School of Nursing classroom

The School of Nursing, established in 1924, is the leading nursing research institution in Wisconsin and a crucial part of the state’s health care system.

The school offers a full array of degree programs enrolling more than 1,000 students—the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), the doctor of nursing practice (DNP), and the doctor of philosophy in nursing (Ph.D.), along with several graduate-level certificate programs.

At the undergraduate level, degree options include the Traditional BSN, a four-year degree program; the Accelerated BSN, a 12-month program for second-degree candidates; and the RN to BSN (BSN@Home) program, for registered nurses who hold an associate's degree in nursing and wish to earn the baccalaureate degree. Options exist for honors study in the major, as well as joint programs whereby students can earn the master of public health along with the BSN or transition directly to the Ph.D. program via the Early Entry Ph.D. Option.

Student life pairs the educational and social resources of a large, world-class university with a supportive environment at the school. Students receive comprehensive support services related to advising, program planning, clinical placements, career services, financial aid, and post-graduation credentialing.

World-renowned facilities for clinical practice and research are available in and around Madison. These include University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, American Family Children's Hospital, UW Carbone Cancer Center and William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital; hospitals and clinics in urban and rural settings; nursing homes; day-care centers; and public health agencies. The university’s location in Wisconsin's capital offers additional opportunities in state government and policy making.

On campus, Signe Skott Cooper Hall, the School of Nursing's new facility, has state-of-the-art classrooms, simulation labs, meeting and research facilities, and social gathering spaces in an environment dedicated to the health and wellness of students, faculty, staff and the communities and populations we serve.

The school's mission is to develop leaders for the profession and society—we make discoveries, enhance systems, and improve health through research, education, and practice.

Office of Academic Affairs


Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Dean and Professor

Lisa C. Bratzke, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAHA

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor

Katie Bleier

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs (Academic Dean)

Dana O'Brien, PhD, MSN, MHA, RN, CNE

Undergraduate Program Director, Associate Professor

Advising and Student Services

Darby Sugar

Director of Advising and Student Services

Molly Censky

Assistant Director of Advising and Student Success, Pre-Nursing Advisor

Maisee Her

Pre-Nursing Academic Advisor

Leigh Arora

Pre-Nursing Academic Advisor & BSN@Home Program Coordinator

Tracey Maloney

Advisor for Admitted Nursing Students (TBSN)

Kelli Richards

Career Development & Learning Support Manager

Admissions and Recruitment

Clinical placement

Ann Johnson

Undergraduate Clinical Placement Coordinator

Rikki Klassy

Undergraduate Clinical Placement Coordinator

Student Information and technology

John Coutley

Data Reporting Specialist

Amy Corridon

Curricular & Technology Specialist

Admission to UW–Madison

All prospective UW–Madison nursing students must apply through the central Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

Pre-Nursing Freshmen

Students who indicate interest in the nursing major on their UW–Madison application will be admitted to the School of Nursing as pre-nursing (PRN) students. In addition, students may indicate interest in the nursing major when registering for Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR). The School of Nursing is the academic home for pre-nursing students, providing orientation, academic advising, academic support, etc., while students complete nursing prerequisite courses and general education requirements in preparation to apply to the nursing major. Most pre-nursing students apply to the nursing major midway through their sophomore year to enter the two-year Traditional BSN program as juniors.

Pre-Nursing Transfers

Students may transfer into UW–Madison as pre-nursing students. As with pre-nursing freshmen, transfer students have an academic home in the School of Nursing as they work to complete prerequisites and general education requirements in preparation to apply to the two-year Traditional BSN program.

Second-degree candidates

Students seeking to earn a second degree in nursing can apply directly to either the Traditional BSN program or the Accelerated BSN program upon completing necessary admission requirements (see details below). Second-degree candidates must be admitted directly into the nursing program; they cannot enter UW–Madison as pre-nursing students.

Admission to the Nursing Program

Traditional BSN

As students complete the requirements to be eligible to apply to the nursing program, they apply to the two-year Traditional BSN program. To be eligible to apply, students must complete the necessary prerequisite courses and have the minimum 2.75 cumulative and prerequisite GPAs; complete details on the Traditional BSN admission requirements and application process can be found on the Traditional BSN admission page of this Guide.

Accelerated BSN for Second-Degree Candidates

Second-degree candidates can apply for the Accelerated BSN program. This is a 12-month intensive baccalaureate program that offers the quickest route to licensure as a registered nurse (RN) for students who have already completed a bachelor's degree or graduate degree in a non-nursing discipline. Students must complete nursing prerequisite courses and the university General Education Requirements, and have the minimum GPAs, to be eligible to apply. Complete details on the accelerated BSN admission requirements and application process can be found on the Accelerated BSN admission page of this Guide.

