Mar 04, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Nursing, Traditional B.S.N.

This is a traditional four-year program designed for those who do not have a bachelor’s degree and are not yet registered nurses. Others who might consider this track are those with a bachelor’s degree who want to move at a slower pace than the accelerated B.S.N. and licensed practical nurses who want to become registered nurses. The B.S.N. curriculum is based on concepts and theories of nursing, liberal arts, and the sciences. The nursing process is incorporated throughout the curriculum. Carefully planned experiences, such as simulation and clinical experiences are an integral part of the program of study, beginning in the first semester and continuing throughout. Hospitals and healthcare agencies in northern Kentucky, Greater Cincinnati, and southern Indiana serve as clinical practice settings during day and evening hours. Many members of the faculty continue to practice in healthcare settings and participate in research and other scholarly endeavors.

Graduates of the B.S.N. program use critical thinking, communication, and technical skills to provide care to individuals and families. Knowledge is specific and factual and can be applied directly to practice.

Four-Year Plan: Click here  to view the Four-Year Plan for this specific program. To find out more about Four-Year Plans, visit the Policies and Procedures  page.

Pre-major requirements: Incoming freshman students may declare pre-nursing as their major if they have a minimum ACT composite score of 20 or higher and no academic deficiencies. Transfer students with more than 24 credit hours must have a minimum GPA of 2.50. Transfer students with fewer than 24 earned credit hours must have a minimum GPA of 2.50, a minimum ACT composite score of 20 or higher and no academic deficiencies. Current NKU students seeking to change their major to pre-nursing must have a minimum GPA of 2.50 and must schedule an appointment with an academic advisor by calling 859-572-5895. Students majoring in pre-nursing will be helped by an academic advisor to develop an educational plan for nursing admission and progression. Students are allowed to maintain their pre-nursing status for only three semesters before applying to the B.S.N. program. If students do not meet the criteria for acceptance into the baccalaureate nursing program after three semesters, they will be encouraged to select another major to facilitate their timely graduation from NKU.

Pre-nursing students may enroll in courses that fulfill the prerequisite classes to apply to nursing and the support courses to progress into the nursing baccalaureate program, plus general education courses required for the bachelor’s degree in nursing. They may not take nursing classes until admitted to begin the program.

Admission requirements: Students who apply by January 1 are applying to begin nursing courses the following fall semester. Students who apply by August 1 are applying to begin nursing courses the following spring semester.

To be considered for the selective admission to the B.S.N. program all applicants must:

  1. Be admitted to NKU as a degree-seeking student with no academic deficiencies.
  2. Submit a separate application to the nursing program. Applications to the nursing program may also be submitted online ( Applications to the nursing program are in addition to the university application.
  3. Have the following minimum grade requirements and eligibilities:
    1. A minimum grade of C or higher in BIO 208 /BIO 208L ,
    2. A minimum grade of C or higher in PSY 100 ,
    3. Be eligible to take CHE 115 /CHE 115L ,
    4. Be eligible to take STA 205  or STA 205R  
    5. Earn grades in nursing support courses of C or higher. Support courses include PSY 100 , PSY 321  – OR –EDU 300 , STA 205  OR STA 205R , HIN 355 , BIO 202 /BIO 202L , BIO 126 , CHE 115 /CHE 115L  – OR – CHE 120 /CHE 120L  and CHE 121 /CHE 121L . Grades of C- are not accepted for prerequisites, co-requisites or nursing classes.
    6. B- or higher for Anatomy and Physiology I and II (BIO 208 /BIO 208L  and BIO 209 /BIO 209L ).
    7. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00-point scale or 3.00 on a 4.00 scale on all previous college work for the last 30 credit hours, whichever is higher. GPAs for admission to the B.S.N. program will be calculated using NKU and transfer coursework.
    8. No more than one semester of science course failures in the required science courses for the program in the last two years (C-, D, and F are considered failures) prior to entry into the program. This requirement applies to BIO 120 /BIO 120L , BIO 121 /BIO 121L , BIO 126 , BIO 202 /BIO 202L , BIO 208 /BIO 208L , BIO 209 /BIO 209L , BIO 302 /BIO 302L , CHE 102 , CHE 115 /CHE 115L , CHE 120 /CHE 120L , CHE 121 /CHE 121L  or equivalent transfer courses.
    9. Prerequisite science courses required for admission must be fewer than five years old as of the first day of the semester in which the program begins.


