Graduate Entry FAQs

How long will it take to complete the program? May I attend part-time?

Once prerequisites are completed, the minimum time to complete the MS degree is three calendar years of full-time study. Part-time study is not an option for applicants to the program.

What kind of grades must I earn?

A minimum 3.0 GPA (B average) is required in all courses for both admission and retention by the Graduate School.

How is the Graduate Entry option different from the traditional BSN program followed by the MS program?

The pre-licensure nursing coursework and clinical practice meet the requirements of the Board of Nursing. This coursework is similar to the undergraduate curriculum. Much of the curriculum consists of unique graduate coursework that has been developed to meet the needs of the graduate entry student. Some graduate courses are taken with other traditional master’s students. A major difference involves time frame to completion and prerequisite courses completed prior to admission. Students do not receive a BSN. Upon completion of the program, students receive an MS in nursing.

Will mixing traditional students and non-nurses in the same courses be a disadvantage for non-nurses?

The common denominator across Graduate Entry students is a background in a discipline other than nursing. The diversity of education and experiences that Graduate Entry students bring provides a rich environment in which to share knowledge and to learn advanced nursing content. The faculty believe such learning opportunities help prepare professional nurses who can contribute to health care in new and challenging ways. The bulk of content and experiences are new for both traditional students and non-nurses in these courses.

I don’t know if I have the right background for this program. Are some undergraduate majors better prepared than others?

There is no one academic or experiential background that guarantees success in the Graduate Entry option or in nursing. We have students with such varied backgrounds as biology, history, psychology, sociology, business, nutrition, music, foreign language, public policy, and mathematics. Common characteristics across individuals in the Graduate Entry option include a strong motivation to work closely with people and an interest in a career with advancement opportunities. Nursing provides opportunities to achieve both goals, and the mix of backgrounds in the Graduate Entry option provides a stimulating environment in which to learn.

I’ve been out of school for more than 10 years. Is this too long to try such a rigorous program? Will I be competing with whiz kids or be viewed as too old?

Students in the program have completed previous degrees as long as 20 years ago and as recently as one semester ago. There is no perfect age for education. The ideal time is when the person is ready.

If I begin the traditional BSN program, can I later switch to the Graduate Entry option?

No. Students enrolled in Graduate Entry do not earn a BSN.

I’m not certain about the area of clinical concentration I want. Do I have to decide when I apply or can I change my mind without being penalized?

You must indicate your intended area of clinical concentration at the time of application. If you change your mind, you must petition to transfer to the desired concentration and go through that specialty’s application process. Take time to educate yourself about the different specialty options.

How many students are admitted to the Graduate Entry option?

The number that can be admitted is dependent on available spaces in the clinical courses. In 2018, 110 applicants out of 260 were offered admission.

Will I receive a BSN degree?

No, you will not receive a BSN. Upon completion of the program you will receive a MS in nursing. You will be able to sit for the NCLEX licensing exam when all required pre-licensure nursing courses are completed, after six quarters of full-time study.

How much weight is given the narrative part of the College of Nursing application and the references?

A great deal. The narrative part of the application is carefully considered. Write two to three, single-spaced pages to give thoughtful and complete information. Indicate your intended area of clinical specialization and explain your rationale for this choice. For references, it is recommended that you select persons who can speak to your academic abilities and to your aptitude and/or experience in health care or human services work.

What if my GPA is below 3.0?

The Ohio State University Graduate School has established a minimum GPA of 3.0 for admission. Because of the competitiveness of this program, it is extremely unlikely that applicants with a GPA below 3.0 will be admitted.

What other criteria are considered in the admission decision?

Indications of commitment to a career as a professional nurse, relevant past experiences, letters of recommendation, successful completion of prerequisite coursework, and a personal interview are considered.

Will I be able to work while going to school?

Although the coursework and clinicals are rigorous, especially in the first and second years, some Graduate Entry students do work part-time, usually no more than 10-15 hours per week. In the third year of study, some students choose to work part-time as registered nurses.

Can I work as a Teaching, Administrative, or Research Graduate Associate while I’m a student?

There are a very limited number of positions available for Graduate Entry students, depending on course load (see answer to previous question). Graduate Entry students must compete with other traditional graduate nursing students for these opportunities. Appointments are dependent upon background and experience.

Is financial aid available?

Yes, in very limited amounts. Students can apply for financial assistance in the form of scholarships and loans. Information and applications for financial aid are available from the financial aid overview page of this website.

When can I take the licensing exam to become a registered nurse?

Graduate Entry option students may take the NCLEX to become a registered nurse when all required pre-licensure nursing courses have been completed at the end of the second year of full-time study. Passing the exam results in licensure in Ohio. Students who leave the program after passing the NCLEX but before completing the MS program are not eligible to receive a BSN and may not be eligible for RN licensure in other states. Students who do complete the program, earning a MS in nursing, will be eligible for licensure and certification in all 50 states.

