Nursing (MSN): Direct Entry Program

Our Direct Entry Program is designed for students from all academic backgrounds. We prepare students to deliver primary health care to diverse populations across the lifespan. Graduates of this 3-4 year program are prepared to take the family nurse practitioner (FNP) certification exam. Please visit the program page to learn about the curriculum, faculty and more!

How to Apply

The application deadline for Fall 2020 will be December 1, 2019. Simmons subscribes to NursingCAS for the application process. Please go to the NursingCAS website for more information on the application process.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have a BS or BA from a regionally accredited US college or university or a post-secondary institution abroad which is recognized by the Ministry of Education in the home country in a discipline other than nursing to apply. All candidates for admission will need to provide satisfactory evidence of secondary school graduation, or its equivalent, and compliance with the immunization requirements specified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health [ref 244 CMR 6.04(3)(a)1] should they be admitted to the program.

Application Procedure

The Office of Admission subscribes to NursingCAS for the application process. Please see the NursingCAS website for more information on the application process.

The application deadline for fall admission is December 1; applications are made available late summer. An applicant will be considered for review if the following requirements are submitted to NursingCAS and completed by the deadline:

  1. Complete application
  2. Personal statement
  3. Current resume
  4. Three letters of recommendation
  5. Official college transcripts from all institutions attended, whether or not a degree was earned
  6. If applicable, additional requirements for international students

**Please note that if you are currently taking prerequisites during the fall semester, the Office of Admission will also need an unofficial grade report for these courses. Applicants should send a copy of their grade report as soon as it is available directly to the office via mail, email or fax to 617-521-3137. The grade report can be a screenshot of your student portal page that includes your name and institution attended.

Academic Records: Transcripts

Official transcripts for all courses completed (undergraduate and graduate) at regionally accredited U.S. post-secondary institutions, whether or not a degree was awarded or regardless of when the courses were taken or if the courses are specific to the program you are applying to are required. This requirement includes courses which appear on another transcript as transfer or study abroad credit. If you attended a study abroad program and the grades and credits appear on the transcript of your home institution, you do not need to submit a separate transcript. Check with the Registrar's Office of your undergraduate institution to confirm this. If there are no grades listed on your home institution's transcript, and a separate transcript exists, we require an official copy. 

Applicants who earned a degree abroad must submit an official (signed/sealed) transcript (marks sheet) in the original language and an official English translation. An evaluation by a foreign credential agency may be required but such interpretations do not replace official academic records. Grades (marks) for each year are required not just end of year exam results or a copy of the degree earned.

All transcripts will be submitted to NursingCAS, not the Office of Admission. 

Standardized Tests

GRE scores are not required to apply to the Direct Entry Program. Applicants whose first language is not English must submit official TOEFL scores taken within two years prior to the application deadline. The TOEFL requirement is based on native language, not citizenship. No other English proficiency exam will be accepted.

The TOEFL is waived for applicants who have graduated at the bachelor's or master's level from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a post -secondary institution abroad that is recognized by the Ministry of Education in the host country in English-speaking countries only.

Official scores from ETS are required; copies of student score reports are not acceptable. The School of Nursing and Health Sciences TOEFL code is 3761. We suggest that the TOEFL should be taken no later than November 1 in order for office to receive official scores by the application deadline. 

A minimum score of 570 (paper-based), 230 (computer-based,) or 88 (internet-based) is required. Further information about TOEFL can be obtained by contacting the Educational Testing Service by telephone at 609-771-7670 or their website.


Three recommendations, written within six months of the deadline, are required. At least one recommendation should be from a current or recent instructor and the others can be professional references. We do not accept recommendations from individuals with whom you have a non-professional relationship (family members, friends, religious personnel or politicians). 

Admission Decisions

All admission decisions are made after the designated application deadline and decisions are sent by mail. 

Enrollment Deposit

All accepted students who choose to enroll are required to submit a non-refundable $750 enrollment deposit by the date stated in the letter of admission.This deposit is applied to the first term bill. 

Deferred Entrance

An accepted student may request, in writing to the Director of Admission, a deferral of the entrance date for a maximum of one year. The student must indicate what they will do in the interim. Deferrals are not granted if the student plans/chooses to attend another institution. If the deferral is approved, a non-refundable enrollment deposit is due on the date stated in the original letter of admission to ensure enrollment for the future. This fee is applied to the first term bill.

Reapplication Procedure

An applicant who wishes to re-apply must call the Office of Admission at 617-521-2605 to learn about this process. All re-applicants are required to submit a new electronic application and any official academic transcripts for courses completed since initial application.

Requirements of all prerequisites:

  • Completed within ten years prior to the application deadline.
  • All prerequisite courses must have grades; pass/fail or audit courses, AP (Advanced Placement), IB or CLEP scores do not fulfill prerequisites.
  • Taken at a regionally accredited institution or at a post secondary institution abroad which is recognized by the Ministry of Education in the home country.
  • An accumulative GPA (of all institutions attended) of 3.0 and a 3.0 in all prerequisites.

