Answer: Yes – Many online women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP) programs do not include the GRE as an admission requirement. Students interested in pursuing an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), or post-master’s certificate program in the specialty often do not need to submit standardized test scores of any kind as part of the application process. However, the admission criteria for these programs vary by school, and some do require or recommend that applicants take the GRE. Prospective WHNP students should be sure to research programs thoroughly before applying in order to fully understand all the requirements for admission.
To qualify for national APRN certification as a WHNP, nurses must earn a graduate-level degree in the specialization. There are several paths students can take to do this, each with its own set of admission requirements that can vary by school. First and foremost, all WHNP programs require applicants to possess an active and unrestricted registered nurse (RN) license in their state of practice. Next, depending on the particular degree path students choose to pursue, they will need to hold an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), or MSN from a school accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). (For example, a BSN to MSN WHNP or a BSN to DNP WHNP program would require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for admission.)
There are several types of online RN to MSN WHNP programs. Some may accept a diploma in nursing instead of an ADN. In these cases, students with a nursing diploma are typically required to complete more credits than those who have earned their associate degree. There are also certain RN to MSN programs that require students to hold both an ADN and a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. These may be called Bridge RN to MSN, RN BA/BS to MSN, or Bachelor’s to MSN programs, depending on the school.
Finally, some MSN to DNP WHNP programs and post-master’s WHNP certificate programs actually require applicants to already be certified APRNs. For these programs, students would need to possess a graduate degree in an APRN specialty other than women’s health to qualify for enrollment. To learn more about all of the different WHNP program paths and their degree requirements, check out our Online Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Programs page.
In lieu of requesting GRE scores, many online WHNP programs have a GPA threshold that students must meet in order to be considered for admission. This typically ranges from a minimum GPA of 2.75 to a minimum GPA of 3.5, with most schools requiring a 3.0 or higher. To calculate this number, some schools look at students’ overall GPA, while others only focus on their performance in undergraduate nursing courses. As part of the application process, prospective WHNP students usually must submit transcripts from all of their previous postsecondary institutions. This is so schools can verify their past academic performance, and make sure applicants have completed any necessary prerequisite coursework. RNs often must complete undergraduate courses in topics such as statistics or human biology before they can enroll in a WHNP program. Some DNP and post-master’s certificate programs may also require applicants to have more advanced training in areas such as health assessment, physiology, or pharmacology.
Along with meeting a minimum GPA threshold, students applying for an online WHNP degree program often must have a certain amount of professional nursing experience in order to qualify. This requirement varies by program, but typically involves one to two years of previous clinical experience as an RN or APRN. Some WHNP programs may also require students to have experience in women’s health nursing or a related clinical setting. In most cases, prospective WHNP students will need to submit their resume as part of the application process. Many schools also ask for several professional references or letters of recommendation from past employers or instructors.
While many online WHNP programs do not require the GRE for admission, there are some that do. In these scenarios, test scores may be required of all students as part of the standard application process, or only from those that fail to meet other admission criteria. For example, a school might ask for an applicant’s GRE scores if their overall undergraduate and/or graduate GPA is below the minimum requirement for admission. If the student’s test scores are deemed acceptable, they may be admitted to the program on a provisional basis. There are also programs that list the GRE as optional, or recommend that applicants submit their scores instead of expressly requiring them. Before applying to any program, prospective WHNP students should check with an admissions counselor to see if taking the GRE could improve their chances of acceptance.