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Direct Entry Master's: Generalist Entry Master's FAQ
About Rush University
Program Information
Your Career Options with a GEM Degree
Admissions Information
Living Situation

Program Information
Many students who come into nursing know they want to be nurses, but they may be unsure in what specialty they would like to practice once they graduate. One benefit of the GEM program is that it gives the student a broad overview of all of the major specialties in which nurses work, as well as a variety of settings across the health care continuum. Furthermore, the GEM program allows for a seamless transition to doctoral education in either a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program or the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science (PhD) program. For example, a student who attends the GEM program and chooses to continue to an advanced practice DNP degree, will see little difference in the length of the educational process compared to attending a specialty master’s entry program. The GEM preparation as a clinical nurse leader provides a solid foundation upon which to build a future nursing career, regardless of the applicant’s ultimate career goals. The GEM program not only prepares students for the RN licensure exam, but all GEM students sit for the CNL certification examination before they graduate. When a GEM graduate passes the CNL exam (and NCLEX) a graduate can use the title MSN, CNL, RN. Certification gives an edge to new graduates who are applying to magnet-accredited hospitals.
Rush University College of Nursing is ranked 15th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in a survey of nursing schools with graduate programs. Six of its advanced practice programs are rated in the top 10 nationally. Rush students have the advantage of attending a private university that is a vital part of a nationally-recognized academic medical center. Committed faculty advisors are assigned to assist students in their successful progression through the program. Clinical practice sites include Rush University Medical Center and other health care facilities in the Chicago metropolitan area.
In today's complex health care environments, from acute to chronic to community settings, nurses are taking on more responsibility for the delivery of quality patient care. It has become clear that the traditional way of educating nurses needs to be re-thought. While similar to bachelor's programs in that they prepare graduates for generalist practice, the pre-licensure direct entry master's: generalist entry master's program includes the comprehensive clinical leadership content that most bachelor programs are unable to include — evidence-based practice, quality improvement, clinical outcomes management, team building and delegation, inter-professional communication, informatics and fiscal accountability. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) collects data on entry-level master’s degree programs (MSNs), which remain a popular pathway into nursing for those transitioning into nursing with degrees in other fields. Graduates from these programs are most likely to have secured jobs at graduation (73% for MSNs vs. 57% for BSNs) and at four to six months post-graduation (92% for MSNs vs. 88% for BSNs). These data illustrate a continued employer preference for hiring the best educated entry-level nurse possible 
The program is 24 months in length.
How long is each trimester?
Each trimester is 14 weeks in length followed by the 15th week being an exam week.
When is orientation? 
Orientations dates can be found on the GEM program page. All three days of orientation are mandatory. Please check the dates of orientation before you apply to a specific term of entry.
The program of study is a fast-paced, five-day-a-week curriculum. A combination of classroom and clinical coursework is provided throughout the program. Classes and clinicals are generally held Monday - Friday from 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. or 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
No, student-at-large coursework is only available to current nurses. 
Students have a rich clinical experience with adults, children and older adults in a variety of health care settings. Rush University College of Nursing requires 1,200 clinical hours to graduate.
No, Rush University College of Nursing will arrange all your clinicals. Clinical practice sites include Rush University Medical Center and other health care facilities in the Chicago metropolitan area.
Can I complete this program online and/or part-time? 
The GEM program is only offered as a full-time program of study and cannot be completed online.
What is the passing rate for Rush University College of Nursing students on the NCLEX?
Graduating pre-licensure students have attained an average, first-time national RN licensure examination pass rate of 97% - 99%.  This is far above the average passing rate in both the country and state. In addition, Rush University College of Nursing had the highest pass rate in 2012 and 2013 of all MSN entry programs in Chicago.
Numbers derived from Illinois candidates who graduated and took the NCLEX exam between 2009-2013.
Over the past year Rush MSN grads have a 97% pass rate on the CNL exam, compared to the national average of 73%.
What educational institutions have the GEM students attended in the past?
Our students have come from a very geographically diverse background including University of California, University of Notre Dame, University of Virginia, Brown University, Harvard University, Drake University, Miami University, University of Chicago and Big Ten schools such as Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Iowa and Indiana. 
Is Rush University College of Nursing accredited by Commission Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)?
Yes.The Master's degree in nursing and the Doctor of Nursing Practice programa at Rush University College of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

