BSN to DNP students will take a full time, 3 year in length program that includes 66 to 75 credit hours depending on the student’s designated area of advanced practice preparation. Those hours will include 1000 practice hours, required coursework for advanced practice, leadership, practice-based inquiry, and completion of a DNP Project.

BSN to DNP program options

1 - Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner with an Oncology option

2 - Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Administration
  • Informatics
  • Outcomes Management

3 - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care

4 - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

MSN to DNP Pathway

The MSN to DNP pathway is for nurses who are already master’s-prepared Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN). APRNs interested may include:

  • Nurse Practitioners (NP)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA)
  • Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM)

This may also include:

  • Nurse Administrators
  • Informaticists
  • Outcome Managers

MSN to DNP students who take the full time credit load will be required to complete 37 to 41 credit hours, approximately 500 residency hours, and the completion of an evidence-based practice project (DNP Project).

All DNP students, including MSN to DNP students, are required to complete a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate practice hours.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

The Doctoral Admissions Committee will only accept and review completed applications that contain all required materials. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the entire application is received by the posted deadline.

There are two enrolling options for PhD students for a full- or part-time study. Full-time usually takes 9 credit hours per semester.  Those students who are not supported by the T32 funding and employed by the University may work no more than 50 percent (20 hrs/week) while enrolled in the program. Students who are supported by the T32 funding may only work 10 more hours per week.

Part-time students take three to six credits per semester and may work while in the course.

The School of Research Focus

  • Reducing health disparities
  • Preventing and managing chronic illness and other major health threats
  • Developing innovative approaches to enhance science and its translation to practice
  • Improving health care quality and patient outcomes
  • Understanding the bio-behavioral and genetic bases of health and illness

Pre-PhD and Postdoctoral Fellowships

Students desiring an intensive research interest may receive help from a Fellowship program.


  • Interventions for Preventing and Managing Chronic Illness – pre-doctoral
  • Interventions for Preventing and Managing Chronic Illness - post-doctoral

Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education

This program is a 9-credit hour program that prepares graduate students to teach within the hospital, community or school setting. Registered nurses (RNs) who are enrolled as graduate or postgraduate students at UNC-CH School of Nursing are eligible. The length of program is one calendar year to complete.


The School of Nursing at UNC-Chapel Hill has been the role model for “firsts” in North Carolina including:

  • 1950 - First in North Carolina to offer a four-year baccalaureate nursing degree
  • 1955 - First in North Carolina to offer a nursing master’s degree
  • 1964- First in North Carolina to start continuing education for nurses
  • 1970 - First in North Carolina to offer a nurse practitioner program
  • 1989 - First in North Carolina to offer a Ph.D. in nursing

Awards / NCLEX Pass Rate 

  1. Tied for 4th in Nursing Administration, 5th in Clinical Nurse Leader and 10th for our Family Nurse Practitioner graduate nursing specialties in the U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate School Rankings for 2017
  2. Ranked 9th in the 2016 QS Top Universities World Ranking of Colleges of Nursing
  3. Pass rate: In 2016, 95% of students who took the NCLEX exam were successful the first time


The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the NC BON have accredited the School of Nursing through 2021. The DNP program has been accredited by CCNE through June 30, 2020.

Latest Reviews (Max 10)

  1. Anonymous
    May 3, 2:02 pm by
    Overall: 3.2 Avg Rating
    Recommend: 2 stars
    Experience: 2 stars
    Staff: 3 stars
    Academics: 5 stars
    Costs: 3 stars
    Support: 4 stars

    Program: BSN
    Classes: On Campus

    My Experience

    UNC has some of the best students in the world, and some of the most knowledgable and thoughtful individual professors. However, the administration is ineffective, unorganized, and makes the program chaotic and kind of a nightmare. I think they're revamping the program, so the curriculum and leadership is being changed (hopefully) because they quality of students they receive deserve better frankly. UNC is wonderful, and the name recognition has been great for me being able to get a job, but the experience and education of the actual program was mostly subpar compared to the rest of the school's programs.

    About The Staff

    Some of the best professors I have ever had. Some of the worst. Mixed bag. Administration's leadership is lacking. I have seen them take scholarship money away from deserving candidates and give it to people who ended up withdrawing from the program for cheating. They don't really have a clue what's going on I think

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