ABSN Admission Requirements

Accelerated BSN

The ABSN program is a pre-licensure, second degree program designed for someone who has already earned a baccalaureate degree in a non-nursing field. Applicants are considered for admission based upon the following criteria:

  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution AND the list of prerequisites below must be completed as indicated. See table below for list of prerequisites and when they need to be completed for each cohort. Prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better (C- grades are not acceptable).

  • A recommended minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester/90 quarter units of coursework.

  • A recommended minimum 3.0 GPA in the four science pre-requisite courses.

  • Acceptable scores on the HESI A2. See “Test Scores” below for more information.

  • Two letters of reference.

  • Content of writing samples/goal statements submitted with the application.

  • Students who have attended a nursing program at another college/university will need to submit a written statement detailing your reasons for transfer. This statement will need to be supported by a letter from the dean of your current nursing program explaining that you are in good standing and eligible for continued enrollment in your current program.


All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better by the terms listed in the table below. Although it is acceptable to have courses planned or in progress at the time of application, it is in the students’ best interest to have as many courses completed as possible at the time of application. Without exception, prerequisite courses may not be completed concurrently with the ABSN program.

New Course Articulation Tool

Wondering if you took the right courses as a local CSU, UC or community college? Use our new Course Articulation Tool to see which courses meet the prerequisite requirements for ABSN, BSN and ELMSN programs. 


Prerequisite Completion Deadline

Start of Program

Fall Cohorts
Sacramento End of summer prior to start Early September
San Mateo End of summer prior to start Early November
Spring Cohorts
San Mateo End of fall prior to start Beginning of January
Sacramento End of fall prior to start Beginning of January
Summer Cohorts
San Mateo End of fall prior to start End of April
Oakland End of fall prior to start End of May
San Mateo End of spring prior to start Beginning of June


Prerequisite Requirement

Semester Units

English Composition 3 units
English Literature/Critical Thinking 
Courses in Philosophy are not acceptable.
3 units
Interpersonal Communication
Courses in public speaking/Intro to Speech are not acceptable. 
3 units
Introduction to Sociology OR Cultural Anthropology 
Biological anthropology is not acceptable.
3 units
Social Science Elective
A course in anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, ethnic studies, political science, history, etc.
3 units
Lifespan Developmental Psychology
Content must cover birth to death. General Psychology does not meet the requirement. 
3 units
General, broad-based course.
3 units
Research methods courses are unacceptable.
3 units
Human Anatomy with Lab
Combined Anatomy & Physiology courses are acceptable as long as both courses are combined.
4 units
Human Physiology with Lab
Combined Anatomy & Physiology courses are acceptable as long as both courses are combined.
4 units
Chemistry with Lab 4 semester or
6 quarter units
Microbiology with Lab 4 units
Must come from one of the approved list of courses. 
See the approved Pharmacology courses
Must come from one of the approved list of courses.
See the approved Pathophysiology courses

Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology and Pathophysiology Courses at SMU

Samuel Merritt University offers prerequisite coursework in Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Pharmacology and Pathophysiology. The courses are taught in the fall, spring and summer terms and are designed for prospective students. More information can be found on the Undergraduate Prerequisite Courses website.

AP and IB Credit

AP exam scores of 3, 4 or 5 and IB exam scores of 5, 6 or 7 may be used to meet prerequisite requirements, but are only acceptable if the exams scores are clearly noted on NursingCAS and/or university transcript. Please send an AP or IB test score report to Samuel Merritt University. 

Test Scores


HESI A2 scores must be available at the time you submit your application for admission. You will be asked to self-report your HESI A2 scores and upload a copy of the score report in the application.

Priority consideration is given to applicants with scores above 80 percent on each of the following exams: Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and General Knowledge, Grammar, Math, and Anatomy & Physiology. Additionally, applicants must take the Learning Style and Personality Profile assessments.

More information about taking the HESI A2

Students Educated Outside of the United States


The need for the TOEFL will be assessed based on information provided by the applicant on the application for admission. If the TOEFL is required, applicants must achieve a minimum score of 100 (Internet Based Test). Scores must be submitted during the application process.

International Transcript Evaluation Agencies

Students who have completed their degrees outside of the United States must have their degrees evaluated for United States baccalaureate equivalency, also known as a course-by-course/comprehensive evaluation. Please click here for a list of international transcript evaluation agencies.

Internationally Educated Nurses

On a limited basis, Samuel Merritt University will allow internationally educated nurses who need a few courses to meet the requirements for the Board of Registered Nursing to take nursing courses. Because SMU typically admits full cohorts of nursing students, space is very limited. For more information about this program and a list of FAQ’s, please click here.  

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