Traditional BSN

The University of Kentucky College of Nursing's four-year, traditional BSN in Nursing program prepares our graduates to meet the ever-changing challenges of today's health care needs. Some of our BSN program highlights include:

  • Varied learning experiences -- Students will learn through a combination of classroom, laboratory, and supervised clinical-setting instruction.  Learn about our Clinical Simulation and Learning Center. 
  • Modern practices -- Our expert faculty and staff consistently evaluate the latest in nursing research and how to apply it in clinical practice
  • Student-faculty ratio -- The student-faculty ratio for undergraduate clinical groups is no more than 1-to-8
  • Professional development -- Students can gain valuable experience and build their resumés through internships in nursing practice, research, and the skills lab.
  • Nursing organizations -- We have several student organizations for students to join:  NSNA (National Student Nurses Association)UNAAC (Undergraduate Nursing Activities and Advisory Council), and UK's Delta Psi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the international nursing honors society.
  • NCLEX pass rates -- UK Nursing's BSN graduates consistently maintain an NCLEX pass rate above 97%. The May 2020 graduating class had a 100% NCLEX pass rate for first-time test-takers. 


To obtain a BSN in Nursing, students must satisfy the University requirements for graduation, including the UK Core requirements, and obtain a 2.0 grade-point average in nursing degree programs.  A grade of C or better must be attained in all courses required in the nursing curriculum in order to proceed to the next clinical course or to graduate. A minimum of 120 credit hours is required for graduation.

View a list of UK Core and nursing courses needed to obtain a BSN in Nursing, along with sample plans of study:

​Cognate courses/guided electives

Cognate courses/guided electives facilitate student exploration of specialty areas in nursing. Specialty areas may include but are not limited to, pediatrics, obstetrics, public health, critical care, psychiatric, or other unique fields in nursing.  Six cognate course/guided elective credits are required for a BSN degree, and three of those six credits must be earned from the UK College of Nursing.

Pairing cognates from the College of Nursing with courses from other colleges may lead to the award of a badge that signifies accomplishment in a specialty area. For example, students interested in pediatrics might pair a CON pediatric cognate with a developmental psychology course to earn a badge in pediatrics. 

Cognate exceptions

If you have taken a course at UK or elsewhere that is not a designated College of Nursing cognate, you may petition the BSN Cognate Subcommittee to grant an exception to allow the course to satisfy a Cognate requirement. To request a cognate exception, read and complete the below Cognate Exception Request document.  

Things to consider when contemplating a career in nursing:

  • Figure out whether you can handle the sights, sounds, and smells associated with sick people
  • Volunteer, shadow or work part-time in a hospital, nursing home, or assisted-care facility
  • Complete a certified nursing assistant (CNA) course (some high schools offer this) 
  • Talk with nurses to find out “what it’s really like” and ask how/why they became nurses
  • Take high-level or advanced placement science classes 
  • Join a health careers club or HOSA, the Health Occupations Students of America
  • Visit the Kentucky Board of Nursing website to research the various options of nursing careers and education required (for example, BSN or RN degrees are required to enter advanced nursing degrees such as a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist).  
  • Register for a UK College of Nursing BSN program information session to learn more about our admission and program requirements 

There are three steps to become a registered nurse:

  • Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • Pass the NCLEX exam (nursing boards)
  • Apply for a nursing license in the state where you plan to work. If approved, you become a registered nurse (or RN). The RN designation is the license you receive to practice as a nurse; it is not the degree you receive. 


Learn how to apply to our BSN program.  

Want to know more? 

We have several opportunities to talk with recruiters and our student ambassadors to learn more about the traditional BSN Program.  Learn more

The Commonwealth of Kentucky Board of Nursing certifies that the University of Kentucky Baccalaureate Degree Program has met the requirements established by law and the Kentucky Board of Nursing. This full-approval confers the right to operate a nursing program in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in accordance with the provisions of the Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 314.