RN to BSN (BSN@Home)

Registered nurses who have an associate's degree or diploma in nursing can apply to enter the BSN@Home program to earn their bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN). There are GPA minimums and course requirements necessary for admission eligibility. These details are included on the BSN@Home admission page of this Guide.

Current UW–Madison Students

Students with at least a 2.75 cumulative and nursing prerequisite GPA may transfer into the School of Nursing as pre-nursing (PRN) students. Students who are not in the School of Nursing may also apply for the Traditional BSN program without being pre-nursing students. Transfer requests (i.e., classification changes) must be made before the twelfth week of the semester in order to be applied to that semester. Requests made after the twelfth week will take effect at the start of the following semester. For more information and to request a classification change to PRN, students should contact the nursing Office of Academic Affairs at 608-263-5202 or

The students, faculty, administration, and staff of the School of Nursing are part of the University of Wisconsin–Madison's academic community, and as such, are subject to the policies, rules, and regulations of the university. In addition, the school and its respective programs may, as deemed necessary, develop their own policies and procedures to augment those of the university. Following are the specific School of Nursing policies and regulations that expand upon or differ from the policies of the university as a whole.

Academic Status

Academic Actions (Warning, Probation, Drop)

Every student (pre-nursing and nursing) is expected to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA on all work carried, whether passed or not, in each semester or summer session. Students who maintain this average are considered in good academic standing. Failure to earn this minimum GPA will result in the academic action of warning, probation, or dropped (academically dismissed). Students must be in good academic standing in order to be eligible for graduation.

If not on warning and:

  1. Earns a GPA in a semester or summer session of 1.75–2.49 = warning
  2. Earns a GPA in a semester or summer session of less than 1.75 = probation

If on warning and:

  1. Earns a GPA in a semester or summer session of 1.75–2.49 = probation
  2. Earns a GPA in a semester or summer session of less than 1.75 = dropped from the program

If on probation and:

  1. Earns a GPA in a semester or summer session of 2.5 or above but cumulative GPA remains under 2.5 = continued probation
  2. Earns a GPA in a semester or summer session of less than 2.5 or a nursing cumulative GPA below 2.5 = dropped from the program

In addition to the academic actions detailed above, nursing (NUR) students are placed on probation if they:

  1. Earn a grade of F or NC in any nursing course, and/or
  2. Earn a nursing cumulative GPA below 2.5

Any student on academic action will automatically be cleared of action status when the semester GPA is 2.5 or above and the cumulative GPA is 2.5 or above; and if NUR or NCP (i.e., BSN@Home) classification, the nursing cumulative GPA is at least 2.5 or above.

Dean's Honor List

The purpose of the Dean's Honor List is to recognize superior academic achievement of undergraduate students. Students must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.75 on a semester load of not fewer than 12 credits in order to be placed on the Dean's Honor List. A notation of Dean's Honor List will appear on the student’s grade report and transcript. Students who earn a semester GPA of 3.25–3.74 on 12 or more credits will receive a congratulatory statement on their end-of-semester grade report form.

English as a Second Language

All nursing students must be proficient in English to provide safe patient care and to be successful academically. Students facing challenges in these areas may be referred by self-identification, a faculty member, or advisor to support services. Although limited English proficiency in itself is not a reason for dismissal, it can interfere with a student’s ability to complete course requirements, leading to failure to progress or meet program requirements.

Good Academic Standing

To be in good academic standing, students must maintain:

  • a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above, and
  • a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above on all nursing courses completed, and
  • a GPA of 2.5 or above in the semester just completed

Graduating with Distinction

Graduation with Distinction will be noted on the transcript of students who earned 60 or more credits at UW–Madison and a GPA that places them in the top 20 percent of those graduating from the School of Nursing that term.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

The time required to complete the program depends on the sequence of courses, plan of study, and placement availability in nursing courses. Students may complete the program in four years; however, additional semesters or summer sessions may be needed to fulfill requirements. If requirements for the degree have not been completed within five years after admission to the nursing major, the student's academic record will be reviewed by the  Office of Academic Affairs to establish additional requirements, if appropriate.

Progression requirements

Students must successfully complete all courses for each term before proceeding to the next term. Successful course completion in the School of Nursing requires students to earn a grade of C or Credit/CR (in the clinical course that are offered on a Credit/No Credit basis) in each required nursing (N#) course. Any student who earns a grade below C or does not receive credit for a clinical course must repeat the course and earn a C or higher (or CR in a clinical course) in order to progress in the program. Because nursing courses are not offered every semester, a student who does not successfully complete one or more courses during a term will fall off standard progression and will complete a modified program plan with an extended time to degree.

