Uthsc Nursing Admissions Essays

What are my chances for admission into the College of Nursing?
Admission to the College of Nursing is highly competitive. The number and the quality of applicants will determine the competitiveness of the applicant pool.

What factors are considered in the freshman application review process?
The faculty admission committee seeks to enroll students who, beyond meeting the university’s eligibility requirements, demonstrate high academic achievement, evidence of integrity and personal maturity, and significant school and community involvement and leadership activities, and who represent a broad diversity of cultural, racial, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. While a high grade point average, ACT or SAT composite, sub scores help the competitiveness of an application, it does not guarantee admission as the applications are reviewed on a holistic basis and considers not only metrics, but student attributes and experiences as well.


Are preferences given to any population in the admissions process?
No. Faculty are concerned that students have established the academic foundation that is essential for success in our program.

Does the university accept credit for AP or IB or CLEP exams?
Yes. The scores necessary for credit for each exam are outlined on the University Registrar’s website.

Does the university accept credit for dual enrollment courses?
The University of Tennessee will accept transfer credit of similar content from any two- or four-year accredited institutions, normally institutions with regional accreditation status in the United States. Students from non-US colleges or universities should consult the transfer evaluators in the Office of the University Registrar for transfer eligibility. College transcripts are evaluated after a student is admitted to the university and typically are completed several weeks after the student is admitted. Credits that are not acceptable for transfer include courses that are remedial, occupational, technical, noncredit, or career coursework used for the applied science degree from career and technical programs. For more information regarding dual enrollment and transfer credit transfer, see Transfer Credit Policies and Procedures.

Note: Freshman applicants who anticipate earning more than 45 hours of dual enrollment credits or anticipate earning an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree upon high school graduation must contact the College of Nursing Student Services Office once they have submitted a freshman application to the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Does the University of Tennessee accept the SAT or ACT exam?
Either exam is acceptable; the university does not have a preference for one over the other. The ACT college code for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is 4026. The SAT college code is 1843.

How long does it take to receive a decision on applications?
Applications for direct admission to the nursing major will be sent to the College of Nursing once the application is complete (with all transcripts, test scores, recommendation letters, etc.) and then will be reviewed by the Nursing Faculty Admission Committee. The Nursing Faculty Admission Committee meets on a rolling basis from September through December to review the freshman pool of applications for nursing. Once the application has been received by the College of Nursing, decisions are generally made in four to six weeks.

How can I check the status of my application to the College of Nursing?
After you apply, check your application status online through your VIP account. Your VIP account will also list any documents such as official transcripts or test scores that UT hasn’t yet received. Keep in mind that transcripts and other documents might take a while to show up in the system. Please direct all follow-up questions and concerns to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at 865-974-2184.

Can I schedule an individual meeting with an advisor in the College of Nursing Student Services Office to discuss my application?
Due to the volume of applications received, the advising staff is not able to meet individually with potential freshman applicants to answer questions about the program. Freshman applicants are encouraged to attend a High School Open House to learn about the College of Nursing and the competitive admissions process.

I was admitted to another college within the University of Tennessee but would like to change my major to nursing. How can I request this change?
Before the final freshman application deadline of December 15, a student who was admitted to another college within the University of Tennessee but decides to apply to the Nursing major can do so by making a written request to their undergraduate admissions counselor. Students will be asked to compose a nursing statement. Once the written request and nursing statement are complete, the application will be sent to the College of Nursing for review by the Nursing Faculty Admission Committee. Please note that nursing is a competitive major and the change of major and admission to nursing are not guaranteed.

After the final freshman application deadline of December 15, a student admitted to another college within the University of Tennessee who decides to request a change in major to nursing will need to apply through the change of major/transfer application process.

What if I am not admitted into the nursing major?
It is possible for students who have applied to the nursing major to be admitted to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, but not the College of Nursing; if this happens, students will be evaluated for admission to their second-choice major. Students not admitted to the program as a freshman can reapply through the change of major application process during spring semester of their sophomore year. See Change of Major and Transfer Student Admissions for more information.

Is there a wait list for freshman direct admission?
Yes, the College of Nursing will establish a freshman direct admission waitlist for Fall 2018. Since we have capacity for only a set number of students in the freshman class, many applicants will not receive offers of freshman admission. A wait list is developed so that applicants may be offered admission if spaces become available in the freshman class.

Applicants that are placed on the waitlist for admission to the College of Nursing will be reviewed by Undergraduate Admissions for admission to the University of Tennessee and the second major of choice listed on the application. We understand that applicants are eager to have a final decision regarding their application, and the College of Nursing plans to make any offers of admission from the waitlist by April 2018.

