Professional Licensure and Out of State Requirements

State Boards of Nursing set standards for licensure. For students entering the MSN program with a degree in a field other than nursing, successful completion of the prespecialty courses prepares students to take the RN licensure exam (NCLEX-RN). While the NCLEX-RN is a national exam, most prespecialty students obtain their initial RN license in the state of Tennessee and then may apply for RN licensure in a different state by following that state’s prescribed procedures. State Boards may require RN practice experience and/or supplemental education modules. Graduation from the MSN program or completion of the post-master's certificate (PMC) in nurse-midwifery or a nurse practitioner specialty prepares students for the national certification exam in their specialty and for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) licensure. Requirements for obtaining APRN licensure vary by state. State Boards may require RN practice experience, transition to practice as APRN, supplemental education modules and/or approval of the program leading to an advanced practice certification. It is highly recommended that students who seek admission to MSN, Post Master’s Certificate, and DNP programs at VUSN contact their home state’s Board of Nursing to verify that the desired program and its graduates will meet the eligibility criteria for approval for those credentials.  The website of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing has contact information on Boards of Nursing in each state. 

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 below. 


Due to Nevada Board of Nursing regulations, students entering the MSN program without a RN license may not complete the specialty year clinical practica in Nevada. Students entering with an RN license may complete clinical practica in Nevada. 

New York

Due to requirements of the New York Office of College and University Evaluation and the New York Office of the Professions, VUSN will accept students residing in New York to our MSN or post-master’s certificate specialties that lead to advanced practice licensure (i.e. AGACNP, AGACNP/FNP, AGPCNP, FNP, NNP, NM, NM/FNP, PNP, PMHNP, WHNP, WHNP/AGPCNP) but students may not complete clinical preceptorship in New York. Student may reside in New York but must complete clinical preceptorships in another state. VUSN will admit New York registered nurse students to the DNP, the PhD program, MSN Nursing Informatics specialty and MSN Nursing & Health Care Leadership specialty as these programs do not lead to additional advanced practice licensure.


Please see attached memo regarding upcoming changes to RN licensure.

Grievances and Complaints

Specific information on distance education complaint and grievance procedures is available at