Instructional Leadership, emphasis: K-12 School Leadership (MEd)
Student nursing assisting patient.

Nursing – Option for Registered Nurses, Bachelor of Science in Nursing


This degree was designed to provide a pathway for Registered Nurses (RNs) to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. RNs who have graduated from a state or nationally accredited associate-degree or diploma-nursing program are eligible to apply for this degree. 

This program offers 4 different tracks to assist the associate degree student, or associate degree graduate, in obtaining their BSN degree.

Concurrent Enrollment Program (CEP): This track is for the student who is admitted into an Arizona Community College nursing program beginning the first block of their AAS degree. The CEP is an opportunity for the student to obtain their AAS and BSN at the same time, graduating with both degrees in the same month.

Mid-AAS: This track is for the student who is currently in an Arizona Community College nursing program and is ready to begin Block 3 of that nursing program. The student will graduate with their BSN 1-2 semesters after obtaining their AAS degree.

Traditional RN-BSN: This track is for nurses who have graduated with their AAS degree and hold an unencumbered RN license. This track is semester based.

This program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

  • To receive a bachelor’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University’s diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 30 units of major requirements.

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Students may transfer up to 90 units of community college and/or university credit from regionally accredited institutions of higher education. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion120
Highest Mathematics RequiredSTA 270
Additional Admission RequirementsRequired
University Honors ProgramOptional
Some online/blended courseworkRequired
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-ARecommended
Progression Plan LinkNot Available

Purpose Statement

The philosophy of the School of Nursing at Northern Arizona University is based on an ethic of caring that embraces students, faculty and staff, and the university community and the global community within which we live and work. We also believe that caring is a conscious, intentional discipline that is part of nursing’s unique body of knowledge and is practiced in interdisciplinary contexts. Caring includes the creation and nurturing of an environment that recognizes that students, staff and faculty have unique ways of viewing the world. This philosophy promotes excellence for nursing education and practice in an environment of constant change and emerging healthcare trends.

The faculty believes the transition to the role of competent professional nurse is a major developmental achievement. We believe that nursing is an art and science that is an integral component of health care. Applying the discipline of nursing to practice depends on a foundation of natural and human sciences, humanities and arts, the application of research, and the diverse backgrounds of learners. Societal influences in the evolving healthcare system challenge all involved in nursing education.

Education is a dynamic, life-long collaborative process by which an individual pursues life goals, broadens human potential, develops thinking and clarifies values. The faculty believes that learning is the intentional acquisition, application, and integration of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Learning is shaped by the environment and developmental level of the learner, and is ultimately the responsibility of the learner. Faculty plan, guide, and facilitate learning while supporting the learning needs of a diverse community of students. We believe that learning-centered experiences with rigorous expectations and actively-engaged students result in higher-level thinkers and graduates prepared for real world practice. We value incorporating rural and global healthcare into a variety of educational experiences. Thus education not only expands the thinking of the learner, but increases opportunities for application.

The faculty has developed a philosophy that values diverse persons, environment, health, and nursing, and their inter-relatedness. The following meta-paradigm concepts guide the implementation of the organizing framework for the curriculum.

If you’re a registered nurse who has graduated from an accredited associate degree or diploma nursing program, the RN-BSN program is for you. The program builds on the knowledge and skills you have acquired through a diploma or associate degree nursing program. Courses for this program are delivered online, and clinical projects are completed in your local community, so you can complete the BSN degree in your hometown.

Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes align with Standards from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

  • Clinical Practice and Prevention: Integrates theory, evidence, professional perspectives, and patient preferences into clinical judgment to provide holistic patient-centered care across the lifespan and healthcare continuum, and in healthcare environments.
  • Communication: Incorporates effective communication into professional nursing practice.
  • Critical reasoning:
    • Synthesizes evidence and nursing knowledge to evaluate and modify clinical nursing practice, in order to provide holistic, safe, comprehensive, patient-centered care.
    • Integrates reliable evidence from multiple ways of knowing to inform practice and make clinical judgments.
  • Leadership: Integrates knowledge and skills in leadership, quality improvement, health care policy and patient safety into practice to provide high quality care.
  • Professionalism and Professional Values
    • Integrates professional values and their associated behaviors into the practice of nursing.
    • Incorporates ethical and legal principles and professional standards into nursing practice.
    • Integrates caring’s affective characteristics into patient-centered care and with other healthcare professionals.
  • Global Health
    • Global Engagement: Promotes safety and quality of health care outcomes for diverse populations incorporating principles of advocacy, leadership and collaboration.
    • Diversity Education: Advocates for health equity and social justice for vulnerable populations and the elimination of health disparities both locally and globally.
    • Environmental Sustainability: Participates in collaborative efforts to improve aspects of the environment that negatively impacts health both locally and globally.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

    • You must apply and be accepted to the School of Nursing’s program in addition to being admitted to the university, and have a current RN license, in good standing, for the state in which you reside. “Good standing” means the license of a nurse is current, and the nurse is not presently subject to any disciplinary action, consent order, or settlement agreement as defined by the State Board of Nursing in the jurisdiction of the license. Students who have licenses not in good standing may contact an advisor for additional review.
    • Due to State Board of Nursing regulations and other legal requirements, we do not accept students into the program that live in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, or Washington, nor are we permitted to allow students to complete the program if they relocate to one of these states. 
    • You are eligible to apply for this program option if you are a registered nurse who has graduated from an accredited associate degree or diploma nursing program. 
    • We offer this as a web-based option to licensed registered nurses with the exceptions noted above.
Transfer Block
  • RNs who earned their degree from a regionally accredited community college may transfer up to 90 units toward the BSN. Other RNs should consult with a distance-learning advisor to determine transfer credits. Students currently in a regionally accredited community college nursing program may also be eligible for admission; please contact an advisor for recommended courses.

Major Requirements
  • This option for Registered Nurses requires 30 units and for students to complete an Associate’s Degree at a Community College. Up to 90 units can be transferred in for this program.

    • Nursing Common Course Requirements: 30 units

    Take the following 30 units:
General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren’t used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.

How to apply

  • Apply for admission to the university.
  • Send your official transcripts (students who graduated from an accredited Arizona community college RN program are eligible to transfer up to 90 units from a community college).
  • Contact to get connected with the appropriate advisor.
  • After you are admitted to NAU, you can complete the online RN-BSN application for the Nursing – Option for Registered Nurses degree. Check the appropriate box for either the traditional RN to BSN program. Your choice must match the program for which you applied with your university application.

Applicants must maintain a current RN license from the state in which they will be completing the final project-based portions of their nursing curriculum. For students beginning the online BSN prior to receiving their RN license, a license verification will be required within the first three months of the program.

Due to State Boards of Nursing and other legal requirements, we do not accept students into the program who live in AL, TN, or WA, nor are we permitted to allow students to complete the program if they relocate to one of these states. For undergraduates, the RN-BSN program is the only available online degree.