Nursing Program Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of top questions students have about applying to the Department of Undergraduate Nursing, community service hours, clinicals and more.

Pre-Licensure Program

You will be eligible to apply to the upper division nursing program once you have completed:

  • at least 4 natural science prerequisites
  • at least 3 social science prerequisites
  • English 111
  • statistics

You must also have completed at least 45 credit hours. Students typically apply after their third semester to start the nursing major in their fifth semester.

You must have a cumulative college GPA of at least 3.75 for Direct Admission, or at least 3.0 Holistic Admission.

To apply, students must have completed 12 college credits post-high school graduation or have 12 in-progress college credits post-high school graduation. All 12 college credits post-high school graduation must be completed by nursing program admission start date.

Applications are available from Aug. – Oct. 1 for spring admissions and from Nov. – Feb. 1 for fall admissions.

Transfer students who met the pre-requisite course requirements by the fall or spring admission deadline date (Oct 1, Feb 1) can be considered for an extended Holistic admission application date. The extended date for Holistic application is Nov. 15 for spring admission and June 15 for fall admission.

Students must complete the prerequisite courses to prepare for the upper division nursing major.

There are additional requirements before beginning the required upper division nursing program course work.

You should also complete university General Education requirements before beginning upper division nursing courses.

AP, PSEO, CIS, and transfer credits can count toward nursing prerequisites or General Education Program requirements.

You may be able to check course equivalencies at the Transferology website.

All college credits earned must be transferred to Winona State University. Grades earned in all college level courses become part of the student’s cumulative college GPA.

AP credits are not graded and do not affect GPA.

Direct admission guarantees admission to the nursing major for students with exceptional ACT/SAT scores who earn excellent college grades.

Direct Admission does not mean that students start the nursing major right away. Candidates still need to take prerequisite courses to prepare for the nursing major.

Learn more about direct admission criteria.

Students cannot directly declare a Direct Admission (PNDA) major. All students interested in the Pre-Licensure Nursing major should choose Nursing Candidate (Holistic) PNHA.

If you have a qualifying ACT or SAT score, the Department of Nursing with reach out with an offer to sign the Direct Admission Agreement.

Once students register for classes and sign the Direct Admission Agreement, their major code will be changed to Nursing Candidate (Direct) PNDA.

Your PSEO, CIS, or AP credits are completed while you are in high school, so you are still considered a new entering first year student. If you have an ACT score of 27 or higher or SAT score of 1280 or higher, you can qualify for Direct Admission status.

Students who completed grade-bearing college credits while in high school and received a grade of W, D or F in a nursing prerequisite course may repeat the course prior to their first day of class as a new entering first semester student at Winona State without invalidating their eligibility for Direct Admission.

The Holistic Admission (PNHA) process is designed for students without direct admission status, transfer students, and WSU students who have changed their major to nursing.

Students who meet eligibility requirements may apply no earlier than their first semester at WSU to begin the major in their second semester.

Meeting minimum eligibility requirements for application does not guarantee admission through the Holistic Admission process.

Now is the time to get acquainted with your professors. Here are some possible strategies:

  • Be sure to introduce yourself
  • Ask thoughtful questions in class about the material
  • Participate in class discussions
  • Go to your instructor’s office hours
  • Ask respectfully and politely
  • Be prepared to explain the kinds of information that will be requested. Your reference will be asked to comment on your personal qualities.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute

Applications are evaluated based on academic achievement, personal achievement, and the interview process. Learn more about the nursing program admission process.

You should not sign up for ATI TEAS if you took the ACT or SAT within the past five years. Be sure to submit your scores to WSU.

Applicants who do not have an ACT or SAT score from a test taken within the last 5 years must complete the ATI Test of Essential Academic Skills (ATI TEAS) as part of the application process.

You may take the ATI TEAS online or in-person, proctored by ATI, another institution, or PSI. Students are responsible for the cost of testing, and test fees are not refundable.

You must arrange for an official test transcript to be sent to Winona State.

All undergraduate nursing candidates must complete at least 10 hours of volunteer service per fall and spring semester while a degree-seeking student at WSU.

Volunteer hours must be completed in the Winona and Rochester communities.

No. Holistic Admission applicants will qualify for the interview process based on their scores in the Academic Achievement and Personal Achievement criteria.

You may reapply the following semester. There are several possible opportunities to improve your score:

  • Your GPA could change based on the courses completed during the semester when you applied
  • You will be required to submit a new personal statement and new references
  • You will need to complete additional community service hours
  • You could be invited to the interview process

If you need to reapply, you can use the extra semester to work on a minor, take other classes that you believe will help prepare you for your nursing career or that you are interested in, or even take the semester off and work.

