Graduate Admission Requirements

For admission to the Nursing program, an applicant must hold either (1) a bachelor's degree in nursing from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or (2) a postsecondary degree in nursing that is equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree earned from an officially recognized degree-granting international institution.

Master's Programs

The M.S.N. in Nursing consists of five options—three resident instruction (RI) and two World Campus (WC).

RI options

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

WC (online) options

  • Nurse Administrator
  • Nurse Educator

The M.S. in Nursing prepares students with a B.S. in nursing to become nurse scientists and clinical scholars who plan to complete a Ph.D. in nursing.

Applicants to the master's programs are required to hold a baccalaureate degree from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited program. For the RI options, applicants must be licensed to practice professional nursing in Pennsylvania. For World Campus, applicants must be licensed to practice professional nursing in the United States or another country. In order to be considered for admission, an application must be submitted to the Graduate School at Penn State.

The College of Nursing application compiles evidence of the applicant's potential for success in graduate studies.

Each component of the application is carefully reviewed by a faculty committee in order to evaluate your potential to succeed in our program. General expectations are listed in the requirements below. These are benchmarks, not rules—please do not hesitate to discuss your application with the associate dean for graduate education or the chair of the admissions committee.

M.S.N. Applicants

1. Submit original official transcripts (two copies are required) of all previous course work from professional/undergraduate programs of study.

Expectations:
GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale
Grades of B or better in all sciences and nursing courses
College chemistry and statistics (NOTE: Chemistry is not required for those applying to the Nurse Administrator option.)

Transcripts should be mailed to the address at the bottom of this page.

2. For the RI options, applicants must be licensed to practice professional nursing in Pennsylvania. For World Campus, applicants must be licensed to practice professional nursing in the United States or another country.

3. Two letters of reference are required. It is recommended that you obtain letters from academic and professional perspectives. If you attended college-level courses over the last five years, an academic reference is required. Other references should be from a nursing supervisor, preferably with a degree higher than yours.
To submit references, input your referees' contact information (including email address) in the reference section on your application. Your referee will receive an email notification with log-in information to submit the reference online via the Graduate School automated system. The College of Nursing no longer accepts paper references.

Expectation:
Strong references without identification of significant threats to potential success.

4. Statement of Purpose or application essay.

Expectation:
Coherent writing style with no grammatical errors; description of relevant work experience; clearly articulated reasons for applying to the selected option and specialization; long-term goals or career aspirations.

5. GREs are not required for M.S.N. degree applicants. However, if you already took the GREs and submitted the scores to Penn State, they will be reviewed as part of your application.

6. The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 580 for the paper-based test, or a total score of 100 with a 25 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 7.0.

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement if they have received a baccalaureate or graduate degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

7. Applicants to the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner option are required to have two years of acute care hospital experience.

M.S. Applicants (B.S. to Ph.D.)

1. Submit original official transcripts (two copies are required) of all previous course work from professional/undergraduate programs of study.

Expectations:
GP of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
Grades of B or better in all sciences and nursing courses
College chemistry and statistics

Transcripts should be mailed to the address at the bottom of this page.

2. Be licensed to practice professional nursing in Pennsylvania.

3. Three letters of reference are required. It is recommended that you obtain letters from academic and professional perspectives. If you attended college-level courses over the last five years, an academic reference is required. Other references should be from a nursing supervisor, preferably with a degree higher than yours.
To submit references, input your referees' contact information (including email address) in the reference section on your application. Your referee will receive an email notification with log-in information to submit the reference online via the Graduate School automated system. The College of Nursing no longer accepts paper references.

Expectation:
Strong references without identification of significant threats to potential success.

4. Statement of Purpose or application essay

Expectation:
Coherent writing style with no grammatical errors; description of relevant work experience; clearly articulated reasons for applying to the M.S./Ph.D. program; research interests; long-term goals or career aspirations.

5. GREs are required (within five years).

Expectation:
50th percentile in each component of the exam.

6. The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 580 for the paper-based test, or a total score of 100 with a 25 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (IBT). The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 7.0.

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement if they have received a baccalaureate or graduate degree from a college/university/
institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

7. Sample of scholarly writing (publication or student paper demonstrating your scholarship)

Expectation:
Publication is not required; however, written work should reflect abilitly for disseminating scholarly work.

8. Curriculum vita

Expectation:
There is no required format. Selected format should provide an accurate presentation of relevant professional experiences.

Ph.D. Program

Applicants to the doctoral program are required to hold a baccalaureate degree from an NLNAC or CCNE accredited program. Doctoral applicants must be licensed to practice professional nursing in at least one state (or foreign country). Students entering the doctoral program via the traditional post-master's route must have earned a master's degree with a major in nursing from a program accredited by a national accrediting agency for nursing. Well-qualified doctoral applicants with a baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in a related discipline (e.g., public health) will be evaluated individually to assess the need for prerequisite master's-level course work in nursing for doctoral program admission. In order to be considered for admission, applications must be submitted to the Graduate School at Penn State.

1. Original official transcripts (two copies are required) of all previous course work from professional/undergraduate/graduate programs of study.

Expectation:
M.S. program of study—cumulative GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale; B.S. program of study—cumulative of 3.5 in all undergraduate nursing programs of study completed to date.

Transcripts should be mailed to the address at the bottom of this page.

2. Be licensed to practice professional nursing in Pennsylvania (or in a foreign country).

3. Three letters of reference are required. It is recommended that you obtain letters from academic and professional perspectives. If you attended college-level courses over the last five years, an academic reference is required. Other references should be from a nursing supervisor, preferably with a degree higher than yours.
To submit references, input your referees' contact information (including email address) in the reference section on your application. Your referee will receive an email notification with log-in information to submit the reference online via the Graduate School automated system. The College of Nursing no longer accepts paper references.

Expectation:
Strong references without identification of significant threats to potential success.

4. Statement of Purpose or application essay.

Expectation:
Coherent writing style with no grammatical errors; description of relevant work experience; clearly articulated reasons for applying to the doctoral program; research interests; and long-term goals or career aspirations.

5. GREs are required (within five years).

Expectation:
50th percentile in each component of the exam.

6. The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 580 for the paper-based test, or a total score of 100 with a 25 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 7.0.

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement if they have received a baccalaureate or graduate degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

7. Sample of scholarly writing (publication or student paper demonstrating your scholarship).

Expectation:
Publication is not required; however, written work should reflect ability for disseminating scholarly work.

8. Curriculum vita

Expectation:
There is no required format. Selected format should provide an accurate presentation of relevant professional experiences.

More Information

For more information on graduate study in nursing at Penn State, send an email to nursgrad@psu.edu or call or write:

Graduate Program
College of Nursing
The Pennsylvania State University
203 Health and Human Development East Building
University Park, PA 16802-6508

Phone: 1-814-863-2211

Application Request

To apply to the College of Nursing, please go to the Application Procedure page for more information.

GRE Prep Courses

Penn State offers low-cost GRE preparation courses to help students prepare for graduate admission tests. For more information, please visit the Career Services website.