Nursing Schools that Accept Low GPA

If you’re looking to earn a master of science in nursing, but didn’t earn a high undergraduate GPA, don’t worry! There are many low GPA nursing schools that are looking for applicants just like you.

List of 10 Low GPA Nursing Schools

The master’s degree in nursing can prepare a registered nurse for advanced practice patient care or leadership roles in patient care, administration or education. Explore the list of partner schools below for online, hybrid, and on-campus MSN options that accept candidates with a low undergraduate GPA and can be low gpa nursing schools.

#1: University of Southern California

MSN GPA Requirement: No minimum GPA

The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles with a Health Sciences campus known for specialized care and research in:

  • Cancer
  • Stem cell and regenerative medicine
  • Orthopedics
  • Sports medicine

About the MSN at University of Southern California

The online Masters in Nursing program at USC nursing degree teaches comprehensive nursing skills, aspects of research and policy, and social work concepts to help students build a strong foundation in social factors related to health.

Program Details:

  • Online only
  • Completion in 21 to 33 months
  • 2 on-campus intensive faculty skill assessments
  • RN and BSN required
  • One year of clinical experience required
  • Pursuing initial accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Available Nursing School Concentrations

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

#2: Cumberland University

MSN GPA Requirement: 2.5 minimum

Cumberland University is a private, independent, liberal arts institution located 30 miles outside Nashville, Tennessee and offering seven graduate degree programs.

About the MSN at Cumberland University

The online master’s in nursing program at Cumberland University teaches communication, critical-thinking, and decision-making skills to nurses who aspire to management roles or are looking to advance their career and teach other nurses.

Students applying to nursing grad programs with a low GPA are welcome at Cumberland, as the minimum requirement is 2.5, with lower GPA accepted in some cases. For instance, students with less than 2.5 GPA may complete two courses of graduate coursework with B or higher to earn final acceptance

Program Details:

  • Online
  • RN and BSN required
  • GRE scores required
  • 2 start dates per year
  • Completion in 18 months
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and pursuing initial accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Available Nursing School Concentrations

  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Executive Leadership and Administration

#3: Saint Xavier University

MSN GPA Requirement: 2.75 or 3.0 GPA (Varies by Program)

Saint Xavier University of Chicago is one of the top universities in the Midwest, and one of the five largest nursing schools in Illinois. It has been designated a Center of Excellence in Nurse Education by the National League for Nursing.

About the MSN at Saint Xavier University

The Master of Science in Nursing programs from Saint Xavier University aim to teach students how to improve patient care with the most up-to-date evidence-based practices, new technologies and effective communication strategies.

With the business, management, and clinical skills taught in the MSN programs at SXU, students may be prepared to pursue leadership roles in their department or unit. For prospective students looking to get into nursing with a low GPA, the Executive Nurse Leadership program requires only a 2.75, and SXU’s other programs will consider a low GPA.

Program Details:

  • Online
  • RN and BSN required
  • At least one year of full-time work experience required
  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Available Nursing School Concentrations

#4:Grand Canyon University

MSN GPA Requirement: 2.8

Grand Canyon University offers over 200 academic programs across nine colleges and various online learning platforms. GCU is Arizona’s premier private Christian university earning regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and its predecessor since 1968.

GCU expects to grow to 25,000 students within the next five years and have invested approximately $1 billion in campus and academic infrastructure.

About the MSN at Grand Canyon University

The MSN program at Grand Canyon University prepares one to creatively respond to changes in nursing, direct care and healthcare administration fields. 

Program Details:

  • Dependent on stack-rank according to the nursing admission crieria and the availability of clinical spaces 
  • HESI A2 exam is a requirement 
  • Fast track and online bridge program available for students with a RN

Available Nursing School Concentrations

  • MSN in Health Informatics
  • MSn in Nursing Education
  • MSN in Public Health
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner

#5: Benedictine University

MSN GPA Requirement: 2.5

Benedictine University is an inclusive academic community aspiring to be a thought leader in Catholic higher education. 

