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College of Nursing > Apply Online Now > College of Nursing Application Instructions
About Rush University
Before You Start Your Application
We appreciate your interest in the Rush University College of Nursing. This document provides detailed information about the general application requirements, policies and procedures of the college as well as specific program criteria.
Rush University College of Nursing participates in the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS).  NursingCAS partners with many colleges and schools of nursing to provide an online application to students, collect and process application documents, and verify transcripts on the school's behalf.  The school receives complete and verified information from NursingCAS and is solely responsible for all admission decisions.
Choosing a Program Designation in NursingCAS*
When you apply for any of Rush's programs in NursingCAS you will need to choose the specific program and term of entry to which you are applying. 
For non-nurses
  • Choose Direct Entry Master's (MSN) for Non Nurses: Generalist Entry Master's (GEM) if you have a bachelor's degree in an area other than nursing and do not have a registered nursing license.
For the advanced practice DNP programs, in addition to choosing the specific clinical content track and term of entry, you will have a program choice of either BSN-DNP or MSN-DNP.
  • Choose BSN-DNP if you have a bachelor's degree in nursing.
  • Choose MSN-DNP if you hold a bachelor's and master's degree in nursing.  If you have a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's degree in another field, choose the BSN-DNP designation.
  • APRNs may choose a MSN-DNP designation in a second specialty (not the advanced practice area in which they are already certified) or a leadership track. 
  • Choose CNL if you have a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) OR an ADN in nursing with a bachelor's degree in another field (please click here for more information about the CNL program).
*You may apply to only one Rush program and one admission cohort. Applying to more than one Rush program or cohort will delay the processing of your application.
Starting Your Application
We recommend the first thing you do is order all official transcripts from a collegiate level or higher and have them sent directly to NursingCAS and then complete the required NursingCAS fields for submission of your application. 
  • Though parts of your application may still be incomplete, e.g., letters of recommendation received (although your will need to name your recommenders in the system in order to submit your application), we highly recommend you submit your application well before the deadline as it can take several weeks for NursingCAS to receive and verify your transcripts and calculate GPAs. Please review the bulleted areas below to see the required fields you need to complete before you can submit an application (the titles will match the NursingCAS portal page).
·         Biographic Information
·         Personal Data *(Your Social Security Number is not required on the NCAS application)*
·         Background Information
·         Colleges Attended & College Degrees
·         Coursework
·         Privacy Statement
·         Designation
·         Contact Information for 3 recommenders
·         Personal Statement
·         Document Upload of CV/resume
In order for an application to be considered, the required NursingCAS data fields above must be completed and the application submitted by the posted deadline.  As programs are competitive, we strongly advise, if possible, you submit ALL required documents (e.g., resume) to NursingCAS prior to the application deadline. 
You should check your personal application page on the NursingCAS application portal to monitor the successful transmission of your transcripts and recommendations. Our admissions staff will also be working with you to ensure application completion. 
Rush University College of Nursing does not require the submission of high school transcripts to NursingCAS.
Application Requirements
  • A completed application submitted to NursingCAS.
  • A brief Rush supplemental application completed upon receipt of the NursingCAS application.
  • Official transcripts from all accredited institutions of higher education attended. You may need to order another set of transcripts for your own use in order to complete the course entry portion of the NursingCAS application.
  • A resume or CV. *
    *Please note you can upload your resume or CV to the NursingCAS application. Your file must not be larger than 2mb. The accepted file formats are MSWord (.doc), rich text format (.rtf), portable document format (.pdf), and ASCII text file (.txt). Do not password protect your files. If you are having problems uploading your CV please make sure you are using Firefox or Internet explorer 8 (or higher).
  • Three letters of recommendation.*
    *Once the contact information is submitted, an email is instantly sent to the recommender with instructions for them to login to a recommender portal and submit their information. If the recommender has difficulty filling out the online form, please direct them to the tabs at the top of the recommender portal. There is an Instructions tab and a contacts tab which will provide helpful information. Status of the recommendations can be found on the applicant’s NursingCAS homepage. If you should need to re-send the recommendation link to your recommender, please contact the NursingCAS customer service team at (617) 612-2880 or

