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Health Professions Advisory Committee

Guidelines for Pre-Nursing Students Planning to Enter the Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program at Vanderbilt University

Begin early to give careful consideration to the entire pre-professional program at BSC since your success during this period will determine whether or not you will be accepted into the Masters program. Your admission to the Vanderbilt Nursing Program will be based upon four criteria.

    1. Score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) verbal, quantitative, and writing sections.
    2. Your course of study and your grade point average.
    3. Letters of evaluation from the Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) and others.
    4. Completion of an interview survey conducted by the Vanderbilt School of Nursing.

I. Course of Study

Students entering Birmingham-Southern College with the intention of earning the Masters of Science in Nursing degree from Vanderbilt University have two courses of study available to them. They may choose to complete a Bachelors degree from Birmingham-Southern College prior to entering the professional program at Vanderbilt University or they may choose to participate in the 3-2 Bridge Program.

If the first option is selected, the major may be any of the disciplines represented at the College, or it may be interdisciplinary or individualized. In addition to completing the requirements of the major and the general education requirements of the College, you must also complete the pre-requisites of Vanderbilt University. Pre-requisites of Vanderbilt University include three units of social sciences, two units of English (one of which must be literature), human growth and development, human anatomy, human physiology, microbiology, statistics, and nutrition. Strongly recommended are chemistry and computer science.

If you choose to participate in the 3-2 Bridge Program, you must major in either Biology/Pre-nursing or Biology-Psychology/Pre-nursing. Completion of either of these majors within the three-year period requires very careful scheduling of courses.  You must complete BSC’s general education requirements for the baccalaureate degree, the prerequisite courses for admission to the School of Nursing at Vanderbilt University and course requirements for one of the two majors listed below.

Required courses for Biology/PreNursing:

  • BI 115 (Organismal Biology)
  • BI 125 (Cell/Molecular Biology)
  • BI 215 (Principles of Genetics)
  • BI 225 (Evolutionary Ecology)
  • BI 303 (Physiology)
  • BI 304 (Microbiology)
  • Human Anatomy (taken off campus but must be approved by Vanderbilt School of Nursing)
  • One Bi elective
  • CH 120 or CH 149

Required courses for Biology-Psychology/PreNursing:

  • BI 115
  • BI 125
  • BI 225
  • BI 303
  • Human Anatomy (taken off campus)
  • One BI elective at the 300 level or above—recommend BI 304 to complete this requirement
  • CH 120 or CH 149
  • PY 101 (Introductory Psychology
  • PY 204 (Statistics for Research)
  • PY 312 (Biological Psychology)
  • PY 324 (Development Psychology)
  • Two PY electives
  • One exploration term in PY

Students participating in the 3-2 Bridge Program must complete the nursing degree at Vanderbilt University in order to receive their degree from Birmingham-Southern College. Students who do not complete the degree requirements at Vanderbilt University will not receive a degree from Birmingham-Southern College unless they return to the College and complete the requirements for another major as well as any remaining graduation requirements.

Other than perhaps a more carefully planned course of study, your activities during your first and second year will be much the same as those of other students. Take part in extracurricular activities. Become an active participant in some phase of the College community other than academics. Treat your coursework seriously. Develop good study habits along with the habit of regular course attendance. Give each course your best effort. Reading speed and comprehension are important. To help develop these skills, you should read as broadly as possible on a continuing basis. Remember that the academic record you make in the first two years will be the record reviewed by the admission committee at Vanderbilt.

II. Application Process

  1. At the beginning of the spring term of the sophomore year (if a 3-2 student), or the junior year (if a 4-2 student), obtain a Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) application from the Secretary for Science/Mathematics and return the completed form to the secretary.
  2. Obtain an application form and interview survey from Vanderbilt University, complete all components and return the completed form to Vanderbilt by December 1. A non-refundable application fee must accompany the application form.
  3. Complete the Graduate Record Exam and have the scores sent to Vanderbilt University.
  4. Have each college/university you have attended send directly to Vanderbilt an official copy of your transcript.
  5. For information about the HPAC application process click on the link for Guidelines for Pre-health Students
  6. You should contact 2 other persons to also write letters of recommendation. Particularly valuable in these recommendations are comments/evaluations of your work ethic, diligence and aptitude for a nursing career.

Section 438 of the General Education Provision Act, (PL93-380) as amended in 1974, commonly known as the "Buckley Amendment," guarantees the privacy of student records and right of access to them under certain stipulations and exceptions. All records received by HPAC remain confidential. Under the law, the student may or may not waive his or her right of access to records supplied or caused to be supplied to or by the HPAC. The Committee will process all records in accordance with the option selected by the student. The waiver is not a condition for Committee evaluation.

Completed applications must be received by Vanderbilt by December 1.  Review of applications begins on December 2 to fill available slots in the Nursing Program.