University of Colorado (CU) Denver Anschutz Medical Campus College of Nursing

The University of Colorado School of Nursing, celebrating over 115 years of contributions in nursing education, offers several BSN degree pathway programs and MSN, DNP, and PhD degree programs. Students Schools Scholarships

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  • Accreditations CCNE Accredited ACME Accredited
  • Location Aurora, Colorado
  • Programs ASN/ADN, BSN, DNP, MSN, RN-to-MSN, RN-to-BSN, Entry-Level BSN, MSN-to-DNP, MSN to PhD, CNS, CNM, NP, PhD, BSN-to-PhD, Accelerated BSN, Post-grad Certificate, Other
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In 1898, the University of Colorado was founded. The university's BSN program was created in 1920 and was the first to offer a bachelor's program west of the Mississippi. The master's program started in 1950 and the first nurse practitioner program began in 1965. The doctorate was started in 1970, making it one of the oldest in the nation. In 2005, the College of Nursing became one of the first seven schools in the nation to introduce the new doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program.


Bachelor of Science in Nursing - Traditional

The traditional pathway is a full-time Bachelor of Science option for those who have never been to college or those who have a degree. It is a 24-month program that includes classroom, clinical simulation, and clinical practice. This program is offered at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora and the CU South Denver location in Parker. Students must have 60 semester hours of transferable coursework before admission into the program including specific courses from 16 prerequisite areas. Previous courses must be less than 10 years old. There is no waitlist for the program.

UCAN - Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Pathway

The accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing, a 12-month program, is a full time option.

Requirements (not all inclusive)

  1. Baccalaureate degree
  2. Minimum prerequisite GPA 3.0
  3. Prerequisites Courses, Human Anatomy (or Anatomy & Physiology I), Human Physiology (or Anatomy & Physiology II), Microbiology, General Chemistry, Statistics
  4. Previous health care experience


Program Highlights
100% Online

Apply if you are a licensed RN

Applications are no longer limited to Colorado residents

Transfer most previously completed prerequisite coursework

Complete the program in 16 months or four semesters

Accessibility of online orientation and education

Cohort group connection

Dual Enrollment - ADN and RN to BS Program (online)

The Dual Enrollment ADN and BSN program is an educational track for those who want to complete an ADN and a BSN. The BSN program is completely online, allows the nurse to work as well as continue his/her nursing education, and allows the student to earn a BSN at about the same time the ADN is completed (2 semesters after completing the ADN).

Integrated Nursing Pathway

The Integrated Nursing Pathway is designed to increase access for community college students to complete their baccalaureate nursing education. This program is intended for Colorado residents who complete the majority of their prerequisite courses in the Colorado Community College system. The Integrated Nursing Pathway program is offered through the community colleges of Aurora, Denver, and Red Rocks.


There are nine different specialties for students pursuing a Master's, BS-DNP or BS-PhD degree. Five specialties include an interdisciplinary urban underserved (CU-UNITE) track.

  1. Health Care Informatics
  2. I-LEAD Nursing Leadership and Health Care Systems
  3. Veteran and Military Health Care
  4. Adult-Gerontology
  5. Family Nurse Practitioner
  6. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  7. Nurse-Midwifery
  8. Pediatrics
  9. Women's Health

Master of Science in Nursing - MSN

Frequently Asked Questions
"How long will it take to complete the program?"

Most students successfully complete the program (MS, MS-DNP, PGC, DNP) in approximately 2 to 3 years. Students will need to complete the programs within 5 years.

"Are classes offered online?"

There are only four core courses and health promotion offered online. All other courses are only offered on campus, in the classroom.

"Are there clinical requirements?"

There are clinical requirements for each nurse practitioner specialty option. If you are in the Denver metro area, the school arranges clinical for you. If you are in a rural area, outside of the metro area, you are required to find your own clinical placements. Clinical placements are Monday-Friday. No weekend clinical placements are required. All clinicals must be completed in Colorado. Students should move to Colorado to complete this portion of the program. There are no clinical requirements for I-LEAD or Health Care Informatics programs.

"I heard that the specialty options were going to change.  Is this correct?"

All direct care Master's Specialty options will be migrating to a Post-BS to DNP option, starting Fall 2017, which means that to apply, students will need to be a baccalaureate-prepared nurse.

