Chicago Area Nursing Programs
Students who want to attend nursing school in or near Chicago have a wealth of choices. This article features information about three school options, as well as a table that compares relevant statistics about the schools.
- Malcolm X College is part of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) system and offers two nursing programs. The CCC campus is just 3.2 miles from downtown Chicago.
- Located 1.7 miles from downtown, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has a wide variety of nursing programs from the bachelor's through doctoral levels. The UIC College of Nursing is part of the University of Illinois Medical School, which is the largest medical school in the country.
- DePaul University is less than 4 miles from downtown Chicago. It's the nation's largest Catholic university and offers a bioscience pre-nursing degree as well as several related healthcare degree programs. DePaul has a strong reputation for service-learning programming and has campuses both in the city and suburbs.
Comparison of Schools
The right school choice can be as important as the right program. Check out the table below to see how the three featured schools are both similar and different.
|Malcolm X College||University of Illinois at Chicago||DePaul University|
|School Type||2-year; public||4-year; public||4-year; private, not-for-profit|
|Total Enrollment (2017)||6,713*||30,539*||22,769*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Large city||Large city|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)||$3,506 in-district students; $8,126 in-state students; $11,906 out-of-state students*||$13,704 in-state students; $26,560 out-of-state students*||$39,010*|
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016)||83%*||84%*||96%*|
|Acceptance Rate (2017)||N/A - open admission||77%*||72%*|
|Retention Rate (2016)||60% full-time students; 35% part-time students*||80% full-time students; 42% part-time students*||84% full-time students; 33% part-time students*|
|Graduation Rate||15% for students who began study in 2014*||57% for students who began study in 2011*||71% for students who began study in 2011*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
Malcolm X College
There are two nursing programs offered at Malcolm X College. Admission into most of the nursing programs is competitive. While prerequisites to the programs may be completed at any of the City Colleges of Chicago, only Malcolm X College offers the associate's program.
Nursing Assistant (Basic) Continuing Education Certificate (CEC)
This program is designed to prepare students to work as Certified Nurse Assistants (CNA). Students in the program take two courses: a fundamentals course, which introduces the discipline of nursing and teaches the basic approaches to patient care, and a clinical course, which prepares students to work as CNAs by applying the fundamentals of nursing in a clinical setting.
Associate in Applied Science in Nursing
This program is designed to prepare students to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nursing (NCLEX-RN). Admission to this program is competitive and requires successful completion of 16 hours of prerequisite courses. Students in the program must complete a minimum of 69 credit hours, 41 of which are in core nursing courses, covering topics such as the practice and process of nursing, how to care for individuals and families, and observation and communication skills. Generally, a grade of 'C' or better is the prerequisite for continuing in further coursework.
University of Illinois at Chicago
UIC hosts all of the nursing programs offered through the wider university system and is the only school to offer the Graduate Entry, PhD and online RN/BSN programs. All students must maintain a 2.0/4.0 GPA and pass a background check and drug testing. CPR certification is required prior to any practicum coursework.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Students interested in nursing at UIC spend the first two years in a pre-nursing studies program prior to applying to the nursing program. Pre-nursing courses include English, biology, chemistry and other liberal arts and sciences classes totaling 57 credit hours. All courses must be completed with a 'C' or better. Once admitted, students take 63-66 hours of core nursing courses covering topics such as pathophysiology, pharmacology, clinical concepts in mental health and nursing management. During the senior year of this program, students will take courses that synthesize previous learning. Academically talented freshmen may be guaranteed admittance to the nursing program but will need to complete the same coursework and meet grade requirements.
RN to BSN Program
The RN to BSN program is designed for students who are eligible to take, or have taken, the NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse and now wish to take further education to earn a BSN. A cumulative GPA of 2.75/4.0 with a 2.5/4.0 GPA in natural science courses is required, along with completion of all pre-nursing coursework. Depending upon credits approved for previous courses, the core requirements in the College of Nursing for the RN to BSN program include 30 hours of classes in topics such as health assessment, concepts and processes in contemporary and population-focused nursing, nursing leadership and issues in nursing practice.
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Admission to the MSN program at UIC requires a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program or a bachelor's degree in another field plus completion of a nursing program for registered nursing. GRE scores and letters of recommendation are also required, along with licensing as a professional nurse. For students who have a bachelor's degree in another field, there is the Graduate Entry Program, which includes four semesters of intensive coursework preparing students to take the NCLEX-RN.
A variety of concentrations are available, and semester hour requirements will vary by program. Concentration options include specializations such as administrative studies, nurse midwifery, pediatric nurse practitioner, psychiatric-mental health clinical nurse specialist or family nurse practitioner. Combination degree options are also available, combining an MSN with master's degree programs in business, public health or health informatics. There is no comprehensive examination at the end of this degree program; students may choose to complete a thesis or project, or they may elect to take an additional 3-hour course.
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)
To be considered for the PhD program, applicants must have a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing from an accredited program and have earned a 3.0/4.0 during the last 60 semester hours of their bachelor's degree program. A GRE and three letters of recommendation along with a personal statement and a nursing license are also required for admission. To earn this degree, candidates must complete 96 post-baccalaureate hours or 64 post-master's degree hours of coursework, covering advanced nursing practice, advanced statistics and elective coursework. Candidates must also pass a preliminary examination as well as produce and defend a dissertation to complete the degree.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Applicants to the DNP program at UIC must meet the same requirements as for the PhD; however, there are many possible concentrations in the DNP program, and admission to some concentrations may require additional preparatory coursework. Earning this degree generally requires completion of 60-97 semester hours; however, actual requirements will vary based upon the concentration. Concentration options include adult-gerontology acute care, advanced community health nurse, neonatal nurse practitioner and school/family nurse practitioner among many others. Some programs will require projects and practicum experiences, and all candidates must pass a preliminary exam.
DePaul's master's program in nursing is called a Master's Entry to Nursing Practice (MENP). This type of program is offered at several universities in the area, and may also be called a Generalist Entry Masters or a Graduate Entry Program, depending upon the school.
Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences
The bachelor's program in health sciences offers two options to prepare future healthcare professionals to work within the healthcare system. Within the bioscience option of this degree, a pre-nursing track is available. Generally, the bioscience core requirements include two courses each in biology and chemistry, along with classes in biostatistics, cell biology and vertebrate physiology. The pre-nursing track requires two additional chemistry courses, along with anatomy and development coursework and elective choices that allow for specialization in areas such as neurobiology, math or toxicology.
Health Sciences (BS)/Generalist Nursing (MS)
This combined BS/master's program in nursing at DePaul is designed for students who wish to become RNs in the shortened time span of five years. Applicants must have earned a 3.0/4.0 GPA in their bachelor's coursework and take prerequisite courses in chemistry, anatomy and physiology. Coursework for the program is divided into four levels, beginning with introductory coursework in nursing and progressing through various nursing specialties, clinical experiences and advanced core courses. Advanced topics include nursing theory and research and include the production of a synthesis project or thesis.
Other Program Options
Rush University, about 2.5 miles west of downtown Chicago, offers several nursing programs at the graduate level, including post-graduate certificates, DNP and PhD programs in nursing. Robert Morris University offers an Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, with anatomy and physiology courses affiliated with Rush Medical Center's Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. This university is located in the heart of downtown. At Chamberlain University's Chicago campus, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in just three years instead of the traditional four years.