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Nursing Major

The College of Nursing offers an undergraduate program leading to the Bachelor of Science degree.

  • Approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing
  • Fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), a national nursing education accrediting body

First Year Nursing StudentsThe undergraduate program provides the knowledge and skills fundamental to professional nursing.

Students emerge from this program prepared for graduate study and able to:
- advocate for the rights of and respect for client, nurse, profession, and professional alliances with clients
- develop collaborative relationships to benefit the health of society
- manage competently and collaboratively the health dynamics of clients in the context of culture, resources, environment, and current technologies
- assume professional leadership roles

This traditional undergraduate track begins with a two-year pre-clinical plan designed to help you select appropriate courses on a semester-by-semester basis.
Required science courses need to be taken in the appropriate sequence.
General Education requirements need not be taken in a specific order, but must be completed by the end of the first two years of study because the Nursing requirements in the junior and senior years constitute full course loads each semester.

UMass Nursing Students

You need to complete all College of Nursing prerequisite courses and Nursing courses with a grade of C or better (and maintain an overall minimum GPA of 2.5).

The final two years of study focus exclusively on nursing theory and clinical nursing courses to prepare you to graduate and take the NCLEX-RN Professional Nursing Licensure exam.

Admission to the Undergraduate BS Traditional Nursing Track is competitive. Acceptance to the University does not guarantee admission to the Nursing major. Students will be notificed of their acceptance to the Nursing major by the University's Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Call 413-545-0222 or email with questions about the application process

Application Deadline

January 15, for freshman fall admission. Candidates must submit all materials by this date to be considered. 

Admission Criteria

  • 3.5 GPA minimum (on a 4.0 scale)
  • 1200 SAT scores (Critical Reading and Math only)
  • Top 10% of class
  • Science concentration in High School coursewoork

Transfer Students

Transfer students may be accepted if positions become available in the major.


Nursing Undergraduate Mentoring

Lower Division Course Requirements


Upper Division Course Requirements 

Please refer to our traditional undergraduate track flyer to view the most up-to-date requirements.

+ Are students accepted directly into the nursing major?
Yes. Applicants are reviewed by the Undergraduate Admissions Office for direct admission to the Nursing major. Because of the limited number of spaces in the Nursing major, this review process is very selective. Given the competitive nature of admission to Nursing programs at many colleges and universities, direct admission to the major is a real advantage to students.

Freshman applicants have the greatest access to the Nursing major, since students will enter as a cohort and proceed through the curriculum together.

+ Are transfer students accepted?
Transfer students are considered only if positions become available in the major. If vacancies occur, a notice will be posted on the College of Nursing Website, along with directions on how to apply. Because vacancies cannot be anticipated, there is no guarantee as to the semester in which a transfer student would be able to enter the program. Transfer students are responsible for all prerequisite coursework needed to enter the junior year of Nursing. To be eligible for transfer, applicants must have an overall University GPA of 3.0 or better and must have completed 12 credits of course work at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. For more information, please refer to the Undergraduate Student Handbook. See the section on Admission Requirements for the Traditional track.

+ Is there a language requirement?
No. But if you already invested in a language, you should complete the language testing proficiency when you are accepted to the University.

+ How can I finance my education?
Visit the Financial Aid Office at

+ How can I learn more about student life on the University campus?

+ Are freshmen allowed to live off campus?
Not usually. Under certain circumstances it is allowed, with permission from the Dean of the College of Nursing and letters of support from parents.

+ How are students accepted into the RAP program?
Residential Academic Program offers students in a particular major the opportunity to live and study together. Signup for the Nursing RAP and Nursing Honors RAP is available to nursing majors online after paying a deposit to enroll at the University and also during Summer New Student Orientation sessions until the RAP is filled. For more information, see the UMass Residential Academic Programs page.

+ Do students live in a dorm specifically for nursing students?
Students who enter the University and join the Nursing RAP program are housed in a dorm all together. They stay in that dorm for their first year at the University. They are not required to stay the following year.

+ When can students register for courses?
During summer orientation, students meet with faculty and other advisors, take critical placement tests (mathematics and writing), and sign up for their residence hall.

+ How do students register for courses?
There are step-by-step instructions on the OIT Support page.

+ How can students figure out what all the right courses are?
During Freshman orientation, students will receive advising and a tool designed to assist them with course selection. This worksheet has the nursing curriculum, plan of study, and an academic planning grid to assist in picking the correct courses.

