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Nursing School Admissions

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Completion Option

This program is for the student that has already met the prerequisite requirements for the BSN completion program and consists of seven quarters (21 months) of nursing courses with both didactic and clinical components built on a foundation of general education courses transferred in from other accredited institutions.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing RN to BSN Option

This program option is for the registered nurse who desires to continue education in nursing at the Bachelor degree level. This option is delivered through distance education (online). The program option consists of both didactic and experiential learning assignments in specific courses and consists of 6 quarters (18 months) of study.

Associate Degree in Nursing Program

This program is for the student that has already met the prerequisite requirements for the ADN completion program and consists of six quarters (18 months) of nursing courses with both didactic and clinical components built on a foundation of general education courses transferred in from other accredited institutions.

Master's Degree in Nursing Program

The MSN Degree Program is designed to prepare Baccalaureate Nursing graduates for post-licensure education. Graduates of the program will earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree with a focus in nursing education and leadership. The MSN program consists of a total of 56 quarter credit hours, which can be completed in as little as 15-18 months. The curriculum design includes core courses that would allow students to pursue a post-graduate certificate. 

General Admission Requirements

The applicant must be a high school graduate or possess the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma. The applicant must provide documentation of graduation from high school or college in the form of a valid high school diploma or higher earned degree, transcript, or other acceptable documentation which confirms that the applicant meets or exceeds the academic achievement equivalent to a high school diploma in the USA. It is expected that all official documentation be in place before the start of the program. Any exceptions must be cleared by the admissions committee. All documents from foreign countries must also be translated into English and evaluated to be equivalent or higher than a USA high school diploma. 

Each applicant for admission is assigned an admissions advisor who directs the applicant through the steps of the admissions process; provides information on curriculum, policies, procedures, and services; and assists the applicant in setting necessary appointments and interviews in person or by phone as appropriate. 

Applicants should be prepared to discuss their career goals, applicable experience, and education background during the admissions interview. 

Admission decisions are based on the applicant’s fulfillment of these requirements, a review of the applicant’s previous educational records, and a review of the applicant’s career interests. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the Denver College of Nursing receives all required documentation. All records received become the property of the Denver College of Nursing. 

Application Requirements

Candidates for all programs must:

  • The applicant must be 18 years of age or older at the time he/she starts his/her program of study 
  • The applicant must complete an application 
  • The applicant must interview with an admissions advisor and/or other administrative staff (online students conduct interviews by phone)
  • Applicants must pay the application fee and complete all tuition payment requirements 
  • Accepted applicants must agree to and sign the Enrollment Agreement 
  • Authorize DCN to conduct a background check
  • Specific information and details are provided by the Admissions Advisor. 
Note: Enrollment in nursing courses requires enrollment in one of the college’s nursing programs. Pre-licensure (on-campus) students are required to continue and maintain annual updates of immunizations, health insurance, CPR Certification, and to immediately inform the college if there are items that might show on a background check that could create a barrier to clinical practice experience, placement, or licensure. Please refer to the section on Additional Clinical Requirements for On-Campus Students.
Post-licensure (online) students may be required to provide proof of current immunizations, certifications, or health coverage to DCN if needed for experiential learning assignments. 

MSN Admission Criteria:

All applications for admission to a Master of Science in Nursing degree require a completed application form and may include a non-refundable application fee. Admission to the Master of Science in Nursing degree program is based on individual evaluation in accordance with the following minimum admissions requirements: 