Appeals, grievances and petitions

Student Appeals and Grievance Procedures

Students who feel that they have been treated unfairly have the right to question this treatment and receive prompt hearing of the grievance. Before instituting an appeal or grievance, students should discuss their particular situations with an appropriate staff member, e.g., faculty member, assistant dean, associate dean, or adviser.

Section One: Appeals

Appeals are limited to requests to continue in the curriculum after being dropped from the program for academic reasons.

Filing Appeal

Undergraduate Student: A written appeal must be filed with the Assistant Dean for Academic Programs within 10 working days of the date of the letter notifying the student of the decision to discontinue the student in the program, or the right to appeal is waived. The appellant (student) must submit to the Assistant Dean the following information:

  1. A written statement addressed to the Chairperson of the appropriate appeals committee specifying:
    • Precise grounds on which the appeal is based.
    • Circumstances associated with the need to appeal.
    • Arguments supporting the appeal.
    • Description of proposed remedial actions to be taken to improve the student's academic performance.
  2. The appellant may also submit letters of support from persons knowledgeable about the appellant's current and/or past academic work and/or other matters related to the appellant's academic performance. Any such letters must be submitted to the Assistant Dean by the same deadline.

Appeals Committee

Undergraduate Student: For the purposes of hearing the appeal, the Assistant Dean will arrange an appeals committee that consists of at least three School of Nursing faculty members from the Undergraduate Admissions and Progression Committee. The Assistant Dean will collect the information relative to the appellant's academic situation and forward the information to the Appeals Committee.

Appeals Committee Meeting

  • Within 15 working days of the filing of the appeal, the Appeals Committee will schedule a meeting date for the purposes of hearing the appeal.
  • Appellant must appear before the Appeals Committee to present the appeal. Appellant may have a support person accompany him or her to the meeting with the Appeals Committee. Appellant must address the Appeals Committee under all circumstances. Appellant's chosen support person is limited to providing advice and support to appellant. No fewer than three working days prior to the meeting with the Appeals Committee, the appellant shall identify to the Committee the individual’s appellant wishes to be present at the meeting for the purpose of providing the Appeals Committee with information about the appeal.

The Appeals Committee is authorized to decide the appeal and is responsible for the following:

  1. Reviewing all data presented by the Appellant and others.
  2. Discussing the argument presented by Appellant and inviting Appellant to contribute to the discussion.
  3. Limiting statements of appellant and other individuals where information being presented is irrelevant, unduly repetitious, or disrespectful.
    • Deciding the appeal and providing a written decision, including the reasons therefore, to the Appellant and the appropriate Assistant Dean within 15 working days of the Appeals Committee meeting. The written decision shall identify and include where appropriate:
      • Appellant's stated reason for the appeal
        • Action taken by the Appeals Committee
      • Stipulations and recommendations for appellant's continuation in program (where appeal granted)
        • Rationale for decision
        • Names of individuals present at the hearing
      • Notice of appellant's right to appeal the Appeals Committee decision to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

4. If the appeal is granted, the Appeals Committee will discuss with the Appellant any stipulations (binding) and recommendations (non-binding) for continuation in the program.

Review of Appeals Committee Decision

  1. A written request for review of the Appeals Committee Decision by the Dean of the School of Nursing or the Dean's designee must be submitted to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within 20 working days of the date of notification of the Committee's initial decision.
    The request must state the specific grounds for appeal which are limited to:
    • School policies were incorrectly applied;
    • Decision is contrary to state or federal law;
    • Proper appeal procedures were not followed; or
    • Unfounded, arbitrary, or irrelevant assumptions of fact regarding the appellant's performance were made by the Appeals Committee. Appellant must also identify the specific aspects of the Committee decision that he or she believes meet the criteria cited as a basis for appeal.

The Dean of the Dean's designee may meet with the appellant to discuss the request for review.

a. Copies of the information submitted to the Appeals Committee and the Appeals Committee decision shall be provided to the Dean or the Dean's designee for review. Only facts and information presented to the Appeals Committee may be introduced to and considered by the Dean or the Dean's designee.

b. The burden of proof shall be on the student to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the Appeals Committee's decision was the result of one or more of the above bases for appeal.

c. The Dean or the Dean's designee shall notify Appellant and the Appeals Committee in writing within 30 working days of receipt of the request for review of the Appeals Committee decision or the appellant's meeting with the Dean's or Dean's designee, whichever is later, stating the action on the appeal and the grounds for the action taken.

d. The decision by the Dean or the Dean's designee on review is final.

