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How do I apply?

To apply, go to, click “Apply”, then “Graduate Applicants,” then "Start a graduate application.” 

Applications for the Nurse Practitioner MSN and DNP, Clinical Nurse Specialist MSN and DNP, Post-Master’s DNP, and Ph.D. open each year in September for the following fall.  Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.  April 1 is the final deadline.  Applicants are encouraged to apply early. 

Applications for the Nurse Anesthesiology DNP program open each year on April 1. The deadline to apply is June 1. There is no early admission process for the Nurse Anesthesiology program. 

Applications for the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner post-graduate certificate open in September. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. March 1 is the final deadline.

Applications for the Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Clinical Nurse Specialist post-graduate certificates open in the summer. October 1 is the deadline to apply.

All application materials may be submitted online. 

Official transcripts must be sent to:
Office of Admissions
Hannah Administration Building
426 Auditorium Road, Room 250
East Lansing, MI 48824-2604

What is the interview process?

The application process is competitive and selective. Not all applicants will be invited to interview. Invitations to interview will be sent to selected candidates as applications are processed. Interviews may be held on campus at Michigan State University or virtually. Applicants will meet with faculty. Applicants can expect the interview day to last 1.5-3 hours.

How do I know if I’ve been admitted?

Applicants can expect to receive an admission decision letter by email within two months of their interview.

When does the program start?

The Nurse Practitioner MSN and DNP, Clinical Nurse Specialist MSN and DNP, Post-Master’s DNP, and Ph.D. begin in the fall semester (late August/early September) each year.

The Nurse Anesthesiology DNP and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner post-graduate certificate programs begins in the summer semester (May) each year.

The Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Clinical Nurse Specialist post-graduate certificates begin in the spring semester (January) each year. 

Is the GRE required?

The GRE is not required for admission to any graduate programs in the College of Nursing. 

What if my Bachelor’s in Nursing is in progress? Do I have to have my degree conferred before I can apply to the program?

If you have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, are already licensed as a registered nurse, and are currently enrolled in a BSN Completion Program, YES, you may apply while your degree is in progress. Your degree must be conferred by the start of the first semester of the graduate program in order to be considered for admission. If you are in a traditional BSN or accelerated BSN Program and have not yet taken NCLEX, YES, you may apply while your degree is in progress. Your degree must be conferred, and you must document successful passing of NCLEX, by the start of the program.

My bachelor’s degree is non-nursing, but I am an RN.  Am I eligible to apply?

All graduate programs in the College of Nursing require applicants to have a baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing (BSN or BAN).

What is the statistics requirement?

Applicants to the MSN or DNP in Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthesia, or the Post Master's DNP must complete a 200-level or higher, 3-credit hour statistics course within the last 5 years prior to starting the program. A grade of 2.0 or better must be earned in an undergraduate-level course, and a grade of 3.0 or better must be earned in a graduate-level course. 

Applicants to the Ph.D. must complete a graduate-level, 3-credit hour statistics course and earn a 3.0 or better grade within the last 5 years prior to starting the program. 

You can apply before completing your statistics course requirement, as long as you intend to complete it before the graduate program would begin. Applicants who have not completed statistics may be accepted provisionally and will receive their full acceptance upon completing statistics with the minimum grade. Statistics can be taken at any accredited college, university, or community college.

I have completed graduate level coursework at another institution.  Is it possible to transfer these courses if I am admitted to the program?

Up to 25% of graduate course work may be transferred into the DNP or MSN program from other accredited programs upon approval of the College of Nursing, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLNCNEA), and/or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Up to 45% of graduate course work (excluding dissertation credits) may be transferred into the Ph.D. in Nursing program from other accredited institutions upon the approval of the College of Nursing.

Students must submit the course syllabi and official transcript for review by the College of Nursing faculty.

Do you accept out-of-state students? What about International students?

Out-of-state students are eligible to apply to all College of Nursing graduate programs. 

