Earn the BSN you need to stay competitive in a changing workplace.
In February 2015, a study published in Nursing Economics found that the percentage of BSN-prepared nurses is increasing while the employment of associate degree nurses is decreasing. Soon, a BSN will be the standard for all nurses who desire job security and opportunities for career advancement.
Here is a convenient way to earn your bachelor of science in nursing degree online—at your pace, on your schedule, using knowledge you already have.
Now offered in the self-paced, competency-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.
(For more about the challenges and opportunities facing nurses today, see our blog post, “Wall Street Journal Reports on Nurses’ Struggle as More Hospitals Require BSNs.”)
Who Should Apply
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 UW Flexible Option competencies and assessments are delivered online, students have the opportunity to learn when and where they choose.
This self-paced online nursing degree is ideal for students who:
- Hold an RN license in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, or Iowa
- Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher and graduated from an associate-degree program in nursing or diploma program in nursing
- Have work experience as a registered nurse
- Are motivated, disciplined self-starters who can work independently
- Desire the prestige and value of a University of Wisconsin degree
About UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing
The UWM College of Nursing is in the top 15% 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 some areas including self-management, geriatric health, global health, healthcare delivery and development and community-engaged health research. As the largest nursing program in Wisconsin, the college is also exceptionally proud of its more than 9,000 alumni who provide quality evidence-based care, inspiring education, exceptional research, and administrative leadership to improve healthcare nationally and across the globe.
The baccalaureate degree program in nursing at UW-Milwaukee is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org). The program is also approved by the State of Wisconsin Board of Nursing.
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 online nursing degree.
- Total degree credits required: 124
- After review of your prior college transcripts, you will be given a minimum of 60 credits for your general education and nursing courses earned in your associate degree in nursing (ADN) or nursing diploma 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.
- English Composition II: 3 credits
- Humanities: 3-6 credits
- Arts: 0-3 credits
- History: 3 credits
Social Science: 9 credits
- Psych 101
- Growth & Development
Natural/Biological Sciences: 21 credits
- Biochemistry (or alternate science course)
- Anatomy & Physiology I and II
Electives: 19-25 credits
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.
NURSING COURSES FROM YOUR ASSOCIATE DEGREE PROGRAM: 60 CREDITS
Advanced Nursing Courses (with a grade of C or higher)
NURS 407x – Foundations of Professional Nursing Practice (3 credits)
- Philosophical perspectives, theories, and standards are applied to the practice of professional nursing. Factors influencing nursing/healthcare delivery are analyzed. Professional communication skills are enhanced. Is a writing emphasis course.
NURS 441x – Chronic Care Management (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.
NURS 446x – Research and Evidence Based Practice (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.
NURS 447x – Leadership and Management (3 credits)
- Examines nursing leadership and management using relevant theories and concepts. Analyze decision-making in relation to communication, delegation, supervision and group process.
NURS 453x – Information Management and Healthcare Technology (3 credits)
- Utilize computer and information/decision science to support quality and safety in healthcare. 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.
NURS 454x – Community Health Nursing (3 credits)
- Nursing care of populations and communities to facilitate optimal health outcomes.
NURS 445x – Capstone/Practicum for Registered Nurses (3 credits)
- A clinical experience applying core competencies to clinical practice.
Advanced Nursing Electives (minimum of 9 credits; with a grade of C or higher)
NURS 317x – Health Assessment (3 credits)
- A focus on the knowledge and skills necessary to perform a complete health assessment of individuals of all ages and cultures. Emphasis is on extended knowledge as well as the cultural and holistic perspectives of health assessment as an essential component of nursing practice.
NURS 365x (Section 1) – Global Health: Ethics & Human Rights (3 credits)
- Examines the broad field of global health from an ethical and human rights perspective. Students will be expected to analyze the role of nursing in addressing global health inequities.
NURS 365x (Section 2) – Symptom Management in Chronic and Life-Limiting Illness (3 credits)
- Focuses on assessment and management of pain and common symptoms in chronic and life-limiting illnesses experienced by adults and older adults.
NURS 375x- Genetics and Genomics for Health Professionals (3 credits)
- This set emphasizes the relationship between the science of genetics, the study of genomes and application of these concepts by healthcare providers in the screening, assessment, diagnosis, treatment and evaluation of patients.
NURS 448x – Mental Health Nursing Across the Care Continuum (3 credits)
- Focus on the knowledge and skills necessary for providing professional nursing care to individuals, groups, and families affected by mental illness in any setting.
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, UW 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.
During your subscription period, you are able to access learning materials, complete assessments, and receive academic support. Subscription periods begin on the second day of every month. You can choose from two subscription options, each with a different tuition, depending on the number of competency sets you wish to attempt during the subscription period. Not sure what a competency set is? Check out our sample competency set to see one for yourself.
- All-You-Can-Learn Option: Choosing this option allows you to enroll in two or more competency (skill) sets. You may enroll in as many competency sets as you can successfully master within a three-month period for a flat tuition rate of $2,250. This option is ideal for motivated learners who would like to earn their degrees or certificates more quickly.
