Skip to content

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.

RN-to-BSN Concept-Based Curriculum (Fall 2019)

Concept-based curriculum (CBC) and teaching facilitates the development of high level thinking skills such as clinical reasoning, which is essential to effective nursing practice and the growth of the profession. 

Concepts enable the joining together of isolated facts. A few examples of concepts include safety, ethics, caring, informatics/technology, professionalism, and leadership The concepts are taught through the use of exemplars, which are sample cases of the concept that the nurse may experience in practice.

The baccalaureate nursing program is organized around key concepts. These concepts are categorized in 3 domains:

  • Healthcare Recipient
  • Health and Illness
  • Professional Nursing and Healthcare

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

The Application Process
Prospective students MUST apply to the 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.
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 are required to have a 2.5 cumulative grade point average (GPA) and a 2.0 or better for science pre-requisite courses: Anatomy and Physiology I & II and Microbiology (calculation is based on the highest grade achieved on the first or second attempt); Applicants must earn a C or better on all pre-requisite science coursework.
  • BSN and RN to BSN applicants must have completed their science pre-requisites within 5 years of the application date. 
  • For practicing RNs, there is no age limit on pre-requisite science courses.

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

Courses  Non-nurses (pre-licensure) with Bachelor's Degree RNs with Associate Degree or Nursing Diploma
 General Education Courses    
 English Composition 3 credits 3 credits
English Literature* 3 credits 3 credits
Humanities/Fine Arts** 3 credits 3 credits
Social/Behavioral Sciences** 3 credits 3 credits
American History*** 6 credits 6 credits
  Subtotal 18 credits
 General Education Electives    

Elective courses

(Natural Science/Mathematics Statistics - 3 credits preferred)

31 credits 31 credits
Prerequisite courses    
Human Anatomy & Physiology I/II (with lab)**** 8 credits
(with lab)
8 credits
(with lab)
Microbiology (with lab)**** 4 credits
(with lab)
4 credits
(with lab)
  Subtotal 12 credits
Minimum total semester credits completed prior to enrollment***** Bachelor's Degree or higher 60 (Non-nursing courses)
Required GPA 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.

**Students with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field are considered as having met the general education requirements, but must complete the required statistics, microbiology, and human anatomy & physiology courses.

***Students lacking the required one unit (one year) of American History from high school must complete six (6) credit hours of American History or three (3) credit hours of American History and three (3) credit hours of Tennessee History to fulfill the requirements in General Education.  Students who successfully completed one unit (one year) of American History in high school will need to complete six (6) credits of elective to have thirty (30) credit hours in General Education.  These six (6) credit hours may be, but are not required to be, in American History.

****Prelicensure BSN applicants must have completed their science pre-requisites within 5 years of the application date. RN to BSN applicants must have completed their science pre-requisites within 5 years of the application date. For practicing RNs, there is no age limit on pre-requisite science courses.

*****The preadmission semester credit requirements represent 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.

^ 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.

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).

Recommendation Forms and Statement

Applicant Instructions for References:

Please provide this information to assist your recommenders to complete your letters of recommendation. References are submitted through NursingCAS.

  • Describe why you believe the individual would be a good candidate for UTHSC College of Nursing Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) program.
  • Provide three strengths that will make the individual a success in the program.
  • Provide three areas for improvement for this student to be successful in the program.
  • If you did not complete the “RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING ADMISSION” rating in Nursing CAS, please describe if you recommend or not in your letter of reference.

Applicant Instructions for Essay:

Please address each item below:

  • Describe your interest in and motivation to obtain a BSN. 
  • Describe your professional goals for the next 5 years (career plan).
  • Describe three strengths that will make you successful as a BSN online student.
  • Describe three challenges that may impede your success in a BSN online program.
Other Important Criteria
  • Applicants 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 dismissed from other nursing programs are not eligible.
  • Applicants are required to disclose any misdemeanor or felony conviction.
  • Applicants must complete a successful criminal background check within the stated College of Nursing BSN program deadline..
  • Applicants are advised that extensive background checks (including fingerprinting) are conducted as part of the nursing licensing application process.
  • Applicants must complete a drug screen within the stated College of Nursing BSN program deadline.
  • Background checks and/or drug screens may be repeated during the student’s program of study.
Minimum Technical and Performance Standards for RN to 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 
Licenses and Certifications
  • Current unencumbered Tennessee RN license or have unencumbered authority to practice as an RN via the multi-state privilege (For RN to BSN applicants only)
  • Current Basic Life Support (CPR Certification) prior to UTHSC enrollment and maintained throughout UTHSC enrollment (preferably American Heart Association)
Computer  Requirement - Essential Computer Skills
  • Must own a web-connected device capable of running modern software and streaming media including web-conferencing applications such as ZOOM
  • Computer/web-based literacy skills expected
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)
  • Non-US citizen applicants must provide photocopy of immigration documentation showing “legal immigration status” (e.g., “Green Card”).

NursingCAS fees are $50 for RN to 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.

The criminal background check and drug screen fee is $162 for accepted RN to BSN students. Background checks and drug screens must be repeated during the student’s program of study.


Last Published: Mar 12, 2021