MSN Application Checklist

MSN and Post-Master's Certificate Applicants

  • School of Nursing applications are self-managed. The admissions office does not routinely contact applicants regarding missing application materials. After submission of the application, applicants are responsible for monitoring the checklist on their application status page for missing transcripts, references and the like.
  • Fall Early Action Deadline: November 1st . Applications completed after November 1st will be considered on a rolling basis until all spaces are full. 
  • Applicants should start their online application at https://apply.vanderbilt.edu/apply to create a file in Vanderbilt's admissions system. Start the application BEFORE sending any transcripts or recommendations to Vanderbilt. If you send documents without starting the application, the materials become "orphans" in the system which delays processing your application. Do not start your application before September 15th.
  • While the application system will allow you to submit more than one application, the School of Nursing can only consider one MSN or post-master’s certificate application per student per term. Therefore, please don’t submit applications to several different specialties because that will delay review of your application. You should submit one application to the specialty that is your first choice.
  • Complete an online application including statement of purpose, application question responses and $50 application fee. A great deal of weight is placed on your statement of purpose and responses to the application questions. Be sure to demonstrate a clear understanding of the role of the advanced practice nurse and indicate your patient population of interest.
  • A standardized test score such as the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT is not required.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is recommended.
  • 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. Applicants who have been in school within the last five years should have at least one faculty reference. Recommendations from family, friends, other students or co-workers are NOT appropriate.  It is required that at least one of your recommenders hold a master’s or higher degree.  Applicants to the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner specialty are required to have one reference from a neonatologist and one from an NNP who can evaluate the applicant’s clinical practice.
  • While only three references are required, the online application system will allow you to provide names of up to five recommenders. If you choose to provide five names, the application system will consider your references complete when the first three references have been received. Please verify the e-mail addresses of your recommender. If you inadvertently list the same person twice, the application system will think they are two different people so delete duplicates.
  • Provide your complete academic history of all colleges or universities attended whether or not you earned a degree. Send official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended to the Vanderbilt Center for Data Management, PMB 407833, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, TN, 37240-7833. If your school uses an electronic transcript service such as Parchment, Naviance, Docufide or Script Safe, have your school Registrar send the electronic transcript to cdm@vanderbilt.edu. Unofficial transcripts can be uploaded to your online application; however, your application cannot be sent for faculty review until all of your official transcripts have been received by the Center for Data Management.
  • Applicants who have earned a BA, BS or higher degree in a discipline other than nursing must have satisfactorily completed courses in human anatomy, human physiology, and microbiology within 5 years of beginning the program. There is no time limit on the other required prerequisite courses: lifespan development (also called developmental psychology), nutrition and statistics.
  • Applicants with an Associate of Science in Nursing or a diploma in nursing must have completed at least 78 semester hours or 110 quarter hours. In addition to the prerequisite courses listed above, completion of 6 hours of English, 6 hours of humanities and 9 hours of social science is required.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing must have had a 3 semester hour or 4 quarter hour statistics course.
  • Registered Nurse applicants must have graduated from an A.C.E.N. or C.C.N.E. accredited school and must hold an unencumbered RN license in the state(s) in which the student will complete their clinical training. Students admitted contingent upon NCLEX–RN examination results who do not pass the exam will have their admission offer rescinded.
  • Applicants who have earned a BA, BS or higher degree in a field other than nursing must meet the competencies necessary for the professional practice of nursing and meet eligibility requirements for nursing licensure. For more information on licensure, visit the Tennessee Department of Health website at: https://www.tn.gov/health. 