Applicants may submit updated high school transcripts and submit new test scores if applicable to the Undergraduate Admissions Office which will be added to your application (please do not send application updates to the College of Nursing), however, since offering students admission from the wait list depends on space, additional letters of recommendation or personal visits will not affect the application decision.

Other Questions? Please contact us:

College of Nursing Student Services Office
1200 Volunteer Boulevard, Room 203
Knoxville, TN 37996-4180
Telephone: 865-974-7606
Fax: 865-974-3569
Email: CONadvising@utk.edu

The application requirement checklist applies to applicants to College of Nursing MSN, DNP, and PhD programs.

A completed online graduate application for admission with application fee

When completing the online application, located on the UT Graduate Admissions website, identify the College of Nursing (NURS) as the college for which you are applying and select the specific program (MSN, DNP, PhD, or Graduate Certificate].

In addition, the following components must be included and uploaded to the online application:

Self-reported competitive GRE scores

MSN and DNP applicants:The GRE is not required for application to the MSN or DNP programs for applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 3.3 or higher. However, applicants with an undergraduate GPA lower than 3.3 must take the GRE.

PhD applicants: The GRE is required for application to the PhD program.

Graduate certificate applicants:The GRE is not required for application to the Graduate Certificate program.


The purpose of this four- to five-page double-spaced essay is for the Review Committee to gain insight into applicants’ professional goals and expectations and evaluate their written communication skills. For the essay, describe your professional goals and how the program and chosen concentration will enhance your future roles and activities. Additionally, describe the ways that graduate education will help you achieve your nursing career goals. Describe reasons for selecting this college and professional degree.

Applicants should include a copy of a resume or CV, or combine the essay and CV and upload them as one PDF document.

The following criteria are used to evaluate the essay:

  1. Ability to clearly and succinctly articulate career goals.
  2. Ability to conceptualize how graduate education will assist in meeting career goals.
  3. Ability to demonstrate writing competence.

BSN–DNP/PhD applicants:Include a brief description of the proposed area of study for the final project. Areas of interest may change as you progress through the program. Please also address in the essay why you are pursuing the advanced practice area in your chosen concentration.

Current UT Law students applying for the Health Policy Graduate Certificate:In place of an essay, upload PDF documentation with the following text: “Essay requirement for UT Law students is waived. Authorized by College of Nursing Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.”

Writing Sample (for PhD applicants only)

A sample of scholarly writing (for example, a thesis or published paper) is required. Please upload your essay and writing sample as one PDF. If the file is too large to upload, please send a clearly identifiable email with attachment directly to the College of Nursing Student Services Office (CONgrad@utk.edu).

Licenses (MSN; select graduate certificate, DNP, and PhD applicants; and other master’s-prepared nurses

Applicants must hold or be eligible for licensure to practice nursing as a registered nurse (that is, licensed in Tennessee, one of the interstate compact states, or in rare exceptions within a different state of residence). A copy of all nursing licenses is required (Tennessee RN/APN, and/or national certificates and/or licenses from a compact state). Please upload multiple licenses as one PDF.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate applicants: Nursing licenses are not required for application to the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate program (Health Policy Graduate Certificate).

BSN degree—For MSN, select graduate certificate, DNP, and PhD applicants

A BSN is required for admission to the MSN, Clinical Graduate Certificate, DNP, and PhD programs. The BSN must be from a program accredited by the National Accrediting Commission or the Collegiate Commission on Nursing Education. Applicants who have not yet completed a BSN should reference this in the essay indicating an expected date of graduation.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate applicants:A BSN and/or MSN degree is not required for application to the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program (Health Policy Graduate Certificate).

Official transcripts and degree confirmation from a regionally accredited university

Official or unofficial transcripts from all previous colleges and universities attended, except the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are required when applying. Applicants will upload scanned transcripts to the online application.

Official transcripts are required after being formally accepted into a nursing program. When submitting the online application, it is advised that you request that all previous university official transcripts be sent directly to the UT Graduate Admissions office. Failure to submit official transcripts to UT will result in a class registration restriction. All transcript issues are handled strictly by the UT Graduate School.

Please note that degrees  from only a college or university accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting agency and nursing accrediting agencies (NLN/AACN) are acceptable. Questions about which colleges and universities are regionally accredited should be directed to the Graduate Admissions office. All transcript issues are handled strictly by the UT Graduate School.