Where do I send my application materials?

All application materials should be uploaded to your online application. Once your application has been submitted you can continue to add materials to your application prior to the deadline by using the Admissions Uploader.

What is the application timeline?
  • Applications and all required materials must be received by the published application deadline.
    • We encourage you to submit your application and materials as early as possible.
  • After your application is submitted, it can take up to five business days for the status of all your materials to be updated on your application status webpage.
    • GRE scores can take up to 10 business days to post as completed.
  • We strongly encourage you to verify final completion of your application at least 5 business days prior to the deadline.
  • Any item still marked as incomplete by the deadline, regardless of the reason, may result in your application being removed from consideration.
  • An invitation for an interview will be sent to you via email a few weeks after the application deadline.
  • The College of Nursing will send you an email once applications have been sent to the faculty for review. This email will provide a more detailed timeline of when you can expect a decision on your application.
  • You can review the status of your application at anytime by visiting
Do I have to have all of the prerequisites completed when I apply?
  • Applicants applying for summer 2019 and beyond do need to have all their prerequisites completed at the time they apply.
  • All prerequisites must be completed with a grade of B- or higher
  • For additional information please see the prerequisites webpage.
Can I apply for more than one specialty area?

Applicants must pick one specialty area at the time of application. A list of specialty areas can be found here.

Is an interview required?

After the application deadline has passed, you will be contacted by the College of Nursing via email to complete an electronic interview. The interview will be used by the faculty during their review of applications.

How will my application be reviewed?

Applications are reviewed by the faculty after the application deadline has passed. We do not utilize a rolling admissions process. Applications are reviewed holistically in the following areas:

  • Academic History
  • Personal Statement
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Electronic interview
What should be included in the Purpose and Goals Statement?

Your statement should not exceed 3 single-spaced pages. The purpose and goals statement is an opportunity to introduce yourself and address the questions listed below and demonstrate your writing skills. Consideration is given to both the quality of your writing sample and the contributions of your experiences and attributes toward your goals with your selected specialty.

  • What specifically are your academic and career goals?
  • How did you decide to seek graduate education in this specialty area?
  • How do your attributes and life experiences relate to your potential as a master’s degree prepared nurse and/or advanced practice nurse?
  • How do you see yourself as a leader and advocate for patients in your future practice setting?
How are letters of recommendation submitted?

Recommendations should be submitted electronically. You will be asked to provide the names and email addresses of your recommenders on the online application. Once the application is submitted, an email will be automatically generated and sent to your recommenders with a link and further instruction on how to submit your letter of recommendation. We encourage you to submit your application in advance of the application deadline so that your recommenders have ample time to upload the letters of recommendation. You will be able to track the submission of your letter through your application status site.

What format should I use for my resume/CV?

You may use a similar format to what you would use for a job application.

What transcripts are needed and how should the transcripts be submitted?
  • Transcripts from all previous universities you attended should be submitted. This includes transcripts for any post-secondary courses taken during high school or other graduate programs.
  • Any transcripts from Ohio State do not need to be submitted. These will be pulled automatically.
  • Please note that all transcripts must be received, even if the coursework appears as transfer credit on another transcript.
  • Documents provided must be official transcripts or copies of official transcripts. Web based documents, online grade reports, and related materials are not acceptable.
  • You may submit your transcripts one of two ways.
  • You can upload a copy of an official transcript to the online application. If you are admitted, you will be asked to submit official copies at that time; or,
  • You may have official copies of your transcript sent directly to the Graduate Admissions Office. Please request your transcripts be sent early so they arrive before the deadline, if possible.

Transcripts can be sent to:

The Ohio State University
Graduate Admissions Office
P.O. Box 182004
Columbus OH 43218-2004

Please direct all transcript related questions to the Graduate Admissions Office at (614) 292-9444 or to the email stated above.

How is my GPA calculated?

Official GPAs are calculated by the university's Graduate Admissions Office. Instructions for how this calculation is completed can be found on the Graduate Admissions webpage. An official calculation cannot occur until after you have officially applied and all transcripts have been received and processed. The average grade point average of applicants who are admitted to the Graduate Entry nursing program is approximately 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.

Am I required to pay an acceptance fee?

All admitted applicants to the graduate nursing programs are required to pay a $250 non-refundable deposit upon acceptance of the offer. This deposit will be applied towards your first semester's tuition when you begin the program. The deposit will be forfeited should you decide not to attend the program.

Can I defer my acceptance?

No, we do not offer deferral of admittance to the Master of Science in Nursing program. If you are unable to begin your studies in the term to which you applied, you will be required to reapply in the future. 

I was not admitted last year. Can I apply again this year?

Yes, you can reapply by submitting a new application online. Once the new application is received by the College of Nursing, you will be sent an email asking what materials you would like to re-use. We encourage you to revise and submit new versions of all application materials.