Visit Vanderbilt 

  • MSN program information sessions are held in the School of Nursing on most Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:00-11:00 am except during holidays or school breaks. To schedule your visit, please sign up on our website, https://apply.vanderbilt.edu/portal/nursing_info_session .  
  • The School of Nursing will host an Open House on Saturday, February 29, 2020 from 8:30am – 4:00pm. RSVP online after January 6, 2020.
  • During the academic year, when undergraduate classes are in session, the Office of Undergraduate admissions office holds information sessions and campus tours Monday through Saturday. The information session is designed for high school students and their parents but the 90-110 minute campus tour will give you a chance to see our beautiful 330-acre campus. You must schedule your campus tour time online at https://admissions.vanderbilt.edu/visit/daily.php/   

Information for Post-Master’s Certificate (PMC) Applicants 

  • Applicants who have already earned an MSN degree are strongly encouraged to apply to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program and complete a PMC as part of the DNP program of studies.
  • MSN graduates can complete a PMC in any of our specialties as part of a DNP program of studies. Adding the certificate usually lengthens the program of studies by 20-30 credits and three semesters. The Emergency Nurse Practitioner Certificate for FNPs is 12 credits and two semesters.
  • Students earning the PMC only are not eligible for VUSN scholarships or federal student loans; private loans are available based on credit score.
  • Students completing the PMC as part of the DNP degree program are eligible for VUSN scholarships and federal student loans.
  • Applicants who have completed a DNP degree but are not APRNs are eligible to apply to the PMC program. 

Other Information 

  • After you have submitted your application, check your application status page frequently to see which application items have been received and what is still missing. It is your responsibility to follow-up on transcripts and recommendations. If a recommender indicates they didn’t receive e-mail notification from Vanderbilt, ask them to check their spam filter. 
  • All full-time students must start the program in the fall  The post-master’s certificate in Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner programs offer part-time admission for the spring semester providing space is available and that you are an experienced Registered Nurse. 
  • International and English as a second language applicants see additional requirements in the following section.

For International Students Only

Applicants who have completed coursework or academic degrees outside the USA

Transcript Evaluation Required: Vanderbilt University School of Nursing requires that applicants list all colleges and universities they have attended. Applicants who have completed college or university coursework or a degree at an institution in a country other than the United States must obtain a complete course-by-course evaluation of the native transcripts, degrees, and other relevant documents. In all instances, the evaluating agency will require original, official documentation. Please note, the evaluating agency must send both the course-by-course report and copies of the native documents. If the agency does not provide copies of the documentation used to do the course-by-course evaluation, the student must submit their official documentation to Vanderbilt.

Evaluating agencies include:

World Education Services
Attention Documentation Center
Bowling Green Station
P.O. Box 5087
New York, NY 10274-5087
U.S.A.
Phone: 212-966-6311
Website: www.wes.org

Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
Post Office Box 514070
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203-3470
Phone: 414-289-3400
Website: www.ece.org

Josef Silny & Associates, Inc.
International Education Consultants
701 SW 102 Ave, Miami, FL, 33173
Phone: 305-273-1616
Website: www.jsilny.com

Official transcripts and course-by-course evaluation reports should be sent to the following address:

Office of the University Registrar
Vanderbilt University
ATTN: International Curriculum and Credentials Analyst
PMB 407701
Nashville, Tennessee 37240-7701

For further questions regarding prior degrees, please visit: https://registrar.vanderbilt.edu/academic-records/international-degrees.php

International Applicants who need an I-20 or DS-2019 Issued to Study in the United States

Due to federal guidelines, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), postmaster’s certificate (PMC) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs do not satisfy the requirements for  F-1 or J-1 study. The federal regulations restrict the amount of courses that can be delivered via an online format within a program of study for F-1 and J-1 students. As these programs have a significant online component, the educational format is not compatible with the structure required by the federal government for F-1 and J-1 students.

Registered Nurse Applicants who hold a TN (Trade NAFTA) Visa

Applicants who hold a valid TN visa are eligible to apply to the MSN, Post-master’s Certificate and DNP programs and are not subject to the requirements that exist for F-1 or J-1 students. However, applicants with a TN visa will need to include in their application a letter from their US employer indicating the employer gives permission for the employee to attend school.

