How long will it take to complete the program? May I attend part-time?
Once prerequisites are completed, the minimum time to complete the MS degree is three calendar years of full-time study. Part-time study is not an option for applicants to the program.
What kind of grades must I earn?
A minimum 3.0 GPA (B average) is required in all courses for both admission and retention by the Graduate School.
How is the Graduate Entry option different from the traditional BSN program followed by the MS program?
The pre-licensure nursing coursework and clinical practice meet the requirements of the Board of Nursing. This coursework is similar to the undergraduate curriculum. Much of the curriculum consists of unique graduate coursework that has been developed to meet the needs of the graduate entry student. Some graduate courses are taken with other traditional master’s students. A major difference involves time frame to completion and prerequisite courses completed prior to admission. Students do not receive a BSN. Upon completion of the program, students receive an MS in nursing.
Will mixing traditional students and non-nurses in the same courses be a disadvantage for non-nurses?
The common denominator across Graduate Entry students is a background in a discipline other than nursing. The diversity of education and experiences that Graduate Entry students bring provides a rich environment in which to share knowledge and to learn advanced nursing content. The faculty believe such learning opportunities help prepare professional nurses who can contribute to health care in new and challenging ways. The bulk of content and experiences are new for both traditional students and non-nurses in these courses.
I don’t know if I have the right background for this program. Are some undergraduate majors better prepared than others?
There is no one academic or experiential background that guarantees success in the Graduate Entry option or in nursing. We have students with such varied backgrounds as biology, history, psychology, sociology, business, nutrition, music, foreign language, public policy, and mathematics. Common characteristics across individuals in the Graduate Entry option include a strong motivation to work closely with people and an interest in a career with advancement opportunities. Nursing provides opportunities to achieve both goals, and the mix of backgrounds in the Graduate Entry option provides a stimulating environment in which to learn.
I’ve been out of school for more than 10 years. Is this too long to try such a rigorous program? Will I be competing with whiz kids or be viewed as too old?
Students in the program have completed previous degrees as long as 20 years ago and as recently as one semester ago. There is no perfect age for education. The ideal time is when the person is ready.
If I begin the traditional BSN program, can I later switch to the Graduate Entry option?
No. Students enrolled in Graduate Entry do not earn a BSN.
I’m not certain about the area of clinical concentration I want. Do I have to decide when I apply or can I change my mind without being penalized?
You must indicate your intended area of clinical concentration at the time of application. If you change your mind, you must petition to transfer to the desired concentration and go through that specialty’s application process. Take time to educate yourself about the different options for Masters Prepared Nurses.
How many students are admitted to the Graduate Entry option?
The number that can be admitted is dependent on available spaces in the clinical courses. In 2018, 110 applicants out of 260 were offered admission.
Will I receive a BSN degree?
No, you will not receive a BSN. Upon completion of the program you will receive a MS in nursing. You will be able to sit for the NCLEX licensing exam when all required pre-licensure nursing courses are completed, after six quarters of full-time study.
How much weight is given the narrative part of the College of Nursing application and the references?
A great deal. The narrative part of the application is carefully considered. Write two to three, single-spaced pages to give thoughtful and complete information. Indicate your intended area of clinical specialization and explain your rationale for this choice. For references, it is recommended that you select persons who can speak to your academic abilities and to your aptitude and/or experience in health care or human services work.
What if my GPA is below 3.0?
The Ohio State University Graduate School has established a minimum GPA of 3.0 for admission. Because of the competitiveness of this program, it is extremely unlikely that applicants with a GPA below 3.0 will be admitted.
What other criteria are considered in the admission decision?
Indications of commitment to a career as a professional nurse, relevant past experiences, letters of recommendation, successful completion of prerequisite coursework, and a personal interview are considered.
Will I be able to work while going to school?
Although the coursework and clinicals are rigorous, especially in the first and second years, some Graduate Entry students do work part-time, usually no more than 10-15 hours per week. In the third year of study, some students choose to work part-time as registered nurses.
Can I work as a Teaching, Administrative, or Research Graduate Associate while I’m a student?
There are a very limited number of positions available for Graduate Entry students, depending on course load (see answer to previous question). Graduate Entry students must compete with other traditional graduate nursing students for these opportunities. Appointments are dependent upon background and experience.
Is financial aid available?
Yes, in very limited amounts. Students can apply for financial assistance in the form of scholarships and loans. Information and applications for financial aid are available from the financial aid overview page of this website.
Licensure and employment
When can I take the licensing exam to become a registered nurse?
Graduate Entry option students may take the NCLEX to become a registered nurse when all required pre-licensure nursing courses have been completed at the end of the second year of full-time study. Passing the exam results in licensure in Ohio. Students who leave the program after passing the NCLEX but before completing the MS program are not eligible to receive a BSN and may not be eligible for RN licensure in other states. Students who do complete the program, earning a MS in nursing, will be eligible for licensure and certification in all 50 states.
If your question wasn't answered here, please contact:
The Ohio State University
College of Nursing
Graduate Outreach and Admissions
106 Newton Hall
1585 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1289