- Single Competency Set Option: If you would like to study at a slower pace during a three-month subscription period, you may enroll in a single competency set. As with the All-You-Can-Learn Option, you must successfully demonstrate mastery of each competency in the set through a series of assessments. The tuition for this “one-set-per-subscription-period” model is $900. Note: After the tenth day of the subscription period, students who are enrolled in the Single Competency Set level are not eligible to add additional competency sets during their subscription period. Such students must wait until a subsequent subscription period to add additional competency sets.
|Subscription options||Term length||Tuition||Competency sets you can complete|
|All-You-Can-Learn||3 months||$2,250||2 or more|
|Single Competency Set||3 months||$900||1|
Additional Fees: Tuition covers assessments and mentoring, but excludes the cost of books and other special materials that may be required for your program.
Ready to flex your potential and fulfill your goals and dreams? You’ve come to the right place!
If you haven’t already read our Frequently Asked Questions, please do so now to gain a better understanding of the UW Flexible Option before you apply for admission. You may apply for a start date five months in advance, but no later than one month in advance. All of your application materials must be received by us a full month in advance of your desired start date.
Guidelines and Applying for Admission
Our admission review process considers many factors when assessing your application for admission to a UW Flexible Option program. Your high school records, strength of prior college coursework, rigor of curriculum and academic readiness, test scores, grade point average, academic goals, relevant work experience, and your potential for success will all be considered. If you have not connected with one of our helpful UW Flexible Option Enrollment Advisers yet, please contact us at 1-877-895-3276 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your readiness for this program.
The UW-Milwaukee Bachelor of Science in Nursing RN to BSN completion program admission requirements include:
- A Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, or Iowa RN license
- Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher and graduated from an associate-degree program in nursing, or a diploma program in nursing
- Have work experience as a nurse
- Please also note that, while there are no on-campus requirements for the final capstone competency set, students must find their own clinical project and a qualified preceptor in their own workplace or another setting in their community.
UW Flexible Option is only admitting domestic students at this time. A domestic student is someone who is either a U.S. Citizen, a U.S. Permanent Resident, or holds Refugee, Asylee, or Jay Treaty status. All applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores or similar proof of English proficiency.
Students New to UW Flexible Option
Once you have spoken with a UW Flexible Option Enrollment Adviser (1-877-895-3276) to determine whether this innovative education option is right for you, your next step is to formally apply. Keep in mind that when you apply to a UW Flexible Option program, you are applying to the institution granting the degree or certificate. The requirements for admission and graduation are the same as if you were applying to a traditional on-campus or online program.
To apply for admission to a UW Flexible Option program:
- Complete the online University of Wisconsin System Application for Undergraduate Admission, found at apply.wisconsin.edu.
- Submit the application processing fee. A $50 nonrefundable fee is required for students applying as degree-seeking candidates to a UW System campus. The fee is not required if any of the following is true:
> Your last campus at which you were pursuing a degree was one of the 2-year UW Colleges or UW Colleges Online, or
> You previously were pursuing a degree at the campus to which you are now applying, or
> You are pursuing a non-degree certificate program at UW-Milwaukee or UW-Parkside
- Send transcripts. We require official transcripts, sent directly from your high school of graduation (beginning with grade 9) and all post-secondary institutions you have attended. If you did not graduate from high school, completion of a GED and an official copy of your scores are required. Please have your official transcripts sent either electronically via a secure credentialing service such as Parchment or Credentials or have your official transcripts mailed to:
UW Flexible Option Enrollment Team
UW Extended Campus
5602 Research Park Blvd., Suite 303
Madison, WI 53719
- Complete the Holistic Student Profile. Each student enrolling in UW Flexible Option is provided with academic guidance and coaching that is tailored to meet individual needs. To assist our team in preparing the best path for you, you are asked to complete our Holistic Student Profile. A link to this brief online survey will be provided when we receive your application.
- Complete Orientation, Part 1. After you have submitted your application, you will be sent a link to Orientation, Part 1. This required online orientation session will explain the key features of competency-based education, UW Flexible Option, what makes us different from other programs, tuition and financial aid opportunities, and next steps in the admission process.
- Be sure to review important dates to remember
Students Returning to UW Flexible Option
If you were previously enrolled in the UW Flexible Option and now wish to return after a period of time away, discover your next steps.
Most University of Wisconsin System campuses require students to complete a specific number of credits “in residence” to earn a degree. (“Resident credits” are credits earned at the campus granting the degree.) Transfer students are responsible for fulfilling these residency requirements.
UW-Milwaukee’s resident credit policy
Transfer students must complete at least 30 credits with UWM, even if this brings the total number of earned credits beyond the total number of credits required for the degree. For example, if you enter a UW Flexible Option program with 100 transferable credits, you must complete 30 credits with UWM to receive the bachelor’s degree (even though normally the degree requires 124 credits).
Placement tests are designed to measure prerequisite skills that help us place you into the correct college-level English and math competency sets.
You will be asked to take a placement test if:
- You are a new freshman student who has not previously attended college
- You are a transfer student who has not completed a transferable college-level English composition and/or math course.
If you fit one of these categories but previously took placement tests for another UW campus within the last 2 years, you will not be asked to take the tests again.
During the application process for UW Flexible Option, you will be notified if a placement test is required. If you are required to take a test, an Admissions Specialist will explain the process and provide you with instructions to make arrangements. A variety of testing options are available to meet your needs.
It is important that you complete your placement tests in a timely manner—preferably as soon as possible after you learn they are required. Test results must be received by no later than the first day of the month prior to your subscription period start date. This allows your Academic Success Coach time to talk with you about the appropriate English or math level at which you should begin your studies, and ensures that you have enough time to enroll in your required competency set(s).
Still have questions about the admission process? Check out our Admission FAQ page.