For International Students who do not need an F-1 or J-1 Visa to study in the United States

  1. Submit online application at https://apply.vanderbilt.edu/apply/
  2. English Language Proficiency. The ability to speak and write with accuracy, clarity and efficiency in English and in computer-assisted formats is a core performance standard in nursing. Applicants whose native language is not English must present the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with the application, unless they have demonstrated competence while obtaining a degree (bachelor's degree or higher) from an accredited American institution. International students transferring from unfinished degree programs at other universities in the United States must present TOEFL or IELTS scores. Scores must be less than 2 years old.

The International TOEFL is administered at test centers throughout the world at different times during the year. Applicants may access information regarding the TOEFL exam including registration and sample tests, at www.ets.org/toefl. Inquiries and requests for application forms should be addressed to TOEFL, Box 6151, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6151 U.S.A. The minimum acceptable score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language is 100 on the Internet-based test or 230 on the computer-based test. The minimum acceptable score on the IELTS is 6.5. For more information on the IELTS test, go to ielts.org . The Vanderbilt ETS code is 1871.

  1. International student applicants whose native language is not English are required to have a phone interview with the Program Director and a member of the Admissions Committee.
  2. International student applicants who wish to enter the program as a registered nurse must successfully complete the CGFNS (Commission on Graduate Foreign Nursing Schools) and the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Exam) examinations and earn licensure as a Registered Nurse in the state where they will be completing their clinical practica and/or preceptorship. Information about CGFNS may be obtained by writing CGFNS; 3600 Market Street, Suite 400; Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651, USA or call: 215-222 8454 or e-mail. Visit ncsbn.org for more information about NCLEX.

    Information about Tennessee licensure may be obtained by visiting the Tennessee Department of Health website at www.tn.gov/health; writing to Tennessee Board of Nursing; Suite 300 Heritage Place, 227 French Landing, Nashville, TN 37243, USA. or call 615-532-5166.
  1. Transcript Evaluation Required: Vanderbilt University School of Nursing requires that applicants list all colleges and universities they have attended. International student applicants who have completed college or university coursework or a degree at an institution in a country other than the United States must obtain a complete course-by-course evaluation of the native transcripts, degrees, and other relevant documents. In all instances, the evaluating agency will require original, official documentation. Please note, the evaluating agency must send both the course-by-course report and copies of the native documents. If the agency does not provide copies of the documentation used to do the course-by-course evaluation, the student must submit their official documentation to Vanderbilt.

    Evaluating agencies include:

    World Education Services
    Post Office Box 745
    Old Chelsea Station New York, NY 10113-0745
    Phone: 212-966-6311
    Website: wes.org

    Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
    Post Office Box 514070
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203-3470
    Phone: 414-289-3400
    Website: www.ece.org

    Josef Silny & Associates, Inc.
    International Education Consultants
    701 SW 102 Ave, Miami, FL, 33173
    Phone: 305-273-1616
    Website: www.jsilny.com

    Official transcripts and course-by-course evaluation reports should be sent to the following address:

    Office of the University Registrar
    Vanderbilt University
    ATTN: International Curriculum and Credentials Analyst
    PMB 407701
    Nashville, Tennessee 37240-7701

    For further questions regarding prior degrees, please visit: https://registrar.vanderbilt.edu/academic-records/international-degrees.php
  2. International students who are accepted into the program may also be required to complete an intensive English language program at Vanderbilt University prior to beginning classes at the School of Nursing. Information about Vanderbilt's English language program may be obtained at vanderbilt.edu/international.
  3. Financial Resources. To meet requirements for entry into the United States for study, applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient financial resources to meet expected costs of their entire educational program. Applicants must provide documentary evidence of their financial resources before visa documents can be issued. United States laws and regulations restrict the opportunity for international students to be employed. Students may be allowed to work off campus only under special circumstances. Many spouses and dependents of international students generally are not allowed to be employed while in the United States.
  4. Health and Accident Insurance. International students, whether attending the university full time or part time, and their dependents residing in the United States are required to purchase the university’s international student health and accident insurance unless, in the judgment of the university, adequate coverage is provided from some other source. Information concerning the limits, exclusions, and benefits of this insurance coverage can be obtained from the Student Health Center.

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.