Your Career Options with a GEM Degree
What will I be able to do when I graduate?
Once you complete the program you will be able to sit for the NCLEX (RN licensure) and the Clinical Nurse Leader Exam (certificate). After passing the RN licensure exam your generalist degree in nursing will provide you the opportunity to begin employment as an RN in almost any area of a hospital, clinic or community setting. The advantage of an MSN, RN degree is the greater role and position flexibility it provides as well as the educational background to advance your professional career more rapidly. Also, if you decide to continue your education you will spend less time and money completing your advanced degree because you will have already taken the graduate core courses required to earn your master’s degree. 
Our GEM graduates work as registered nurses (RN) in a number of areas at various hospitals, clinics and community settings. These include the emergency department, intensive care units, neonatal intensive care units, labor and delivery, orthopedics, pediatric intensive care units, operating rooms, medical surgical units and palliative care units. Community settings include The Chicago Lighthouse and Chicago Department of Public Health among many more.
GEM students can complete a streamlined application for admission to a doctoral program after completing the first year of the GEM program.
To this point, 100% of our GEM graduates who have applied to a Rush DNP advanced practice program have been accepted into the program to which they applied.

Admissions Information
  • A minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution by the time of matriculation
  • Cumulative and prerequisite science GPAs of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Personal essay statement (the question can be found in the application instructions)
  • Submission of all official transcripts from all institutions of higher education previously attended to NursingCAS
  • Applicants must complete all required prerequisite coursework (with a grade of "C" or better) prior to the application deadline
  • Acceptable GRE General Test scores (the GRE is waived if cumulative GPA is 3.25 or greater)
    • GRE General Test scores are evaluated on an individual basis; however, a writing score 3.5 or greater is required for consideration for admission.
  • A personal interview with a Rush University College of Nursing faculty member. The interviews are by invitation only.
  • 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.
  • Three professional letters of recommendation. (Recommendations from friends, relatives or co-workers will not be accepted. Recommendations from place of employment must be from a supervisor or manager. Recommendations from college professors are accepted.) **
  • Document upload of CV or resume
  • Submission of a completed NursingCAS application with a nonrefundable application fee. The College of Nursing utilizes a centralized application service, NursingCAS. Please click on CON Application Instructions to read more about applying through this system.
  • Submission of a brief Rush supplement application. The online supplemental application will be emailed to you once you have submitted your NursingCAS application.
  • **Only applicants applying from an affiliated college or university are required to submit one letter of recommendation from a pre-health advisor.  
As a profession and a discipline, nursing promotes and protects human health and well-being and is grounded in a strong liberal arts, undergraduate education that includes the arts and humanities, as well as the behavioral, social and physical sciences.  Recognizing that different undergraduate majors have varying requirements, applicants will be evaluated both on their success in meeting the requirements of their undergraduate programs and on the breadth and depth of their educational preparation for entry into nursing.
Nursing practice and scholarship have great application in our society, ranging from the acute care of individuals to the management and promotion of the health of whole communities and even nations. The College of Nursing welcomes and is enriched by applicants from a spectrum of disciplines and professions. 
Physical and biological sciences*
This category of requirements includes successful completion of specific physical and biological courses. The following courses are required, minimally, to meet this criterion:
·         Anatomy** (laboratory component strongly recommended)
·         Physiology** (laboratory component strongly recommended)
·         Microbiology (laboratory component strongly recommended)
·         Chemistry*** (laboratory component strongly recommended)
**Anatomy and physiology may be taken as two separate courses or as Anatomy and Physiology I and Anatomy and Physiology II.    
***General chemistry, inorganic, organic or biochemistry courses with a lab are all acceptable to meet the chemistry requirement. Only one Chemistry course is required for admission.
***It is strongly discouraged to take anatomy and physiology online.
*It is assumed that if you have completed the general education requirements for a baccalaureate degree at a United States Institution, you will have fulfilled the entry requirement for the behavioral and social sciences and humanities.   
Behavioral and social sciences*: 
These entry requirements may be met in several ways. They can include, but are not limited to, at least one course in the behavioral sciences (e.g., introductory, developmental, abnormal, cognitive or experimental psychology, personality development, women’s studies, criminology, gender studies, human sexuality); and at least one course in the social sciences (e.g., sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, journalism, geography, African-American studies).
The humanities*: 
Applicants should have at least one course in the humanities which may include, for example, courses in the representational and performing arts as well as history, literature, philosophy, art history, communication studies, cultural and classic courses, theater, music theory, dance, cinema, religion, etc.
*The required prerequisites course may be taken at any accredited university or community college. 
Admission to the GEM program is pooled, we take time to thoroughly review all credentials submitted to the Admissions Committee.   
How many students apply per admissions cycle? 
We tend to have between 175 - 200 applicants. However, we only offer an interview to the students that meet the admissions requirements.
How many students are offered an interview per admissions cycle? 
We interview approximately 100 - 120 students per admissions cycle. 
How many students do you take each year into the program?
Rush University College of Nursing will enroll 48 students for each term of entry, fall (September), spring (January) and summer (May). Clinical groups generally have eight students per one faculty. 
Can I apply to the GEM program before I have completed all of my prerequisite courses?
All prerequisite courses must be completed by the application deadline.
Where can I take my prerequisite courses?
The required prerequisite courses may be taken at any accredited university or community college.  
I took human anatomy and physiology five years ago. Do I need to retake the course?
It is highly recommended that students have taken human anatomy and physiology within the last three years.
*Human anatomy and physiology are the only required prerequisite courses that expire.
Do I need to take a laboratory component with all my science prerequisites?
Science courses should be taken with a laboratory component whenever possible.
Do you require the GRE?
The GRE is waived if the cumulative GPA is 3.25 or greater. If your cumulative GPA is below a 3.25 you will need to take the GRE. Your cumulative GPA will be calculated based on all courses that you have completed at a collegiate level or higher as well as your prerequisite courses. For questions related to the GPA calculation process please visit the Educational History FAQ section of the online NursingCAS application.
Please note - If you submit your GRE scores, regardless of your cumulative GPA, they will be taken into consideration when you application is reviewed. This includes GRE scores submitted to other colleges at Rush University.*
*GRE scores are evaluated on an individual basis; however, a writing score 3.5 or greater is required for consideration for admission.
What is the GPA requirement for the GEM program?
Cumulative and prerequisite science GPAs of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).
How do I find out about financial aid?
Financial aid information for Rush University can be found online at If you wish to make an appointment with a member of the financial aid staff please call (312) 942-6256 to arrange a date and time. The financial aid office is open from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. You may also send your questions to the financial aid office via email. Please send your question(s) to
How do I apply for financial aid?
We ask that everyone who is considering applying for aid fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Please include Rush’s school code (009800) on the FAFSA; this will ensure your application is processed and sent to the Rush financial aid office automatically. 

