Students desiring to pursue the educational opportunity leading to the baccalaureate degree in nursing at Tusculum University will complete a three-step admission process.


The FIRST STEP is to complete the University’s admission process, be accepted for admission to Tusculum University as a degree-seeking student, and complete the pre-nursing core curriculum courses prior to applying for admission to the nursing program.


The SECOND STEP required for admission once the pre-nursing core curriculum courses have been completed is applying for admission to the nursing major by the published application deadline.   Requirements for admission to the nursing major include:

  • Earned cumulative college-level grade point average (GPA) of 2.750 or higher,
  • Earned cumulative GPA for science and math courses of 2.750 or higher,
  • Submit scores for the Admission Assessment Examination; scores must be within two years of the anticipated admission date.  See page titled “Admission Assessment Exam” for more information.  [NOTE: High school seniors will submit ACT or SAT scores in lieu of the Admission Assessment Exam, but will take the Admission Assessment Exam during their freshman year],
  • Successfully complete OREN 105 (if a current Tusculum student), Anatomy & Physiology I, Statistics, English Composition & Rhetoric (Comp I), Lifespan Psychology, History Elective, and a Humanities Elective with a grade of “C” or higher prior to submission of an admission application to the College of Nursing, prior to submission of an admission application to the Nursing Program,  [NOTE: Anatomy & Physiology II and Microbiology have to be completed prior to starting any nursing course],
  • Earned minimum of “C” in all courses (NOTE: “C-” grades are not acceptable), and
  • Submit a College of Nursing application to by the published deadline.


The THIRD STEP, once applicants receive provisional acceptance, is to meet all background check, drug screening, immunizations, PPD, health assessment and BLS certification requirements and complete additional non-nursing pre-requisite courses with a grade of “C” or higher and maintain the cumulative GPA at or above 2.750 before being fully admitted.


Admission to the Nursing major is limited. Admission to Tusculum University does not guarantee acceptance into the nursing major.


In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, all applicants and admitted students must be, with reasonable accommodations, physically and mentally capable of performing the essential functions of the nursing profession as outlined in the Core Performance Standards of Admission and Progression developed by the Southern Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing.  The Core performance Standards are located in the College of Nursing Student Handbook and are posted on the College’s web page.


HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS should review the information on the High School Freshman Admission page for more information regarding direct admission into the nursing major as a high school senior.


PRIORITY OF ADMISSION will be given to applicants based upon:

  • cumulative college GPA,
  • cumulative math and science GPA,
  • Admission Assessment Examination scores,
  • composite ACT score of 24 or higher (composite SAT score 1090 of higher based on verbal and math),
  • ACT math subscore of 22 or higher (SAT math subscore 520 or higher),
  • ACT English subscore of 20 of higher (SAT English subscore of 470 or higher), and
  • the number of credit hours of required courses successfully completed at Tusculum College.

Once all nursing program applications submitted by the published deadline have been screened, applicants will receive written notification of their admission status. Applicants who are admitted at this time are provisionally accepted.  Applicants who are accepted for admission must successfully complete the background check, drug screening, and immunization and health status assessments, and complete remaining non-nursing prerequisite courses before being fully admitted.



During the last semester, students are eligible to apply for licensure by examination (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses – NCLEX-RN). Licensure to practice as a Registered Nurse is granted by the Board of Nursing in the state of intended practice (see Tennessee Board of Nursing Rules & Regulations 1000-01-.01 (  All new graduates must submit to the criminal background check process as required by Tennessee Board of Nursing Rules and Regulations when applying for licensure in Tennessee. A graduate may not be provided an Authorization to Test (for the licensure exam) if there are any issues with the criminal background results until the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of the Board. An applicant who passes the licensing examination and is under investigation for possible violation of the Nurse Practice Act (arrested or convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation) may not be issued a license until the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of the Board. If the charges are substantiated, the license may be denied or sanctioned despite the applicant meeting all other criteria for licensure. The Tennessee Board of Nursing has the right to refuse to grant a registered nurse license to any individual regardless of his/her educational credentials under circumstances of:

  1. Falsification of application for licensure.
  2. Conviction of a felony or crime of moral turpitude.
  3. Other moral and legal violations specified in Tennessee Law.

Passing the examination is one criterion for licensure as a registered nurse. Another important criterion is that the applicant be “of good moral character.” The NCLEX application requires individuals to identify any prior convictions, both misdemeanor and felony.

All applicants should be aware that any felony and/or certain misdemeanor charges, where applicant was convicted or plead guilty or nolo contender, or received a deferred or other qualified adjudication, may prevent the applicant for being eligible for licensure as a registered nurse after completing the nursing program. Each state has different laws and rules regarding licensure eligibility.  Many states have laws that prevent licensure if an individual was terminated for cause from any State Medicare or Medicaid Program.  Applicants with prior charges or convictions should speak to the Dean of the College of Nursing, and Human Services regarding their individual circumstances prior to enrolling in the nursing program.  Students who do not disclose this information may be at risk of not becoming eligible for licensure once they graduate or could face possible dismissal from the program when they have positive criminal background checks.