  1. The ACT is required for those transfer applicants with fewer than 24 credit hours from an accredited institution. See pre-major requirements for details.
  2. Applicants whose native language is other than English must demonstrate an established level of English proficiency by taking the Internet-based TOEFL. See special admission requirements for details.
  3. If a student is accepted into the nursing program, he or she must have the following coursework completed before beginning nursing classes:
  4. A personal interview may be requested by the nursing admission/readmission committee.
  5. All accepted students must pass a criminal background check before starting nursing classes.

Licensed practical nurses are eligible to apply to the B.S.N. program if they have graduated from a practical nursing program and passed the NCLEX-PN within the last four years or are actively employed as an LPN. If LPNs are accepted into the B.S.N. program, they must take an independent-study class with a nursing faculty member during their first semester in the nursing program. Upon successful completion of NRS 299 , the following courses will be waived for LPNs: NRS 210L , NRS 215  and NRS 215P . The Evolve ® Curriculum Support fee will be assessed for LPNs for every semester. LPNs are encouraged to make an appointment with an academic advisor prior to applying to the B.S.N. program.

Norse Nurse Scholar Program: 

This is a program for high achieving high school students.  High school seniors may apply to be directly admitted to the nursing program in their freshman year at NKU.  These students will take the pre-requisite courses their freshman year but will have a guaranteed spot in the nursing program based set parameters.

Admission Requirements for the Norse Nurse Scholar Program Include:

  • 27 or higher on ACT
  • 3.5 or higher high school GPA
  • HS Biology completed with a grade of B or higher
  • Submit a personal statement discussing what most intrigues you about the profession of nursing (word limit 250-500)
  • Deadline to apply: January 15th of senior year

For the Norse Nurse Scholar to maintain a spot in the nursing program, by the end of the freshman year at NKU the student must:

  • Maintain a C or higher for Anatomy & Physiology I & II
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Maintain a grade of C or higher in all other pre-requisite courses
  • Complete 10 hours per academic year of volunteer work through the College of Health and Human Services or engage in additional learning opportunities/experiences in the Honors College (hours may be combined between volunteer and opportunities offered through the Honors College)
  • Students eligible for the Norse Nurse Scholar Program will also be invited to join the Honors College at Northern Kentucky University

Admitted students must:

  • Submit proof of “CPR for Health Providers” certification in effect for the upcoming academic year.
  • Submit immunization records and completed health forms (all records must be submitted together) before the posted deadline.
  • Purchase professional liability insurance, which is paid concurrently with their tuition.
  • Submit proof of health insurance coverage or sign a health insurance waiver.
  • Provide own transportation to clinical agencies.
  • Purchase appropriate uniforms prior to the first day of clinical.

NKU College of Health and Human Services policies:

Student criminal background check: Healthcare agencies are charged with providing care and protecting the safety of vulnerable populations including children and the aged. Agencies used for clinical placement require students to undergo criminal background checks and may deny clinical access to those convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors. Conviction of these offenses may result in a student’s denial of admission to, or dismissal from, the Department of Nursing and the College of Health Professions. Applicants are required to submit to criminal background checks as identified by the College of Health Professions as part of the application process. The cost of this and any subsequent screening will be borne by the student. The student is responsible for notifying the Department of Nursing and the College of Health Professions of any change in the status of this record after starting the program. Note that successful completion of a criminal background check does not ensure eligibility for certification, licensure, or future employment.

Transfer students: Students previously enrolled in another ACEN or CCNE-accredited program in nursing may be eligible to transfer into the nursing program at NKU. In addition to all admission requirements, the following apply to all transfer students:

  1. Transfer students are considered on a space-available basis. Eligibility is determined by the nursing Admissions, Progression, Graduation Committee. Students with more than one nursing semester failure are not eligible to apply.
  2. The following must be submitted: a letter from the director of the previous program attended explaining the reasons for withdrawal; official transcripts of all college work attempted; and syllabi of all nursing courses taken. Additionally, an interview may be requested by the APG committee. Students requesting advanced placement in the nursing program may be required to pass a simulated clinical performance and dosage computation examination. In addition, a written theory examination may be required.
  3. At least 25 percent of the credits required for the degree must be completed at NKU.
  4. The last 30 semester credit hours must be completed at NKU.
  5. Students transferring to NKU after failing a nursing class at another nursing school will be dismissed from NKU’s B.S.N. program if they fail a nursing class at NKU (C- or below).


