Briar Cliff University (BCU) Department of Nursing

Briar Cliff University (BCU) is a private, Franciscan, Roman Catholic university in Sioux City, Iowa. The Department of Nursing offers the BSN, MSN, DNP, and APRN specialty track degree options. Students Schools Scholarships

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  • Accreditations CCNE Accredited
  • Location Sioux City, Iowa
  • Programs BSN, DNP, MSN, RN-to-BSN, Entry-Level BSN, MSN-to-DNP, NP, Post-grad Certificate, Other
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Briar Cliff University (BCU) was established in 1930. In 1980, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program was added. In 2001, the Master’s programs were added with the college officially transitioning to a University. In 2006, the college offered its first online classes as part of their nursing degree program, and in 2013, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program was introduced.


Basic Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Documentation of physical health status must be obtained upon admission to the nursing major. Required immunizations include (not all-inclusive):

  • Hepatitis B vaccination (or signed waiver)
  • Annual Mantoux test
  • Second MMR if born after 1957
  • Proof of Varicella immunity if born after 1965 (either a positive titer or proof of a series of two immunizations and an annual influenza immunization)
  • Annual seasonal influenza vaccination

Students also must maintain basic CPR certification throughout the program. In addition, students must have a criminal background check and drug screen.

Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

This is a completely online program for currently licensed registered nurses. There are a certain amount of credit hours, general education requirements, and the Iowa Articulation Plan for Nursing Education guidelines that must be met for admittance to the program. Students are awarded up to 90 credit hours from other institutions to go toward the online RN-BSN degree.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Requirements (not all-inclusive)

  • A baccalaureate degree in nursing from a CCNE-, ACEN or CNEA-accredited program, with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. You must have an upper division major in nursing, including the following courses: Physical assessment, nursing research, ethics and statistics
  • Evidence of licensure as an RN in Iowa or state participating in the licensure compact
  • BCLS certification
  • A minimum of 2,000 hours of nursing practice

Post-Master's Nurse Practitioner

Requirements (not all-inclusive)

  • A Master of Science in Nursing degree from a CCNE, ACEN- or CNEA-accredited program
  • Evidence of licensure as an RN in Iowa or state participating in the licensure compact
  • BCLS certification
  • A minimum of 2,000 hours of nursing practice

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Specialty Tracks

Family Nurse Practitioner - 51 credit hours

Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner - 49 credit hours

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Admission Requirements (not all-inclusive)

  • MSN or completion of a post-master's certificate program as either a family nurse practitioner or adult/gerontology nurse practitioner from a CCNE-, ACEN- or CNEA-accredited program
  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  • APRN license in state of residence
  • Minimum 2,000 hours of nursing practice


The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the Master of Science in Nursing, and the DNP programs at Briar Cliff University.

Briar Cliff is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


US News & World Report (2019-2020)

  • #29 (tie) in Regional Colleges Midwest
  • #4 in Best Colleges for Veterans
  • #94 (tie) in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs
  • #210 (tie) in Best Nursing Schools: Master's

Niche (2019-2020)

  • Most Diverse Colleges in America #455 of 1,583
  • Most Conservative Colleges in America #377 of 1,692
  • Best College Locations in America #628 of 1,607
  • Best Value Colleges in America #986 of 1,592
  • Safest College Campuses in Iowa #3 of 25
  • Most Diverse Colleges in Iowa #5 of 25
  • Best College Locations in Iowa #8 of 28
  • Most Conservative Colleges in Iowa #5 of 28
  • Best Value Colleges in Iowa #21 of 28

College Factual (2019-2020)

  • #17 Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa
  • #324 Best Colleges for the Money nationally

The Princeton Review listed BCU in its Best Midwestern category (2018-2019).

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