RN to BSN and RN to MSN Pathways

The RN to BSN and RN to MSN Pathways are for registered nurses who want to further their education and have successfully completed an accredited diploma or associate degree nursing program and are licensed to practice as an RN in their home state.

Offered in a convenient distance-accessible format with a flexible curriculum model providing 3, 4 and 5-semester plans, the program of study focuses advanced nursing concepts, leadership and evidence-based practice.

The RN to MSN Pathway is for licensed RNs with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing who want to further their education.

RN to BSN Pathway Photo
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  • Information for Prospective RN-BSN Students

    Students who transfer from another university or two-year community college and complete all foundation and prerequisite courses elsewhere, then apply first to UAB and then to the School of Nursing for the upper-division nursing major.

    BSN foundational and general studies courses are the same as those taken by students who complete all course work at UAB.

    Two separate applications are required: one to the university and the second to the School of Nursing.

    Students in this option will be assigned a UAB Pre-Nursing Advisor who will assist them in determining eligibility for application into the upper-division nursing major.

    Criteria for Applying to the RN to BSN Pathway

    Individuals qualifying for transfer to UAB and apply for the RN to BSN Pathway include:
    • Those with an Associate Degree or Diploma in Nursing (may apply for the RN to BSN Pathway).
    • Those with a Bachelor’s Of Science or a Bachelor’s of Arts or higher from an accredited university; or
    • Transferring from another university or two-year community college and have completed all foundation and nursing pre-requisite courses elsewhere.

    Before Applying to UAB and the School of Nursing

    • Interested RN-BSN applicants should send official or unofficial transcripts (school form) to sonstudaffrs@uab.edu.
    • Applicants interested in the RN-MSN pathway, please refer to the RN to MSN Pathway section below for specific application procedures to that pathway.
    • Transcripts will be evaluated by School of Nursing (please allow a couple of weeks for processing).
    • School of Nursing Student Success representative will set-up meeting or phone conference with applicant.
    • Applicants must meet all criteria for admission to UAB and the program or pathway to which they apply.
    • Applicants must apply to both UAB and the School of Nursing.
  • RN to BSN Pathway
    • The RN to BSN Pathway is for registered nurses who have successfully completed an accredited diploma or associate degree nursing program, and are currently licensed as a registered nurse.
    • Admission to the RN-BSN Pathway is available in the fall and spring terms.
    • Designed for working registered nurses, coursework is offered in a distance accessible format that combines the delivery of course work using on-line technology with on-campus orientation.
    • The curriculum consists of a total of 30 upper division nursing credit hours and the program of study can be individualized and is typically completed within three to five semesters.
    • Students completing the RN-BSN Pathway will graduate with a BSN degree with at least 125 credit hours that includes: 59 credit hours of general studies and pre-nursing requirements; block credit of 36 credit hours for previous nursing coursework in an Associate Degree or Diploma Program; and 30 credits of upper division BSN coursework completed at UAB. The block credit is awarded at the beginning of the student's final semester in the RN-BSN Pathway.
  • RN to BSN Pathway Prerequisites
    • Applicants to the RN to BSN must have successfully completed prerequisite course requirements that include general studies courses required for the baccalaureate degree as well as nursing foundation courses offered in an associate degree or diploma nursing program.
    • Students may begin the RN to BSN Nursing courses if only 6 credits or less of the general studies requirements remain to be completed; all general studies courses must be completed prior to starting the third semester of course work.
    • If you would like a review of your unofficial transcripts to determine if you have met RN-BSN pathway prerequisites requirements, please complete the RN-BSN Evaluation Request Form and submit the completed form and copies of all unofficial transcripts to the RN-BSN Program Manager by email at gmholmes@uab.edu or by fax to (205) 934-5490.