NOTE: Nursing program applicants/students who have been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation may be ineligible for licensure per state law. For more information, contact the Dean of the College of Nursing and Human Services.  Any arrests and/or convictions MUST BE REPORTED to the Dean of the College at the time they occur while enrolled in the nursing program.  Failure to report an arrest or conviction will result in immediate withdrawal from the Nursing Program and nursing courses.



All nursing students are required to have malpractice insurance.  Students will obtain malpractice insurance through the provider indicated by Tusculum University.

It is strongly suggested that all nursing students have health insurance coverage.  Students are responsible for any and all costs associated with health problems, including any and all injuries or exposures to diseases as a result of clinical experiences.

The background check, drug screening, immunization and health status assessments are required by the clinical affiliate sites as a condition of participation in clinical education at their facility.   The Joint Commission requires hospitals, childcare facilities and other agencies to perform criminal background checks on all persons involved in direct patient care, to include employees, medical personnel, volunteers and students. All students are required to complete a criminal background check at their expense through the College’s designated agent. Refusal to complete a background check will result in the student’s non-admission or non-progression in the nursing program. Problematic criminal background results will be reviewed individually by the Dean of the College of Nursing and Human Services and the clinical affiliates. Students readmitted to the Nursing Program following a leave of absence or withdrawal will be required to repeat the process prior to readmission.

Positive criminal background checks will be reported to the clinical agencies per the clinical affiliation agreements with such agencies. Students, at the time of admission, will give permission to the Nursing Program to share the criminal background check results with the clinical affiliates.  If a clinical affiliate does not grant the student permission to complete clinical experiences at their facility, the Nursing Program is under no obligation to provide alternative experiences. Failure to participate in clinical experiences due to positive background checks will result in the student’s inability to meet course requirements and subsequently, result in dismissal from the program.

Area health care agencies are drug free places of employment and require a satisfactory (negative) urine drug screen of all nursing students that will be in clinical rotations at their facilities. The urine must be collected and processed using National Institute of Drug Abuse approved laboratory protocols and facilities. The drug screen test will be performed through the Collegel’s designated agent at the student’s expense and will be completed prior to final acceptance into the program. Students will not be permitted to matriculate unless the drug screen is negative or in the event of a positive drug screen, student provides documented legitimate use of identified drug(s).  Students readmitted following a leave of absence are required to repeat the drug screen prior to attending class.

If a nursing applicant has an incomplete immunization and/or health assessment, the applicant will not receive full admission into the nursing program and will not be allowed to enroll in nursing courses.

Applicants who satisfactorily complete the background check, drug screening, immunizations and health status assessments and maintain a GPA of 2.750 or higher, will be given full admission status and allowed to enroll in nursing courses.  If an applicant’s GPA falls below 2.750 after enrolling in the first nursing course but before the class starts, the applicant will be dropped from the nursing program.

All fully admitted applicants are required to submit documentation of obtaining an American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support (BLS) certification two weeks before the first day of nursing classes.  The BLS certification is valid for two years, and must be renewed prior to its expiration in order for a nursing student to remain in clinical courses.  Failure to submit documentation by the deadline will result in the student not being allowed to remain enrolled in nursing courses.

Individuals who are not accepted for a given class, and who desire to be considered for the next class must reapply by the subsequent application deadline.



Non-nursing transfer students who have been enrolled at another college or university, and who have NOT been enrolled in a nursing course, who wish to transfer to Tusculum University may apply for admission as pre-nursing students. Transfer students will complete the same pre-nursing core curriculum coursework and other requirements before admission to the nursing major; see above paragraphs for more information.  Acceptance of transfer and substitute credits to meet requirements of the nursing program will be determined by the Registrar’s Office and the Dean of the College.



Transferring nursing students are students who have been enrolled in nursing courses at another college regardless of whether they are currently enrolled in their previous nursing program.  The nursing courses to be transferred into Tusculum University will be evaluated for transfer credit on an individual basis.  A grade of “C” or better is required for all accepted transferred nursing courses.  Nursing courses will not be accepted for transfer if they were completed three or more years from the date of enrollment in the nursing program; courses older than three years will have to be repeated.

Transferring nursing students who wish to transfer from another nursing program may do so on a seat available basis and only if they have not failed or dropped more than one previous nursing course.  Nursing students are not eligible for admission if they have repeated one course twice or repeated two nursing courses and earned grades lower than a ”C” for both attempts.  Transferring nursing students must meet all Tusculum University and Nursing Program admission requirements.  In addition to applying for admission to Tusculum University , nursing students must submit a nursing admission application, a letter of good standing from the dean/director of the previous nursing program and an official transcript to Tusculum University .  Transferring nursing students may be asked to provide the Dean with copies of previous nursing course syllabi.

Acceptance of transfer and substitute nursing courses to meet requirements of the curriculum will be determined by the College Dean. A student who transfers into the nursing program at Tusculum University will be required to repeat any nursing or other required courses which are not considered comparable to the Tusculum University Nursing Program curriculum or in which the grade earned is lower than a “C.” Transfer students must meet the same standards as other students in the program.



See information on the RN to BSN Program web page.


If you have any questions about the above information, submit your questions to