About the MSN at Benedictine University

The MSN program at Benedictine University is designed to teach nurses to rise to the challenges of today’s complex health care environment and to help them advance their careers. 

Program Details:

  • Current, unencumbered Illinois RN license
  • 83 designated semester credit hours documented by official college transcripts
  • Completion of all prerequisite courses 
  • Basic skills in word processing, internet use, and email

#6: Liberty University

MSN GPA Requirement: 3.0

Offering a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, Liberty University teaches the values, knowledge, and skills you’ll need for success in every aspect of life. In addition, Liberty has been a pioneer in distance education since 1985 and offers exceptional resources to online students.

About the MSN at Minnesota State University, Mankato

The accelerated MSN degree at Liberty is designed for RNs who are looking to jumpstart their career. 100% online, this program also allows you to transfer up to 75 hours of previous college credit..

Program Details:

  • Blended format (online courses with some on-campus seminars)
  • RN and Bachelor’s degree required
  • 2 years of nursing experience required
  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Available Nursing School Concentrations

#7: Sacred Heart University

MSN GPA Requirement: 3.2

Sacred Heart University is rooted in the liberal arts and Catholic intellectual traditions. Their mission is to educate the whole person while preparing students to lead and serve others, respect the dignity of every person, and promote the common good. SHU welcomes students from all faiths and cultures.

Sacred Heart University Online is the online division of the independent, Catholic institution, Sacred Heart University. Founded in 1963, SHU is the second-largest Catholic university in New England and offers over 70 academic programs, including undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and certificate programs.

Sacred Heart’s goal is to foster academic opportunities for students of potential, ability, and promise – whether that’s on campus, in Fairfield, Connecticut, or online.

About the MSN at Sacred Heart University

Sacred Heart University's Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) provides leadership skills to succeed in a clinical, managerial, and educational level to thrive as a nurse leader, educator, or manager. 

Program Details:

  • Blended format (Online courses with on-campus practicum)
  • No BSN or GRE required
  • GPA varies
  • Clinical practicum hours vary 

Available Nursing School Concentrations

  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Nursing Management & Executive Leadership 
  • Nursing Education 
  • Family Nurse Practitioner 

#8: Walden University

MSN GPA Requirement: No minimum GPA

Walden University in an online learning community made up of students from all 50 U.S. states and over 150 countries, plus faculty, alumni, national experts and visiting scholars. Their mission is to produce graduates who are committed to effecting positive social change.

About the MSN at Walden University

The online master’s in nursing program at Walden University aims to prepare students for patient care in advanced practice nursing and a variety of leadership roles within the healthcare system. Walden’s programs have entry paths for registered nurses with a BSN, those with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, and those with just a high school diploma, all with minimum GPA requirement.

Program Details:

  • Online
  • RN required
  • Two years of work experience required for nurse practitioner specializations
  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Available Nursing School Concentrations

#9: Simmons College

Getting into Nursing School with Low GPA - MSN GPA Requirement: No Minimum GPA  

Located in the heart of Boston, Simmons College is a four-year, private, non-profit school. Its undergraduate college is a women’s school, but Simmons College Graduate School Online offers programs across disciplines, from nursing to social work to business, to both men and women.

About the MSN at Simmons College

Simmons College's Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is offered to board-certified ARPNs who have earned their MSN. 

Program Details:

  • Online
  • Face to face online classes with faculty and peers
  • Coursework available 24/7 through mobile app 
  • A MSN degree from a postsecondary institution
  • Current RN license
  • Board certification in the U.S. in an advanced practice specialty in good standing 
  • 2 years of professional epxerience as a RN

Available Nursing School Concentrations

#10: Utica College

MSN GPA Requirement: 3.0

Utica College provides fully accredited online degree programs in Nursing, Health Care, Cybersecurity, Business Management, Fraud, and Economic Crime. Each is instructed by select faculty members demonstrating extensive industry experience in their respective fields.

About the MSN at Utica College

Utica College’s online master’s degree in nursing (MSN) offers a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialization. As a FNP, you’ll be able to provide a higher level of patient care. In this role you can diagnose and treat patients, establish community programs, and complete research that changes healthcare.