  • A nursing baccalaureate degree from an AACN/CCNE, ACEN, or CNEA accredited program. 
  • A minimum undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. 
  • A grade of “B” or better in all undergraduate nursing courses. 
  • Three recommendations from professional persons knowledgeable about the applicant’s academic, professional and leadership potential. 
  • Evidence of current unrestricted or unencumbered Registered Nurse licensure. Applicants may be conditionally accepted pending licensure which must be obtained prior to the end of the first quarter of study. 
  • Submission of a one page essay describing how master’s level education in nursing will impact the applicant’s practice. 
  • Two years of clinical practice as a Registered Nurse is preferred for all applicants. 
Admission on Probation
Students who show promise for the program, but do not meet all admission criteria, may be admitted on a probationary bases. Under the probationary status, students must attain a grade of “B” or better in the first 10 quarter credit hours of Master of Science degree in nursing course work. Successful completion of the first 10 quarter credit hours of course work with a 3.0 cumulative grade point average removes the probationary status and entitles students to good academic standing. 
Conditional Admission
Conditional Admission may be granted to students who are awaiting receipt of admission materials. This includes first quarter students awaiting a sit date for NCLEX testing. Registered nurse licensure must be obtained prior to the end of the first quarter of study. Unlicensed individuals will not be permitted to progress into the second quarter of the program. High School or GED Unless otherwise noted, all applicants for admission must be high school graduates recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or hold a GED. For more information on obtaining a GED, please go to and select GED Testing Services or contact the local Board of Education or our Admissions Office.

Health Requirements

Pre-licensure (on-ground) students are required to continue and maintain annual updates of immunizations, health insurance, CPR Certification, and to immediately inform the college if there are items that might show on a background check that could create a barrier to clinical practice experience placement or licensure. Please refer to the section below on clinical requirements

Post-licensure (online) students are required to provide proof of current immunizations, certifications, or health coverage to DCN if needed for experiential learning assignments.

Transfer Credits

Credit (Denver College of Nursing) Transfer to Another Institution – Credits earned at Denver College of Nursing are transferable only at the discretion of the receiving institution. Denver College of Nursing does not guarantee that its credits will transfer to any other institution. Credit Transfer to Denver College of Nursing – Denver College of Nursing generally does not accept nursing courses from another nursing program, unless the transfer is related to the Colorado Nursing Articulation Model or other approved articulation agreement. Requests for transfer will be reviewed by the Dean of Nursing Education Programs or his/her designee on a course by course basis. Any nursing courses approved for transfer must have been completed within three (3) years of application at a Board of Nursing approved program (note: this particular requirement is not relevant to the RN to BSN or MSN programs). Denver College of Nursing accepts transfer credits if the credits meet the following requirements: 

  • Previous institution was either accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or the college determines that the postsecondary institution has equivalent accreditation standing as a foreign institution 
  • The content of the course is similar in scope 
  • The unit of credit is comparable 
  • A GPA of 2.0 or better and with grades of C or above (C- or below are not acceptable) for all listed prerequisite courses. 
  • Listed prerequisites must be from an accredited U.S. Institution. 
  • Microbiology and A&P courses cannot have been completed more than seven years prior to the applicants DCN start date. 

Transfer credits are recorded as hours earned toward the program without counting toward a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA). General Education credits are transferred if they meet “general education” standards as defined by Denver College of Nursing. No transfer credits will be accepted after the first quarter. Denver College of Nursing does not guarantee the transferability of its credits to any other educational institution. All questions about the transferability of credits should be directed to the receiving institution. A minimum of 75% of the pre-licensure DCN program courses must be taken at Denver College of Nursing. A minimum of 25% of the program courses in the RN to BSN program option must be earned at Denver College of Nursing.

Competence from Prior Education

Applicants who wish to transfer in nursing courses with clinical or laboratory components, including Pharmacology, may be required to demonstrate clinical competency in the skills lab prior to the acceptance of these courses. Discuss the specific requirements with an admissions advisor.

Requirements Relevant to All Programs

Applicants who have completed courses that are different from, but are the equivalent to, those required for admission, should submit official transcripts and course descriptions for review by the Dean of Nursing Education Programs or designee. 

College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Defense Activity for Nontraditional Education 29 Support Subject Standardization Test (DANTES–Military or Approved Government Personnel) Policy College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Students who have achieved required credit-granting scores on College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams can earn college credit. CLEP examination credit is not given where it duplicates credit previously earned by the student or accepted for work done elsewhere. To obtain credit or placement for subject exams, a student must receive a score of 50 (Computer Based Testing [CBT] scale) or higher. To obtain credit for College Composition, a student must receive a standard score of 610 (1978 scale), 500 (1986 scale), or 50 (CBT scale). This is a scaled score, equivalent to a grade of C in the corresponding course. 

