University of California, Irvine

Program in Nursing Science

About the school

Program in Nursing Science

Established in 2006, the Program in Nursing Science at the University of California, Irvine offers undergraduate and graduate students academic and professional education that will help them fill critical clinical and teaching roles after they graduate.

The highly selective program – which offers fully accredited bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees – was chosen by as one of the top 10 programs in the western United States for quality, value and satisfaction, and its nurse practitioner faculty is consistently ranked within the country’s top 25.

In January 2016, UCI received a $40 million from Sue and Bill Gross to establish a school of nursing. The program will seek school status this year, which will allow for increases in enrollment and faculty. The need couldn’t be greater. According to recent reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation will need more than 1 million new registered nurses by 2022. And an increase in nurse practitioners – the UCI program currently offers a robust master’s program in the field – will be required to cover the looming shortage of primary care physicians.

Nursing is interdisciplinary and collaborative by nature. It includes application of knowledge from the biological, social, behavioral and biomedical sciences. UCI’s program prepares graduates for basic and advanced clinical practice roles, as well as for educational, administrative and research positions across the healthcare delivery system.

Interim director Alison Holman, Ph.D.

After years of experience as a pediatric ICU nurse, Alison Holman began her research career with a passion for preventing trauma-related health problems and a deep curiosity for understanding how the personal/social/environmental context of psychological trauma affected mental and physical health. For the past 25 years her research has focused on conducting rigorous research in real-world settings to identify early predictors of trauma-related health problems that can be targeted for secondary interventions to prevent the morbidity and mortality associated with trauma exposure. She has served as principal investigator or co-PI on several community-based studies of coping with a variety of traumatic life events (e.g., firestorms, terrorism). She recently received a $2.7 million grant from the National Institute of Health to study the genetic and early stress-related biomarkers associated with recovery and rehabilitation outcomes in patients who have had a stroke. In July 2014, Holman became the interim director of the Program in Nursing Science.


The philosophy of the Program in Nursing Science is aligned with the academic goals expressed by UCI and emanates from the mission and goals of both UCI and the University of California.

Nursing is interdisciplinary and collaborative in its art and its science. Together with other health professionals, the professional nurse addresses health care needs of individuals, families, and groups from diverse backgrounds. Health care needs range across the health-illness continuum from health promotion and wellness to intervention, treatment, rehabilitation, restoration, and palliation in response to illness.

Professional nursing practice can occur in any environment and includes clinical practice, research, education, and leadership roles. Nursing practice is guided by a set of ethical principles that include a commitment to service and quality health care for all without regard to culture, race, gender, or social status. Each person with whom nurses interact possesses a unique set of biological, behavioral, socio-cultural, and spiritual characteristics. It is the responsibility of the professional nurse to understand and respect these characteristics and their role in the well-being of the individual. It is the right and responsibility of the individual, family, or group to make autonomous health care decisions and to collaborate with nurses and other health care professionals in their care.

Nursing science and the evidence for nursing practice is derived from research that is both basic and applied. Professional nurses evaluate the evidence when considering care alternatives. They participate in the research process to advance nursing practice and nursing science.

Nursing students are unique individuals with diverse backgrounds and life experiences which enrich the educational environment for all students. Nursing students require substantive backgrounds in the theory and practice of nursing as well as in related disciplines including the biological, social, behavioral, medical, pharmaceutical, and biomedical sciences. They also require guidance to achieve increasingly complex levels of socialization, critical thinking, written and oral expression, and research skill based on their educational level. Nursing students have the responsibility to actively participate in their learning. The university provides multiple support systems which students have the responsibility to access when needed. Faculty have the responsibility of structuring the teaching and learning environment to facilitate student learning, taking into consideration individual learning styles and personal professional goals.

Nursing science facts

  • Year of first class: Initial cohort of bachelor’s students enrolled in 2007 and graduated in 2009.
  • Degrees and programs offered: B.S.; M.S. with either a family nurse practitioner concentration or an adult/gerontological primary care nurse practitioner concentration; Ph.D.; and a postgraduate nurse practitioner certificate program
  • Start of nurse practitioner master’s program: UCI began educating nurse practitioners in 1996 in the Department of Family Medicine via a post-master’s degree certificate program. In 2004, the university began collaborating with California State University, Fullerton to provide family nurse practitioner coursework for their master’s students while continuing the post-master’s program. In 2009, UCI admitted its first master’s-level nurse practitioner students.
  • Moved into Berk Hall: fall 2011
  • Start of doctoral program: fall 2013
  • Highlight: In 2011, nursing science received a $1.5 million federal grant to establish Orange County’s first nurse-managed clinic – the SOS-El Sol Wellness Center at the El Sol Science & Arts Academy in downtown Santa Ana.