Application Deadline Extension: Master’s Program

The application deadlines for fall 2017 entry to the following master’s program concentrations at Virginia Commonwealth University have been extended to April 15, 2017:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP
  • Family NP
  • Nursing Administration & Leadership (online)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health NP

Please note: Priority consideration for admission to the master’s program will be given to applicants who submit their applications and all required credentials to NursingCAS by the original March 15th deadline.

Be sure to visit our website for details on the master’s program and application instructions and contact us with any questions you may have:

Fall 2017 Graduate Nursing Applications Are Open

You can now apply to the VCU School of Nursing’s Master’s, DNP, and PhD programs for the fall 2017 semester!

Be sure to visit our website for details on application instructions and admission requirements and contact us with any questions you may have:

Nursing Administration & Leadership

The Master’s program’s Nursing Administration & Leadership concentration is now online. Learn how a current student is balancing work, school, and family while advancing her nursing education at the VCU School of Nursing.

According to Dr. Mary Lynn Davis-Ajami, concentration coordinator for the Nursing Administration & Leadership concentration, “Job prospects for health services managers look promising, with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting a 17% increase in demand.  The NAL concentration is designed to give students a comprehensive nursing leadership education to promote advance nursing leadership and management roles across the continuum of care.”

We are glad to chat with you about how the VCU School of Nursing can help you meet your career goals.

Contact Bethany Barefoot, Master’s Program Coordinator, for questions about the NAL concentration.

Contact Cindy Kiefer, Director of Admission, for questions about applying.

Admission requirements
Application instructions

Graduate Nursing Application

Links to the Master’s and DNP application instructions from the university bulletin are incorrect. We are accepting applications and supporting materials first through NursingCAS. Please visit the application instructions web pages for specific instructions on how to apply to the School of Nursing:

Master’s application instructions
DNP application instructions

Let us know if you have any questions about applying by emailing us ( or calling us (804) 828-5171.

Master’s Program FAQs

As you consider continuing your nursing education at the master’s level, you likely will have questions about what you can expect as far as class days and times, plans of study, and practicum hour requirements.  Guest blogger and Master’s program coordinator, Bethany Barefoot, provides answers to your most frequently asked questions:

How many days per week will I be required to attend class?
The answer depends on which cohort of students you have joined. We will admit to the 2-year plan of study and 3-year plan of study cohorts.  If you join the 2-year plan of study cohort, you will likely be on campus two consecutive days per week. If you join the 3-year plan of study cohort, you will likely be on campus one day per week. We do not guarantee this is the case, but we do try hard to ensure that we minimize the number of days you are required to be on campus. Most classes meet one time per week.

The Nursing Administration and Leadership (NAL) concentration is taught online with limited on-campus residency requirements each semester.  Required on-campus dates are posted on our website.

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration-specific courses (Psych NP) does not typically require weekly campus attendance, but rather meets in a hybrid format with online and on-campus requirements.  Students will come to campus 3-4 times per semester for all day on-campus immersions.

Can I change my plan of study once I begin?
When you accept your offer of admission, you will commit to the plan of study for your cohort. Classes are typically taught one time per academic year, so it is essential that you follow the plan of study as written to avoid delaying your progression. All plans are purposefully constructed to build upon the knowledge from the previous semester’s courses, so the order in which you take your courses is important.

How many clinical practicum hours am I required to complete for my concentration?
All practicum hours are consolidated over the last two or three semesters, depending on your concentration.  All students in nurse practitioner concentrations will complete 540 total clinical practicum hours.  The ratio of credits to clinical hours in a practicum course is 1:45.

  • Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner students complete the required hours over the last two semesters, logging 270 hours during each fifteen-week semester.
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner students complete the required hours over the last 3 semesters: 135 hours during a ten-week summer semester, 180 hours during a fifteen-week fall semester, and 225 hours during the final fifteen-week semester.
  • Nursing Administration and Leadership students complete 270 total practicum hours during their final three semesters: 90 observation/shadowing hours during a ten-week summer semester, 45 observation/shadowing hours during a fifteen-week fall semester, and 135 precepted hours during the final fifteen-week spring semester.

Preceptor availability is unpredictable, so students should be flexible with their schedules in order to complete the practicum hours required each semester.

Do I have to find my own preceptor for my practicum courses?
No. The VCU School of Nursing has a clinical placement coordinator who arranges all practicum placements. If you know of a potential preceptor with whom you would like to work, we ask that you send that individual’s contact information to the clinical placement coordinator so that she can facilitate communication between the potential preceptor and the School of Nursing.


Master’s: Preparing to Apply

Beginning with the Fall 2016 application cycle, the School of Nursing will participate in the Centralized Application Services for Nursing Programs (NursingCAS). The NursingCAS for VCU’s Master’s program will be open in mid-November 2015. To prepare for applying, below are some helpful tips for things you can do now:

Collect copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended, including course work taken as high school dual-enrollment credit, nondegree-seeking credit, study abroad or course work taken and transferred to another institution. You will enter data from these transcripts into the coursework section on the application. Applicants who have studied outside of the U.S. must also provide a course-by-course external credential evaluation from ECE or WES no older than two years at the time of application.

NOTE: You will also need to have all official college/university transcripts sent directly to NursingCAS for verification. To do this, you will print off a specific transcript request form from NursingCAS to send to your colleges. The mailing address for transcripts is provided in the NursingCAS instructions.

Begin drafting your personal statement, making sure you address the following topics in a thoughtful and scholarly manner:

  1. What are your career goals, and how do you see the master’s program contributing to meeting them?
  2. What particular strengths do you believe you bring to this program that would enrich the learning environment of your peers?
  3. What past experiences have you had that will help you be successful in this program?
  4. What are you most proud of in terms of your professional accomplishments?

Update your resume/curriculum vitae ensuring all professional work experience, certifications, community service and volunteer experiences, and special skills and abilities are highlighted.

Consider who you will ask to submit references on your behalf and collect contact information for each. The three (3) academic and/or professional references must be able to knowledgeably comment on your ability to succeed in a graduate program. Any personal relationships (i.e., family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc…), even if they can be tied to an academic or professional setting, are not valid and will not be considered. An academic reference is a current or former faculty member or academic advisor. A professional reference is a current/former supervisor of a paid or volunteer position.

NOTE: You will enter the names and contact information in NursingCAS. Your references will receive an email message from NursingCAS that directs them to an online recommendation form.

If your cumulative undergraduate GPA is less than 3.25, take the GREs and retain a copy of your score report. You will upload a copy of your score report into NursingCAS.

If your native language is not exclusively English, take the TOEFL iBT or IELTS.