Section Two: Grievances

Informal Resolution

Any student in the School of Nursing who believes that he or she has been treated inequitably is encouraged to resolve the matter informally. The student should first talk with the person or group at whom the grievance is directed in an attempt to resolve the issue informally. The student may contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for assistance in resolving the matter informally. The student may also contact the following groups for assistance in reaching an informal resolution and/or information regarding other possible formal procedures to resolve the matter.

  1. Contact the UW-Madison Equity and Diversity Resource Center for information and assistance regarding discrimination or disability issues.
  2. Contact the Dean of Students for information about resources for addressing student concerns.

School of Nursing Grievance Procedure:

The grievance procedure is available to resolve student concerns regarding inequitable treatment that have not been satisfactorily resolved through the informal resolution process or where the student believes that informal resolution would not be productive. The grievance procedure is described below. Through the grievance process, the student may be accompanied by a support person. The use of this grievance procedure shall not prevent the student from seeking redress through another administrative or legal process.

  1. To initiate the formal grievance procedure, the student must submit his or her grievance, in writing, to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
  2. The written grievance shall include:
    • a statement that the student wishes a review of the situation by a Grievance Committee;
    • the identification of the person or group at whom the grievance is directed;
    • the specifics of the perceived inequitable treatment;
    • evidence in support of the student's belief that he or she has been treated inequitably; and
    • the outcome or resolution desired by the student.

3. A grievance must be initiated no later than 20 calendar days from the time the student knew or could reasonably have been expected to have known of the circumstances giving rise to the grievance. Initiation of the informal procedure described above within the 20- day period will extend the deadline for initiating the grievance to 40 calendar days from the time the student knew or could reasonably have been expected to have known of the circumstances giving rise to the grievance.

4. Within 30 calendar days after receiving the grievance, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall arrange for a committee meeting. The Committee may request a written response from the person or group at whom the grievance is directed, may ask for additional information from any or all parties involved, may request that the parties involved appear before the Committee, and/or may take other steps in attempting to resolve the grievance.

5. Within 60 calendar days after receiving the grievance from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the Committee shall send a written report of the Committee's recommendations to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The student will also receive a copy of the report. The report shall include notice to the student of his or her right to appeal the Committee's recommendation to the Dean of the School of Nursing.

6. A student wishing to appeal the Committee's recommendation to the Dean of the School of Nursing must submit a written appeal to the Dean within 10 calendar days of the date of the Committee's report. The request must state the specific bases for appeal and identify the specific aspects of the Committee's recommendation that he or she believes are the subject of the bases for appeal. Where an appeal is filed with the Dean, a copy of the Committee's report shall be provided to the Dean for review. Only facts presented to the Committee may be introduced to and considered by the Dean. The Dean shall notify the appellant and the Committee in writing within 30 calendar days of receiving the written appeal stating the action on the appeal and the grounds for the action taken.

Section Three: Course Grade Appeals Process

If a student believes s/he has been awarded a grade for a course that does not adequately represent her/his performance in the course, they should speak with the course faculty member in an effort to attempt to resolve the issue informally. This must be done within 10 working days of receipt of the grade. During this informal process both student and faculty may consult with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to seek resolution of the issue.

If the student remains dissatisfied with the grade, the student has the option to initiate the formal Grievance procedure. To do this, the student must submit the grievance, in writing, to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within 10 working days. The Associate Dean will appoint a committee to hear the grievance. The decision of the committee is final. There is no further appeal.

Petition for Special Consideration

Nursing students may use the Petition for Special Consideration to request an alternative or exception to an academic rule, regulation, procedure, or requirement.

Clinical/Experiential Learning Courses

All nursing students are required to complete credit hours in the clinical setting under the supervision of a nursing professional. In the School of Nursing, the term experiential learning is used to describe the clinical course experience. These clinical experiences support the mission of the School of Nursing, integrating practice and coursework, to provide a comprehensive nursing education. There are some policies specific to experiential learning courses:

Compliance Requirements

The School of Nursing is committed to ensuring all nursing students are compliant with national and state guidelines for personnel providing nursing care, as well as additional/specific requirements mandated by the school’s clinical affiliates as set forth in the clinical affiliation agreements. Therefore all nursing students are required to be in full adherence to the school’s compliance program while enrolled in the nursing program. The school’s compliance program includes immunizations, trainings, and a background check. Students will be held accountable for complying with the clinical eligibility requirements prior to entering the program and throughout their program of study. All students are required to keep their compliance documents up to date as an essential part of their professional responsibility for patient safety. Review the Nursing Student Compliance Program for complete details.