The UT Graduate Admissions Office outlines the GPA requirement to be eligible for admission to the Graduate School:

U.S. degree holders must have earned a 2.7 out of a possible 4.0 GPA or a minimum of 3.0 during the senior year of undergraduate study. Foreign degree holders must have earned a minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or other equivalent to a B average. If you have completed previous graduate course work, you must have a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4-point scale or equivalent.

NOTE: Eligibility for admission to the Graduate School does not equal eligibility for admission to the College of Nursing.

Current UT Law students applying for Health Policy Graduate Certificate:Students must be in good academic standing with a minimum 2.0 GPA as defined by the UT College of Law.


MSN (or other master’s-prepared nurses) and BSN–DNP applicants must complete 3 hours of graduate-level statistics prior to enrollment; this requirement may be met after a student has been accepted into the MSN program by registering for Nursing 511 (offered only at UT, typically offered summer and fall) or a previously approved course at another institution. Please see more information about our statistics requirement.

Reference forms

References are considered a critical component of the formal application to nursing graduate study. Applicants submit the names and email addresses of three professional references. These individuals will receive an electronic reference form to complete and return directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions. The reference form should be completed by persons familiar with the applicant’s academic and/or professional qualifications and with the applicant’s plans for graduate study in the College of Nursing.

An acceptable professional reference is defined as an individual having the desired degree or higher who is in an evaluative/managerial role as one who can adequately assess your abilities. Applications must include a minimum of one academic reference and one supervisor reference.

When choosing references, consider individuals who may speak to some of the following: academic ability and readiness; quality of work; integrity, leadership and preparedness for the profession; and communication skills.

Nurse Anesthesia applicants:Three reference forms are required from the following: 1) a former nursing professor who is familiar with the applicant’s academic work 2) an immediate work superior (that is, nurse manager) 3) a physician who works directly with the applicant.

NOTE: Reference forms will not be accepted from medical residents, fellows, clinical preceptors, team leaders, or clinical nursing/unit educators.

References from friends and family are not considered professional references and, if used, can result in an application being considered incomplete. This may result in denial of admission.

Current UT Law students applying for Health Policy Graduate Certificate:Applicants are not required to submit reference forms. Leave that section blank on online application and do not submit forms.

*References must return their forms electronically no later than the application deadline of February 1 (MSN, DNP, and PhD) and October 1 (Graduate Certificate).

Self-reported TOEFL or IELTS scores—for non-native English speakers ONLY

Applicants much achieve a TOEFL score of at least 550 on the paper test or 80 on the Internet-based test if their native language is not English. A 6.5 is required on the IELTS. Official scores are required prior to admission.

Without acceptable scores, an English language conditional admit is available only for the Health Policy Certificate program. This conditional admit is for exceptional students and requires formal petition to the nursing program chair after applicant has submitted completed application.

Special admission guide for international graduate students—for international applicants ONLY

In addition to the requirements listed here, international students must meet all International Studentadmission requirements, found on the UT Graduate Admissions website. Prospective students are encouraged to review and be familiar with the admission requirements of the UT Graduate School and the College of Nursing before contacting the College of Nursing.

After Submitting an Online Application

After submitting the online graduate school application to the University  of Tennessee, applicants should complete the following:

Application status checker

Applicants should check the status of their application by using the Graduate Application status page. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure application completion prior to the application deadline. To ensure proper submission of transcripts and other application materials, applicants must check with Graduate Admissions. Once applications have passed first review and are deemed admissible by the UT Graduate School, they are automatically forwarded to the College of Nursing.

Interview—Nurse Anesthesia, DNP, and PhD applicants ONLY

The Review Committee contacts selected applicants for a formal interview.

Reference forms

It is the applicant’s responsibility to check their application status online through Graduate Admissions to see if reference forms have been received. References must return their forms electronically no later than the application deadline of January 15 (MSN, DNP and PhD) and October 1 (Graduate Certificate).

Do NOT contact the College of Nursing to inquire if reference forms have been received. It is your responsibility as the applicant to ensure that this requirement has been met. You can check the status of your forms and send reminder messages to your references through the Graduate Application status page.

**An application will be considered complete and added to the review pool ONLY after (1) the application has been deemed admissible by the Graduate School and forwarded to the College of Nursing and (2) all required reference forms have been submitted to the College of Nursing.**

Final Notes

Remember, it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all materials have been submitted properly to the appropriate offices before the posted program deadline. Late and/or incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Questions about the status of an application should be directed to the Graduate School first. However, if you have questions about the program of study or start term options, feel free to contact the College of Nursing.


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