Program Admission

Getting a graduate degree is a great opportunity to advance in your nursing career. You don’t want to miss a step when applying.

To make this process as easy as possible, here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need to do to be admitted to the Graduate Nursing program.

Apply to WSU's School of Graduate Studies

Before applying to enroll in the Department of Graduate Nursing, the first thing you need to do is apply to the School of Graduate Studies.

You’ll need to complete an online application, pay the application fee, and submit your official transcripts to be considered.

If you’ve been admitted to WSU’s School of Graduate Studies, then you’re ready to move on to the next application process.

Apply to the Department of Graduate Nursing

The next thing you'll need to do is select your desired program.

Then apply to the Department of Graduate Nursing for the Fall 2024 term using the online application system NursingCAS starting Aug. 15.

Once you’ve met the below criteria, you’re set to apply.


Earn qualifying degree & complete specialty coursework

For all Master’s degree and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree applicants, you must have:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a nationally-accredited program in nursing
  • Undergraduate courses in nursing research and statistics
  • Undergraduate coursework in physical assessment

For all Post-Master's DNP degree applicants, you must have:

  • Graduate degree from a nationally-accredited graduate program in nursing
  • Master’s courses in nursing research and statistics
  • Master’s coursework in organizational and systems leadership, nursing information management, and decision-making

Nursing and Organizational Leadership (NOL) and Practice and Leadership Innovations (PLI) Post-Master's DNP degree applicants must also have earned a master’s degree in nursing with a focus in administration and/or leadership.

For all post-graduate certificate applicants, you must have a graduate degree from a nationally-accredited graduate program in nursing.

For all nurse practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS) post-graduate certificate applicants, you must also complete the following advanced courses and coursework:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Health assessment (60 hours must be faculty supervised and include diagnostic reasoning)
  • Health promotion
  • Pharmacology (must have been within the last three years in some states for credentialing)

Gather your official transcript(s)

Make sure you have an official transcript from each attended institution demonstrating past education with a GPA of 3.0 or greater on a 4.0 scale.

Provisional Admission

Applicants who have a GPA less than 3.0 but are otherwise competitive in the applicant pool will be considered for provisional admission on an individual basis.

Students accepted provisionally must maintain a 3.0 graduate GPA for their first 12 semester credits, during which time they must take at least one of the following courses:

  • NURS 600 - Scientific and Ethical Foundations
  • NURS 606 - Nursing Information Management and Decision Making
  • STATS 601 - Statistical Methods

Take qualifying exam(s) & earn qualifying certification(s)

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) DNP degree and post-graduate certificate applicants must also:

  • Be Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certified through the American Heart Association.
  • Complete an electrocardiogram (ECG) interpretation course at their hospital workplace prior to beginning WSU clinical courses.

If you're an applicant whose first language isn't English, you may need to complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to qualify for admission.

Please stay up-to-date on international student requirements.


Have clinical nursing experience

A minimum of one year clinical nursing experience is recommended.

For all Post-Master's DNP degree applicants, minimum one year clinical nursing experience in functional master’s level role is recommended.

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) DNP degree and post-graduate certificate applicants must also have one year clinical practice experience in units that provide high acuity care with fast-paced decision making and complex procedures, like ER, ICU, and CUU.


Have a current, unencumbered license as a Registered Nurse

Minnesota licensure is typically required for all WSU clinical courses.

Other state licenses may also be required for clinical experience in those respective states according to state statute.

The following Post-Master's DNP degree applicants must present evidence of national certification as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN):

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Get two professional references

Your two references should be from people who can comment competently on your background and suitability for nursing graduate study.

At least one professional reference should be from someone who occupies the student’s chosen advanced practice nursing role, such as:

  • nurse practitioner
  • clinical nurse specialist
  • nurse educator
  • nurse administrator or leader

Create a professional resume & write a goal statement

Follow our guidelines when putting together your resume (PDF) and statement of professional and personal goals (PDF) to ensure your application is done correctly.

For all DNP degree applicants, please also provide a clinical practice question (PDF) that you’re most interested in studying during your clinical scholarship courses. This question will be a part of your goal statement.

Be prepared to explain why your clinical question is important for graduate nursing students to answer and offer ideas for the best clinical setting within which your question can be answered.


Prep for your interview

You may be required to have a personal interview with Graduate Nursing faculty, so be ready to talk about what makes you a great candidate for your desired program.

You got this!