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. At the conclusion of the pre-licensure portion of the program (between terms 4 and 5) students sit for the NCLEX examination. Graduates of this 3-4 year program are prepared to take the family nurse practitioner (FNP) certification exam. At the conclusion of the program, students earn an MSN -- a BSN is not granted in this program. Please visit the program page to learn about the curriculum, faculty and more!

How to Apply

Our application for entry in Fall 2024 is available on NursingCAS. The priority deadline has passed. Our final deadline for admission is March 1, 2024. Applications may be considered after March 1 on a case by case basis.

Limited application fee waivers may be available upon request. Please email [email protected] to inquire about a fee waiver.

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.

Direct Entry applicants exceeding two prerequisite retakes (two separate prerequisite course repeats or one prerequisite course repeated twice) within the past 10 years, are not eligible to apply to the Simmons University Direct Entry (MSN) 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.

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. Students enrolling in the Direct Entry program also need to provide an official high school transcript.
  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 email. The grade report can be a screenshot of your student portal page that includes your name and institution attended.

Academic Records: Transcripts

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

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.

Standardized Tests

GRE scores are not required for our graduate nursing programs at Simmons University.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit official English language test scores taken within two years prior to the application deadline. These include the TOEFL, Duolingo English Test, Pearson Test of English and IELTS. Other English proficiency exams can be considered on a case by case basis. This requirement is based on native language, not citizenship.

Additional details regarding this requirement are listed under the International Students section below.


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 do so via NursingCAS. An updated resume, new recommendations and a statement about why you are re-applying must be included in your personal statement. Additionally, if courses were taken after the initial application, official transcripts must be submitted.

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.
  • Direct Entry applicants exceeding two prerequisite retakes (two separate prerequisite course repeats or one prerequisite course repeated twice) within the past 10 years, are not eligible to apply to the Simmons University Direct Entry (MSN) program.

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.
  • General Chemistry with lab (one semester)

For questions regarding specific prerequisite courses please email our office to confirm the courses meet the requirements. Include the course name and number, when and where it was taken, if a lab is included and if it was an online or onsite course.

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. 

You'll have a network of current students and alumni to help you throughout the exploration of your program of study by answering program specific questions, helping host informational sessions and panels, in addition to being your personal cheerleader throughout your Simmons journey.

Claire ClendenenClaire Clendenen

Direct Entry Nursing Student
[email protected]

Why Simmons?

I chose Simmons because of the connections to the Boston area hospitals and great reputation. I have friends who were enrolled in the DE program at Simmons. They were in cohorts ahead of me and they spoke highly of the clinical experience there. Although there are many great schools to choose from in the area, I was excited to have immersive and challenging clinical experiences to help me become a great healthcare provider. I knew I would graduate with a degree from a reputable program with clinical experience at the nearby hospitals.

Dominique SherburneDominique Sherburne

Direct Entry Nursing Student

Why Simmons?

As a nursing student at Simmons University, I am continually inspired by the top-notch faculty, innovative curriculum, and hands-on learning opportunities that are shaping me into a skilled and compassionate healthcare professional. The supportive community and emphasis on real-world experience make Simmons University nursing school an outstanding place to cultivate my passion for nursing and prepare for a fulfilling career.

Jarell SamuelJarell Samuel

Direct Entry Nursing Student
[email protected]

Why Simmons?

My name is Jarell Samuel and I am a graduate student ambassador enrolled in the Class of 2025 Direct Entry Nursing program here at Simmons University. Some of my favorite activities include hiking, cycling, and playing guitar! I’ve always wanted a healthcare related career, and my previous undergraduate degree allowed me to pursue my dreams to some extent. However, after four years of working in a hospital setting without patient contact, I realized how much I desire a career involved in direct patient care. The Simmons Direct Entry Nursing program proved to be the perfect segue to this career change, combining my undergraduate studies with prerequisites that allowed me to move seamlessly into nursing school.

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. Our preferred provider is WES. Evaluations should include English translations and U.S. equivalencies of all transcripts including a course-by-course evaluation with grades.

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

GRE scores are not required for our graduate nursing programs at Simmons University.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit official English language test scores taken within two years prior to the application deadline. These include the TOEFL, Duolingo English Test, Pearson Test of English and IELTS. Other English proficiency exams can be considered on a case by case basis. This requirement is based on native language, not citizenship.

This requirement 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 are required; copies of student score reports are not acceptable. The TOEFL code is 3761. A minimum score of 570 (paper-based), 230 (computer-based,) or 88 (internet-based) is required. The TOEFL should be taken well in advance of the application deadline in order for the official scores to be received in time; it takes 5-6 weeks to receive scores from ETS. Further information about TOEFL can be obtained by contacting Educational Testing Service (ETS) by telephone at 609-771-7670 or by visiting their website.

Information about the Duolingo English Test can be found by visiting their website.

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.

Merit scholarships and funding options

We believe that your exceptional academic preparation and hard work should be rewarded.

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.

Upcoming Graduate Admission Events

Virtual Info Session: Gwen Ifill College

  • May 21, 2024
  • 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Virtual

DSW Program Overview

  • May 22, 2024
  • 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • Virtual

Virtual Info Session: On-Campus MSW Program

  • May 29, 2024
  • 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
  • Virtual