MSN and PMC Admissions Requirements


In light of Vanderbilt’s COVID-19  phased approach to re-opening on-campus operations and activities, staff members in the Admissions Office will be working remotely and our office in the School of Nursing Building will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

For assistance, please email We will provide the same level of service as we have in the past, but will be doing it remotely.

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:

MSN and Post-Master’s Certificate (PMC) applicants are encouraged to participate in an online information session conducted by an Admission Counselor. Information sessions are held on most Tuesdays from 10- 11:30 am (central time), Wednesdays from 4-5:30 and Fridays from 10- 11:30 am (all central time). In consideration of the health and safety of the VU community and visitors to our campus due to COVID-19, all on-campus recruitment events have been cancelled. Therefore, the information sessions will be conducted online. Please register now if you are interested in participating in an information session.


The application opens on August 15 for the following fall.  Faculty begin reviewing MSN and PMC applications on October 15, after which admissions are on a rolling basis. There is no published deadline; however, programs are very competitive and have a limited number of spaces for incoming 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 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.

Holistic Application Review

Admission requirements vary somewhat depending upon your educational background and whether you are already a Registered Nurse. All applicants are holistically reviewed based on the following factors::

  1. After August 15 start application at 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 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 role of the advanced practice nurse and their interest in a particular patient population. Before writing the statement of purpose, please carefully review information about the specialty on our website so that you clearly indicate that your career goals are a fit with the specialty.

    Students are offered admission to their selected specialty; it is not possible to enter the 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. 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. Applicants must provide their complete academic history. Applicants must list all post-secondary institutions attended whether or not a degree was earned.
  5. The School of Nursing requires official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended. In order to satisfy the transcript portion of the application, in lieu of a transcript, you may want to upload a statement for each school you have attended indicating that you have requested that the school Registrar send your transcript to Vanderbilt’s Center for Data Management (CDM). 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 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 information in the international student section of this page.
  6. All 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 co-workers 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 five recommenders. Faculty read and score only three references so there is no benefit in providing five names.
  7. All 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 program.
  8. All applicants are required to have 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.
    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 and should include a lab component. Online courses taken at an accredited college/ universities are accepted.
  9. 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. Applicants completing ASN, BSN or MSN degrees for initial licensure June, July or August will not hold an RN license by July 1 so they 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.
  10. All 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 practica 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:
  11. 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.
  12. Vanderbilt University School of Nursing is required to meet state higher education requirements and state board of nursing requirements for students who reside outside of Tennessee. States with specific requirements are listed found on the Professional Licensure and Out of State Requirements page.
  13. All information submitted in the application process must be the applicant’s own work, factually true, complete, and honestly presented. 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.
  14. After submitting the application, monitor your application 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 application items have been received.
  15. If you have questions about the admissions requirements, the Admissions Office is available to assist you. Please contact us at or 1.888.333.9192.