On-campus Bachelor's Degree Program

KU offers a bachelor of science degree in respiratory care.  Course work covers areas such as neonatal, pediatrics, and adult critical care, management, education, sleep disorders, pulmonary rehabilitation, and cardiopulmonary diagnostics. Most students enter the program after completing the sophomore year of undergraduate study or after two years of community college course work. With an advanced curriculum and located at an academic medical center, students receive extensive experience in advanced respiratory therapy techniques. The program includes a semester-long clinical assignment during the senior year in the student's area of specialization.

RRT-to-Bachelor’s Degree Bridge Program

The University of Kansas also offers a program for the respiratory therapist with the RRT credential to obtain a bachelor's degree. This program is perfect for students unable to be physically present on campus or those with schedule constraints which make traditional college class schedules a challenge. Courses in this program are Web-based and are available anytime from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. Note: This program is only available to professional respiratory therapists having the RRT credential.

On-campus Bachelor's Degree Program

To be eligible for this program, two years of prerequisite course work are needed – either from the KU Lawrence campus or another regionally accredited university or community college. In order to complete prerequisites and recommended electives on-time and in the appropriate sequence, interested students should contact an academic advisor for assistance in selecting courses.

Transfer students should be aware that all transfer courses for which they have requested credit must be equivalent to courses required at KU; otherwise, additional course work will be required. Graduates of an associate's degree respiratory care program are eligible to apply for advanced standing as seniors upon completion of all prerequisites.

International students should review current requirements. International students, or those for whom English is a second language, may have additional requirements relative to language proficiency, residency, and citizenship status.

A background check and documentation of shadow experience are required. Prospective students should review the program requirements, including prerequisite course work, and complete list of eligibility requirements.


ENGL 101Composition (meets KU Core goal 2.1a)3
ENGL 102Critical Reading and Writing (KU Core goal 2.1b)3
or BUS 305 Business Writing
MATH 101College Algebra3
MATH 365Elementary Statistics (meets KU Core goal 1.2)3
Basic Sciences
BIOL 240Fundamentals of Human Anatomy3
BIOL 241Human Anatomy Observation Laboratory2
BIOL 246Principles of Human Physiology3
BIOL 247Principles of Human Physiology Laboratory2
BIOL 200Basic Microbiology3
BIOL 203Introductory Microbiology Laboratory2
CHEM 110Introductory Chemistry5
PHSX 111Introductory Physics (meets KU Core goal 3.2)3
Oral Communication
COMS 130Speaker-Audience Communication (meets KU Core goal 2.2)3
PHIL 140Introduction to Philosophy (meets KU Core goal 3.1)3
or PHIL 160 Introduction to Ethics
HUM 204Western Civilization I (or other elective meeting KU Core goal 4.2)3
Social Sciences
PSYC 104General Psychology (meets KU Core goal 3.3)3
SOC 104Elements of Sociology (or other elective meeting KU Core goal 4.1)3
Health Professions
HEIM 230Medical Terminology3

RRT-to-Bachelor’s Degree Bridge Program

Applicants must possess professional certification as a registered respiratory therapist (RRT)  from the National Board for Respiratory Care, and an associate's degree (or equivalent) from a regionally accredited, CoARC-approved advanced respiratory therapist program. Prior course work must include all the prerequisite courses listed below.  An overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) for college course work is required to enter the degree-completion program for RRTs. In addition, student transcripts must document an individual course grade of no less than "C" on each prerequisite course in math, chemistry, physics and biological sciences.

A minimum 120 hours of college credit are required to earn a bachelor's degree from KU. Students will earn at least 30 credit hours during the respiratory care program.

Note: To be transferable, all prerequisite and respiratory care course work must be from an educational institution that is regionally accredited. This is not the same as national accreditation. Not sure about your course work? Please read about the differences in accreditation.

Prerequisite Courses

  • Human Anatomy* (lab recommended)
  • Human Physiology* (lab recommended)
  • Microbiology (lab recommended)
  • Chemistry
  • Algebra
  • English Composition I and II
  • Oral Communication
  • Humanities (2 courses)
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

*Students having completed a single combined anatomy and physiology course must complete either a second, higher-level A&P course, or a course in physiology only.

Requirements for On-campus Bachelor's Degree Program

Two years of undergraduate course work – including at least 53 credit hours of specific prerequisites – is required prior to entry into this program. Most KU Core requirements must be met by the prerequisites.
While in the 2-year respiratory care program, students complete 62 hours of course credits in a prescribed sequence covering five academic semesters. Students are responsible for completing additional electives to fulfill the university's requirement of 120 total credit hours for a bachelor's degree from KU.

Year 1
RESP 3004RESP 3021RESP 3402
RESP 3012RESP 3102RESP 3453
RESP 3054RESP 3254RESP 4003
RESP 3153RESP 3354 
 RESP 6203 
 13 14 8
Year 2
RESP 4054RESP 4202 
RESP 4104RESP 6102 
RESP 4154RESP 6152 
RESP 6051RESP 6254 
 RESP 3302 
 13 12 
Total Hours 60

Professional Credentialing
Upon graduation, students will be prepared to sit for the national credentialing examinations. To be employed as a respiratory therapist, graduates must pass this exam and will be recognized with the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential. 

More information: please visit the program's website.

Requirements for Bachelor's Degree-Completion Program

This program requires a minimum 30 credit hours of respiratory care course work. Upon acceptance, students work with an advisor to organize a graduation plan and select a clinical specialty area. Specialty areas include neonatal critical care, adult critical care, and respiratory care management. Other areas may be considered with advisor approval.
To qualify for graduation, a minimum grade of C or better is required on all respiratory care courses. The university requires at least 120 hours of total college credit to receive a bachelor's degree from KU. Previous course work in respiratory care may be eligible for transfer credit.
The class schedule follows a typical semester and is designed to be delivered at an organized and manageable pace for the student.

RESP 450Chronic Respiratory Disease Management: The Evolving Role of the Respiratory Therapist3
RESP 455Physical Science3
RESP 460Advanced Critical Care 3
RESP 465Neonatal Respiratory Care3
RESP 470Cardiopulmonary Diagnostics (Cardiopulmonary Diagnostics)3
RESP 495Management, Ethics, and Law in Respiratory Care3
RESP 650Research in Health Care3
RESP 655Leadership Management3
RESP 665Clinical Specialty Project (Students will complete this final course of the program in his or her chosen clinical specialty area.)6
Optional Elective
RESP 490Special Studies or Projects 11-9