Clinical Placements

Students are assigned to clinical placement sites based on the faculty’s selection of clinical sites specific to the learning objectives of the course, site characteristics, and availability. Students need to be prepared to travel up to 90 miles from the School of Nursing and have varied schedules including evenings, nights and weekends. Clinical shifts may be 4-12 hours long. The School of Nursing secures clinical placements for all students who are eligible. Students are not asked to nor allowed to arrange their own clinical placements.

Clinical Hour Completion Within the Term/Rotation

Experiential learning/clinical work required for School of Nursing courses must be completed during the term or session of enrollment. These official terms and dates are when the faculty have effort allocated to course instruction and also when our clinical partners have agreed to engage with students in clinical rotations. Per the university’s Academic Calendar, there are three terms each academic year: fall, spring, and summer. Each term has an official date instruction begins and last class day. In addition, some clinical courses are broken down into shorter rotations within a term, typically an eight-week session. Clinical work and clinical hours must be completed between these term/session/rotation dates. It is not an option to start clinical work prior to the first day of instruction or to complete clinical work after the last day. Exceptions may be made in the case of extenuating circumstances or if a student is assigned an Incomplete grade for the course. Any requests for an exception to this policy should be directed to the course instructor who will review the request with the Director of Clinical Practica to determine its appropriateness and feasibility.


The School of Nursing recognizes that students need educational experiences beyond those available in hospitals in Madison, Wisconsin. In answer to this educational need, and in order to secure enough clinical sites for all students, the school places its students in a variety of venues in and beyond Madison. This includes ambulatory sites, clinics, rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, geriatric facilities, school districts, nursing homes, etc. This gives our students comprehensive exposure to a broad range of patients, illness, and care. Nursing students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from their clinical sites. First-year clinicals are accessible by public transportation from Signe Skott Cooper Hall and other points in Madison. Second-year clinicals require travel to and from an agency, as well as to and from homes, schools, and other sites. Locales may be up to 90 miles from Madison. Therefore, second-year nursing students are required to have (1) a valid driver’s license, and (2) individual access to a car. Students are responsible for all transportation costs incurred, including gas and parking fees. Students with extenuating circumstances that have an impact on their clinical transportation options (e.g., driving/medical restrictions) should use the Petition for Special Consideration to request an accommodation or exception to the transportation policy. The petition must be submitted on/by March 1 for clinical placements during the next fall term and on/by November 1 for the next spring term placements. These deadlines are firm, as a petition must be reviewed in advance of clinical assignments. There is no guarantee the school will be able to honor such requests/conditions, and exceptions are granted in very rare circumstances.


Nursing students are required to purchase the approved School of Nursing uniform. The uniform consists of a white top and navy pants. The white top, embroidered with the School of Nursing logo, is available in two styles and the pants will be available in three styles. Lab coats embroidered with the school logo are also required and are worn when students are on their clinical units doing clinical preparation and during most community clinical experiences. In addition to the uniform requirements, there are also professional appearance guidelines for students.

Unsafe Clinical Performance

A student who demonstrates unsafe nursing practice that jeopardizes the client's or family's physical or emotional welfare may be dismissed at any time from the clinical area. Unsafe clinical practice is defined as any behavior determined by faculty or a preceptor to be actually or potentially detrimental to the client or to the healthcare agency. Unsafe clinical practice can include behaviors related to physical or mental health problems; use of alcohol, drugs, or chemicals; lack of preparation for clinical; or deficits in problem-solving skills. Reports of unsafe clinical performance will be routed through the course professor and/or the course coordinator to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs who will work with the faculty and student to determine the appropriate outcome, which may include immediate removal from the course (i.e., administrative drop) and subsequent implications for academic progression.

Student Invasive Procedures

During clinical laboratory classes, experiential learning sessions, and/or or at any other time, students may not practice invasive procedures on themselves, other students, faculty, preceptors, staff, and/or any other unauthorized individuals. This includes, but is not limited to, any invasive procedures that require needles, syringes, and/or intravenous supplies; nasogastric tube insertion; catheterization; etc. During some non-invasive experiences, such as physical assessment, listening to a heartbeat, or taking a blood pressure, students may be asked to act as practice participants. If a student has any objection to providing this experience, they should notify the instructor immediately so that an alternate experience can be provided.

Courses and Enrollment


The Office of the Registrar publishes university deadlines for adding and dropping individual courses, withdrawing (from all courses), and selection options such as pass/fail and audit.  Changing enrollment can have consequences for academic standing, tuition, progress toward degree, etc.  Students are strongly encouraged to consult with an academic advisor or the academic dean in the School of Nursing prior to initial enrollment and before making any changes to enrollment.  Exceptions to or extensions of the university deadlines may only be requested via the Petition for Special Consideration.


