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RN to BSN Admission Requirements

BSN students in training.


You can apply for the RN to BSN program with an associate degree or diploma in nursing and 60 non-nursing college credits. You have two choices for classes. You have the option for fully online, on campus or a hybrid of the two. Upon graduation from our online 12-month full-time or 17-month part time program, you will have earned your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. 

These are the major areas considered in admissions decisions. 

  • College academic preparation and achievement
  • Professional recommendations
  • Personal statement included in the NursingCAS application

Acceptances will be offered based on all the criteria listed above with no single criterion having more importance than another.

Please Note: Applicants who meet the minimum program requirements are not guaranteed interviews or admission.

Application Guidelines

Part 1: The Application Process
Prospective students MUST apply to the RN to BSN program through NursingCAS, a national nursing centralized application service endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Specific instructions are provided on the UTHSC NursingCAS Info page.
Part 2: Prerequisites/Degree Requirements
  • The total academic performance is critically evaluated with attention given to the source, course load, and trends in performance, as well as, to the general commitment of scholarship. See table below for pre-requisite courses.
  • RN to BSN applicants must earn a C or better on all pre-requisite science coursework, Anatomy and Physiology I & II and Microbiology (calculation is based on the highest grade achieved on the first or second attempt).
  • RNs must have completed their pre-requisites within 10 years of application date if not currently practicing as an RN.

RNs: Associate's degree or diploma from an accredited school of nursing with 60-61 semester hours of general education (non-nursing) college credits.

Admission Criteria: Re-requisites


with 60 or More
College Credits

with Bachelor’s Degree 
RNs with
Associate Degree
or Nursing Diploma 
*Human Anatomy &
Physiology I/II(with lab) 
8 credits (with lab)   8 credits (with lab)   8 credits (with lab)  
 *Microbiology (with lab) 3-4 credits (with lab)   3-4 credits (with lab)   3-4 credits (with lab)  
Statistics  3 credits   3 credits   3 credits  
English  6 credits 6 credits 6 credits  
**History  6 credits   6 credits   6 credits  
6 credits   6 credits   6 credits  
6 credits   6 credits   6 credits  
Minimum total
semester credits
completed prior to
60-61   120-121 (Bachelor’s
Degree or higher)***
 60-61 (Non-nursing
Required GPA   3.0 3.0 2.5

* English Composition I and II and First Year Writing coursework may be evaluated for consideration of 6 hour English Composition and Literature requirement. Courses in literature maybe used to fulfill the Humanities/Fine Arts requirement.

** An American History requirement must be met. This can be met by completing a year of high school American (US) History or 6 college credits of US History.

*** Students must complete courses that fulfill the Behavioral/Social Sciences and Humanities/Fine Arts general education requirements. Examples of courses that meet the Behavioral/Social Sciences requirements include (but are not limited to): Sociology, Psychology, Economics, Political Sciences, Anthropology, Women’s Studies, Global Studies. Examples that meet the Humanities/Fine Arts requirements include (but are not limited to): History, Foreign Languages, Anthropology, Western Civilizations, Art Appreciation, Theater, Dance, Art History, Literature, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. Science courses over 10 years will not be accepted for non-nursing prerequisites or electives.

^ The prerequisite semester credit requirement represents post-high school, non-nursing, collegiate academic studies with a grade of “C” or higher, from regionally accredited colleges and universities. The prerequisite courses in the tables are not offered by UTHSC College of Nursing.

All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to beginning studies at the UT Health Science Center (UTHSC), but do not need to be completed prior to application. Students who have been dismissed from another nursing program are not eligible for admission.

Part 3: Official Transcript

Official transcripts from every college/university you have attended will be needed to complete your on-line application through NursingCAS. In addition, you will need to request that a copy of your transcript also be sent to NursingCAS for verification.

Transcripts from any non-U.S. institution must be sent to and verified by a NACES accredited agency, for example, the World Education Services (WES).

Part 4: Recommendation Forms & Statement

Professional recommendations allow further insight into the values and motivation of the applicants. Three recommendations from academic and work related professionals are required to support the applicant’s ability to successfully complete the program and perform in the role.

An applicant's interest in and motivation to obtain a BSN, in order to become a professional nurse, is an important factor in the admissions decision.

Applicants are required to provide NursingCAS with the names and addresses of three (3) persons who can address their ability to successfully complete the program -- of the three, two (2) are faculty members and one (1) is an employer.

Part 5: Other Important Criteria

 Students who were previously enrolled, but did not complete a nursing program, must submit a letter of good standing from the Director of the Nursing Program.

 Applicants must complete a successful criminal background check and drug screen within 30 days of official acceptance to the BSN Program. Background checks and drug screens may be repeated during the student’s program of study.