International students are eligible to apply for the Ph.D. and Nurse Practitioner programs. Due to the level of online course work required, F-1 and J-1 visa holders in the Nurse Practitioner Program will not be able to maintain their visa status. Students who are interested in this program are recommended to speak with the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) regarding their eligibility for F-1 or J-1 visa status.

Michigan State University is currently ineligible to create an immigration record for students who wish to study in the Clinical Nurse Specialist or Nurse Anesthesia programs. 

How much does the program cost?

Tuition Rates can be found on the Office of the Controller’s website. Rates differ between in-state (resident) and out-of-state (non-resident) students.

Is funding available through the College of Nursing?

Yes. Scholarship applications are available through the College of Nursing website. The application is open from January to March 1 each year.  See Funding for more opportunities.


Clinical Nurse Specialist

What is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)?

  • CNS is one of the four types of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), alongside certified nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse practitioners.
  • CNSs can prescribe and bill for services according to Medicare laws and rules, with state laws varying.
  • CNSs work in various healthcare settings, including acute care, outpatient/ambulatory settings, home health care, or as consultants/entrepreneurs.
  • They operate within three spheres of impact: patient care, nursing practice improvement, and organizational/systems improvement.
  • The demand for CNSs has been increasing and is expected to continue growing.
  • CNSs ensure high-quality care through evidence-based practice, quality improvement and research within the following three spheres of impact:

1) Patient Direct Care: Providing specialized care to patients and assisting other nurses.

2) Nurses and Nursing Practice: Serving as clinical experts and mentors for other nurses.

3) Organizations/Systems: Working with interdisciplinary teams to improve organizational processes.


Why become a CNS?

If you are committed to improving nursing practice, advocating for patients and nurses, addressing workplace issues proactively, and collaborating, you have the qualities to become a CNS.


Admission to the BSN to DNP Programs requirements are:

We conduct a holistic review of every application submitted to the program. Among items considered are your academic ability, personal statement, letters of recommendation, resume, and interview.


A complete list of application requirements can be found at


Applications for the MSN, DNP, and Post-Master’s DNP pathways (fall start) are accepted on a rolling basis each year from August 1st to April 1st. Applicants are encouraged to apply early.


Applications for the Post-Graduate Certificate program (spring start) are accepted on a rolling basis from August 1st to October 1st each year.


All students who meet our eligibility criteria are encouraged to apply.


Do students need to come to campus?

We require an on-campus orientation in August before starting the program. All courses in the program are in an online format.


Are any clinical courses required?

Clinical hours are part of the CNS didactic course. The program director and the placement coordinator will help you find a clinical site. You will have a board-certified CNS as your preceptor.


Nurse Anesthesiology

What work experience do I need to apply to the Nurse Anesthesiology program?

The applicant must have a minimum of 1 year of continuous, full-time experience in a high acuity ICU in the United States by the application deadline. This does not include time spent in orientation or nurse externships. 

Experience as an RN in surgical, cardiothoracic, transplant, burn, neuro-trauma, medical, coronary, pediatric and neonatal is preferred.

While we respect the rigors of the ER, PACU, Cardiac Catheterization Lab, Surgery and Telemetry Unit, anesthesia practice most closely resembles the skills and knowledge used in an intensive care unit.

How Competitive is the Admissions Process?

We admit 20 students each year. On average, we have 60+ applicants. As the job market for CRNAs remains strong, we expect to continue to receive a high volume of inquiries and applications. Each admitted cohort varies. The admit class of 2018 had an average GPA of 3.67 (4.0-3.4) and 3.2 years of experience (1.5 – 13 years).

What can I do to prepare?

CCRN (or the specialty equivalent) is not required for admission. However, successful completion is encouraged as it demonstrates knowledge proficiency in your area of expertise. 

We highly recommend that you spend several hours shadowing a CRNA at your current work place. Most anesthesia departments are happy to assist in gaining this experience.  

Many applicants have found it helpful to repeat science courses or take a graduate level science courses (pathophysiology, chemistry, physiology, pharmacology) before entering the program. However, this is not required for admission.

If I am offered admission, can I defer my acceptance to begin later?