The School of Nursing expects that students recognize they have entered a profession in which their commitment to full participation in the learning environment is an essential component of what will become a style of life-long learning. Regular class attendance is a student obligation and students are responsible for all the work of all educational activities. Students should not expect to be excused from required coursework for personal/family events, work obligations, or because of non-compliance with School of Nursing or clinical agency health and onboarding requirements. In extraordinary circumstances, an absence may be granted at the discretion of the course instructor. This might include an absence due to personal crisis, military or civic obligation, authorized university activity, religious observances, or health concerns that affect the student’s ability to safely care for patients. In most cases, students will be required to provide documentation regarding the absence. 

Didactic Course Attendance

In most didactic courses, attendance and/or participation are factored into the grading process. Absences may place students in jeopardy of not meeting course learning outcomes and thus successfully completing the course. If this occurs, the instructor will consult with the Undergraduate Program Director and/or the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs to determine the appropriate course of action, which may include being removed (i.e., administratively dropped) from the course. Students should review each course syllabus for specific policies related to absences in that course and make-up experiences, if applicable.

Experiential Learning Attendance

It is the expectation that students attend all Experiential Learning activities as clinical learning is essential to the completion of the nursing program. If a student must miss an Experiential Learning session due to an extraordinary circumstance, a decision as to whether the student will make up the experience/hours will be based on the student’s progress in meeting course learning outcomes. The instructor, in consultation with the Course Coordinator (if applicable), will determine if the absence will be made up and the nature of the make-up experience. The instructor/Course Coordinator will consult with the Undergraduate Program Director and/or the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs in situations where absence is placing the student’s success in the course at risk. A student who misses more than 7.5 percent of Supervised Experiential Learning hours, as specified in the course syllabus, for any reason will be removed (i.e., administratively dropped) from the course for as the result of not being able to meet course learning outcomes. Students should review each course syllabus for specific policies related to absences in that course and make-up experiences/hours, if applicable. 

Credit/No Credit Courses

Some courses are designated as being offered on a Credit/No Credit basis. The transcript for the course will indicate either CR (meaning the student earned credits for the course) or N (meaning the the student did not earn any credit for the class). Students may not take such courses on any other basis.

Concurrent Registration and Enrollment

In some rare circumstances, and only with prior approval of the academic dean, students may enroll to earn degree credit concurrently at UW–Madison and any other accredited postsecondary school, including the UW–Extension. Requests for approval should be made prior to the end of the second week of classes of the semester in which dual registration is desired. Courses must be completed during the semester in which concurrent enrollment is allowed. To request permission for concurrent enrollment, submit the Petition for Special Consideration.

Drop Notation

The Drop (DR) notation appears on students' records if they drop a class or classes after the last day to drop courses or withdraw without a DR or W grade notation appearing on students' transcripts. For the specific deadline for dropping classes so a DR will not appear on a student's records, see Deadlines at a Glance on the Office of the Registrar website. Please note that the School of Nursing does not backdate drops to erase them from a student's academic records or extend the drop deadline so that the DR will not appear.

Dropping a Nursing Course

A student who drops a nursing (N#) course may reenroll in the course when space is available. A student who drops a nursing course a second time is not eligible for the course a third time.

Independent Study

Students are responsible for identifying their area of interest or question, establishing objectives for their learning experience, and developing a learning contract with the faculty member. All independent study requires the consent of the instructor. Approval forms are available on the forms page within the School of Nursing Student Site.

Registration Changes

The Office of the Registrar publishes university deadlines for adding and dropping individual courses, withdrawing (from all courses), and selection options such as pass/fail and audit.  Changing enrollment can have consequences for academic standing, tuition, progress toward degree, etc.  Students are strongly encouraged to consult with an academic advisor or the academic dean in the School of Nursing prior to initial enrollment and before making any changes to enrollment.  Exceptions to or extensions of the university deadlines may only be requested via the Petition for Special Consideration.


Any student who leaves the School of Nursing and wishes to return after an absence of one semester or more must file a reentry application with the UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment. Permission to reenter is dependent on program capacity, previous academic standing, and length of absence. Immediate placement in required nursing courses is not assured. Students seeking reentry to the baccalaureate program who have left on academic action must be reviewed by the Office of Academic Affairs. If readmission is granted, academic requirements may be specified to insure currency in nursing knowledge and skills prior to enrolling in clinical nursing courses. These requirements may include remediation and/or repetition of courses, depending on academic standing or length of time since leaving the program. The remaining program will be planned as considered best for the student and according to the current curriculum.