  1. To continue in the nursing program, students must maintain a GPA of at least 2.70 and achieve a grade of C or higher in all required nursing and support courses.
  2. Students withdrawing from the nursing program for any reason are requested to have an exit interview with the program director or faculty advisor.
  3. Students may repeat only one semester in which one or more nursing courses were failed. Students who have a second semester with a failing grade in nursing are dismissed from the B.S.N. program and are ineligible for readmission until after four calendar years have passed from the date of the failure. A failure is considered a C- or below.
  4. If a didactic course has a clinical co-requisite course, both must be repeated concurrently.
  5. Students are expected to progress sequentially through the nursing program. In order to be eligible to enroll in a succeeding nursing course, the student is required to meet all program requirements and academic standards.
  6. Critical skills: Students are required to show ability to perform certain basic nursing skills during each semester. Failure to demonstrate continued ability to perform these skills will provide a basis for failure of the clinical component.
  7. Students must concurrently take and pass nursing courses that are co-requisites.
  8. The B.S.N. program must be completed in 8 semesters.

Evolve® Curriculum Support: All students will participate in the Evolve® Curriculum Support Program. This is a commercial program that provides additional resources for student learning. It is composed of case studies, practice tests/quizzes, and standardized testing. Completion of these will be dictated by course syllabi, and standardized test scores will contribute to final course grades in select nursing courses. A minimum of 900 is required on the Fundamental Specialty exam. Those students not achieving a 900 will be required to take NRS 275 Remediation of Intro Nursing Concepts (1 credit)  in the 4th semester. Those students who do not achieve a 900 HESI Medical-Surgical Specialty Exam will be required to take NRS 400 (1 credit)  in the final semester of the program. A minimum score of 900 is required on the HESI RN-EXIT Exam. For students who do not achieve the 900 benchmark, additional remediation will be required in order to graduate.

Academic leave: If a student identifies that there are situational or personal factors that may preclude his or her academic success, he or she may request an academic leave from the B.S.N. program for a single semester after successful completion of the first nursing semester. If approved, the student will be eligible to return to his or her current placement in the curriculum and will not be required to apply for readmission to the B.S.N. program. The policy and procedures for an academic leave request are outlined in the B.S.N. student handbook, which is available on Canvas. The student may apply for more than one academic leave; however, the leaves may not be back to back, and the student must complete the B.S.N. program within eight semesters.

Readmission: If a student has a failure in a nursing course, an application for readmission to the nursing program will be considered on an individual and space-available basis. Students must submit an application for readmission to the Admission, Progression, and Graduation Committee. A letter supporting the request for readmission must be attached to the application. This letter should outline strategies for success in the program. Students applying for readmission may be required to have an interview with the program director or faculty advisor. To be  considered for readmission, the student must have at least a 2.70 GPA. The program director or faculty advisor may state that written, specific conditions must be met by the student when recommended for readmission. A student who did not successfully complete the first semester of the nursing program must apply as a new student and meet all requirements listed under “Admission Requirements.” (See B.S.N. student handbook.) Students readmitted to the program are subject to the requirements of the catalog in effect for all nursing courses at the time of re-entry. A student dismissed from the nursing program for a second nursing failure may reapply after four calendar years have passed since the previous nursing failure if the student meets current eligibility requirements. Students will then be considered as part of the applicant pool as a new student to begin the program from the beginning. (This is true of the B.S.N. and the A.B.S.N. Programs).

Student advising: Upon admission to the nursing program, students are assigned to a faculty academic advisor and are required to meet with this advisor at least once each semester. Students are encouraged to maintain regular contact with their advisor so that progress and performance can be discussed and counsel provided as necessary.

♦  Indicates prerequisite.

Degree Requirements (104 credits)

Courses in Nursing (69 credits)


*These courses are prerequisites and co-requisites for other program courses. NKU graduates are required to earn 120 credit hours. Nursing graduates typically graduate with 121-124 credit hours, which includes the Foundation of Knowledge general education requirements.

The following courses are required for students who do not benchmark on specific HESI standardized exams: