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BSN - Competitive Admission

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Prospective Student Information Session

Iowa Nursing Webinar - Spring 2020

Nursing Clinical Education Center

NCEC YouTube Video


The College of Nursing recognizes that not all students have completed the requirements for early admission directly out of high school, and that there are many students who change their majors, or pursue a second degree in nursing. The college is committed to offering an equal number of seats to students who follow this pathway. This program is competitive. Students must meet the following criteria noted below to be considered for admission to the pre-licensure undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Please note that meeting the requirements does not guarantee admission. Each application is holistically reviewed by faculty. Admission will be offered conditionally pending completion of all requirements.

Students who enroll at the University of Iowa as Nursing Interest students, or transfer students earn admission to the College of Nursing via the Competitive Admission process. These students must complete designated prerequisites and apply for admission to the college after or while completing the final prerequisites for the nursing major.

The College of Nursing will admit a cohort of up to 80 students who begin the nursing major each spring semester. Students who choose the University of Iowa directly out of high school will have five semesters to complete prerequisite courses. These students should anticipate a minimum 4.5 year plan of study.

Application Deadline: April 1 (Typically during 2nd year at Iowa)
(All transcripts must be received at the University of Iowa Office of Admissions by June 1)

Possible Fall Start
In the rare event that seats become available in a fall-start cohort, the College of Nursing will consider offering a fall start to students who have applied and been selected for admission for the spring session and who meet the following criteria:

  1. Meet all published admissions standards, including a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  2. Have a minimum of 90 s.h. earned toward a degree, or have already earned a non-nursing undergraduate bachelor’s degree
  3. Have completed all prerequisites, including Health Care Finance, general education coursework, world language, and the physics requirement by June 1 of the application period

If you meet these criteria, please contact your academic advisor for guidance in developing an appropriate plan of study.

Required by June 1:

  1. Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  2. No lower than a “C” (2.0) in prerequisites and General Education requirements
  3. Hours Complete:
    To be considered for Competitive Admission, applicants must have a minimum of 48 s.h. completed by June 1
  4. Natural Science Prerequisites: To be considered for Competitive Admission, applicants can have no more than two natural sciences incomplete on June 1. All natural sciences must have been completed within 10 years of matriculation (enrollment) in the nursing major
  5. Social Science Prerequisites: To be considered for Competitive Admission, applicants can have no more than two social sciences incomplete on June 1
  6. Applicants for whom English is not the first language please see TOEFL information below

Required at time of matriculation/enrollment in the nursing major:

  1. A minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA
  2. A minimum of 64 s.h. of completed course work (although a total of 67 s.h. allows the student to only have nursing major courses remaining should the student be selected for admission)
  3. All natural science prerequisites have been completed within the past 10 years
  4. All social science prerequisites must be completed
  5. General Education Prerequisites (all must be completed before starting the nursing major) 
         Literary, Visual and Performing Arts
         International and Global Issues
         Values & Culture or Diversity & Inclusion*
                     *Diversity & Inclusion courses are only available at the University of Iowa  
  6. All high school requirements must be completed; deficiencies in high school can be satisfied with collegiate course work and,
  7. World Language requirement must be completed

Important Information Regarding TOEFL for International Students
International students who wish to enroll in the College of Nursing for either Early Admission or Competitive Admission must meet the requirements listed for that pathway. International students for whom English is not the first language also are required to complete the following:

  • For students (early admission or transfer) who are new to the University of Iowa and admitted directly to the College of Nursing as a pre-licensure BSN student, a score of 100 on the iBT TOEFL is required.
  • University of Iowa students who are interested in studying nursing at Iowa, but have not yet earned admission to the College of Nursing must present a minimum iBT of 81 with no subscore lower than 17, and complete the English Proficiency Evaluation (unless they have a TOEFL score of 100 or higher on the iBT). Students may be required to complete English as a Second Language course work if specified as a result of the English Proficiency Evaluation. If such course work is required, it must be completed prior to the start of the nursing major.
  • Exemptions may be granted for persons who have completed a bachelor’s degree (or higher) at an accredited university in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada (excluding French Quebec), Africa (English speaking), Australia, or New Zealand.

College of Nursing Policy on Recommendations:

Effective August 1, 2018, the College of Nursing will no longer accept letters of recommendation for applicants to the BSN program.

Planning for Transfer Students
Students who are completing pre-requisites for the pre-licensure BSN program at a different college/university should begin with a transcript evaluation. This information from this free service will be invaluable to you as you prepare to meet the requirements for time of application and time of matriculation (enrollment) in our program should you be selected for admission. 

Transcript Evaluation:

  1. Collect transcripts from all institutions where you have completed collegiate course work. Scan the documents so that they can be attached to an email (pdf or word document please). For a transcript evaluation, we do not need to see official transcripts. When you apply for admission official transcripts will be required.
  2. Send an email to and attach all transcripts. Please write "Transcript Evaluation Request" and your name in the subject line. In the text of the email please note whether you completed one year of physics in high school and number of years of which world (foreign) language that you completed in high school.
  3. An evaluation will be completed and returned to you electronically.

Finding Comparable Courses:
To search and identify comparable courses at another institution, please utilize our transfer equivalency database, which is available at:


Please contact the college's Office of Student Services at 319-335-8216 or