Retaking Courses

Each individual required nursing course may be repeated only once with a maximum of two repeated courses in the curriculum. Students who do not successfully complete a course after two attempts or who must repeat more than two different courses will be dis-enrolled from the nursing program. A course for which a student earned a grade below C (or NC in a clinical course) must be repeated within the next two semesters in residence. All grades earned will be used in calculating the student’s cumulative and nursing grade point averages, but credits will be counted only once toward the minimum nursing and degree credit requirements.

Didactic/Theory Courses: Undergraduate students may repeat any required didactic/theory course once without special permission.

Clinical Courses: To repeat a clinical course, an appeal must be made to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs who will determine if the appeal merits approval. Upon a successful appeal, a student may repeat a clinical course based upon course schedule and program capacity.


A nursing student who finds it necessary to withdraw during a semester or summer session must talk with an academic advisor and complete the withdrawal process. Failure to do so may result in a recording of failure for all courses. Any student may withdraw from the program without grades being recorded during the first 12 weeks of a semester. After the 12th week, a student may withdraw only with the permission of the Office of Academic Affairs.


30-Credit residence requirement

Students must complete at least 30 credits at UW–Madison. Baccalaureate students must complete at least 15 credits in nursing courses from the School of Nursing, including one required clinical nursing course at the 400 level or above.

Credit Load

A full-time program is 12 to 18 credits for a semester. Students who wish to carry more than 18 credits per semester must obtain permission from the Office of Academic Affairs. Students will be assessed additional tuition per credit on all credits carried over 18.


The School of Nursing grants retroactive foreign language credit to students for foreign language skill developed in high school or elsewhere. To earn retroactive credits for language, students must enroll in a higher level language course at UW–Madison before the end of the first two semesters in residence. Transfer students must enroll in the course on the UW–Madison campus before they earn 30 degree credits (including credits transferred from other campuses but not including AP, CLEP, IB, or retro credits in another language). Students must earn a grade of B or better. If these conditions are met, retroactive credits should appear automatically on a student’s transcript by the beginning of the following semester. Students will receive credit for the UW course completed and for all lower level courses in that language up to 16 retroactive credits maximum. These retroactive language credits may be used to meet degree requirements of the college or department, but may not be used to meet humanities requirements. They will be counted as electives only.


Second Undergraduate Degree

Second undergraduate degree candidates are considered for admission to both the pre-nursing and nursing classifications. Students who apply as second undergraduate program candidates must meet the admission and transfer grade point requirements of the university in place at the time they apply for admission. If admitted, an action is taken granting permission to pursue a second degree.

Second Major

Students may request permission to pursue a second major along with the nursing degree. Students must complete the nursing school’s Petition for Special Consideration to make the request.


Grading Scale

The school has a standard grading scale in nursing courses that are graded A-F, as noted below. Some Experiential Learning (i.e., clinical) courses are graded Credit/No Credit.

A:    94–100
AB: 88–93.99
B:    82–87.99
BC: 76–81.99
C:   70–75.99
D:   65–69.99
F:   <65


An incomplete may be reported for a student who has carried a subject with a passing grade until near the end of the semester and then, because of illness or other unusual and substantiated cause beyond the student's control, is unable to take or complete the final examination or is unable to complete some limited amount of term work. An Incomplete is not given to a student who stays away from a final examination except as indicated above. In the absence of substantiated cause, the grade shall be F. Even with such proof, if the student's work has convinced the instructor that s/he cannot pass the course, the grade shall be F. Any Incomplete taken by a School of Nursing student must be completed by the end of the student's next semester of residence (specifically, by the last day of classes), excluding summer sessions. If the work is not completed by this deadline, the Incomplete will lapse into a Failure unless the time limit has been extended in writing by the Office of Academic Affairs.

Minimum Grade Requirement

Students must earn a grade of C (2.0) or higher in each required nursing (N#) course, including didactic/theory and clinical courses. Students must receive credit (CR) in any clinical course that is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis. Any student who earns a grade below C or does not receive credit for a clinical course must repeat the course and earn a C or higher (or CR in a clinical course) in order to progress in the program in accordance with subsequent course prerequisites.


The total number of ungraded credits (i.e., pass/fail) applied to graduation requirements may not exceed 24. Students who plan graduate study are advised to consult with graduate studies departments to determine acceptance of credits taken under the pass/fail option. Students eligible for the pass/fail privilege are continuing students with NUR, NCP (BSN@Home), or PRN classifications who have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA on all courses completed and have no end-of-semester academic actions on their current record. Newly admitted students in these classifications are also eligible for the pass/fail privilege. Only one course can be carried on pass/fail basis during each semester or summer session; or 3 or 4 credits of 1-credit modular courses. No required courses may be carried under the pass/fail option. The registrar's office will convert final letter grades reported by the student's instructor to an S (pass) grade if the letter grade is C or higher or to a U (fail) if the final letter grade is below C. Course credits in which a student obtains a U grade cannot be counted toward the minimum of 124 credits required for graduation. Students interested in the pass/fail option must contact their nursing academic advisor to determine eligibility.

