The Catholic University of America

  B.S.N. Program Admissions Criteria

Admission to the Basic B.S.N. Program

Baccalaureate students admitted to CUA who are considering a career in Nursing are matriculated into the Nursing Exploratory Program housed in the School of Arts and Sciences:

  1. Students admitted to the University and matriculated into the Nursing Exploratory Program. 

  2. During the two years in the Nursing Exploratory Program, students pursue a general liberal education, take foundational science and math courses, and learn about the vocation of nursing through selected courses. The liberal arts courses that we have selected do not only meet the requirements of the School of Arts and Sciences, but also the Baccalaureate Essentials in Nursing(2008) promulgated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Nursing Exploratory students will be intensively advised by an Undergraduate Advisor from the Undergraduate Advising Center. Our aim is that all students admitted into the Nursing Exploratory Program graduate from CUA in four years.

  3. Nursing Exploratory students are invited to participate in a variety of programs, including the Spanish for Healthcare Certificate Program, the Population Health curriculum for nurses, and the National Student Nurses Association.

  4. Students are continually reviewed their first two years in the School of Arts and Sciences. If they do not meet the Cumulative and Science GPA requirements in #5 (below) or if they have not completed the freshman program plan (outlined below), their entire record will be evaluated to determine if they can continue in the Nursing Exploratory Program. 

  5. At the completion of 60 credit hours, CUA Nursing Exploratory students who meet ALL of the following criteria will be admitted into the upper division BSN program:

    1. CUA Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
    2. Overall CUA Science GPA (BIO 232, BIO 233, BIO 223, CHEM 109, CHEM 119) of at least 2.75. All of these courses must be attempted once at CUA. A student may repeat no more than one science course.  An attempt is defined as enrollment in a class with the following indication on a transcript a) course grade, b) incomplete = I, c) Withdraw = W.
    3. Successful completion of HESI entrance exam during the fall semester of the sophomore year, with a minimum composite score of 75% and 75% or higher on the science, English and math composite scores. 
  6. Students who are not admitted to the upper division BSN program will be assisted by their advisor in identifying another plan of studies at CUA.

In addition to the university requirements, high school courses in biology and chemistry are required. Admission to the school is competitive.  Undergraduate admissions to the School of Nursing are coordinated by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.


Admission to the Second Degree B.S.N. Program

The School of Nursing is one of our most competitive schools and with a small class size we encourage you to apply early. 


Admission requirements for second degree students include:

  1. A baccalaureate or higher degree earned with the past 10 years with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or greater and a transcript indicating completion of an academic degree with a Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate, earned within the past 10 years.  
  2. The required average science GPA must be 2.75 or greater.  The science courses used in the calculation of the average science GPA are Human Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Organic Chemistry.
  3. Successful completion of HESI entrance exam during the fall semester of the sophomore year, with a minimum composite score of 75% and 75% or higher on the science, English and math composite scores.  Applicants must also submit official test scores from the HESI Admissions Assessment Exam. Instructions can be found here. Test scores must be within six months prior to dated application. Students are allowed only one attempt per one year application period. 
  4. The required prerequisite courses for admissions (along with the degree) are:
  • 8 semester hours in human anatomy and physiology with a laboratory
  • 3 credits in microbiology with a laboratory
  • 3 credits in human growth and development
  • 4 credits in organic/biochemistry with a laboratory
  • 3 credits of basic statistics
  • 3 credits of human nutrition

Applicants are encouraged to obtain professional letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic ability and professional performance.  All applications are reviewed on an individual case by case basis. 

Acceptance into the program option is not based solely on GPA and number of transfer credits, but also on evaluation of the applicant's goal statement and references. Interviews may be requested by the School of Nursing.

Students enrolled in the traditional nursing program at CUA, who obtain a non-progressive grade in any course are not permitted to apply, enroll or be accepted in the second-degree nursing program at CUA.

The deadline for applications is May 15th.

Students for Whom English is a Second Language

Baccalaureate nursing programs have intensive academic requirements and a heavy practice component.  They require proficiency in written and spoken English and familiarity with the educational system in the United States, particularly in terms of teaching and testing methods.  In addition, a broad background in liberal-studies and the humanities is necessary to develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills required to function as a professional nurse in the health care system in the United States.

Admission into the School of Nursing, subsequent course load, and length of program will be determined based on a review of the transcript evaluation, TOEFL score, and an English placement examination.  Enrollment in intensive English courses may be necessary to progress in the nursing program.

Requesting a transcript evaluation from an approved educational evaluation service is the responsibility of the student and this evaluation must be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions by the transcript evaluation service.  It must include an English translation and a course-by-course evaluation, as well as credential evaluation.

All students for whom English is a second language must complete the English placement examination offered by the university regardless of the completion of English courses at other institutions.  Recommendations based on the English placement examination must be satisfied for progression into the nursing program.