Some students may choose to change majors or consider transferring.

No. You will be required to submit a new personal statement and new references. You will need to complete additional community service hours.

Transfer students can be considered for admission to the Pre-Licensure Nursing program.

Transfer students must have completed 12 college credits post-high school graduation or have 12 in-progress college credits post-high school graduation. All 12 college credits post-high school graduation must be completed by nursing program admission start date.

Transfer students intending to declare a pre-licensure nursing major must have a cumulative college GPA of at least 2.75 to be admitted to WSU. Students must achieve a cumulative college GPA of 3.0 to be eligible to apply to the nursing program.

Transfer students who have been enrolled in a nursing program at another institution must request a letter from the academic head of the program stating that they are eligible for continuing in or readmission to that program. The letter should be sent directly to Dean Julie Anderson, either by email at Julie.Anderson@winona.eduor mail to:

College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Winona State University
P. O. Box 5838
Stark 301A
Winona, MN 55987

Students who wish to transfer nursing courses may be asked to submit course outlines or syllabi for evaluation.

Transfer students who complete an Associate Degree in Nursing and obtain their RN license may be considered for admission to the Winona State RN-BS Completion program.

You must contact to arrange an appointment with the Department Chair or Program Coordinator in the Undergraduate Nursing Department to review requirements for the pre-licensure nursing major.

You must complete required prerequisite courses and meet eligibility requirements to apply through the Holistic Admission Process.

If you are assigned to the Rochester campus, you will attend classes and complete your clinicals in Rochester.

You do not need to have your CNA when you begin as a pre-nursing student.

At the time you begin upper division nursing courses, you must be certified as a nursing assistant and be listed as active on a Nursing Assistant Registry within the United States.

View the CNA and CPR FAQs (PDF) for more information about the CNA requirement.

Clinicals give nursing students hands on experience in hospitals and other healthcare settings where they can apply their knowledge and skills in providing patient care.

Students go to their assigned clinical once a week in a small group, with an assigned faculty member.

Clinical rotations are part of the nursing curriculum in each of the four semesters of the nursing major. Students begin clinicals within the first few weeks of their first semester in the major.

Students assigned to the Winona campus do their clinicals primarily in Winona and Rochester, as well as La Crosse, WI.

Students assigned to the Rochester campus do their clinicals primarily in the Rochester area.

RN-BS Program 

The RN-BS Completion is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The RN-BS program is based on the WSU-Rochester campus, but all courses are offered online. Courses start in both spring and fall semesters.

There are options to complete the program as a full-time and part-time student, with 1.5-, 2-, 3-, and 4-year plans of study. Most students choose the two-year plan of study.

120 Credits. Many of these can be from your previous academic experience.

At the minimum, students will need:

  • 30 credits from the Nursing Major
  • 10 credits Upper-Level Elective Courses number 300-499

Students may choose electives for additional credits needed.

Adult and Continuing Education offers Professional Development Workshops that may be taken to complete upper-level credits.

Up to 80 transferable credits from a regionally accredited college or university. Only 16 technical credits can be counted toward graduation.
If you have fewer than 80 credits from your associate degree, additional upper or lower division electives will be needed.

30 credits. There are 30 credits in the RN-BS Nursing Major.

Students may apply to WSU and the RN-BS Completion program prior to obtaining RN licensure. A start date will be determined with your nursing advisor.

Once you apply to WSU and are admitted, you will meet with a nursing advisor. There is no separate application for the RN-BS Program.

Learn more about the RN-BS Program admissions process.

Yes. Practice hours are required for N475 & N465, which are the community-based courses (30 hours each).
Graduates of the RN-BS Completion program meet the criteria for public health certification in the state of Minnesota.
Applicants who received associate degrees in nursing prior to 1985 and graduates of diploma nursing programs should contact the Nursing Department Chair at 507.280.2818.
WSU accepts students from non-accredited programs. However, the program must reside within a regionally accredited college or university.

Review undergraduate tuition and fees. Students enrolled in the RN-BS Completion Program pay WSU-Rochester Campus Fees.

Email or call 507.285.7100 or 800.366.5418 if you have any questions

Contact the Undergraduate Nursing Department
Winona Campus
Stark Hall 303

Winona, MN 55987


Email the Undergraduate Nursing Department at Winona
Rochester Campus
WSU-Rochester Center

859 30th Avenue SE

Rochester, MN 55904


Email the Undergraduate Nursing Department at WSU-Rochester