    RN to BSN Prerequisite Course Requirements

    Area I: Written Composition6 hours total
    EH 101 English Composition I3
    EH 102 English Composition II3
    Area II: Humanities and Fine Arts12 hours total
    Literature13 (or 6)
    Area II Elective3
    Area III: Natural Sciences and Mathematics11 hours total
    CH 105/106 Inorganic Chemistry4
    CH 107/108 Organic Chemistry24
    MA 105 or 110 Pre-Calculus or Finite Math3
    Area IV: History, Social & Behavioral Sciences12 hours total
    PY 101 Psychology3
    PY 212 Developmental Psychology3
    History13 (or 6)
    General Elective3
    Area V: Additional Pre-Nursing Requirements18 hours total
    BY 115 Human Anatomy4
    BY 116 Human Physiology4
    BY 261 Microbiology4
    Descriptive Statistics3
    Area V Elective3
    Total: 59 Credit Hours
    1Students need either a 6-hour sequence of literature or history. If the student elects to complete a history sequence, the student can take an Area II elective. If the student elects to complete a literature sequence, the student can take an Area IV elective.

    2Applies to students who take Microbiology at UAB. Students may otherwise take any additional science with lab (excluding Geology, Astronomy, and Environmental Science).

  • RN to BSN Admission Requirements

    Admission to the RN to BSN option is available in the fall and spring terms.

    We encourage potential applicants to talk to a representative of the RN to BSN Pathway before you begin the application process.

    Applicants must first be admitted to the university as an RN to BSN Pre-Nursing Mobility Student through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

    Advisement is provided by the RN to BSN Pathway Director.

    Once accepted to UAB, students need to apply to the RN to BSN Pathway directly to the School of Nursing. Contact Gail Holmes, RN to BSN Program Manager, for information on applying at 205.975.7529 or by email at gmholmes@uab.edu.

    Admission Requirements Include:

    • Cumulative or pre-requisite grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
    • A grade of at least “C” in Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Microbiology, Descriptive Statistics and an elective (Area V courses).
    • Evidence of successful completion of an accredited diploma or associate degree nursing program.
    • Possession of an active and unencumbered/unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse in the state in which student resides and will complete their clinical projects.
    • Completion of all but 6 credit hours of required general studies and/or nursing pre-requisites courses; all general studies courses must be completed before starting the third semester of nursing course work.
  • Application for Admission/Application Deadlines

    Application Deadlines

    Entry Date: Spring 2023
    Deadline: October 15, 2022

    Entry Date: Fall 2023
    Deadline: June 15, 2023

    Students must be admitted to the university as a degree-seeking undergraduate student no later than one month prior to the School of Nursing application deadline.

    Once accepted to UAB, students need to apply to the School of Nursing.

    An application may be obtained by contacting the Office of Student Success at 205.975.7529

    Before applying, please contact:

    Photo of Gail Holmes
    Gail Holmes, MEd
    RN-BSN Pathway Manager
    Office of Student Success
  • RN to BSN Sample Program of Study

    The RN to BSN program of study consists of 30 credit hours and nine required courses. The courses are offered via a distance accessible format.

    Course NumberCourse TitleCredit Hours
    NRN 401Professional Nursing Concepts for RNs4
    NRN 406Applied Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan for RNs3
    NRN 402Professional Leadership Development for RNs3
    NRN 404Quality and Patient Safety for RNs3
    NRN 405Evidence-Based Nursing Practice and Informatics for RNs4
    NRN 408Population Health for RNs4
    NRN 407Transitional Care Coordination Across the Lifespan for RNs3
    NRN 403Systems Leadership for RNs3
    ElectiveNursing Elective3
    Total Credit Hours30
  • RN to BSN Outcomes

    The RN to BSN Curriculum offers both academic and professional nursing courses that provide the base for clinical competence and informed judgments about health care situations and care of patients in diverse clinical and community settings.

    The curriculum prepares nurses to:

