Admission Requirements for Nursing (M.S.)


  • Current licensure as a registered nurse in the state of Illinois
  • A bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program
  • A minimum cumulative 3.00 GPA for the last 60 hours of the bachelor's degree program
  • A written goal statement
  • Three professional letters of reference
  • Approval of the Nursing Graduate Admissions Committee
  • At least 2,000 hours of clinical practice experience in a specialty area within the three years prior to admission (Nursing Education students only)

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are not required for admission in the nursing graduate programs and will not considered by the admissions committee.

The admission criteria are listed in the current graduate catalog along with guidelines for writing the professional goal statement and selecting your three professional references.

Goal Statement

A two-page, double-spaced goal statement/writing sample to address: professional goals, desired advanced practice or nursing education specialization in the M.S. degree program and how a graduate degree in the desired specialization will promote goal achievement. This statement should also include a paragraph regarding clinical practice experience in the past three years and the area(s) of practice specialty.

Professional Letters of Reference

Three professional letters of reference which provide evidence of the applicant's professional qualifications.

  • At least one reference should be from a professor or graduate level-prepared nursing colleague who can address the applicant's potential for academic success.
  • At least one reference must be from a current, professional nurse colleague (e.g., a supervisor or preceptor) who can address the applicant's professional qualifications as a licensed professional registered nurse.

References should be provided on the Graduate School reference form and indicate the credentials and professional title of the person providing the reference. Ratings and comments should be included. Family members and personal friends are not considered professional references.


Submit applications electronically to the NIU Graduate School. You can check the status and completeness of your application at MyNIU. Contact the Graduate School about any discrepancies between what you submitted and what is stated on MyNIU.

Admission decisions are usually made within two months of the application deadline.

Once admitted, complete any additional non-academic requirements such as a criminal background check and a chain of custody drug screen. Failure to meet the clinical requirements may prohibit you from completing the required nursing courses and/or program.

For additional information please contact the NIU Online admissions team at 833-358-1715 or

Contact Us

School of Nursing
1240 Normal Rd.
DeKalb, IL 60115


Monday through Friday
8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

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