The Program in Nursing Science at UC Irvine has received accreditation for its bachelor of science program from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Its first graduates will get their degrees this month.

“This is excellent news for our program, especially for our students who must graduate from an accredited degree program in order to secure certain nursing positions or go to graduate school,” said Ellen Olshansky, nursing science director and professor. “With this accreditation, we meet the high standards of nursing education across the country.”

Officially recognized by the U.S. secretary of education as a national accreditation agency, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s autonomous CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and postgraduate nursing education programs.

News of the five-year CCNE accreditation – the longest allowed for a new program – comes as UCI’s inaugural class of 36 nursing science students prepares to graduate. A pinning ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. Sunday, June 14, in the Student Center, followed by commencement exercises at 1 p.m. in the Bren Events Center. Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean of UCI’s School of Law, will be the featured speaker.

The Program in Nursing Science, established in 2005 at UCI’s College of Health Sciences, has 160 students. It recently received campus approval for a master of science program and started a Clinical Nurse Educator Program, partially funded by the UniHealth Foundation, that will let working nurses instruct students in a clinical setting.

“With our first graduating class, receiving accreditation and the development of degree and certificate opportunities, I’m proud of what our program has achieved in a short amount of time,” Olshansky said. “But what excites me more is the future and what we still need to accomplish. It is our vision to ultimately have one of the nation’s finest nursing science schools and to help fill the California heathcare community’s growing need for competent, qualified nurses.”

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,200 staff. The top employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.2 billion. For more UCI news, visit