The Department of Nursing was established in the spring of 1967 due to the closure of a baccalaureate nursing program at Ouachita Baptist College in Arkadelphia. The Ouachita program had been in existence for two years after replacing Little Rock's Baptist Medical System's diploma school of nursing.
In order to provide a continuation of education for the enrolled students, numbering more than 100, UCA (then State College of Arkansas ) was asked to initiate a nursing program and accept the nursing students from Ouachita. The first class of 26 baccalaureate students graduated in the spring of 1969.
The Department of Nursing was established with funding assistance from the city of Conway and by then Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. The Department of Nursing has been an integral part of the university's academic community since its inception. It has consistently received the administrative support and cooperation required to sustain quality undergraduate and graduate programs.
The program received its initial NLN accreditation in 1969. In keeping with the historical role of UCA as an institution for the preparation of teachers, a graduate program in nursing education (MSE) was established in 1970. In 1977 the graduate program was revised to offer a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. The MSN program was granted initial NLN accreditation in the fall of 1982.