What Are the Prerequisites for Nursing School?

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What are the prerequisites for nursing school? Many nursing schools require courses in biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, lifespan development, statistics and nutrition. Nursing schools may have other unique requirements, such as timing of prerequisites, grades, entrance exams and general education courses.

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As you plan to make the transition to nursing, your educational background plays a big role. For those with a prior bachelor’s degree or 60 college credits, an accelerated nursing program is an efficient way to earn a bachelor’s in nursing degree.

But before you can get into an accelerated program, you’ll need to fulfill the prerequisite requirements. What are the prerequisites for nursing school? The exact course guidelines can vary from school to school. We’ll simplify the process for you and help you understand what to expect with nursing school prerequisites.

At Averett University, we offer our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) students the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing in as few as 16 months. Our ABSN program offers three starts per year — in winter, summer and fall — meaning our students can save time and begin their nursing careers sooner. However, before beginning the hybrid online nursing program, it’s important to have a background knowledge provided by prerequisites.

Now let’s get into the details of what prerequisite courses are required for accelerated nursing programs and how they’ll set you up to succeed in nursing.

Common Prerequisites for Accelerated Nursing Schools

You’ll find common themes for prerequisites across nursing schools, and there’s a good reason for it. Many nursing programs require a similar mix of science courses, as they provide a good foundation for the information you’ll learn in nursing school.


The first discipline required by many nursing schools is biology, and some schools ask for microbiology. In biology courses, you’ll learn the foundational concepts of life, reproduction, cell function, metabolism and genetics, all of which are relevant to understanding the biology of human health.

In microbiology courses, you’ll learn about human cells as well as bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic organisms that can affect human health. Microbiology provides a backbone for understanding nursing topics like infection control, antibiotic treatment and viral disease. Note: biology courses may require a lab component.

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Anatomy and Physiology

The next key nursing school prerequisites are anatomy and physiology courses. This prerequisite is vital for nursing students, for anatomy and physiology helps you learn the structure and function of the human body. To understand clinical nursing, you’ll need to know about bones, muscles, blood vessels, nerves and internal organs, which you’ll learn to identify in anatomy.

In physiology, you learn how the systems of the body work, such as respiration, metabolism, blood flow, neural circuits and detoxification. You’ll then be ready to apply this knowledge to understanding human health when you begin nursing school. Note: anatomy and physiology courses may require a lab component.

Lifespan Growth and Development

As a nurse, you may care for babies and children, adults and seniors, so it’s vital to have a good grasp of how humans develop and change over their lives. A lifespan development or developmental psychology course will teach how the body and brain change over time. Understanding development will set you up to understand the unique needs of your patients.


Another common prerequisite course for accelerated nursing programs is statistics. In statistics, you’ll learn the fundamentals of research, probability, population data, hypothesis testing and error, which you’ll apply to health care research. With the ever-evolving nature of health care, nurses need to know how to find and assess evidence-based research.

Other Liberal Arts Courses

Some nursing schools also require students to complete general course requirements, such as English, psychology or communication. These courses help ensure you have a well-rounded education.

Averett’s ABSN Prerequisites

While the list above includes many commonly required prerequisites, each program has a unique list of requirements specific to their nursing curriculum. What are the prerequisites for nursing at Averett? For our ABSN applicants, we require three lab science prerequisites and two non-lab courses, totaling five courses.

The specific courses required for admission to Averett’s ABSN program include:

BIO 204Anatomy & Physiology I (with Lab)4 credits
BIO 205Anatomy & Physiology II (with Lab)4 credits
BIO 301Microbiology (with Lab)4 credits
MTH 160Introduction to Statistics3 credits
PSY 205Developmental Psychology3 credits

Other Nursing School Admission Requirements

Along with taking the prerequisite courses, there are some other important admissions requirements to consider with accelerated nursing programs.


Consider what grade is required for prerequisite courses as well as what overall cumulative GPA is needed for admission. At Averett, we require a grade of “C” or higher on prerequisites and science/math courses. We require a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8.

Prerequisite Timing

Many schools require you to have taken the prerequisites within a certain timeframe before you apply, such as the past five years. Read through the prerequisite requirements of each program so you know if you’ll need to retake any older courses.

Advanced Standing

Because Averett offers the ABSN program to students who have not completed a bachelor’s degree, we require additional general education courses for these students. If you have not earned a bachelor’s degree, the ABSN program requires a minimum of 60 college credits. We also require our five prerequisite courses and the following general education courses:

BIO 101: Introduction to Biology (with Lab)4
ENG 111: Introduction to Writing3
ENG 112: Introduction to Literature3
ENG 390: Origin & Structures of English OR TH 103 Human Communication3
Fine Arts3
Fine Arts3
MTH 103: Principles of Mathematics3
Society 2A (Religion or Philosophy) OR Society 2C (Western Civilization) OR Society 2D (History, Political Science, Economics)3

Entrance Exams

Another factor to consider is that many nursing programs require you to pass a national entrance exam. Averett’s ABSN requires you to pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) V exam with a score of at least 65 within a year of when you apply.

Background Check

Most nursing programs will also require you to pass a criminal background check before you can be officially admitted.

Nursing School Prerequisites FAQ

We’ll cover some of the commonly asked questions about nursing school prerequisites. If you have additional questions, reach out to an Averett ABSN admissions counselor.

Can I take Averett’s prerequisites online?

You can take many of the prerequisite requirements online; however, science lab portions will need to be completed in person.

Can I take my prerequisites through Averett?

Yes, you may take the prerequisite courses through Averett University. We even use the same e-learning platform for these courses as we use for our online nursing courses, so you’ll develop learning strategies that’ll help you in nursing school.

Learn more about what online learning at Averett's ABSN are like.

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Can I transfer my prerequisites from another school?

You can transfer prerequisites from another accredited institution of higher education. Talk with an admissions counselor at Averett to have them evaluate whether your prerequisites taken at another school will transfer.

How hard are prerequisites?

Prerequisite courses are rigorous, but they are manageable. These courses are taken by many undergraduate students in scientific disciplines, so we’re confident you can succeed in them with hard work and focus.

Do I need to finish prerequisites before applying?

If you’d like to apply to the ABSN program before finishing prerequisites, you may do so when your final prerequisite courses are in-progress at Averett University. We can provide provisional admittance and then officially admit you upon completion of the prerequisites.

Get Started with Your Nursing Path

Now that you know all about the nursing school prerequisites, it’s time to jump in. A meaningful nursing career is right around the corner, and now is the time to start transforming your life.

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At Averett University in Norfolk, Virginia, our accelerated BSN program equips you to become a practice-ready, skilled nurse. Our hybrid curriculum contains a mix of online nursing courses, skills and simulation labs, and diverse clinical rotations. After graduating, you’ll be eligible to take the NCLEX and become licensed as a registered nurse.

Thanks to Averett’s accelerated curriculum, you can achieve your career goals sooner and finish the ABSN program in as few as 16 months once you’ve finished your prerequisite courses. We also let you choose between starting the program in January, May and August, so you can optimize your time.

Learn more about prerequisites and how you can begin your nursing journey at Averett. Reach out to one of our admissions counselors today.