Defense Activity for Nontraditional Education Support (DANTES) 

Credits may be awarded to current and former members of the armed forces upon submitting documents received from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Department of Defense. Additional credit may be awarded to veterans of military service who have attended military service schools. This credit is evaluated by the Office of Admissions according to suggested guidelines by the American Council of Education. 

Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations 

Denver College of Nursing accepts Advanced Placement (AP) credit only when it appears on a college transcript as “Transfer Credit Applied”. Students who have performed satisfactorily in special college-level courses while in high school, and who have passed appropriate Advanced Placement (AP) examinations conducted by the College Entrance Examination Board may have official scores submitted directly to the Office of Admissions for consideration for college credit. This office, in consultation with the appropriate department chair, determines the amount and nature of the credit and/or advanced placement granted. Students should contact or 888-225-5427 to request official AP scores; the code for Denver College of Nursing is 7419. Documentation may be requested that verifies credit has been applied. Score must be “three or higher” to receive credit.

Nursing Requirements-Essential Functions of Nursing Practice

Nursing program applicants should be physically and emotionally able to perform all of the routine daily tasks a student nurse must perform in the clinical setting and do so in a safe and competent manner. Most often this includes, but is not limited to:

  • The ability to stand for long periods of time
  • Frequent, quick paced walking
  • Lifting and transfer of patients
  • React swiftly to auditory signals
  • React to visual stimuli with color and depth perception
  • Manual dexterity
  • Ability to read, speak, write, and understand English proficiently, and
  • Ability to make appropriate situational judgments and problem solve. 

The student handbook has more detailed information on the essential functions of nursing practice and what is expected of all nursing student in order to complete the program. 

Application Review and Acceptance

Successful applicants will be accepted through a ranked point system by the Admissions Committee and will be notified of acceptance when all admissions requirements are met. If needed, all applicants must adhere to the current Denver College of Nursing wait list policy. Applicants who are not accepted will receive a full refund of any amounts paid with the exception of the non-refundable application fee. 

Clock Hour/Credit Hour Distribution

Denver College of Nursing operates on a quarter system and awards credits for their courses. Students who have attended a college or university where semester credits were granted may transfer course credits to DCN (note: Denver College of Nursing does not transfer in nursing courses in its RN to BSN program options). With the exception of the RN-BSN program, nursing courses completed at another postsecondary institution are not eligible for transfer credit (i.e., a course with an “NUR” or “PNR” prefix). The only exceptions are nursing courses completed at Fortis-affiliated nursing programs. Acceptance of these nursing credits is subject to approval by the Dean of Nursing. Evidence of skill competency may be required. To convert semester to quarter credits, multiply the semester credits by 1.5. For example, a student who has earned 30 semester credits at an institution on a semester calendar could earn up to 45 quarter credits at DCN. 

Denver College of Nursing uses the following clock hour to quarter credit hour conversions:

Ten (10) lecture hours = one (1) quarter credit hour
Twenty (20) lab hours = one (1) quarter credit hour
Thirty (30) externship/clinical hours = one (1) quarter credit hour

Additional Admission Requirements

Additional Clinical Requirements for On-Campus Students 

The various clinical sites may have additional requirements that students must meet prior to being accepted into their clinical experiences. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they have appropriate documentation which will allow them to participate in the various clinical experiences. The following requirements must be met prior to clinical participation:

  • Background check (due prior to start of classes) must meet the Board of Nursing guidelines for the state in which your campus is located.
  • Clear drug screen (due prior to start of classes); this may need to be repeated at the request of a clinical facility. 
  • Completed Physical Exam form (due prior to start of the quarter in which clinical rotations begin).
  • Proof of current immunizations (due prior to start of the quarter in which clinical rotations begin); a list of required immunizations may be obtained from the Admissions Department.
  • Proof of health insurance coverage (due prior to start of the quarter in which clinical rotations begin). 
  • Proof of current Healthcare Provider CPR certification (due prior to start of the quarter in which clinical rotations begin). 
  • Proof of OSHA and HIPAA training (training will be provided in the program).
  • Additional requirements may be required by a clinical site; any additional requirements will be the student’s responsibility and at the expense of the student.