Professional Standards

Students in the School of Nursing must demonstrate patterns of professional behavior that 1) follow the legal and ethical codes of nursing; 2) demonstrate intellectual honesty and a strong sense of personal integrity; 3) show exemplary moral and ethical character; 4) display a responsible, civil attitude towards patients, fellow healthcare workers, classmates, faculty, and staff; 5) show respect for the human rights of individuals; and 6) demonstrate appropriate action to ensure the safety of clients, self, and others. Professional behavior is expected in the classroom, clinical settings, learning activities, and in any additional circumstances where a student represents the university or the School of Nursing. Students whose behavior does not comply with these professional standards will receive sanctions that may include but are not limited to a lower or failing grade in a course, immediate removal from a course (i.e., administrative drop), or dismissal from the nursing program.

Signe Skott Cooper Hall

In fall 2014, the School of Nursing moved to the new Signe Skott Cooper Hall. This $53.3 million nursing building features world-class technology and innovative educational spaces that will allow the nursing school to address health care’s new standard of excellence—high-tech and high-touch methods and practices that result in better patient outcomes and greater satisfaction with care.

Advising and Student Services

office of Academic Affairs

The Office of Academic Affairs is the undergraduate dean's office for the School of Nursing. Staff members interpret school regulations, policies, and program requirements; make exceptions around requirements and deadlines; advise prospective and current students; monitor students having academic difficulties; coordinate compliance; facilitate the program's admissions process; and maintain the official files of students in the school.

Academic Advising

Academic advising is an essential component of undergraduate education. The primary advising mission in the School of Nursing is to help students identify and clarify their academic pathways and educational goals, and to help them develop meaningful plans to ensure academic success. Advising is an ongoing, caring, and collaborative relationship between advisor and student that provides meaning, guidance, and support throughout the educational process. Every pre-nursing (PRN) and nursing (NUR) student is assigned a professional advisor in the nursing school. Advising is offered in individual appointments, group advising, and graduation checks for seniors.

Career Advising

In addition to professional academic advisors, the School of Nursing has career advising available to help students prepare for a successful career in nursing. Services include resume and job search assistance, online job postings, information sessions, and nursing career fairs.

Academic Support Services

Career & Student Success Academic Support has a mission to develop the next generation of nurse leaders by providing holistic, culturally congruent student support across four dimensions: academic support, leadership and connection, career development, and wellness throughout the student experience.  Students can gather with other like-minded, focused, and enthusiastic students to improve not only their understanding of the course material but of their own learning styles. Sessions are designed to assist pre-nursing and nursing students in weekly small-group study formats. Current courses supported include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology, as well as courses in the nursing curriculum. Workshops and other sessions help students with test preparation, study skills, time management, etc.

Student Organizations

The School of Nursing encourages and supports students to pursue their interests and form social networks. In addition to numerous associations available to students on the broader campus (including the Aspiring Nurses Association [ANA] for pre-nursing students), there are a number of student-run groups established specifically for current nursing students. These include the Student Nurses’ Association, the Multicultural Student Nurses’ Organization, the Nurse’s Christian Fellowship, the Global Health Interest Group, the Holistic Nursing Group, the Perinatal Interest Group, and the Student Geriatric Interest Group. The purpose of these groups is to give students the opportunity to enhance their experiences related to professional development, social circles, political action, community service, and academic achievement, as well as foster connections between faculty, staff, and students.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

The School of Nursing awards more than $400,000 in scholarships each year to admitted undergraduate nursing students. Awards are based on both academic merit and financial need. Students are invited to apply to nursing specific scholarships, as well as campus-wide or non-nursing scholarships, through the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub or WiSH.

Honors program

The School of Nursing offers an Honors Program for those high-ability students seeking early research involvement with a faculty mentor. Students who successfully complete the Honors Program graduate with distinguished academic performance and receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with Honors. In addition, students of the Honors Program acquire an enriched view of nursing science.

Each student in the Honors Program has an active role in identifying a faculty mentor. Once a student is assigned a faculty mentor, the mentor will help the student understand the research process and provide research-related resources. The mentor will also assist with identification and implementation of a senior honors thesis.

Interested students apply for admission to the Honors Program during their first semester in the two-year Traditional BSN program. Admission to the Honors Program is based on past academic work, a short essay, and a letter of reference.

Review the Honors Program page of the Student Site for complete details.