Prerequisite courses (based on semester systems) required for admission:

  • Statistics: One semester of statistics, can be taken in a math, psychology or science department. Course content must include principles of probability, binomial and normal distributions, sample statistics, estimation and testing of hypotheses and linear regression and correlation.
  • Developmental Psychology: One semester of developmental psychology. Course content must span birth to death; general psychology does not meet this requirement. A series of appropriate courses in combination could fulfill the prerequisite, such as prenatal to adolescence, young-middle adulthood, aging and dying.
  • Microbiology: One semester of microbiology with a lab.
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology: Two semesters of human anatomy and physiology with lab. Animal physiology will not meet this requirement.
  • Inorganic Chemistry: One semester of inorganic chemistry with lab. (Usually General Chemistry I and II will fulfill the inorganic and organic chemistry prerequisites)
  • Organic Chemistry: One semester of organic chemistry with lab. (Usually General Chemistry I and II will fulfill the inorganic and organic chemistry prerequisites)

Pre-approval via submission of a syllabus is needed for DE nursing in the following cases:

  • Human anatomy and physiology I & II taken at more than one institution or online labs

If your prerequisites fall into the latter situation, it is possible that the course(s) in question have been reviewed previously. In this case, you can call the Office of Admission at 617-521-2605. If we have not reviewed the course in question, carefully review the Course Syllabus Data and the Prerequisite Review Process forms below and submit the required information.

Please note if applicants are/were enrolled in institutions which used quarter or trimester systems, two or three quarters/trimesters may be required to equal one semester.

Applying with Missing Admission Prerequisites:

International students requiring an F-1 visa must have completed all admission requirements before or by the application deadline, as an I-20 cannot be issued for pre-admission courses nor for part-time enrollment.

While U.S. citizens or permanent residents may apply without having taken any of the prerequisite courses, it is strongly recommended that they take as many of the science prerequisites as possible before applying so that the admission committee can evaluate their ability to handle science content. If individuals have not completed any science prereqs before application, they will be at a disadvantage in the admission review process in this competitive program.

If individuals apply with missing prereqs, and plan to complete the missing prereqs at another regionally accredited U.S. institution in the summer before the DE program starts in September, they can be admitted provisionally if academically qualified. However, it is imperative that applicants first check with our office before registering for such courses. 

The School of Nursing welcomes applications from international students for the Direct Entry program. 

Visa Requirements and Full-Time Academic Status

Due to immigration stipulations, international students requiring a student visa to study in the U.S. must be enrolled full-time in a degree-granting academic program. If accepted, F-1 visa holders must be enrolled full time in the DE program for the duration of the program.

Additionally, if you are currently in the U.S. and have any visa other than an F-1, you must check with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services regarding procedures for changing your visa status. International students requiring an F-1 visa cannot enroll in non-degree courses nor can they be admitted provisionally pending completion of admission requirements.

The Direct Entry Program in Advanced Nursing Practice is designed to prepare individuals with a baccalaureate degree but without nursing backgrounds for the advanced practice nursing role, with a focus on family nurse practitioner (FNP). The program begins each year in September and incorporates an innovative curriculum with clinical experiences especially designed for this group of students.

Students are eligible to take the nursing licensure examination (NCLEX) after completion of the pre-licensure segment of the program. Full time enrollment is required for the pre-licensure portion of the program. Students must pass the exam for the designation of R.N. (registered nurse) before beginning the graduate primary care clinical sequence. Clinical rotations will provide students the experience they need before beginning primary care.

Upon completion of the pre-RN licensure portion of the program, students will take the NCLEX exam. Upon earning the RN, students are required to work at least 8 hours per week for the duration of the program to gain valuable experience to bring to their advanced nursing courses. F-1 visa students will be able to work providing they have obtained the RN and completed and submitted required documents to the Simmons International advisor and the Massachusetts Board of Nursing. F-1 students will work with the International Student Advisor to apply for work authorization as required for the program.

The curriculum of the second portion of the program (post-licensure) is the same FNP curriculum as for people with R.N.s. Although the second portion of the program may be completed on a part-time basis, F-1 and J-1 visa holders must be enrolled full time to maintain their status.

In year two and year three of the program, two semesters require 8 credits hours of coursework. Full-time status in the School of Nursing is defined as enrollment in 9 credit hours each semester. However, during these two semesters, students will complete a clinical rotation. Eight hours of clinical experience is worth one course credit hour. Thus, students will be considered full time during these semesters.

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be awarded the M.S. degree but not a B.S.N. degree. Graduates of this program will be prepared to take the Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam offered by the professional credentialing organization.

Application Deadlines

It is imperative that students who have or are studying abroad begin the application process at least six months prior to the deadline. If residing abroad and the applicant earned a degree abroad, he/she must have completed all prerequisites before applying to the program. Please allow ample time for the pace of international postal systems, obtaining visa documents, arrival in the U.S., and transitioning to a new environment. International students will not be allowed to enroll if they arrive after the official start of the term.

