MSN and PMC Admissions Requirements

General Admissions Information

Ready to apply to our MSN or Post-Master’s Certificate programs? As you prepare your graduate application to Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, the admissions staff are happy to answer specific questions you may have. Please contact us at: VUSN-Admissions@vanderbilt.edu.

Interested in learning more about applying to our MSN or certificate programs? Watch a previously-recorded webinar (October 2021).

Nursing Admissions Information Sessions 

To learn more about our admissions requirements, MSN and Post-Master’s Certificate (PMC) applicants are encouraged to participate in an on-campus or online information session conducted by an admission counselor. Information sessions are held online via Zoom on most Tuesdays from 11:00am–12:20pm (central time) and on campus for an in-person session on Mondays and Fridays from 10–11:20 am (all central time).

We look forward to welcoming visitors back to our Nashville campus, and we encourage you to view the Health and Safety Protocols currently in place for visiting.

Please register now if you are interested in participating in an information session to learn more about earning a master of science in nursing or certificate credential. 

Nursing Application Information 

The application for Vanderbilt’s graduate nursing programs is now open for fall 2023. Faculty begin reviewing Post-Master’s Certificate and MSN applications on October 15, after which admissions are on a rolling basis. There is no published deadline; however, these nursing programs are very competitive and have a limited number of spaces for incoming graduate students. Applicants who meet the October 15 priority review date have a greater probability of being admitted. In order to be considered in the October 15 priority review group, the application must be completed (not just submitted) prior to 11:59 pm EST on October 15. 

School of Nursing applications are self-managed. We do not routinely contact applicants regarding missing 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.

Graduate Nursing Admissions Requirements 

For our graduate nursing programs, including the 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 MSN and PMC application at https://apply.vanderbilt.edu/apply 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 MSN specialty on our website so that you can specifically write about how your nursing career goals fit with the specialty.

    • Students are offered admission to their selected specialty; it is not possible to enter the MSN program undecided about the specialty area. While the online application system allows applicants to submit more than one application, the School of Nursing can only consider one application per student per term.

  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 cdm@vanderbilt.edu. 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. 

    • Applicants to the NNP specialty must submit references from a neonatologist and a neonatal nurse practitioner who can evaluate your clinical practice. 

    • 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 BSN, you must have had a 3-semester hour or 4-quarter hour Statistics course.

    • 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 and should include a lab component. Online courses taken at accredited colleges/universities are accepted.

  8. RN applicants must have graduated (or will graduate prior to enrolling) from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited school and hold an unencumbered RN license. Documentation of RN licensure is required by July 1 prior to registering for fall courses. If prospective students are completing their initial licensure for BSN or MSN degrees in June, July or August, they will not hold a RN license by July 1. Therefore, those prospective students must wait until the next year to apply. 

    • Students admitted contingent upon NCLEX–RN examination results who do not pass the exam will have the admission offer rescinded. The student is eligible to reapply for admission in a subsequent fall term after RN licensure is obtained.

  9. All MSN applicants must meet the competencies necessary for the professional practice of nursing. RN applicants must be eligible to practice in the state where they will be completing their clinical practice and/or preceptorship. Non-RN applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for nursing licensure in Tennessee. For more information on licensure, visit the Tennessee Department of Health website at: www.tn.gov/health.

  10. Applicants to programs that have clinical placements both in the middle Tennessee area (MTA) and outside of middle Tennessee (OMTA) will be asked to indicate whether they are requesting an MTA or OMTA specialty placement site. This information is an important part of the admission decision, so carefully review the MTA and OMTA definitions and clinical placement information at the Clinical Placement page. 

    • Due to the limitations in MTA clinical placement sites, applicants are encouraged to consider requesting an OMTA placement. However, if admitted for an OMTA placement, it will not be possible to subsequently change to an MTA placement.

  11. 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 MSN or certification requirements are listed on the Professional Licensure and Out of State Requirements page.

  12. 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.

  13. 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 vusn-admissions@vanderbilt.edu or 1-888-333-9192.