Requirements (not all inclusive)

  • BSN from a regionally accredited institution; individuals applying to the I-LEAD or Health Informatics option may have an Associate Degree in Nursing and BA or BS degree in another field
  • Official transcripts from college or university attended
  • Letters of reference (4)
  • Current/unencumbered Colorado nursing license
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA 3.0
  • GRE and/or 12 credits graduate level coursework at a 3.0 required for applicants whose undergraduate nursing degree GPA is less than 3.0


This program is ideal for baccalaureate-prepared nurses who seek a DNP, the terminal degree for nursing. While pursuing the DNP, a master's in the students chosen specialty is also earned.


This program is designed for baccalaureate-prepared nurses who want to earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree with a focus on research and science. While pursuing the PhD, an MS in the student's chosen specialty is earned.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

All classes have an online component. Some classes require a one- to two-day intensive session on campus. There are no more than three intensives on campus per academic year.

The DNP requires 1,000 post-baccalaureate academically supervised clinical practicum hours.

DNP/MPH and DNP-PHN degree options are also available.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The curriculum is competency based and taught with a combination of online and intensive formats. Students are required to attend a one or two week intensive experience in Denver. Students will travel to Denver once each semester (fall, Spring and Summer) while completing coursework and two to three times during dissertation research.

Eligibility Criteria for Admission (not all inclusive)

  1. BSN or higher degree from NLN or CCNE accredited institution
  2. 3.0 undergraduate and/or a 3.5 graduate GPA
  3. Completion of graduate-level inferential (intermediate) statistics course, minimum grade B (3.0)
  4. Master's-level nursing theory course minimum grade B (3.0)

Dual Degree DNP/MPH or DNP/PHN

Students interested in the Post-MS DNP have the option to pursue a dual DNP/MPH degree or complete a DNP with a public health focus.

Students earn a DNP in both programs. The DNP-PHN program leads to a Doctor of Nursing Practice with a focus on public health. The DNP/MPH option leads to both a DNP and a Master of Public Health because the curriculum has more depth in public health. Prerequisites differ for the program.

Post-Graduate Certificates

  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Health Care Informatics
  • Nurse-Midwifery
  • Nursing Leadership and Health Systems
  • Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner


This program is designed to meet the educational and clinical competency requirements for professional certification by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB), as well as the requirements for a Master of Science degree.

The program is 48 semester hours that most students complete within 2 to 3 years by taking 6 to 9 credits in the fall and Spring semesters and 3 to 6 credits during the Summer sessions. The program must be completed in 5 years. The Colorado based nurse-midwifery specialty courses are offered in-class or via interactive TV.

Didactic courses are offered 40% online. Online and in-class formats alternate semester to semester.


The CU College of Nursing ranked 4th for Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs by US News & World Report (2019).

US News & World Report (2019-2020)

  • #49 (tie) in Best Nursing Schools: Master's
  • #41 (tie) in Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • #12 (tie) in Nurse Practitioner: Pediatric, Primary Care Programs
  • #4 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs
  • #205 (tie) in National Universities
  • #112 (tie) in Top Public Schools
  • #15 (tie) in Nursing-Midwifery
  • #344 (tie) Best Global Universities

US News & World Report (2017)

  • Master's Degrees- 23rd
  • Nursing Informatics - 6th  
  • Primary Care Pediatric NP  - 8th
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - 21st
  • Nurse Midwifery - 13th
  • Family Nurse Practitioner - 16th

Forbes (2018)

  • #450 Top Colleges
  • #152 in Public Colleges
  • #186 in Research Universities
  • #89 in the West
  • #183 America's Best Value Colleges

NICHE (2019)

  • Top Public Universities in America #100
  • Most Liberal Colleges in America #115
  • Best Colleges for Nursing in America #164
  • Most Diverse Colleges in America #186
  • Best Colleges in America #293
  • Colleges with the Best Academics in America #306
  • Best College Locations in America #434
  • Best Value Colleges in America #489
  • Most Diverse Colleges in Colorado #2
  • Most Liberal Colleges in Colorado #2
  • Best Colleges for Nursing in Colorado #2
  • Top Public Universities in Colorado #4
  • Best Colleges in Colorado #6
  • Best Value Colleges in Colorado #7
  • Safest College Campuses in Colorado #8
  • Best College Locations in Colorado #11
  • Best Colleges in Denver Area #4
  • Best Value Colleges in Denver Area #5


All College of Nursing degree programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The baccalaureate degree in nursing, master's degree in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice and post-graduate APRN certificate programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The nurse-midwifery specialty in the MS program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).

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