The University of North Texas is adding two new undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees to address the shortage of nurses in Texas.
UNT’s board of regents voted on February 22 to add new nursing degree programs, which will be offered at UNT’s Health Science Center in Fort Worth, according to a release. Their decision is pending approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The new degree programs are a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing in Psychiatric Mental Health. If approved, they'll become available in fall 2025.
They'll join two degrees already proposed by UNT's College of Nursing: Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN), and the MSN in Nursing Practice Innovation. They also are pending approval but are anticipated to begin in August.
The new undergraduate degree will entail a 20-month program, following two years of prerequisite coursework at a university or community college. The program will offer hands-on clinical experience alongside classwork.
The Masters is available in a full-time option for six semesters, or part-time for eight semesters.
Texas has the eighth lowest nurse-to-population ratio in the U.S., according to the release. In North Texas, there is a deficit of nearly 7,000 nurses.
There’s also what is drcribed as a "critical" shortage in mental and behavioral health specialists — in 2022, more than 160 Texas counties had no psychiatrist or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner providing services.