    • Apply knowledge from diverse liberal arts educational content to generalist nursing care principles and practice experiences.
    • Incorporate a basic understanding of organizational systems and the application of knowledge and skills needed to provide safe, quality care to individual patients and to function as part of an interprofessional team.
    • Participate in and utilize structure, process, and outcome measures to evaluate the implementation of patient safety and quality improvement initiatives.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic elements of the evidence-based practice and participates in the retrieval, appraisal, and application of best practices.
    • Demonstrate skills in the ethical use of healthcare information communication technology (ICT) and how technology supports safe practice and examination of patient data for outcome analysis.
    • Demonstrate understanding of healthcare policy, advocacy, global health, legal, and regulatory issues as factors that may influence healthcare delivery and practice.
    • Utilize effective intra and interprofessional communication skills to advocate for evidence-based, holistic care as a member of the healthcare team.
    • Assess determinants of health in relation to multiple factors (genetics, environmental exposure, family history, individual health, and health preferences) to guide and advocate for the delivery of health promotion/disease prevention strategies.
    • Apply knowledge of nursing history, nursing standards, and one’s beliefs and values to the application of professional nursing behaviors, communication, and actions.
    • Practice safe, evidence-based, compassionate, holistic, and patient and family centered care applying knowledge of leadership and healthcare delivery for individuals and communities.
  • RN to MSN Pathway

    The RN to MSN (Second Degree) option is an alternate pathway into the existing Master’s in Nursing (MSN) degree program for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing, who are currently licensed registered nurses, and who seek MSN preparation.

    • Students are enrolled in the MSN Program, and upon completion will be awarded the MSN degree.
    • Students are not awarded a BSN degree.

    Prospective Students Must Meet the Following Requirements for Admission:

    • Hold a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing from a regionally accredited college/university along with a minimum of an Associate’s degree in nursing (ADN).
    • Possess an unencumbered/unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse in the state where you plan to conduct your clinical practicum.
    • Cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or on the last 60 semester hours.
    • Students with a GPA less than 3.2 are required to complete and submit scores for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), GMAT, or MAT; only scores completed within the past 5 years are accepted. Minimum required scores are a combined score of 297 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE, or a score of 410 on the MAT or score of 480 on the GMAT. Applicants who have successfully completed a graduate degree from a regionally accredited academic institution may receive a waiver for this requirement if they achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their previous graduate degree program. The following individuals are not eligible for the GRE waiver process: International applicants, non-native English speaking applicants, and Dual degree seeking applicants (e.g., MSN/MPH). For more information on the Test Score Waiver process click here.
    • Submit three letters of professional reference attesting to the applicant’s potential for graduate study.
    • Applicants should submit an official transcript from every college or university they have ever attended (even if for only one semester). Transcripts may be mailed or emailed electronically by the issuing institution to the UAB School of Nursing.


    Applicants to the RN to MSN Pathway must have successfully completed prerequisite course requirements listed below with a grade of “C” or above prior to matriculation into the pathway.

    Prerequisite CoursesCredit Hours
    BY 115 Human Anatomy4
    BY 116 Human Physiology4
    MA 180 Descriptive Statistics3
    BY 261 Microbiology4

    Bridge Courses

    Students admitted to the RN to MSN Pathway are required to complete three courses designed to “bridge” the upper division level undergraduate nursing courses.

    Required Bridge CoursesCredit Hours
    NRN 501Q Professional Nursing Concepts for RNs4
    NRN 508Q Population Health for RNs4
    NRN 503Q System Leadership for RNs3

    Selection of an MSN Pathway

    Students admitted to the RN to MSN Pathway will select a specialty area from one of two different MSN Pathways:

    For assistance with the RN to MSN Pathway application process, contact:

    Photo of Charlene Bender
    Charlene Bender, MPH
    RN-MSN Program Manager
    Office of Student Success
  • Tuition and Fees

    The following tuition and fees are valid for the 2022-2023 academic year. Tuition and fees and are SUBJECT TO CHANGE annually based on approval from the University of Alabama Board of Trustees and/or University.

    The estimates below are based on the costs listed at the UAB Office of Planning and Analysis website.

    Each student’s costs will vary depending upon a number of factors including state of residence, the number of credits taken in a semester, or whether the student attends class live or through a distance-accessible format. Fees vary by program and course.

