Master of Nursing Admissions Requirements

General Information

As you prepare your application to Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, the Admissions Staff are available to answer questions you may have.  Please contact us at:

School of Nursing applications are self-managed. After submission of the application, applicants are responsible for monitoring the checklist on their application status page for missing transcripts, references and the like.

Graduate Nursing Admissions Requirements 

For our graduate nursing programs, including the MN, MSN and Post-Master’s Certificates, admission requirements depend upon your educational background and whether you are already a Registered Nurse (RN). All applicants are holistically reviewed based on the following factors:

  1. Start the application at to create a file in Vanderbilt University's admissions system. Start the graduate application BEFORE sending any transcripts or recommendations to Vanderbilt. If you send documents without completing the academic history section of the application, the materials become "orphans" in the system, which delays processing your application.
  2. The Statement of Purpose should reflect the applicant’s understanding of the advanced practice nurse role and their interest in a particular patient population. Before writing the statement of purpose, please carefully review information about the MN program on our website so that you can specifically write about how your nursing career goals fit with the specialty.
  3. Applicants must provide their complete academic history and list all post-secondary institutions attended, whether or not a degree was earned. It is recommended that applicants earn a grade point average of at least a “B” or a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  4. The School of Nursing requires official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, whether you received a degree or not. After listing the college or university on the Academic History page on the application, request to have your official transcript sent. 
    • Electronic transcripts are preferred, so request that your school Registrar(s) send your electronic transcripts to the CDM at The Registrar (not the applicant) may send paper transcripts to the Center for Data Management | Vanderbilt University | PMB 407833 | 2301 Vanderbilt Place | Nashville, TN 37240-7833. To make the October 15 11:59 PM EST priority review date, it is strongly recommended that your Registrar(s) send your transcript(s) to the CDM no later than October 1.
    • Applicants who have completed academic degrees or taken courses outside of the United States should refer to additional transcript requirements in the MSN application checklist
  5. All nursing applicants must provide three letters of academic or professional reference. References should be from faculty members, professional colleagues or work supervisors who can evaluate your potential for success in a graduate program. It is required that at least one of your recommenders hold a master’s or higher degree. Recommendations from family, friends, other students or coworkers are NOT appropriate. 
    • While only three references are required, the online application system will allow you to provide names of up to five recommenders. Faculty read and score only three references so there is no benefit in providing five names.
  6. All Vanderbilt Nursing applicants must respond to the 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 graduate nursing programs.
  7. As part of the admissions requirements, all applicants must have completed certain prerequisite courses from an accredited college or university with a grade of C or better. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools converted to a pass/fail grade basis for spring 2020 courses. Therefore, we will accept a grade of “pass” on a prerequisite taken in spring 2020. Prerequisites do not have to be completed at the time of application but must be completed by the time our classes start in August.
    • If you have earned a BA or BS in a discipline other than nursing:
      1. Human Anatomy & Human Physiology I – 3 to 4 semester hours*
      2. Human Anatomy & Human Physiology II – 3 to 4 semester hours*
      3. Microbiology – 3 semester hours*
      4. Statistics – 3 semester hours
      5. Nutrition – 2 to 3 semester hours
      6. Lifespan Development or Developmental Psychology (must cover lifespan from birth to death) – 3 semester hours

*Must be taken within 5 years of application and a lab component is preferred but not required.

  1. Vanderbilt University School of Nursing is required to meet state higher education requirements and state board of nursing requirements for nursing students who reside outside of Tennessee. States with specific certification requirements are listed on the Professional Licensure and Out of State Requirements
  2. All information submitted in the application process must be the applicant’s own work, factually true, complete and honestly presented. Nursing applicants providing false or incomplete information may be subject to a range of possible disciplinary actions, including admission revocation, expulsion or revocation of course credit, grades and degree.
  3. After submitting the application, monitor your Vanderbilt nursing checklist. Your application cannot be sent for faculty review until the CDM has posted official transcripts to your application and at least three references have been received. It is the applicant’s responsibility to be sure all items have been received and all admissions requirements satisfied. 

Contact School of Nursing Admissions 

If you have questions about the admissions requirements for your graduate nursing program of interest, the Admissions Office is available to assist you. Please contact us at or 615-322-3800 (toll free:1-888-333-9192).