As a general rule, the MSU Nurse Anesthesiology Program does not permit deferrals. Students who decline their seat must re-apply.

What is the structure of the Nurse Anesthesiology Program?

The BSN-DNP Nurse Anesthesiology Program is a full-time, 36-month program. The program has transitioned to the doctorate as the entry into practice degree. The MSN is no longer available in Nurse Anesthesia. All Nurse Anesthesia students attend full-time. Once admitted, students can choose to take core classes prior to starting the program. The cost of these classes is outside of the block tuition (MSU tuition rates), and class offerings vary.

The program is structured into two phases.  The first phase is front-loaded, meaning that the first two semesters include foundational coursework.  Students begin clinical emersion during the 3rd semester (see plan of study). The number of days spent on campus varies by semester.  Students are typically on campus 1-2 days per week.  Several of the core classes are delivered online.

The time commitment varies by semester. On average, students report a 60-or-more hour per week commitment.  This includes time spent in class, clinical, clinical preparation and study.

Is it possible to work during the program?

Some students are able to work part-time or per diem during the first two or three semesters of the program.

Where are the clinical placement sites?

Students in the program will rotate through clinical sites to gain exposure to a variety of types of anesthetics, populations and procedures. Affiliate clinical sites are continuously assessed and being added.

The Nurse Anesthesiology program utilizes the following clinical sites:

St. John’s Hospital and Medical Center
22101 Moross Rd.
Detroit, MI  48236

McLaren Greater Lansing
401 W. Greenlawn Ave.
Lansing, MI  48910

St. John Macomb Hospital
11800 E. 12 Mile Rd.
Warren, MI  48093

Sparrow Medical Center
1215 E. Michigan Ave.
Lansing, MI  48909-7980

Other clinical sites may be added and some of these sites may be deleted to meet the needs of the program. Students may not rotate to every clinical site.  If a clinical site becomes a primary site, currently enrolled students will be given an option to complete their clinical requirements at the site when possible.

The nurse anesthesia program has an affiliation agreement with each clinical site. The sites are selected based on student case requirements and rotations are arranged by the assistant program director. Every effort is made to minimize travel time. However, some experiences will require travel to clinical sites.

Does the program pay for malpractice insurance?

Yes. Michigan State University pays for your malpractice insurance. Information about this can be found on MSU's Risk Management and Insurance website.

Does the program pay for health insurance?

No. You are required to maintain a health insurance policy. Michigan State University does have policies available for students to purchase. More information about student insurance can be found on MSU's Human Resources website.


Nurse Practitioner

Are all courses for Nurse Practitioners online?

The Nurse Practitioner program is a hybrid program: some courses are entirely online, and some courses require students to come to campus in East Lansing. Our Nurse Practitioner students are typically required to be on campus about four or five times per semester.

How Competitive is the Admissions Process?

Admission to the BSN to DNP Programs is increasingly competitive. Below is a summary of our admission profile for the class admitted in fall 2019.

Average years of nursing experience: 4.24 years
Average GPA: 3.56
Range of Experience: 0-14 years
GPA Range: 3.1-4.0


Post-Master's DNP

What is the profile of your most competitive applicants?

The profile of the cohort admitted fall 2019 is:

  • Type of APRN Certification:  NP 88%, CNS 12%
    Average GPA from MSN Program:  3.6 on a 4.0 scale
    Average years as APRN:  4.33


Do students need a master’s in nursing to apply?

We accept both bachelors and masters prepared nurses. Students who have not worked in a clinical setting may be required to complete a minimum of 4 credits in a clinical experience related to their research interest. Bachelors prepared nurses may be required to take additional coursework as identified by their faculty advisor and guidance committee.

Can coursework be completed online?

All PhD-level nursing courses are taught in a classroom setting on the MSU campus in East Lansing. Courses taught by other colleges at the University may be offered in a hybrid or online format.

How long does it take to complete the PhD program?

We offer both full-time and part-time program plans which have an estimated trajectory of 4 and 6 years respectively. Each student develops an individualized program plan and timeline, which may result in a shorter or longer program length.