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Traditional Nursing Option (TNO)

Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Traditional Nursing Option (TNO) is a four year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.  Students complete general studies and prerequisite courses in the freshman and sophomore year before applying to the TNO.  Students accepted into the TNO complete nursing courses in the junior and senior year.  Graduates are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Admission Requirements:

To be eligible to apply to the Traditional Nursing Option applicants must:

  • have completed all pre-requisite courses prior to start of program; any in progress courses at time of application must be at least 50% complete by October 15th.  If a prerequisite course is in progress at time of application, a letter from the course faculty with the current grade in the course must be sent to the MSU Denver Nursing Department between October 1- October 15.  GPA will be calculated with the current grade in the course and if offered admission, the grade must be maintained throughout the course to be eligible for admission.  The Nursing Department will require a transcript showing the final grade in the prerequisite course before nursing courses begin in January.
  • have a minimum recommended GPA of 2.5 in all pre-requisite courses.
  • have completed the HESI Nursing Admission Assessment Exam (HESI A2) within one year of the application deadline.  Applicants are allowed to take the exam a maximum of two times in the twelve months prior to the application deadline at a Prometric Testing Center.  The subject areas tested are reading comprehension and math.
  • have no more than 6 credits of general studies courses remaining to be completed.  The remaining credits must be in the following general studies categories: Social and Behavioral Sciences I, Arts and Humanities, and Historical to begin the TNO in the spring.

HESI Testing Instructions

Applications that are submitted with one or more of the above criteria missing by the application deadline will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all required documentation is submitted.  Meeting the admission requirements does not guarantee admission.

Application Deadline:  5pm on September 1st of each year.  No applications will be accepted after the deadline.

Admission Process

A competitive selection process is completed for applications received by the September 1st deadline.  The TNO does not maintain an ongoing waitlist. The application is available at  

A Cohort of 24 students is selected based on the applicants' prerequisite GPA, credits taken at MSU Denver, average cumulative HESI score, health care employment, and health care certifications/licenses.  Applicants must provide employer verification of health care employment.  Applicants will receive an additional point on the application for employer verification of 250 hours as a CNA.

Applicants must successfully pass a criminal background check and drug screen prior to admission.  The drug screen will test for controlled substances, including marijuana and marijuana derivatives.  Re-testing is not allowed.  Admitted students must attend a required orientation with the Department of Nursing before beginning nursing courses.

TNO Admission Ranking Criteria

TNO Prerequisites/GPA

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I with lab* (4 credits)
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology II with lab* (4 cr)
  • General Microbiology with lab* (4-5 cr)
  • Introductory Statistics (3-4 cr)
  • Psychology of Human Development** (3 cr)
  • Introduction to Nutrition (3 cr)
  • Clinical Pathophysiology (4 cr)
  • Minimum recommended GPA of 2.5 (the majority of students accepted have well above the minimum GPA)

*MSU Denver Biology department will not accept online lab courses.

**Often referred to as Psychology over the Lifespan.

***Application requirements may change in future application cycles

 Note:  In some cases, additional courses may need to be taken prior to the required prerequisite courses to apply to the TNO.  Reference the online university catalog for specific course information.   

In addition to academic requirements, MSU Denver Department of Nursing requires other information for students offered admission including immunization records, CPR certification, drug screening, and criminal background checks.  Candidates must be able to meet the rigorous physical, mental, emotional and academic standards required to become a professional nurse. The admission process does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, creed, gender, national origin, disability or veteran status.


The curriculum for the TNO is extremely rigorous and completed in two academic years. Students are admitted in the spring and complete the nursing curriculum in four standard academic semesters. Students are required to attend classes, complete laboratory experiences and fulfill clinical requirements.  Students must be available for day, evening, and night assignments seven days a week.

TNO Curriculum Progression Plan 

Program Cost

The cost of the nursing courses in the Traditional Nursing Option is $452.90 per credit hour.  This is a cash funded program and receives no state funding; therefore the cost is the same for in-state and out-of-state students.  Please note that program costs are subject to change.  Non-nursing courses (general studies, prerequisite courses, etc.) taken at MSU Denver will be charged at the University tuition and fee rate and in-state and out-of-state guidelines will apply.

Financial Aid / Scholarships

Scholarships, stipends and loan forgiveness programs may be available to help students with their educational expenses. Students may apply for scholarships after they have been accepted into the TNO through the MSU Denver Financial Aid Office.

Working While in the Program

Due to the heavy academic demands in the Traditional Nursing Option, students who work while in the program are strongly encouraged to have employment that provides for a flexible schedule to accommodate student course, laboratory and clinical schedules and demands.  Clinical shifts may be 8 to 12 hours and may include days, evening, and weekends. Clinical shifts are subject to last minute changes. Therefore, students’ personal commitments must remain flexible to accommodate program requirements.

Multicultural Course

To be awarded a bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver all students are required to complete a 3 credit hour Multicultural course.  This course may be taken at MSU Denver or transferred with approval.

Global Diversity Course

To be awarded a bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver all students are required to complete a 3 credit hour Global Diversity course.  This course may be taken at MSU Denver or transferred with approval.


To earn a Bachelor of Science degree, students must satisfy all university graduation requirements, plus any others stipulated for the degree for which a student is a candidate. Please refer to the Academic Policies and Procedures  in the Metropolitan State University of Denver catalog.



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