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RN to BSN Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that you still need answered, or to find out more information, please email at or email Stella Nwachukwu, Nursing Student Services Coordinator, at

Nursing courses: The SMSU RN to BSN Program itself includes 30 credits in nursing courses (10 core nursing courses and one (1) elective nursing course).

Statistics: The SMSU RN to BSN Program no longer requires statistics as part of its curriculum. However, statistical literacy is a focus area of the nursing program.

Cost: Refer to the SMSU Business Services website for current tuition rates.

Application fees to SMSU: The application fee for SMSU is $20. However, if applicants interested in nursing use the application code RN2BSN, they will not need to pay the $20 application fee.

Application Process:

Once the below steps have been completed, the eligibility of the applicant will be determined.

  1. Apply to Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) 
    Have your official college/university transcripts from non-MinnState schools sent to the SMSU Admission office.
  2. Apply to SMSU RN to BSN Program
    Once admitted to SMSU, you will receive instructions from the Department of Nursing on how to complete the RN to BSN Program application.

Credit for prior learning: Once students enroll in the SMSU RN to BSN Program, they are granted 15 upper-division credits for prior learning for successful completion of the NCLEX-RN examination.

Experiential Learning Experiences: The program offers flexible and individualized experiential learning experiences for students to meet the outcomes of the population/community health course. RN to BSN students will complete 45 precepted hours of direct hands-on clinical in the community.

Minnesota Public Health Nurse Registration: Due to the experiential learning experiences in the SMSU RN to BSN Program, the nurse completing the SMSU RN to BSN Program is eligible to register to be a public health nurse in Minnesota.

Additional courses required for the SMSU RN to BSN Program: Other course requirements for the SMSU RN to BSN Program include completing the student's MnTC curriculum (goal courses). To answer each student's question about how many courses they would need to take to complete the SMSU RN to BSN Program, SMSU needs to review each student's transcript to provide that information. Depending on prior course completions, some students come with all goal courses met.

When does the SMSU RN to BSN Program admit nursing students? Students begin nursing courses in the fall or spring semester. Express course options are available. New nursing students may start taking courses in August, September, January, or February.

Is there a waiting list for the SMSU RN to BSN Program? Students enroll on a first-come-first-served basis. Applications are taken until the maximum number of students has been accepted.

Acceptance into the SMSU RN to BSN Program without an RN license: Students in the associate degree nursing program can apply and be accepted into the SMSU RN to BSN Program before completing the NCLEX-RN exam. However, the student needs to meet the GPA requirement successfully ≥ 2.30 upon graduation, complete the NCLEX-RN exam, and have an RN license before starting nursing courses at SMSU.

Length of program: Students may complete the SMSU RN to BSN Program within seven years from the first term the student enrolled in the RN to BSN program (a total of seven spring and seven fall semesters). Students choose the pace they desire to take courses: taking courses full time, one course at a time, or anywhere in-between. Summer courses are an option if desired. The program is truly flexible to meet the student’s work/family/personal needs.

Program Orientation: The program includes online program orientation and valuable resources to help guide students to success.

Format of online courses: All SMSU RN to BSN Program nursing courses are formatted similarly. Students comment they appreciate the uniformity of the RN to BSN Program online courses.

“The RN to BSN Program at Southwest Minnesota State University is accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.”

Last Modified: 4/4/24 2:00 PM | Website Feedback