The FNP specialization mandates a 2-day immersion experience and 720 practicum hours, which can be applied towards the 1,000 hours required for a DNP degree.

Program Details:

  • A bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program 
  • An unencumbered RN licnse in the state in which you reside
  • 2,000 hours of work experience 

Available Nursing School Concentrations

How to Get into Nursing School with a Low GPA

Nursing graduate programs are typically designed for working professionals with clinical experience. A GPA lower than 3.0 in undergraduate work is not ideal but doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker for those looking to get into nursing school.

Additionally, while traditional nursing schools require both RN licensure and a BSN degree, many programs offer accelerated MSN programs for registered nurses with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree or just a high school diploma.

Below are some ways to present yourself as a desirable candidate to nursing schools throughthe admissions process, even if you have a low GPA. low gpa nursing schools - Getting Into Nursing Schools with a Bad GPA

1. Score High on the GRE

In your search for nursing graduate schools, you may discover institutions that accept a low GPA if the applicant submits optional GRE scores. If you can achieve a high score on the GRE, you’ll be showing admissions that you have what it takes to study and perform well academically—regardless of the grades you achieved in undergraduate work.

2. Explain Your Low GPA

Some nursing programs request a low GPA explanation letter from candidates with less-than-ideal grades in their bachelor’s degree coursework. Even when this is not required for admission, you may choose to address the issue anyway as part of your personal statement.

If your undergraduate grades were low because you had other obligations like full-time employment or family caretaking, explain that in the letter. Without a good reason for your poor performance, you can always describe how you’ve grown up since college and why you’ll perform better in graduate school.

3. Letters of Recommendation

Most MSN programs request up to three letters of recommendation. You could increase your chances for acceptance by providing impressive references from your professional or academic life.

People in roles such as clinical supervisor, undergraduate academic advisor, or practicing advanced practice nurse mentor will have insight into what makes you a dedicated and capable nursing student who will thrive in a graduate program.

However, there are some grad schools that don’t require letters of recommendation.

4. Clinical Experience

MSN programs are built for students with current RN licensure, with varying amounts of clinical experience required depending on the program. If you can show via your resume, personal statement, and interview that you have a proven record of professional responsibilities in the field of nursing, this can add to your appeal as a degree candidate.

5. Higher Grades in Nursing Coursework

If you performed well in the undergraduate courses you were most passionate about—nursing-related subjects—this can work to your advantage. Some graduate programs have a lower GPA requirement for non-nursing courses. For those that don’t, pointing out that your low grades were mainly in courses outside of your field could help your case.

Shining a light on the high grades you achieved in courses specifically related to nursing may help admissions counselors to see that your knowledge base in nursing isn’t lacking, and you have the ability to achieve academic success in the field.

List of MSN Programs that Accept LOW GPA

MSN School That Accepts Low GPAGPA RequirementsAvailable MSN Concentrations
1.  University of Southern CaliforniaNo Minimum GPAMSN, FNP
2.  Cumberland University2.5 MinimumNurse Educator, Nurse Executive Leadership
3. Saint Xavier University2.75 or 3.0 (Varies by Program)CLinical Leadership, Executive Leadership, MSN/MBA
4. Grand Canyon University2.8Health Informatics, Nursing Education, MSN in Public Health, FNP
5. Benedictine University2.5MSN
6. Liberty University3.0MSN Nursing Administration, MSN Nurse Educator
7. Sacred Heart University3.2Clinical Nurse Leaders, FNP, Nursing management
8. Walden UniversityNo Minimum GPANursing Education, Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Informatics
9. Simmons CollegeNo MinimumDoctor of Nursing Practice, Family Nurse Practitioner
10. Utica CollegeNone ListedFamily Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Leadership, Nursing Educator

Apply to Nursing School Today - Nursing Schools That Accept Low GPA

To learn more about getting into these nursing schools with a low GPA, click on any of the sponsored program listings on this page. You can also find online graduate nursing programs that do not require GRE scores for admissions and accelerated nursing programs. 

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