Admissions Questions

We do accept unofficial transcripts for review and prospective applicants are welcome to email these to if they are interested in a pre-application transcript review. Official transcripts are required for the application. Please be sure to send all transcripts from all schools you have attended post-high school, even if you have requested a pre-application transcript review.

There are two cycles each year for admission into the RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) program.

For Fall Admission:
Application due July 15th

For Spring Admission:
Application due November 15th

Prospective applicants must be licensed RN’s who have completed an associate degree or diploma nursing program at a community college or nursing school that is accredited by a specialized accrediting agency for nursing education programs. Employment is not necessary to begin the program, but applicants must have worked a minimum of 540 practice hours by graduation to obtain the 37 experiential learning credits that are applied toward their BSN.

RN programs should hold accreditation from either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Students who hold a baccalaureate degree from another institution or from JMU are exempt from completing the pre-requisite, co-requisite, and general education requirements with the exception of the Nursing pre-requisite requirements. Nursing pre-requisite requirements must be met in order to be considered for the program. All other admission requirements remain in effect.

The process to apply also remains the same – information on this process can be found on the How to Apply page. JMU graduates will need to complete a new application to begin a new career at JMU.

Yes! We welcome all former Dukes. Once a transcript review is completed, previous non-graduating JMU students will be guided to apply for re-entry to the university through the Office of Academic Student Services. No additional application is necessary. Learn more about the re-entry process.

Deadlines to re-enter the university are July 1 for fall and November 1 for spring.

Students who previously attended JMU but did not graduate may also complete any unfinished minors while they are in the program, if accepted. Only previously enrolled, continuing students at JMU, who have an officially declared plan (major or minor) prior to declaring the RN-BSN program, may complete that plan(s). Consultation with the second major or minor adviser or coordinator will be required to ensure timely completion of the declared plan(s). Students must complete their BSN, and any additional plan, within 5 years from start of RN-BSN program.

In order to apply to the RN-BSN program you must meet the following requirements:

  • Associate Degree or Diploma in Nursing from a community college or diploma nursing school that is accredited by a specialized accrediting agency for nursing education programs.
  • Transcripts reflecting a cumulative GPA on all college work attempted of 2.5 or better on a 4-point scale with a minimum GPA of 2.5 in Nursing (if applicable). Transcripts below 2.5 will be reviewed on an individual case-by-case basis.
  • TOEFL minimum score of 81 (internet-based test) or IELTS minimum score of 6.5 for international applicants.
  • Current unrestricted RN license in any state, Washington D.C., or a U.S possession or territory.
  • Graduates of foreign nursing schools who are licensed outside of the United States are required to pass the Qualifying Exam of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).
  • Employment as a RN for a minimum of six months or plans to practice concurrently with coursework.
  • Ability to meet the school's Technical Standards for nursing practice
  • Have completed all RN-BSN Pre-requisite Course Requirements

Please visit the Transfer Credit Equivalency Guide for the most current transferable course equivalents. Please note: Course equivalents are subject to change.

The RN-BSN program prefers transcripts reflecting a cumulative GPA on all college work attempted of 2.5 or better on a 4-point scale with a minimum GPA of 2.5 in Nursing (if applicable). Transcripts below 2.5 will be reviewed for qualifying status on an individual case by case basis.

The RN-BSN program welcomes students from across the US; however, clinical hours are required as part of the program. You need to complete your clinical in the state in which you are licensed to practice nursing. Not all states will allow a student in an out-of-state program to complete clinical hours (including California and Maryland). If you live in a state outside of Virginia, please contact the program coordinator ( to determine if you can complete your clinical in your home state prior to applying to the RN-BSN program.

Nursing is a very popular career choice nationally and that trend is no different here at JMU. There is no cap on the number of students taken each cycle but the process is competitive. All applicants are strongly encouraged to follow application guidelines carefully and submit all application materials by deadlines.

Although it is not possible to predict the odds of admission, we can give you some insight into our process. Admission of qualified students is based on available openings in each cohort to maintain a balanced faculty to student ratio in an online classroom.  Academic qualifications are described in the Admission Requirements.

There are two scholarship opportunities available to full-time RN-BSN students: the Frank & Eva Farrell Endowed Scholarship in Nursing and the Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship. View the Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Awards page for more information about both.

RN to BSN Program Questions

The baccalaureate degree in nursing program, master’s degree in nursing program and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at James Madison University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

Yes, in order to be a faculty member with JMU Nursing all faculty must hold a current, unencumbered nursing license.

View information on the community health clinicalIf you live in a state outside of Virginia, please contact the program coordinator ( to determine if you can complete your clinical in your home state prior to applying to the RN-BSN program.


Yes. RN-BSN students may participate in the Costa Rica study abroad program. Please note: This program is not offered every year. Please check the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) website for offerings.  More information can be found on the Costa Rica Community Health Clinical Summer Study Abroad page.

Courses within the RN-BSN program use experiential learning to apply classroom knowledge to real-world experiences from your nursing practice. 37 hours of experiential learning credit are awarded to RN-BSN students during their last semester in the program. Credit is comprised of documentation of 540 practice hours from current employer validating experience and professional portfolio completed during the program reflecting professional development through program completion. The portfolio includes examples of professional self-reflection, professional scholarship, and documentation of current RN licensure.

Experiential learning credit is required for graduation. Documentation of practice hours can be submitted any time and credits are awarded in the student’s final semester prior to graduation.

Unfortunately, the quick answer for most students in the RN-BSN program is "No." Before becoming eligible for graduation with honors, a student must successfully complete the following:

  • Enrollment at JMU for a minimum of four semesters (fall and spring).
  • Completion of a minimum of 60 attempted and earned credit hours at JMU.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50 on all course work completed at James Madison University, including any work completed at JMU as a dual enrollment student prior to undergraduate matriculation and/or any work attempted and earned beyond four semesters or 60 credit hours.

This means that a student needs 60 hours of completed course credit from JMU. The RN-BSN program only supplies 30 hours, and the 37 hours of experiential learning credit DO NOT count as course work completed at JMU.

If you have attended JMU in the past and graduated with a degree, you are not able to count those course hours towards your new degree - therefore you cannot be assigned Honors Status for graduation.

The Exception

If a student completed courses at JMU and withdrew from the university before receiving their degreebut has returned to JMU to complete their RN-BSN, they may graduate with Honors so long as they have met the 60 hours of coursework and other GPA criteria. View the Registrar’s Office requirements for graduation with honors

All RN-BSN students are, however, eligible for entry into the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society. Students who meet the GPA requirements will be offered membership once they have completed half of the program. Sigma graduates receive honor cords and distinction at graduation, as well as entry to a professional organization. Learn more about Sigma.

The JMU RN-BSN program is highly competitive in pricing compared to similar RN to BSN programs. Costs differ slightly between full-time and part-time enrollment. View estimated program costs.

Students who are considering the Costa Rica study abroad to satisfy their community health clinical hours should be aware that the tuition is governed by the Centre for Global Engagement and may be higher, especially for out of state students. This should be considered during planning. More information can be found at the Study Abroad Short-Term Program Fees page.

Please go to the Cost of Attendance Calculator to see the estimated cost of attendance for your program of study.

The university reserves the right to adjust tuition and fee charges because of rising costs or other conditions upon approval of the JMU Board of Visitors.

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