General College Requirements

Submission of the following documents to the Office of Admissions Services is required prior to the application deadline:
  • The GRE is required for all applicants to the Nurse Anesthesia and PhD programs and cannot be waived. 
  • GRE scores are required for all other programs unless waived under the following conditions:*
    • For  the Direct Entry Master's: Generalist Entry Master's (GEM) a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or greater
    • For the MSN and DNP post-licensure programs a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or greater; a pre-licensure nursing GPA of 3.0 or greater; or a graduate GPA (of a completed degree) of 3.5 or greater
  • Post-graduate certificate students are not required to take the GRE.
    *Rush will receive verified GPA calculations from NursingCAS only after they have received all of your official transcripts. If you believe you will need to submit GRE scores, we suggest you prepare for the exam and take it sooner rather than later as we cannot review your application until official GRE scores have been received. These scores must be received by Rush University before the application deadline. Your scores will be sent to the institutions you designate within 10 to 15 days after your test date.

    For more information go to The GRE school code for Rush is 3262. GRE scores less than five years old should be sent directly from ETS. If your GRE scores are more than five years old, you may submit a copy of the original score report by uploading the document into NursingCAS.
  • The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is required for applicants who are non-native speakers of English. This requirement may be waived if the applicant has completed a minimum of three years of higher education AND received their baccalaureate degree in the United States.
  • All foreign institutions attended require course-by-course ECE or WES transcript evaluation.
All applicants will be evaluated on the following:
  • A minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution*
  • Submission of a completed NursingCAS application with a non-refundable application fee ($65)
  • All calculated GPAs of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)**
  • Substantive personal essay statement
  • Three professional letters of recommendation from faculty and/or work managers (for post-licensure applicants at least one letter must come from current or recent employer). Relationship of recommenders to you must be in a supervisory capacity.  Recommendations from friends, relatives or co-workers will not be accepted and will cause your application to be delayed or denied.
  • A resume or CV that includes work experience, educational, leadership and professional organization activities, and scholarly activities including publications, presentations, research, honors and awards, and nursing license number and state for RNs 
  • Acceptable GRE scores, if required. The GRE school code for Rush is 3262.
  • Acceptable TOEFL scores, if required. The TOEFL school code for Rush is 3262.
  • Submission of a brief Rush supplemental application upon receipt of NursingCAS application (Rush supplemental application fee is $35)
  • Acceptable personal interview(s) with faculty
  • RN licensure in the United States (for advanced practice post-licensure programs)
Failure to submit all required and accurate information will result in the removal of the application from consideration for admission.
Additional Requirements
*Eligible applicants to the CNL, include associate degree in Nursing (ADN) graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in another area. 
**Cumulative GPA calculated for all applicants; prerequisite science GPA for GEM applicants only; pre-licensure nursing GPA for all graduate programs except GEM.
Direct Entry Master's (MSN) for Non-Nurses: Generalist Entry Master’s (GEM) Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Program Applicants:
All prerequisite courses must be completed by the application deadline. See GEM program information page for a listing of prerequisite coursework.
Nurse Anesthesia Program:
A minimum of one year of recent full-time experience as an RN in an adult ICU at the time of the application deadline. Two years of recent full-time ICU experience is strongly preferred.
Advanced Practice Applicants:
  • Adult-gerontology acute care NP program applicants must have a minimum of six months of recent adult critical care or adult acute care nursing experience.
  • All pediatric acute care applicants must have a minimum of six months of recent in-patient pediatric nursing experience.
  • All pediatric primary care applicants must have a minimum of six months of recent pediatric nursing experience.
  • All neonatal program applicants must have a minimum of six months of recent in-patient neonatal nursing experience.   
RNFA Course Series:
Applicants to the RN first assistant (RNFA) course series must be licensed to practice as an RN (without provision or condition) in the state in which the clinical practicum will be undertaken.
Applicants also must have a bachelor's degree and meet one of the following requirements:
  • A graduate of an APRN program with current board certification
  • A RN with CNOR certification, or a RN with two years of operating room experience (CNOR eligible). In this instance, CNOR Certification must be submitted before completion of the two course series.
  • RNFA applicants require only one professional letter of recommendation from a surgeon who is willing to serve as a practicum preceptor.
Personal Essay Statements

Below you will find the essay question(s) for the degree program to which you are applying. The general purpose of your statement* is for you to provide information about yourself as well as to demonstrate your ability to express ideas clearly and logically in a grammatically correct format. 

