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General Studies for RNs (BA)

The right choice for RNs wishing to pursue a bachelor's degree

If you are a Registered Nurse wishing to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree, the General Studies for Registered Nurses major may be just what you're looking for. Whether for personal or professional reasons, this is one of the most expedient and flexible major options for registered nurses at the University of Northern Iowa.

Upon completion of the necessary courses, you will be awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree. Graduates of the General Studies for Registered Nurses major have entered such fields as management, counseling and health.

Flexibility and Diversity

The General Studies major emphasizes a wide distribution of courses rather than a concentration within a specific area. That means you have the freedom to select the courses according to your own needs, interests and career goals.

This flexibility enables you to experience a variety of courses from many different departments, such as communication studies, psychology and management. You will receive a well-rounded education in a number of areas targeted toward your professional and/or personal interests. Your program will be planned in consultation with your advisor, who will help you in selecting appropriate courses while monitoring your progress toward graduation.


You must currently be a registered nurse to participate in this program. This degree program is not recommended for students intending to work in nursing education at the collegiate level in such areas as public health or psychiatric nursing, nor those whose primary intention is graduate work in nursing.

If you have completed the work required for certification or licensure, including the successful completion of required agency examinations, UNI will typically accept 34 to 45 units of credit for transfer to apply to your bachelor's degree. Such work may have been earned in a two-year associate degree program or in an approved hospital diploma program. To verify that you have met such requirements, you must submit a copy of your licensure card from the Iowa Board of Nursing and your official college and/or school of nursing transcripts to the Admissions Office.

Liberal Arts Core Requirements

The General Studies for RNs major requires the completion of 120 units of credit, including the University's 45-unit Liberal Arts Core requirement. Eleven of the total number of credit units accepted as advanced standing for RN certification are applied to Liberal Arts Core requirements in the areas of biology, chemistry and social science. Specifically, the eleven units would be dispersed as follows:

Category IV (Natural Science and Technology)
(a) Life Sciences, 3-4 units
(b) Physical Sciences, 3-4 units

Category V (Social Science) 
(a) Group A, 1 course required,  3 units
(b) Group B, 1 course required, 3 units
(c) Group C, 1 course required, 3 units 

You must then complete a minimum of 15 units of credit from upper-level (3000- or 4000-level) coursework from two of the four colleges of instruction. For your convenience, we've developed a list of colleges and their respective departments or subject areas.

You may find it necessary to take courses which are prerequisites to the 3000- or 4000-level courses. Credit earned for these prerequisites may possibly apply toward the Liberal Arts Core, minor or elective requirements.

Distribution of credit for an RN completing a General Studies major is as follows:

    • Transfer credit for RN Licensure, 34-45 units
    • Liberal Arts Core, 36 units
    • Upper-level Courses, 1st College, 15 units
    • Upper-level Courses, 2nd College, 15 units
    • Electives, 9-20 units
    • Total required, 120 units