Graduate Nursing (DEMSN) Admission Requirements

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The Master of Science in Nursing leading to initial nursing practice for RN license program has a two-pronged admission process. Students initially apply for admission to the degree program. Those admitted to the program must later apply for admission to the Professional Sequence for the nursing program.

All materials required to support the student application process for the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) for Initial RN Practice degree program should be uploaded to the MSMHC student application file. 

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Admission Requirements for Degree-Seeking Applicants

The following are the admission requirements for applicants for the MSN - Direct Entry to Initial RN practice program:

  • Must have earned a bachelor's degree and have completed the pre-enrollment/prerequisite coursework with a grade earned of 'C' or better.   Applicants who are seeking admission but have not completed the prerequisite/pre-enrollment coursework must develop and submit a plan for completing the requirements prior to enrolling in the program. The plan submitted to the Admissions Committee should include provisions for demonstrating competencies in prerequisites through either completing coursework at Viterbo University or another accredited college. Students with deficits in coursework/ demonstrated competencies may be conditionally admitted prior to fulfilling these requirements.
  • Generally, an undergraduate cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 point possible scale is eligible for admission. Applicants with a lower GPA must submit the GPA essay statement with their application materials outlining special circumstances to explain why they believe their undergraduate GPA does not reflect their potential and readiness for graduate studies. These applicants will be considered for admission on an individual basis for provisional acceptance into the program.  
  • Pre-Enrollment Pre-requisite Coursework must be completed prior to enrolling in the program.  All coursework must have a grade earned of 'C' or better and official transcripts submitted.  Courses with * must be completed within the last five years.:
    • Anatomy & Physiology I* with Lab
    • Anatomy & Physiology II* with Lab
    • Chemistry with Lab*
    • Microbiology with Lab*
    • Developmental Psychology
    • Statistics
  • Official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions, and institutions where required pre-enrollment coursework was completed, must be submitted directly from the school to Viterbo University.  Transcripts can be sent electronically to or mailed to Enrollment Operations, Viterbo University, 900 Viterbro Drive, La Crosse, WI 54601. 
  • Submit the MSN Applicant Essay responding to the question posed.   The essay should be typed, double-spaced document, written in APA format addressing the points below clearly and concisely in approximately two pages (approximately 500 words).  
    • Describe the alignment of your personal values and the profession of nursing  
    • Identify your areas of interest as well as your professional goals  
    • Describe a relevant life experience or academic accomplishment that has prepared you for success in this program 
  • Request two recommendations supporting your candidacy for the Master of Science in Nursing degree submitted by individuals familiar with the applicant’s educational and vocational performance and potential. Please complete the recommendation request forms on the supplemental items page in your portal and an email notification will be sent to your recommenders.
    • Read and sign the Educational Loan Agreement and Disclosure Statement providing you Viterbo's institutional Business Office Disclosure and Policy Statement which includes information regarding fees, interest rates, enrollment deposits, and refund schedule information, as well as an electronic form and signature release. The link to complete the online form will be available on your supplemental items list inside your application portal after the application is submitted.

    Applicants must submit all required materials (i.e., application, personal statement, transcripts, test scores, background check information, and recommendations). Completed applications are accepted each year depending on space availability and reviewed by the Admission Committee.

    • Qualified applicants will then be reviewed and the program reserves the right to schedule interviews.

    Additional Items Required post-acceptance: 

    • Complete the program’s background check process. While the findings from this background check may not preclude program enrollment, problematic findings are likely to restrict practicum and internship placements and complicate the successful completion of the program. In addition, such issues may preclude state licensure.
    • Submit your immunization records., ensuring all required immunizations are up to date.

    Admission Requirements for Non-Degree Seeking Applicants

    On a space-available basis, the program will occasionally allow students to enroll to take up to six hours (two courses) as a non-degree, Student-At-Large.  Candidates interested in this path should contact the Director of Graduate Admissions at or call 608.796.3011 to explore this option.  Approval to apply is granted by the program based upon space availability.

    Once approved to proceed with the application processes candidates must submit the following items:

    • Submit an application for admission to the M.S. in Mental Health Counseling Program as a non-degree, no-program student.
    • Submit official transcripts from the degree-granting institutions and where pre-enrollment coursework was completed (must be sent directly to Viterbo University from the College/University to or Graduate Admissions, Viterbo University, 900 Viterbo Drive, La Crosse, WI 54601.
    • Read and sign the Educational Loan Agreement and Disclosure Statement providing you Viterbo's institutional Business Office policies, fees, and refund schedule and electronic form, and signature information. The link to complete the online form will be available on your supplemental items list inside your application portal, after the application is submitted.