MSN Admission Requirements

As you prepare your application to Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, we would like to share important details with you. We are looking forward to receiving your application and are available to answer your questions and support you through the process. Just let us know how we can help.


Applicants are encouraged to attend an information session conducted by an Admission Counselor for assistance with the application process. Information Sessions are held on most Tuesdays from 10-11am and on Fridays from 2-3pm. Please call the Admissions Office at 615.322.3800 or 888.333.9192 to schedule yourself for one of these sessions.


The School of Nursing hosts campus visits in October and March of each year. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend to learn more about programs offered at the School of Nursing.


The School of Nursing begins reviewing applications for admission to its new fall class on November 1st of the previous year, after which admissions are on a rolling basis. Fall 2016 application will be available September 15th, 2015. There is no published deadline, however, programs are very competitive and have a limited number of spaces for incoming students. Applicants who meet the November 1st early action date have a greater probability of being admitted. 


There are 8 requirements of those who seek admission to Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. These requirements vary somewhat depending upon your educational background and whether you are already a Registered Nurse.


  1. All applicants must submit an online application for admission (click here), a Statement of Purpose, and a $50 application fee. The Statement is your opportunity to tell faculty what you are planning to do with your career after you finish your master's degree. Before writing your goal statement, please carefully review information about the specialty on our web site so that you clearly indicate to the faculty that you are a fit with the specialty.

    Students are offered admission to their selected specialty; it is not possible to enter the program undecided about your specialty area. Your Goal Statement must address only your selected specialty, it should indicate your understanding of the role of the advanced practice nurse and your patient population of interest.

  2. All applicants must submit official transcripts of all post high school studies. Students admitted to the School of Nursing have earned an undergraduate grade point average of a "B" or a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Transcripts should be mailed from your University/College Registrar directly to:


    Center for Data Management
    Vanderbilt University
    PMB 407833
    2301 Vanderbilt Place
    Nashville, TN 37240-7833

    If your school uses an electronic transcript service such as Parchment, Naviance, Docufide or Scrip Safe, have your University Registrar send the transcript to

  3. A satisfactory Graduate Record Exam score taken within 5 years of the application is required. Please have your GRE scores sent to Institution Code: 1871 & Department Code: 0610

  4. All applicants must provide three letters of professional reference. References should be from faculty members, professional colleagues, or work supervisors who can evaluate your potential for success in a graduate program. Recommendations from family, friends, other students or co-workers are NOT appropriate. Applicants to the MSN or post-master’s certificate program in the neonatal nurse practitioner specialty must provide recommendations from an NNP and from a neonatologist.

  5. All applicants must respond to the six application questions. Both the writing style (i.e. grammar, punctuation, spelling, word use) and content of your responses will be used in the overall evaluation of your application to the program. In addition to the written responses, applicants to the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty are required to have a telephone interview with a faculty member. Other specialties may also require an interview. After a preliminary review of your application, you will be contacted to schedule the interview.

  6. All applicants are required to have certain prerequisite courses from an accredited college or university. It is desirable that you have completed some if not all the prerequisite courses when you apply. Prerequisite coursework must be completed prior to enrolling.

    1. If you have earned a BSN, you must have had a 3 semester hour or 4 quarter hour Statistics course.
    2. If you have earned an ASN or a Diploma in Nursing, you must have earned at least 78 accredited semester or 110 accredited quarter hours including the following areas: 11 hours of natural science which must include courses in Microbiology, Human Anatomy, and Human Physiology; 9 hours of Social Science; 6 hours of Humanities; 6 hours of English; 3 hours of Statistics; Nutrition and Developmental Psychology.
    3. If you have earned a BA or BS in a discipline other than Nursing, you must have successfully completed 11 hours of natural science including courses in Microbiology, Human Anatomy, and Human Physiology; Statistics; Nutrition and Developmental Psychology. The human anatomy, human physiology and microbiology courses must have been taken within 5 years of application.
    4. If you are currently enrolled in a BA or BS program, you must be in the final year of your program and have successfully completed or plan to complete prior to enrollment the following courses: 11 hours of natural science including Microbiology, Human Anatomy, and Human Physiology; 3 hours of Statistics; Nutrition and Developmental Psychology. The human anatomy, human physiology and microbiology courses must have been taken within 5 years of application.

      All applicants may request a transcript review to determine which (if any) additional courses may be needed.

      Transfer Credit
      Transfer credit is considered for courses taken elsewhere within five years of admission. Work presented for transfer credit must be from an accredited college and is subject to evaluation in light of the degree requirements of the university. To have a course considered for transfer credit, applicants must make the request at least six (6) weeks before the course begins, submit a letter of request to the School of Nursing Registrar’s Office with the course syllabus enclosed, and provide an official transcript showing the final grade for the course. A maximum of six (6) credits can be transferred. The program director approves transfer credit for specialty courses and/or elective courses. The senior associate dean approves transfer credit for core courses. No credit is awarded toward the degree for courses designated as prerequisite for admission. If transfer credit is approved, a grade of T will appear on the student's official transcript and the hours earned will count
      toward the MSN.

  7. RN applicants must have graduated from an N.L.N.A.C. or C.C.N.E. accredited school and hold an unencumbered RN license. Students admitted contingent upon NCLEX–RN examination results are subject to immediate withdrawal from courses with a clinical component if they aren’t successful on the NCLEX-RN.

  8. RN applicants must be eligible to practice in the state where they will be completing their clinical practica and/or preceptorship. Non-RN applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for nursing licensure. All applicants must meet the competencies necessary for the professional practice of nursing.

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors Rules and Standards require authorization by the state of North Carolina for out-of-state post-secondary degree activity and clinical practica. All specialties in the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing MSN program are authorized. All specialties in the post-master's certificate program are authorized with the exception of the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) and women's health nurse practitioner (WHNP). Authorization for the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and the post-master's certificate in psychiatric mental health and women's health nurse practitioner specialties are in progress.


The provisions in these Web pages do not constitute a contract, express or implied, between any applicant, student or faculty member and Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. The School of Nursing reserves the right to withdraw courses at any time, change fees, calendar, curriculum, graduation procedures, and any other requirement affecting students. Changes will become effective whenever the proper authorities so determine and will apply to both prospective students and those already enrolled.

In compliance with federal law, including the provisions of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Vanderbilt University does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, handicap, or military service in its administration of education policies, programs, or activities; its admission policies; scholarship and loan programs; or employment. Inquires or complaints should be directed to the Opportunity Development Officer, Building E, West Side Row, P.O. Box 1809, Station B, Nashville, Tennessee 37235. Telephone (615) 322.4705.