The USF College of Nursing began in 1973 by enrolling its charter class into the Bachelor’s Program. The College has grown steadily with the profession, adding a Master’s Program in 1980, a PhD Program in 1997, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in 2005.

The Bachelor Program has expanded beyond traditional students, to include an accelerated 2nd bachelor sequence and a revolutionary new program where Registered Nurses may complete a bachelor degree in patient and staff education, leadership and management, or clinical excellence.

In the Master’s Program, students may choose from concentrations in Adult Gerontology Acute Care, Adult Gerontology Primary Care, Clinical Nurse Leader, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthesia, Nursing Education, Occupational Health & Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Dual degree: MS degree in Occupational Health & Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner & MPH degree in Public Health, Dual Oncology & Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
The USF College of Nursing has two doctoral programs (Doctor of Nursing Sciece (PhD) and Doctorate of Nursing Practice - (DNP).. A PhD Program that prepares nurse scientists who conduct research, scholarly and faculty activities at research intensive universities, and are leaders in the profession. The PhD Program has tracks for both a BS or MS prepared nurse. USF has the first DNP program approved by the Florida Board of Governors, and it has grown to provide advanced practice residency opportunities in primary care as well as Signature Residencies in high demand clinical specialties such as: Brain/Spinal Cord Injury and Rehabilitation, Cardiology, Cognitive Impairment, Dermatology, Endocrinology and Metabolic Disease, Gerontology/Aging, Nurse Anesthesia, Oncology, Orthopedics, Polytrauma, and Psych/Mental Health.

Hospitals affiliating with the college include but are not limited to: All Children’s Hospital, Bayfront Medical Center, Bay Pines Veteran’s Hospital, Florida Hospital Tampa, James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Mease Countryside Hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center, Morton Plant Hospital, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Shriners Hospitals for Children, St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, South Florida Baptist Hospital, and Tampa General Hospital.

Additionally, the USF College of Nursing maintains over 500 healthcare affiliations throughout Florida to provide clinical experiences at the baccalareate, master's and doctoral levels.

The University of South Florida College of Nursing is #1 in Florida and 24th among nursing schools nationwide receiving National Institutes of Health research funding.in 2012. There are more than 600 colleges of nursing nationwide.

USF nursing research focuses on moving scientific discoveries to patients and the community through two broad-based initiatives — chronic illness and veterans’ health. Through the college’s Center for Living with Chronic Illness, faculty and students collaborate on innovative solutions to leading healthcare issues like heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, cancer, and symptom management for chronic illnesses. Through the college's Restore Lives Center: Research and Education to Rehabilitate and Restore the Lives of Veterans, Service Members and their Families we are focusing on evidence-based research and education programs to train a nursing workforce, capable of helping veterans and service members overcome psychological stress and other health problems that result from serving in combat operations. The college’s Biobehavioral Laboratory, providing state-of-the-art biological data analysis, supports both initiatives.

The Baccalaureate, Master's, and DNP programs at the University of South Florida, College of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The USF College of Nursing received full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education for the BS and MS programs until Fall 2020, and DNP program until Fall 2015.

The USF College of Nursing has Florida Board of Nursing approval.

The Nurse Anesthesia masters concentration is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs.

The University of South Florida is accredited by Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award degrees at the baccalaureate, master's, specialist, and doctoral levels.