PreSpecialty Entry

Even if you have no nursing background, you can become a registered or advanced practice registered nurse through our accelerated PreSpecialty Master of Nursing program (enter with a BA/BS in a field other than nursing). Starting in fall 2025, you can take four semesters of generalist-level nursing courses, earn a Master of Nursing degree, and decide whether to work as a registered nurse or continue at Vanderbilt in your chosen nurse practitioner, nurse-midwifery or other specialty—often just three additional semesters through our Post-Master’s Certificate program.

Vanderbilt’s Accelerated Program

If you have no background in nursing but you are interested in pursuing a career in nursing or advanced practice nursing without sacrificing excellence in education, the accelerated Vanderbilt Master in Nursing (MN) program through the PreSpecialty master’s program offers you this opportunity. The PreSpecialty program provides the foundation equivalent to the bachelor’s degree in nursing and prepares you to take the National Council for Licensure Exam (NCLEX) to become a registered nurse. The PreSpecialty program is only offered full time in a face-to-face format so during its four semesters, PreSpecialty students are required to live within daily commuting distance of the Vanderbilt campus.

Upon completion of four semesters of MN PreSpecialty courses and passing the NCLEX, you will be a registered nurse with a Master of Nursing degree. You can then practice as an RN and choose if you want to continue with the additional sequence of courses to become a nurse practitioner or nurse-midwife.

PreSpecialty applicants are eligible to apply to one of these specialty areas: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner , Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, Nurse-Midwifery/Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health/Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner and Women’s Health/Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner/ AGPCNP. The NW/FNP and WHGRNP/AGPCNP programs dual specialties require additional semesters. Specialties not listed above require RN work experience.

Admission Requirements

The best ways to learn about the Vanderbilt School of Nursing programs and the admissions process and requirements are to join us for Open House in the fall or spring, attend one of our regular virtual information sessions or register for an on-campus information session.

All potential applicants are encouraged to participate in an on-campus or a virtual information session. Virtual and on-campus information sessions are held on a regular basis.

Please view current availability and register register now if you are interested in participating in an information session.

Prerequisite Courses

Students entering with a bachelor’s or higher degree in a non-nursing field must have completed the following  courses:

  • Eight (8) semester hours of Human Anatomy and Physiology taken within 5 years of application
  • Three (3) semester hours of Microbiology taken within 5 years of application
  • Three (3) semester hours of Lifespan Development, Human Growth and Development or Developmental Psychology (course must cover lifespan from birth to death)
  • Three (3) semester hours of Statistics (course must include inferential statistics)
  • Two to Three (2-3) semester hours of Nutrition

In order to satisfy the prerequisite requirement, courses must be taken at an accredited community college, college or university and completed with a grade of C or higher. Applicants can apply before the six courses are completed but an offer of admission will be contingent upon successful completion of the courses. Prerequisites can be completed online.

Your PreSpecialty Clinical Experience

During the four 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 their PreSpecialty program take the exam after earning their Master of Nursing degree and are required to be RNs prior to beginning specialty-level clinical courses.


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