+ What happens if courses conflict?
Students should register first for the prerequisite courses, which are bolded in the plan of study. After they are registered for these courses, students should select all other Gen Ed and or elective courses to finalize their schedules.

+ How many credits should students be registered for?
The nursing major is a full time program of study. Students will register for 15-16 credits on average per semester, as outlined in the plan of study.

+ How do you know who your advisor is?
The name of your nursing faculty advisor is listed on your SPIRE account.

+ How often are advising sessions held?
The University has a counseling period twice during the academic year immediately before students begin to pre-register for courses. During that time students will be directed to sign-up for advising appointments. Students can request individual appointments by learning their advisor's office hours. Group pre-advising sessions for each class are held in addition to individual appointments with advisors.

+ Do students need their own car?
Students must provide their own transportation to clinical sites. Clinical experiences may be scheduled on any day of the week and may include day, evening, or night time hours.

+ Where do students do their clinical?
There are over 100 clinical agencies providing a variety of clinical experiences. The following agencies or hospitals are used routinely for clinical rotations: Baystate Medical Center, Springfield; University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester; Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Northampton; Holyoke Medical Center, Holyoke; Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Greenfield; Mercy Medical Center, Springfield, and several others. Click here to view more clinical agencies providing clinical experiences. Formal partnerships exist with Baystate Medical Center, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, and Jewish Geriatric Services.

+ Are books available to purchase from upperclassmen?
Most students prefer to hold onto their course books. There are times when they are willing to lend out their book or sell them outright. Students may make an announcement in a Student Nurses' Association (SNA) meeting, of which many students are members, or visit the Textbook Annex.

+ Can students interested in the Nursing major visit the College and learn about the program?
Yes. Students are encouraged to visit and attend an Information Session. There are scheduled tours of the College of Nursing Clinical Simulation Laboratory during the academic year. Please click here to see dates and meeting times/places for the tours.

+ How many men are in the four-year program?
The number of men varies from year to year. There are usually anywhere from 3-7.

+ How do students go about taking a course during winter break and summer break?
Students must bring in a description of the course they will be taking during their break to be looked at by their advisor. They then fill out a prior course approval form. Instructions for how to fill out the form are noted on the back side. One copy is sent to the Registrar's Office and one copy to the student.

+ What is the procedure for making sure courses taken off-campus appear on a transcript?
Students call the school from which the course was taken. Upon your request, the school will send an official transcript to the UMass Registrar's Office.

+ If a student is ill or has an emergency situation, what happens?
It is best to notify the Dean of Students' Office. They in turn will notify the student's instructors by mail.

+ Why do we have to have University email addresses?
Email is an official communication vehicle by the University and is efficient form of communication between the College of Nursing faculty or staff and students. There are times when a faculty member must get a message to students immediately, i.e. class being cancelled, assignment changed, room change, etc. There may be a function going on which the College would like to invite all students to. Also, your university e-mail account gives you access to Web CT course web sites and computer classrooms on campus.

+ To whom would you go if you had a complaint about the program?
It would depend on the type of complaint you have. You should first discuss your concern with the instructor. If the issue is not resolved you should then follow up with your advisor, program directors, or the Dean of the College of Nursing. The Ombuds Office is also available to assist in resolution of University related problems and grievances which have not been redressed through normal channels.

+ How can students' voices be heard here?
Students' voices are highly valued. At the end of each semester, students fill out a Student Response to Instruction (SRTI) evaluation for each class. This evaluation rates the course, as well as the instructor, and gives the student an opportunity to participate in the evaluation of clinical agencies. 

If a student wants to be more involved, one way is to be a student representative to College of Nursing Committees, such as Faculty Student Matters or Curriculum Committees. Student participation can improve and enrich the academic experience for students.

The Honors Program

The College of Nursing offers a departmental honors track. Together with Commonwealth Honors College, we offer outstanding academic experiences and a supportive community which prepares you for intentional engagement in a diverse world and in issues of social justice. For final projects, our students have done amazing work such as a cultural immersion experience in the Dominican Republic, development of a seminar series on complementary alternative therapy, and health teaching with homeless populations. 

Clinical Experience

 The College of Nursing provides the best possible clinical experiences for students, utilizing a wide variety of inpatient, outpatient and community sites (with day, evening, weekend, and night shifts used seven days a week). For this reason, public transportation or sharing transportation has not been workable as a means to get to the clinical agencies. Students must provide their own transportation to the clinical sites. The clinical sites vary each semester depending on the availability of faculty and sites. Please be advised that mandatory drug testing is required prior to all clinical experiences.