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Nursing Prerequisite Guidelines

Adult Students (Dix Scholars)

You can apply to a nursing program at Simmons having completed all, some, or none of the prerequisite courses.

Students are encouraged to consider taking prerequisite courses at Simmons and may do so in fall, spring, and/or summer terms. Students may take prerequisites at Simmons as a degree or non-degree student. Degree students apply, using a single Dix Scholars application, to take prerequisite or non-nursing coursework at Simmons and to continue directly into a specific nursing option (accelerated, 2 year or 3 year). If accepted, such students will be guaranteed a space in the nursing option to which they have been accepted, provided they successfully complete their prerequisites at Simmons. For example, a student is accepted to begin attending Simmons in the fall, takes prerequisite courses in the fall and spring semesters and then begins her 2-year nursing program the following fall. Such students are also eligible for financial aid provided they take a minimum of two classes per semester. Non-degree students take prerequisites at Simmons on a per-course basis and therefore are not eligible for financial aid.

For all students:

Simmons nursing prerequisites are:

  1. General Biology*
  2. General (Inorganic) Chemistry
  3. Organic Chemistry
  4. Anatomy & Physiology I
  5. Anatomy & Physiology II
  6. Microbiology
  7. Introductory Psychology
  8. Human Growth & Development (Lifespan Psychology)

* The General biology requirement may be waived when a student has confirmed approval to transfer in their completed microbiology, A&P 1 and 2 prerequisites.


Required before beginning the accelerated nursing option: ALL courses listed above (1-8).

Required before beginning 2/3 year nursing options: Courses 1-4 listed above (must be completed by July 1st prior to the September term).

  • A grade of C+ or higher is necessary to satisfy each prerequisite (note that successful applicants typically have a 3.33 GPA or higher in prerequisite courses not taken at Simmons).
  • Prerequisites must have been completed within the past ten years.
  • Retake policy: Candidates for the nursing program will not be considered if they have exceeded the following prerequisite retake guidelines within the past ten years: earned below a C+ in any of the prerequisites #1-6 more than twice. Beginning with students entering in 2015, candidates will not be considered if they earned a grade below C+ in their first attempt at prerequisites #7 or 8. There are no exceptions to this policy.
  • Special note to students seeking to transfer from another nursing program to Simmons: In order to be considered for admission to a nursing program at Simmons, students must be in good academic standing in their current program. In addition, they must not have taken (or need to take) any nursing course more than once.
  • General criteria for satisfying prerequisite requirements:
    • Courses must be taken at an accredited institution
    • Science prerequisites must include a lab
    • Course title/description/credit hours closely match with Simmons courses (see below)
    • The initial assessment of your prerequisite courses is included with your Transfer Credit Evaluation (TCE) which can be conducted once you submit a preliminary TCE request form and official transcripts from ALL post-secondary institutions you have attended.
    • The Simmons faculty make final decisions regarding acceptability of prerequisite courses taken elsewhere.

Simmons Course Descriptions

BIOLOGY (4 credits, including 3 hour lab per week)

General Biology

Introduces basic principles of biology, including cell structure and function, biochemistry, and metabolism; Mendelian and molecular genetics; and discussion of the theory of evolution. Includes lecture and laboratory sessions. (Simmons BIOL 113)

MICROBIOLOGY (4 credits, including 3 hour lab per week)

Introduces the biology of microorganisms: bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Stresses control of microbial populations, systematic study, and use of quantitative methods. Includes lecture and laboratory sessions. (Simmons BIOL 221)

ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY I (4 credits, including 3 hours lecture/3 hours lab per week)

Presents an integrated approach to the fundamental facts and concepts of human anatomy and physiology. Examines the constituents of the human body through investigation of tissue types and histology, with further emphasis on skeletal, muscular and nervous systems, and endocrine control. Laboratory includes histology, gross anatomy, dissection, and physiological experiments. (Simmons BIOL 231)

ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY II (4 credits, including 3 hours lecture/3 hours lab per week)

Introduces structural relationships and functional integration of major systems of the human body, with emphasis on cardiovascular, lymphatic, immunological, respiratory, digestive, metabolism, renal, reproductive, and homeostatic systems. Laboratory includes histology, gross anatomy, dissection, and physiological experiments. (Simmons BIOL 232)


Introduction to Chemistry —Inorganic (4 credits, including 3 lectures, one discussion period, and a 4 hour lab per week)

Covers basic concepts with special reference to inorganic compounds, including chemical equations, the Periodic Table, chemical bonding, and equilibrium. Assumes no previous knowledge of the subject or sophisticated background in mathematics. Laboratory correlates with and amplifies the lecture material and presents fundamental laboratory techniques, including instrumental methods. Three lectures, one discussion period, and one laboratory per week. (Simmons CHEM 111)

ORGANIC CHEMISTRY (4 credits, including 3 hour lab per week)

Introduction to Chemistry —Organic (4 credits, including 3 lectures, one discussion period, and one lab per week)

Covers nature of the covalent bond, structure of organic compounds, and their reactions and reaction mechanisms. Introduces structure and biochemical functions of compounds important to life. Three lectures, one discussion period, and one laboratory per week. For concentrators in paramedical or science-related fields other than nursing. (Simmons CHEM 112)


Introduction to Psychology (4 credits)

Surveys contemporary approaches to the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Covers topics from neurons to neuroses, including perception, memory, social interaction, personality and mental disorders. (Simmons PSYC 101)


Life Span Development (4 credits)

Explores the development of the individual from birth to death using psychological theory and research. Tresses the interaction of social, cognitive, and biological factors in human development; the interaction between the person and the environment; and the transitions from one stage of life to another. (Simmons PSYC 237)


Simmons currently offers two courses that each satisfy two science prerequisites. These courses cannot be used toward any major at Simmons other than nursing. Given the variety of course titles and content for such "combined" courses for health sciences, please expect to be asked to submit the syllabi for any such courses you have taken.

Biology/Microbiology (Simmons BIOL 123N): 4 credits, including 3 hours lecture/3 hours lab per week — Satisfies biology and microbiology nursing prerequisites at Simmons

Provides the basis for understanding the nature of human disease caused by microbial pathogens and viral agents. It covers the fundamental principles of cell structure and compares prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells; viral agents; bacterial genetics and antibiotic resistance; the principles of infectious disease, pathogenesis and immune response; the importance of vaccination as a key public health measure; nosocomial infection and hospital infection control.

General, Organic and Biological Chemistry (Simmons CHEM 110N): 4 credits, including 3 hours lecture/ 4 hours lab per week — Satisfied inorganic and organic chemistry nursing prerequisites at Simmons.

Survey of chemistry. Atomic and molecular structure, solutions, states of matter. Naming of inorganic and organic compounds. Chemical reactions. Structure and function of the biological molecules of life. Nutrition and metabolism. Emphasis on chemistry in a clinical context. Laboratory includes experiments with materials and techniques of clinical relevance.