Required Academic Records

In the U.S. academic records or mark sheets are called "transcripts" (this is the term used throughout this website). All applicants who have studied abroad must submit official (signed in original ink and stamped with a seal) academic records for study completed at all universities (including schools where no degree or certificate was earned by the student). These documents should include end-of-year result sheets for each year of university study, national exam results, and a copy of degrees or certificates, both in the native language and English translations. Photocopies or facsimiles of mark sheets and exam results for the final year alone are not acceptable. Additionally, the academic records may need to be evaluated by an agency specified by the School of Nursing. Degrees earned abroad must be from an institution of higher learning which is officially recognized by the home country's Ministry of Education.

The School of Nursing may require an evaluation of an applicant's academic credentials from abroad. These evaluation reports do not replace the need for signed/sealed academic records. These reports are interpretations of a student's academic history and U.S. colleges and universities may accept all or partial information in these assessments.

A "college" abroad usually means a secondary institution whereas in the U.S., a college is an institution providing higher education. A college can be part of a larger university or represent a singular institution such as Simmons University. Academic records from overseas colleges which are actually secondary schools (high schools in the U.S.) are not required as part of the application process. Courses taken at the secondary level do not fulfill the prerequisite requirements for application and admission to a graduate program. A baccalaureate in the U.S. is a first university degree. Many overseas systems award baccalaureates which represent the completion of secondary education or a year beyond.

Required Standardized Test Results

Students whose first language is not English (regardless of citizenship) must submit official scores of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), taken within two years prior to the application deadline. No other English proficiency exam is acceptable. The TOEFL requirement is based on native language not citizenship.

Applicants who have graduated from post-secondary institutions abroad (recognized by the Ministry of Education in the host country) in English-speaking countries only or applicants who have earned a bachelor's or master's degree at regionally accredited U.S. institutions do not need to submit TOEFL.

The minimum acceptable score is 570 (Paper Test) or 230 (Computer Test) or 88 (Internet based). Copies of student score reports are not acceptable. Please be certain to take the TOEFL 2-3 months in advance of the deadline to assure that we receive an official score report on time. The code is 3761.

Further information about this exam can be obtained by directly contacting TOEFL; Educational Testing Service; P.O. Box 6151; Princeton, New Jersey; 08541-6151; telephone: 215-750-8050 or their website.

Applications cannot be reviewed without the receipt of these test scores. It is very important that applicants register for these exams well in advance of applying for admission.

Required Financial Documentation

All non-U.S. citizens who will require a student visa for study in the U.S. must provide accurate and current evidence of ability to pay for the cost of a Simmons education. These costs are variable (but include fixed and living costs beyond tuition) and outlined on the Certification of Finances Form. This form is available by calling the Office of Admission at 617-521-2605.

This form must be completed and returned directly to the Office of Admission. In addition, an original signed statement from the applicant's sponsor indicating a willingness to provide financial support and a statement from the sponsor's bank verifying the availability of sufficient funds must be received. All documents must be signed in original ink, written in English, and funds must be shown in U.S. dollars ($).

It is very important for the applicant to inquire about the regulations in the home country concerning transfer of funds. Applicants may submit these forms during the application process or after being admitted to the program. Please keep in mind that the documents cannot be older than six months. This information is required in order to process an I-20 to obtain an F-1 student visa.

Academic Year

For each academic semester, students receive grades for each subject (course) taken. The first (fall) semester generally begins in early September and ends in mid December. The second (spring) semester begins in mid January and ends in mid May. Additionally, there are summer sessions lasting from May to August. Most programs begin in the fall (September) semester.

Grading and Credit Hours

The School of Nursing at Simmons University awards letter grades for all completed courses: A=Excellent, B=Good, C=Fair, D=Poor, F=Fail, and P=Pass. Each letter grade is assigned a value: A=4.00, B=3.00, C=2.00, D=1.00, and F=0. Each course carries a certain number of credit hours, where usually, one credit is equal to one hour of classroom instruction. Graduate courses are usually worth three credits although some are worth four, two, or one. The total number of credit hours required to obtain a specific degree will determine the number of courses a student needs to complete the program.

Arrival at Simmons University

It is important that international students plan properly to arrive at the required time to commence their studies. Allow ample time for obtaining immigration documents, shipping personal items and adjustment due to time and climactic changes. Students will NOT be allowed to enroll in classes if they arrive after classes have officially started. It is imperative that students allow adequate time for moving, student orientation, and establishing contacts.


Tuition and fees

Tuition and fees at Simmons are updated annually each spring. They are assessed each semester based on the number of credits enrolled, the level of degree, and the particular program of study.

Health insurance

All students taking 9 or more credits are required by Massachusetts State law to enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan or be covered by a health insurance plan with comparable coverage.

Contact us

Questions? Contact us via email or at 617-521-2605. We're happy to schedule visits and campus tours.

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