5 Key Nursing School Requirements (2024)


NursingAugust 30, 2014

**Editor's Note: This article has been updated from it' original version (2014) to accurately align with the current requirements for nursing schools.

While individual nursing schools each have specific lists of prerequisites for entry into their programs, there are some basic core courses you should anticipate will be on the list of nursing school requirements, regardless of which schools you choose. If you cover these five key requirements, you should have a solid base when applying for multiple nursing programs.


Even if you've been speaking it your whole life, every nursing program — and pretty much every degree or certification on the planet — requires taking at least one or two basic English courses. Being able to communicate verbally and orally with proper grammar is critical to presenting a professional image and being an effective communicator. Take at least one (but preferably two) semesters of English composition, and you should satisfy most nursing schools' English requirements.


Nursing in the "real world" generally requires very basic math skills, but almost all programs require at least one college-level math class — usually algebra. Some nursing schools may require a basic statistics course as well, so if you know what schools you're applying to, be sure to check for this requirement.

Natural Sciences

You won't find too many surprises in this category. Be sure to take at least one semester's worth of biology, but preferably more. You'll also likely need to take at least one semester of microbiology and possibly chemistry. To be well prepared for most program requirements, you should also complete a minimum of two semesters of anatomy and physiology.

Social Sciences

Many nursing schools require one semester each of 100-level psychology and sociology, but other classes to consider include child or general psychology development. You may also need additional electives, and great choices include ethics courses and classes that will help develop cultural sensitivity.

Wild Card Classes

Other nursing school requirements you might be required to complete before joining a program include a basic nutrition course, a class in public speaking or possibly a basic humanities classes.

Additionally, some nursing training programs, particularly at the BSN level, are starting to require students be certified as a nursing assistant (NA) before beginning nursing school. In addition to potentially becoming a nursing school requirement, working as an NA is an excellent way to learn direct patient care skills and to help understand the workers you may be supervising in the future.

It can be hard to anticipate what nursing school you'll be accepted to and which to choose from when the time comes. However, if you follow these five key guidelines, you should be well prepared and have multiple options when it's time to send in your applications.

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5 Key Nursing School Requirements (2024)
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