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Graduate Admissions

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. 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 Ph.D. 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 masters-level coursework in nursing for doctoral program admission.

Transcript Requirements: Contact your postsecondary institution(s) to request official copies of transcripts for all previous coursework, which you will receive in signed/sealed envelopes. Once opened, they become unofficial copies of official transcripts (since the seal has been broken). Upload both sides of these unofficial copies to your application. (Note: These are different from “advising transcripts” or “degree audits,” which are not considered acceptable transcripts.)

If your former institution sends electronic copies of transcripts, you may upload these directly into your application.

If you are admitted, the Graduate School will require you to send formal signed/sealed official copies of transcripts from each institution. These will be requested only after you are admitted to the program.

For full admission requirements for each degree program, consult the Graduate Bulletin

  1. Transcripts: Upload scanned copies (both sides) of official transcripts of all previous coursework from professional/undergraduate programs of study.
    1. M.S.N. 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.)
    2. M.S. (B.S.N. to Ph.D.)—A cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) for the baccalaureate degree is expected with a B or better in all science and nursing courses. College-level statistics is also required.
    3. B.S.N. to D.N.P.—Applicants are expected to have a cumulative undergraduate grade-point average of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale). College-level statistics is also required.
    4. Ph.D. or D.N.P.—A cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) for master’s and subsequent course work is expected.
  2. Letters of Reference: Online references (two for M.S.N.; three for DNP/PhD/MS-to-PhD) should be solicited from professional supervisor/employer, who can attest to the applicant’s ability. If you completed 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.
  3. Personal/Goals Statement: All applicants must submit a statement of purpose. Coherent writing style with no grammatical errors is expected. A description of relevant work experience, clearly articulated reasons for applying to the doctoral program, research interests, and long-term goals or career aspirations should be included.
  4. TOEFL or IELTS: For the College of Nursing, the minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 580 for the paper-based test or a total score of 80 with a 25 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 7.0.

See the requirements for graduate admissions for additional information

Licensure:

  1. M.S.N. Nurse Practitioner options must hold a current Pennsylvania license to practice professional nursing.
  2. M.S.N. nurse educator and nurse administrator options applicants must hold a current license to practice professional nursing in at least one U.S. state or a foreign country.
  3. D.N.P. applicants must hold a current license to practice professional nursing in at least one U.S. state or a foreign country.
  4. M.S. applicants from the U.S. must hold a current Pennsylvania license to practice professional nursing. M.S. applicants who are international, must be licensed to practice professional nursing in at least one state or a foreign country.
  5. Ph.D. applicants must be licensed to practice professional nursing in at least one state or a foreign country.

Additional requirement for doctoral applicants:

  1. Scholarly Writing: All applicants must submit a published or unpublished scientific paper, thesis, or other scholarly writing sample.
  2. Curriculum Vita(résumé): Applicants must submit a curriculum vitae. There is no required format; the selected format should provide an accurate presentation of relevant professional experiences.
  3. GRE Scores**: Required for admission to the M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs. GRE scores are not required for D.N.P. applicants, but if the scores are submitted to Penn State, they will be reviewed as part of the application. GREs must be taken within five years of the application. The 50th percentile in each component of the exam is expected.
  4. Interviews: Doctoral applicants will be contacted by the College of Nursing to schedule a required interview (either in person or via Internet-based videoconferencing).

 

* Applicants interested in applying to the dual-title Ph.D. in Nursing and Bioethics or dual-title Ph.D. in Nursing and Clinical and Translation Sciences must be accepted into the Ph.D. program in Nursing prior to applying for admission to the dual-title program.

Application

To be considered for admission to the Penn State Graduate School and the Penn State College of Nursing, you must complete the Penn State Graduate School Application. Doctoral applicants who have already completed a master’s degree at Penn State should contact the graduate program office (814-863-2211) for information about the application process.

For information about application fees, please visit the Graduate School’s Requirements for Graduate Admission page

Due Dates for Degree Applications

M.S.N. Nurse Educator and Nurse Administrator applications for all options (including all transcripts, references, and goal statements) must be complete by September 15 for spring admission or February 15 for summer/fall admission.

M.S.N. Nurse Practitioner applications for all options (including all transcripts, references, and goal statements) must be completed by February 15 for summer or fall admission.

D.N.P. applications must be complete (including all transcripts, references, CV, writing sample, and goal statement) by February 15 for fall admission.

*M.S. and Ph.D. applications are reviewed upon completion. Applications (including all transcripts, references, CV, writing sample, GRE, and goal statement) must be complete by November 15 for spring and July 1 for fall admission.

*B.S.N. to Ph.D. (must apply to the M.S. degree program), M.S., M.S.N. (Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner), and Ph.D.: When you begin the application, on the page titled Campus, Major, Degree, and Semester, choose University Park as your campus, since this is where the program originates.

M.S.N. Nurse Practitioner: Later in the application, in the section titled Nursing Program–Specific Questions, applicants will be asked to select the campus location where they plan to attend the program (options University Park, Hershey Medical Center, Fayette, Scranton, Shenango- Acute care option is only offered at the Hershey Medical Center).

M.S.N. Nurse Educator and Nurse Administrator options and D.N.P.: When you begin the application, on the page titled Campus, Major, Degree, and Semester, choose World Campus as your campus. For the D.N.P., under Option, choose None.

Graduate Certificates

The College of Nursing offers the following certificates

  • Post-graduate Nurse Practitioner Certificate (offered at University Park, Hershey Medical Center, Fayette, Scranton, and Shenango Campuses)
    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Hershey Medical Center only)
      • Application deadline April 1
      • When you begin the application, on the page titled Campus, Major, Degree, and Semester, choose University Park as your campus.
      • In the section titled NURSING—Program-Specific Questions, you will be able to pick the campus where you will be attending classes.
  •  Gerontology Certificate (online)
    • Application deadlines November 15 for spring; July 1 for fall
    • When you begin the application, on the page titled Campus, Major, Degree, and Semester, choose University Park as your campus
  •  Primary Palliative Care (online)
    • Application deadlines November 15 for spring; July 1 for fall
    • When you begin the application, on the page titled Campus, Major, Degree, and Semester, choose University Park as your campus
  •  Geriatric Nursing Education – Post-Masters (online)
    • Application deadlines November 15 for spring; July 1 for fall
    • When you begin the application, on the page titled Campus, Major, Degree, and Semester, choose World Campus as your campus
  • Nurse Educator (online)
    • Application deadlines November 15 for spring; July 1 for fall
    • When you begin the application, on the page titled Campus, Major, Degree, and Semester, choose World Campus as your campus
  • Nurse Administrator (online)
    • Application deadlines November 15 for spring; July 1 for fall
    • When you begin the application, on the page titled Campus, Major, Degree, and Semester, choose World Campus as your campus

For admission requirements for certificates see Graduate Certificates.

For information about application fees, please visit the Graduate School’s Requirements for Graduate Admission page.

For admission, complete the Penn State graduate certificate application by visiting the Graduate School Admissions and Program Information Portal.

For Additional Information

If you have any questions concerning the application procedures, please write, call, or e-mail:

Graduate Programs
College of Nursing
The Pennsylvania State University
203 Nursing Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802-6508

814-867-5026

nursgrad@psu.edu