Betty McDonald Pre-Med Institute

Nursing Program Requirements

This is an overview of what will be expected of students planning to enter a nursing program in the U.S. Each school will have slightly different requirements, but most expect that you will have completed your pre-health studies at a school in the United States. There are two nursing certifications one can receive, the registered nurse (RN), which requires an Associate's degree, and the higher level Bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) which requires a Bachelor's degree.

The nursing school at SUU has a highly sought-after nursing school of its own, with a 99%-100% licensure exam pass rate. Students who enter the SUU nursing school will continue to have the assistance and motivation of MPI's programs for the entire time they are enrolled.

For an overview of how the Betty McDonald Pre-Med institute works with you to help you fulfill each of these requirements, take a look at our MonthlySemester and Yearly checklists.

Nursing School Entrance Exam

Not all nursing schools require an exam, but those that do will probably ask for one of the exams listed below. You will need to find out which exam to take from the school you are applying to. The nursing program at SUU requires the TEAS "V" test

PAX-RN, or the Pre-Admission Exam for RN students, is given through the National League for Nursing (NLN). The exam is broken down into 3 major parts: verbal, science, and math skills.

TEAS, Test of Essential Academic Skills, includes 4 major parts: reading, math, English and science.

NET, Nurse Entrance Test, tests candidates in 6 areas: reading, math, stress, social interaction, testing abilities, learning skills.

Health Education Systems, Inc. (HESI) exam

Required Coursework

An Associate of Science (AS) degree generally satisfies the pre-requisites for entering a nursing program if your degree includes: American Institutions Requirement (see General Education) and MATH 1040 (Statistics). When entering a nursing program, you must generally have fewer than 18 credits left of your general education requirements.

In order to earn a BSN, you must make sure that your pre-program coursework includes the following classes.

SUU course number (credit hours)

English 1010 Introduction to Academic Writing (3)
English 2010 Intermediate writing: Selected Topics (3)
LM 1010 Information Literacy (1)
UNIV 1000 First Year Seminar (1)
CSIS 1000 Intro to Computer Apps and the Internet (3)
UNIV 1010 Introduction to Experiential Education (1)
UNIV 3925 EER Proposal (1)
UNIV 4925 Synthesis and reflection (1)
MATH 1040 Statistics (4)
PSY 1010 General Physiology (3)
NFS 1020 Scientific foundations of Human Nutrition (3)
CHEM 1110 Elementary Chemistry (3)
(& CHEM 1115 Elementary Chemistry Lab) (1)
BIOL 2420 Human Physiology (3)
(& BIOL 2425 Human Physiology Lab) (1)
BIOL 2060 General Microbiology (3)
(& BIOL 2065 General Microbiology Lab) (1)
BIOL 2320 Human Anatomy (3)
(& BIOL 2325 Human Anatomy Lab) (1)
BIOL 2170 Introduction to Human Pathophysiology (3)
CHEM 1120 Elementary Organic Bio-Chemistry (5)
(& CHEM 1125 Elementary Organic Bio-Chemistry Lab) (1)
FLHD 1500 Human Development Through the Lifespan (3)
FINE ARTS: Select one three credit course (3)
HUMANITIES: Select one three credit course (3)
AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS: Select one three credit course (3)


A score of 3.8 - 4.0 (A average) on a 4 point scale is typically the level that must be maintained for a BSN. A slightly lower Grade Point Average is acceptable for those seeking an RN certification, but grades should be maintained as high as possible to keep up with the high levels of competition for nursing school.


Applicants to a nursing program may have to pass an interview with the prospective school. This interview may last up to two hours and will test your ability to communicate well with others as well as your problem solving, observational, analytical and behavioral attributes. In short, you will need to convince the interviewer that you are the kind of person who will become a successful health professional.


To greatly increase your chances of being accepted into a nursing program, you should plan on gaining experience working in a clinic or hospital environment. Job shadowing or similar work experience is a great way to build a professional application, and more is better. Usually 50 hours are expected by nursing schools. You should also attempt to complete several hours of patient contact through volunteering or employment in a hospital, assisted care facility, clinic, or similar organization. The programs of MPI will help you to arrange local opportunities for all of this.


Future health professionals need to be leaders in their professional and everyday communities. These experiences can be accomplished through participation in clubs, religious organizations and campus entities.


Research experience is strongly encouraged. It will help you to stand out above other applicants, showing you are a critical thinker, able to collaborate with others, gather information and draw conclusions. All students of MPI are guided through the process of obtaining sufficient research experience.


As a health professional, you will need not only to know the people you will serve, you must also demonstrate an interest in making their lives better. There is no better way to gain experience and show you care about others than through volunteer work. There are unlimited opportunities to serve others in the community of SUU. Many pharmacy schools ask for 45 hours of volunteer work per year.


Expressing yourself in English can be difficult enough without having to worry about medically specific vocabulary, and yet, this is something all international health students will have to deal with. To succeed, you will need to develop the ability to convey ideas clearly and to understand others, including patients who may come from extremely different backgrounds from your own. Language is only one piece of this puzzle. You will need a working knowledge of cultures, symbols and non-verbal communication as well. Through practice and specialized education, you will obtain all the skills necessary to communicate with those around you.


Many schools ask for three separate letters of recommendation from a professor, supervisor or someone else you have worked for. These letters should attest to your good moral character and work ethic. MPI's mentors and instructors are good sources of these letters, as they will have worked closely with you, as well as people and groups you have served through volunteer work.


With your application for pharmacy school, you will likely need to include an essay describing the personal attributes that will make you a valued member of the student body of the school and an asset to the pharmaceutical community. It should describe the experiences that have helped develop you as a person and that have led you to apply to pharmacy school. It can include your thoughts, goals and strengths, as well as areas you feel you need to improve.