Nursing (RN to BSN)

Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing, RN to BSN degree completion

Now in the self-pacedcompetency-based UW Flexible Option format, the UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing RN to BSN Program is for nurses with associate degrees who would like to earn a baccalaureate degree while still having time for work and family.

New options for working nurses to pursue bachelor’s degrees are particularly important in light of the recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that calls for 80% of RNs to be baccalaureate prepared by the year 2020. The IOM report states, “To respond to these demands of an evolving health care system and meet the changing needs of patients, nurses must achieve higher levels of education and training. One step in realizing this goal is for a greater number of nurses to enter the workforce with a baccalaureate degree or progress to this degree early in their career.” (IOM report, 2010, p. 7.)

Areas of Study

RN to BSN Completion Curriculum

To earn this degree, students must fulfill the General Education Requirements necessary for a UWM bachelor’s degree, elective requirements, and the unique competency sets that define this program.

  • Total degree credits required: 124
  • After review of your prior college transcripts, you will be given credit for College Parallel Classes, as well as 60 credits for nursing courses in your associate degree in nursing (ADN) program.
  • A program plan will be developed just for you in which you will know what courses you will have to complete in the liberal arts and in nursing.  You can complete these courses through competency assessment, online or face to face.
Lori Kenyon
Discover how this full-time ER nurse used the flexibility of UW Flexible Option to earn her BSN degree in less than a year.


  • English Composition II: 3 credits
  • Humanities: 3-6 credits
  • Arts: 0-3 credits
  • History: 3 credits

Social Science: 9 credits

  • Sociology
  • Psych 101
  • Growth & Development

Natural/Biological Sciences: 21 credits

  • Inorganic/Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Anatomy & Physiology I and II
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
nursing degree online
See how a clinical RN is using her work experience to advance more quickly through the UW Flexible Option BSN program.

Electives: 19-25 credits


  • Math
  • English

Cultural Diversity (may or may not apply)
Foreign Language (may or may not apply)

More information on meeting the general education requirements of the degree can be found here.




Advanced Nursing Courses (with a grade of C or higher)

Foundations of Professional Nursing Practice (NSG 407): 3 credits
  • Philosophical perspectives, theories, and standards are applied to the practice of professional nursing. Factors influencing nursing/health care delivery are analyzed. Professional communication skills are enhanced. Is a writing emphasis course.
Leadership and Management (NSG 447): 3 credits
  • Examines nursing leadership and management using relevant theories and concepts. Analyze decision-making in relation to communication, delegation, supervision and group process.
Research and Evidence Based Practice (NSG 446): 3 credits
  • This course introduces the importance of research to improve clinical practice, strategies to evaluate the quality of research and evidence, and increase integration of research into practice.
Community Health Nursing (NSG 454): 3 credits
  • Nursing care of populations and communities to facilitate optimal health outcomes.
Information Management and Health Care Technology (NSG 453): 3 credits
  • Utilize computer and information/decision science to support quality and safety in health care. Explore informatics issues and examine nursing’s role in healthcare technology. Opportunities to use and master various healthcare technologies and healthcare data will be given.
Chronic Care Management (NSG 441): 3 credits
  • Exploration of interaction of biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors important to understanding management of chronic conditions at the individual, family, community, and societal levels.

Nursing Electives: 8-10 credits

Capstone/Practicum (NURS 445): 3 credits
  • Synthesis of knowledge from current and past learning experiences and application of clinical decision making to provide comprehensive nursing care to individuals, Families, groups and communities.


get your free info kit

Learn more about this competency-based education option and why it’s a smart choice for working adults.

Download a free UW Flex info kit

Fill out the short form below to receive a Flexible Option Information Kit, including an 8-page introduction to this innovative education option and details about the flexible Nursing (RN to BSN) program (PDF).

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The UW Flexible Option is especially designed for self-motivated nontraditional students who want their previous schooling, work skills, and prior knowledge to apply toward degrees or certificates. The competency-based and self-paced format of the UW Flexible Option fits the schedules of students who must balance work and family responsibilities with educational goals. Because most Flexible Option competencies and assessments are delivered online, students have the opportunity to learn when and where they choose.

This self-paced program is ideally suited for students who:

  • Reside in Wisconsin and are licensed as a registered nurse or are a graduate of an associate degree program in nursing
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Are motivated, disciplined self-starters who can work independently

Apply Now



The UW Flexible Option offers working adults a more affordable way to earn a UW degree or certificate. Instead of paying by course or by credit, Flex lets you pay a flat rate for a three-month subscription period. You won’t spend valuable time or money sitting through courses you don’t need. If you already know the material, you may be able to pass assessments more quickly, and potentially accelerate your time to graduation.

Find out more about tuition for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) by visiting the Tuition & Financial Aid page.


The UW Flexible Option offers a new way to earn a college degree or certificate, different from both face-to-face classroom instruction and traditional online instruction. As a student in a this program, you will:

  • Start when you want, at the beginning of any month. Your progress is not limited by a traditional semester or term-based schedule, and you can take breaks in between subscription periods if and when you need to.

  • Earn credit using existing knowledge. You may draw upon prior learning to complete assessments and make progress toward your degree or certificate. It does not matter where you gained your knowledge—from prior courses, work experience, military training, or other learning experiences. If you know it and can show it, you can use it to earn credit.
  • Advance at your own pace. Progress toward your degree or certificate is based on assessments of key competencies determined by UW faculty, not seat time in a classroom. Take assessments whenever you are ready. Pass one and move on to the next.
  • Receive personalized support. A dedicated Academic Success Coach will work with you to create your learning plan and a timeline tailored to fit your goals and knowledge. Your coach will help you prepare for assessments and point you to the learning resources you need to succeed.
  • Learn skills employers value. By passing assessments of critical competencies, you will prove your mastery of the skills and knowledge that are important to employers.

Best of all, you will graduate with a degree or certificate from a University of Wisconsin institution that is recognized and respected.

Be sure to visit our FAQs page for more information about the Flexible Option format, how it differs from traditional online and face-to-face programs, and how it works.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission North Central Association


University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges & Schools.


About the UWM College of Nursing

The UWM College of Nursing is in the top 6% of nursing programs in the nation (according to U.S. News & World Report graduate rankings). UWM faculty lead the nation in cutting-edge research in a number of areas including self-management science, nursing informatics, nursing models of primary health care, family care in acute and pediatric settings, interventions with elders (including Alzheimer’s patients), chronic care management, and health equity. As the largest nursing program in Wisconsin, the college is also exceptionally proud of its more than 7,000 alumni who provide quality evidence-based care, inspiring education, exceptional research, and administrative leadership to improve health care nationally and across the globe.


Call a friendly enrollment adviser to find out more about the UW Flexible Option. If you would like to assess your readiness for this self-paced, online education option, we invite you to take the Flex Fit self-evaluation. This free online assessment will help you and an adviser determine whether Flex is a good fit for your lifestyle, education needs, and goals. Once you have completed your evaluation, call us to discuss your results and next steps. Get started today!

Monday–Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. CT; Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; first Saturday of the month, 9 a.m. to noon.

Other ways to contact us:

Fax: 608-262-4096

Flexible Option Enrollment Team
UW-Extension–Continuing Education, Outreach & E-Learning
5602 Research Park Blvd., Suite 303
Madison, WI 53719