  • Individuals dismissed from other nursing programs are not eligible.
    Successful background check must be completed prior to enrollment. Individuals are required to disclose any misdemeanor or felony conviction.
  • Applicants are advised that extensive background checks (including fingerprinting) is conducted as part of the nursing licensing application process. Individuals with criminal records may not be eligible to sit for the RN licensing exam.
  • Applicants must complete a drug screen within 30 days of official acceptance to the RN to BSN program. Drug screens may be repeated during the student’s program of study.
Part 6: Minimum Performance Standards for BSN Applicants
  • Critical thinking sufficient for clinical judgment;
  • Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, groups, and populations from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds;
  • Communication abilities sufficient for verbal written interaction with others. Speak, write and comprehend the English language proficiently;
  • Use computer to word process, email, and access the World Wide Web;
  • Physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room, walk in hallways, maneuver in small spaces, and the strength necessary to lift and transfer patients, including the ability to exert up to 50 lbs. occasionally and 25 lbs. of force frequently. Physical activities include climbing, pushing, standing, reaching, grasping, kneeling, stooping, and repetitive motion;
  • Gross and fine motor abilities with good balance and coordination sufficient to provide safe and effective nursing care.
  • Auditory ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs;
  • Visual ability, with close visual acuity including color, depth perception, and field of vision sufficient for observation and assessment necessary in nursing care;
  • Tactile ability and manual dexterity sufficient for physical assessment and to provide nursing intervention including manipulating equipment necessary for providing nursing care. 
Part 7: Certifications
  • Current RN license (For RN applicants only)
  • Current Basic Life Support (CPR Certification) prior to UTHSC enrollment and maintained throughout UTHSC enrollment 
Part 8: Laptop & Tablet Required; Essential Computer Skills
  • Must own a web-connected laptop.
  • Computer/web-based literacy skills expected.
  • Once accepted, students will referred to the UTHSC College of Nursing Computer and Software Requirements
Part 9: Native Tongue not English (TOEFL scores required)
  • Evidence of English proficiency is mandatory part of application process
  • Official minimum TOEFL Score earned within two (2) years prior to application to College of Nursing
  • Three versions of TOEFL: Paper-based Test (minimum score 550), Computer-based (minimum score 213), and Internet/web-based (minimum score 80).
  • If Not a U.S. Citizen:
    • Applicant must provide photocopy of immigration documentation showing “legal immigration status” (e.g., “Green Card”).
    • Copy of Immigration Status Doc. 
Part 10: Fees

NursingCAS fees are $45 for BSN. After acceptance, students are required to submit a $75 Application Processing Fee and a $200 Guaranteed Enrollment Deposit (GED). The GED, a non-refundable fee due within 30 days of acceptance, is held in escrow and applied to the student’s first term of study.

Applicants must complete a successful criminal background check and drug screen within 30 days of official acceptance to the BSN Program. The fee is $162 for accepted BSN students. Background checks and drug screens must be repeated during the student’s program of study.



RN to BSN Partnership Enrollment Programs

RN-BSN Partnerships. Logos of UTHSC, Southwest, and Dyersburg State.

These programs are designed for students who complete the Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing (AAS) at Southwest Tennessee Community College and Dyersburg State Community College.  After acquiring a license as a Registered Nurse (RN), these students can automatically be enrolled in the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Nursing’s RN to BSN program to complete requirements for a baccalaureate degree.

Partnership Enrollment Program Requirements

Students must:

  • Currently be enrolled in the Nursing program, generic track, AAS at Southwest Tennessee Community College or Dyersburg State Community College
  • Successfully complete all second semester nursing courses
  • Complete UTHSC College of Nursing Agreement Intent to Enroll form
  • Complete the associate degree (AAS) with a minimum overall combined 2.0 GPA (as computed by the UTHSC College of Nursing)

While completing courses at Southwest or Dyersburg State, students may access:

  • Academic and career advisement from both SWTCC and UTHSC Nursing faculty
  • Access to the UTHSC library and visiting lectures
  • Free group tutoring for UTHSC Nursing courses

Other benefits:

  • Guaranteed admission to UTHSC College of Nursing’s RN to BSN program
  • UTHSC admission fee waived
  • Regional out-of-state tuition discount
  • Pre-registration priority for UTHSC Nursing courses (following UTHSC admission) 

Apply Early!

Please do not wait until the night before a program deadline to submit your application. You should apply before the earliest deadline of the program(s) that you are applying to. This will allow the necessary time to verify and process your application. Please consult the main Future Students page for important application and admission dates.

Last Published: Sep 22, 2017