    Tuition and Fees
    UAB School of Nursing 2022-2023
    Charge ($)
    Charge ($)
    Undergraduate coursework (internet-based distance learning; each semester hour)525525
    Fees - UAB School of NursingCost ($)
    Educational Support and Technology Fee (per course - undergraduate and pre-licensure)185
    Student Hospitalization Insurance Fee1 (per month)200
    Student Dental Fee1 (per term)39
    Other Expenses (Estimated)Cost ($)
    Books and supplies (estimate per term)600
    Background Check (annual estimate)92
    1May be waived with documented proof of equal or greater coverage
  • Funding Your Education

    UAB Financial Aid and Scholarships

    Information on Financial Aid, University Scholarships and other funding opportunities is available at:

    UAB School of Nursing Scholarships

    • The School of Nursing at UAB has an excellent scholarship program that provides financial support to Alabama’s best and brightest nursing students.
    • Currently, the School’s scholarship portfolio consists of 76 endowed scholarships and 3 active sponsored scholarships.
    • The school currently has an $10.1 million endowed fund that supports nursing scholarships annually.
    • Scholarships are awarded twice a year – spring and fall semesters. The scholarship application process is simple. One application is needed to be considered for all undergraduate or graduate scholarships.
    • Application and additional information can be found at https://www.uab.edu/nursing/home/scholarships-financial-aid

    For Information about School of Nursing Scholarships, Contact:

    Photo of Stephanie Hamberger
    Stephanie Hamberger, MPA
    Director of Student Engagement, Recruitment and Scholarships
  • Nursing Honors Program

    The UAB School of Nursing Honors Program provides unique experiential learning opportunities in research where students are introduced to basic research concepts and provided the opportunity to complete defined research activities as part of a faculty research team.

    Students have the opportunity to explore the role and career path of a nurse scientist. All undergraduate nursing students are eligible to apply for admission to the Nursing Honors Program, including BSN and RN-BSN Mobility students.

    Students who successfully complete the Nursing Honors Program will receive a certificate of acknowledgement at the UAB Honors Convocation and will graduate “With Honors in Nursing.” Students completing both the UAB Honors Program and the School of Nursing Honors Program will graduate “With University Honors in Nursing.”

    The Nursing Honors Program is supported by an endowed fund established by Celia A. Wallace in 2005 to honor Kristen Celia and Gerald Leon Wallace, Jr.


    Students must meet the following criteria to be considered for acceptance into the Nursing Honors Program:

    • A minimum 3.4 GPA in BSN foundation courses.
    • A minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA for all coursework completed.


    To remain in the Nursing Honors Program, students must:

    • Maintain a minimum overall UAB GPA of 3.0 and a minimum 3.25 GPA in nursing coursework.
    • Complete the required six credit hours of Nursing Honors Program Courses (NUR 450, NUR 451, and NUR 452).


    To apply for the Nursing Honors Program, applicants must:

    • Complete and submit the Honors Program Application Form.
    • Write a one-page essay on how participation in the Honors Program will contribute to achievement of your future professional goals.
    • Complete an interview with an Honors Program Selection Committee.

    For more information, contact:

    Photo of Allison Jones
    Allison Jones, PhD, RN
    Nursing Honors Program Director
  • State Regulations Governing Distance Programs

    Out-of-state applicants to any of our distance-accessible programs should become familiar with their state’s regulations governing distance accessible programs. Prospective students residing in states other than Alabama should contact their state’s Board of Nursing and Department of Education for specific rules and regulations pertaining to students enrolled in out-of-state programs and are planning to conduct UABSON distance education in their home state. Only those students who reside in Alabama or those states where the UAB School of Nursing programs are available will be eligible to receive an offer of admission.

    More information is available at the State Approval Website for Online Degree Programs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

  • Information for International Students

    NOTE: Prospective International students must first contact UAB International Admissions to determine eligibility to study in the U.S. and/or submit an application for admission to UAB.

    UAB International Admissions
    Email: IntlAdmin@uab.edu
    Phone: 205.934.4686
    Fax: 205.934.8664

    Because the RN to BSN and RN to MSN Pathways are taught in an online format, some international applicants may not be eligible to apply due to VISA status.

    All applicants must meet the RN-BSN Program Admission Requirements. The following are additional requirements for International applicants.

    The information below provides information on eligibility requirements:

      BSN RN-BSN
    F1 or J1 Visa AcceptableXNot Eligible
    College Degree X - ADN Equivalent
    Foreign Transcripts EvaluatedXX
    English ProficiencyXX
    Graduate Record Exam (GRE)  
    Licensure as a Registered Nurse in the U.S. X
    X = Requirement must be completed or condition met