Living Situation
I would like to live off-campus; can the Office of Student Life help me find a roommate?
Yes, by completing the Off-Campus Roommate Request Form the Office of Student Life is able to match you with another Rush University student. The Off-Campus Roommate Request Form can be found at
Construction has started on the new Rush Fitness Center, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2014! Designed with input from employees and students from across the Medical Center, the fitness center offers employees and students the chance to get in shape, lose weight, be more active or unwind after a busy day.
Is there parking available for students?
Yes. Daily or monthly on-campus parking is available for students. Please contact the parking garage at (312) 942-6594.
Can I get to Rush University Medical Center using public transportation?
Yes. The Medical Center is served by the CTA. Also, low-cost round-trip Rush bus service is available from the Metra Union and Northwestern stations for Rush University students. 
Is there on-campus housing available for students?
Yes. Center Court Gardens, located just two blocks from the Armour Academic Center, consists of apartment-style living with over 280 units available as studio, one-bedroom and two-bedrooms. The different types of apartments available will accommodate a variety of budgets. In most cases, you will find that comparable housing in the metropolitan area is more expensive than living on campus. On-campus housing information for Rush University can be found online at or by calling the Office of Student Life at (312) 942-6302. 
Can I take a tour of the apartments at Center Court Gardens?
Yes, by calling the management office at (312) 226-2836, you can set up a time to take a tour.
Yes, the Laurance Armour Day School (LADS) has been an innovative statewide leader in early childhood education and an important and beloved part of Rush University Medical Center for more than 40 years. For information please call (312) 942-6501

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