PreSpecialty Entry

PreSpecialty Program Outcomes

Even if you have no nursing background, you can become an advanced practice nurse through our accelerated program of PreSpecialty master’s entry. With three semesters of generalist-level nursing courses and completion of the program in your chosen specialty, often just three additional semesters, you can earn your Master of Science in Nursing degree.

Vanderbilt’s Accelerated Program

If you have no background in nursing but you are interested in pursuing a career in advanced practice nursing without sacrificing excellence in education, entry into the Vanderbilt Master of Science in Nursing program through the PreSpecialty master’s program offers you this opportunity. This PreSpecialty year provides the foundation equivalent to the bachelor’s degree in nursing for course work in the selected nursing specialty. The three-semester PreSpecialty year will prepare you for taking the National Council for Licensure Exam (NCLEX) to become a Registered Nurse (RN).

Upon completion of three semesters of PreSpecialty courses, you will enter an additional sequence of courses in your declared specialty in order to earn the MSN degree. Many Vanderbilt School of Nursing Advanced Practice Specialties require completion of at least an additional three semesters; several programs – including dual-focus areas – are slightly longer, requiring completion of 4 or 5 additional semesters. Just visit the Specialty program websites that interest you to review the sample curriculum plans.

Admission Requirements

The best ways to learn about the Vanderbilt School of Nursing MSN Admissions process and requirements are to join us for Open House in October or March or attend one of the weekly MSN information sessions. 

Applicants are encouraged to attend an information session conducted by an Admission Counselor for assistance with the application process. Information Sessions are held on most Tuesdays from 10-11 am and on Fridays from 10-11am. Please register now if you are interested in attending an information session. 

Prerequisite Courses

Students without nursing backgrounds who apply to Vanderbilt School of Nursing must have or will have completed a bachelor’s or higher degree in a non-nursing field, which must include:

  • 3 semester hours of Lifespan Development
  • Natural Science courses taken within the last 5 years.
      — Human Anatomy & Physiology I and II (8 semester hours)
      — Microbiology (3-4 semester hours)
  • 3 semester hours of Statistics
  • 2–3 semester hours of Nutrition

Your PreSpecialty Clinical Experience

During the three semesters of your PreSpecialty year, you will complete a minimum of 700 hours in a variety of clinical settings:

  • Hospital Inpatient Units
  • Children’s Hospital
  • Community Agencies
  • Mental Health Centers
  • Psychiatric Hospitals

Registered Nurse (RN) Licensure

PreSpecialty students are eligible to apply to the National Council for Licensure Examination to become a Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) upon meeting the requirements specified by the Tennessee State Board of Nursing. Students in good academic standing following the PreSpecialty program take the exam in the first semester of the Specialty program and are required to be RNs prior to beginning specialty level clinical courses.