For the Generalist Entry Master's, Clinical Nurse Leader for RNs, DNP with Specialty Certification, DNP Leadership Tracks, PhD and post-graduate certificate applications, please answer the appropriate essay question(s) below. Indicate in the essay title the program to which you are applying. Please keep the total of your answers below the 5,000 character limit.
Generalist Entry Master’s (GEM)
What was your reason for choosing nursing as a career? Do you have any additional information that you would like the admissions committee to know about you that has not been previously considered in the application?
1. Discuss your interest and understanding of the clinical nurse leader role.   What experiences have contributed to your interest?
2. What are your professional goals? How will the CNL program help you achieve those goals?
1. Discuss the clinical specialty area you are interested in pursuing. What experiences have contributed to your interest?
2. What are your professional goals? How will a doctoral education help you achieve those goals?
3. The DNP program prepares you to sit for specialty certification and provides education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, systems leadership and other key areas to address important issues such as safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency and equity of care. Identify a problem or question that requires a system change in health care, educational services and/or policies that you might address in your role as a DNP-prepared health care provider. This problem should have relevance to current or emerging health care issues.
*We regret that we are unable to offer enrollment to DNP with clinical specialty certification applicants from the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Tennessee.
1. Discuss a specific leadership position (e.g., program director, associate dean) you wish to attain within three to five years after completing the DNP program (approx. 100 words). 
2. Identify a problem that requires a change in health care or educational services and/or policies. This problem should have relevance to current and emerging health care or educational issues. The topic you identify should be the basis for your DNP project and congruent with your career goals. The scope of the project should be large enough that it would result in, e.g., a system-wide change at the program, organizational, regional or national level, new or revised state health policy or the establishment of significant new services to a population or geographic region. It would be helpful to have a discussion with a potential sponsor to explore support for a project and where it might be implemented. Please include the details of your discussion in the essay.  
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Enhancing Population Health Outcomes
1. Discuss a population of interest in your work setting. What experiences have you had with this population? What health care needs do you see in this target group?
2. The DNP program in population health prepares you to assess the health and illness needs of clinical populations and develop, implement and evaluate population-focused interventions to address these needs. Identify a problem or question that requires a focus on the health of the population you identified above that you might address in your role as a DNP-prepared health care provider. The topic you identify should be the basis for your DNP project and have relevance to current or emerging health care issues in the target population.
3. What are your professional goals? How will a doctoral education help you achieve those goals?
1.Why have you chosen to pursue a research doctorate?
2.How does this fit with your career plans?
3.Describe a research area in which you are interested. What researchable question(s) would you be interested in answering about this topic? Tell us about the literature you have read that supports the need for scholarly inquiry in this area. Please comment on your qualifications and readiness for doctoral study.
Post-Graduate Certificate
1. Discuss the clinical specialty area you are interested in pursuing. What experiences have contributed to your interest?
2. What are your professional goals? How will a post-graduate education help you achieve those goals?


 *An important note from NursingCAS:
Some email providers use filters to prevent users from receiving "Spam" (unsolicited, junk email). Email filters may interpret an email from NursingCAS or a nursing program as "Spam" and automatically delete a message to you. To avoid missing important NursingCAS emails, turn the "Spam" or "junk" email filters off during the application cycle. If your email provider does not allow you to turn the filter off, you may have access to a "junk mail file" that archives all messages identified as sent to multiple addresses. Periodically check your spam/junk email file for NursingCAS or nursing program-related messages. 

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