Frequently Asked Questions

What are the average GPA and GRE scores for accepted students?

For the most recent cohort of admitted students, the average GPA was 3.6 and the average total GRE score was 307. Please keep in mind that these numbers represent the average GPA and GRE scores. It does not mean that applicants with a lower GPA and/or total GRE score were not accepted or that applicants with a lower GPA and/or total GRE score should not apply. Scores on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE are considered in the admissions process. The GRE Institution Code is 5570 and Departmental Code is 0610.


When should I take the GRE?

The GRE must be taken within 5 years of application. For applications for the 2018 cohort, the GRE must be taken no later than March 1 of the year prior to matriculation. For example applicants must take the GRE on or before March 1, 2017 if applying for entry in 2018.


Who can serve as a reference?

Applicants must submit three professional references, one of which must be provided by the immediate supervisor who is responsible for the applicant’s performance evaluations; a contact for the immediate supervisor must be included. Other professional references can be obtained from colleagues, physicians, clinical educators, or professors. References are submitted electronically through the VCU Graduate School Application.


What is considered acute/critical care nursing?

Critical care experience is defined in the "Standards for Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs" (Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs [COA], 2014) as "[experience] obtained in a critical care area within the United States, its territories or a U.S. military hospital outside of the United States. During this experience, the registered professional nurse has developed critical decision making and psychomotor skills, competency in patient assessment, and the ability to use and interpret advanced monitoring techniques. A critical care area is defined as one where, on a routine basis, the registered professional nurse manages one or more of the following: invasive hemodynamic monitors (such as pulmonary artery catheter, CVP, arterial); cardiac assist devices; mechanical ventilation; and vasoactive infusions. Examples of critical care units may include but are not limited to: Surgical Intensive Care, Cardiothoracic Intensive care, Coronary Intensive Care, Medical Intensive Care, Pediatric Intensive Care, and Neonatal Intensive Care. Those who have experiences in other areas may be considered provided they can demonstrate competence with managing unstable patients, invasive monitoring, ventilators, and critical care pharmacology."


See the COA website for additional information.

What about nursing experience in other areas?

One year of recent nursing experience in an emergency room (ER) or Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) may be acceptable for admission if the applicant can demonstrate competence in the areas outlined in the definition of critical care experience in the COA Standards. Operating room and ICU step down unit experiences do not fulfill this requirement. An applicant's experience and degree(s) must be completed by the time of matriculation, not the time of application submission.


How many applicants do you accept each year?

  • 20 - 24 Richmond site

  • 6 - 8 Abingdon site

  • 5 - 6 Roanoke site

  • 5 - 6 Alexandria site


When will I be notified of an interview?

Within one month of the application deadline, the admissions committee will review all applications and notify candidates that were selected to be invited for an interview. Applicants selected for interviews will be contacted by phone. 


Are all applicants granted an interview?

Meeting the minimum criteria for admission does not guarantee that an applicant will be invited for an interview. The admissions committee reviews all complete applications submitted prior to the deadline to determine which candidates will be invited to interview


Do you offer any preparatory courses for prospective students?



Do I need a BSN to be considered for admission?

No. A baccalaureate degree in a related science field is acceptable (e.g.: BS in chemistry, biology, etc). Please note, all applicants must hold a valid license as a Registered Nurse (RN) in the United States, its territories or protectorates and be eligible to apply for an RN license in Virginia prior to the third semester of the program.


Can I take courses from the curriculum before being accepted into the program?

No. Students cannot take courses that count toward degree requirements prior to being accepted into the program.


Is financial aid available?

Yes. VCU offers a variety of financial aid opportunities through the Financial Aid Office.


What is the application deadline?

The application deadline is March 14, 11:59 pm EST, the year prior to matriculation. For consideration for entry in 2018, all application materials must be received no later than March 14, 2017. 


Please call (804) 828-9808 with any questions about the application deadline.  


Do I need to have CCRN certification before applying?

No. CCRN certification is strongly encouraged, but is not required.


I am an international student, how do I apply to your program?

International applicants should contact the Virginia Commonwealth University Office of International Admissions:

408 W. Franklin St., Third Floor

Richmond, Virginia 23284-2526

Phone: (804) 828-6016

Fax: (804) 828-1829




I am interested in attending classes at a distant site; is there a different application process?

No. All candidates must submit an online application to the VCU Graduate School. Candidates will indicate the site to which they are applying via a supplemental question on the VCU Graduate School application.