News & Events

Pre-Licensure BSN Program Approved

Ferguson Health Construx 20160128 0001 2Mars Hill University has received approval from the North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) for its traditional, pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

The approval, received on February 1, clears the final hurdle for the opening of the program through the Judge-McRae School of Nursing and makes Mars Hill University one of the few institutions in western North Carolina to offer such a program in a liberal arts context.

Dr. John Wells, executive vice president, said, "This is a step forward for Mars Hill University and it is our honor to be able to offer academic programs that are responsive to the needs of the community."

The Judge-McRae School of Nursing will be housed in Ferguson Health Sciences Center, a 28,000 sq. ft. structure currently under construction on the Mars Hill campus. The first class of 25 junior nursing students will enter the BSN program in fall 2016.

The university's Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program began in May 2015 at the Asheville Center for Adult and Graduate Studies (AGS) in south Asheville. The university received approval to offer the BSN degree by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in April 2015.

According to Dr. Cathy Franklin-Griffin, dean of the Judge-McRae School of Nursing, the time is right for Mars Hill University to begin offering both programs, as BSN-prepared nurses are in high demand in western North Carolina. At a time when regional healthcare facilities are demanding nurses with four-year degrees, North Carolina has to date attained only 45-50% BSN-prepared registered nurses. Mars Hill University hopes to help bridge that gap in the region, she said. 

Franklin-Griffin said the Mars Hill experience will be unique for students seeking a nursing education. An interdisciplinary faculty and clinical collaborative partnerships across the region will provide a wealth of educational, training, and employment opportunities, she said.

“With a liberal arts background, a foundation in Christian principles, and emphases on health promotion, cultural competency, community engagement, ethical leadership, and courageous advocacy, the MHU nurses can increase accessibility to health providers, promote community health with culturally sensitive collaborations, and make a lasting economic impact," Franklin-Griffin said.

The Judge-McRae School of Nursing is named for Norman and Linda Judge-McRae, both alumni of Mars Hill, of Knoxville, TN. Ferguson Health Sciences Center is named for Jack and Carolyn Ferguson of Candler, North Carolina.

For more information regarding MHU’s Judge-McRae School of Nursing, please visit or call (828) 689-1600; for additional RN to BSN information, visit or call (828) 689-1166. Scholarships and financial aid are available.