MDE Prerequisite Courses

Prerequisite courses must be completed at an accredited college or university:

  • A letter grade of a B or better is required for all prerequisite courses. Note: Grades of B- or below are not sufficient as successful completion of the course. Applicants must plan their courses accordingly where if they need to retake the course, they have enough time to do so during the application process. This will guarantee completion prior to enrollment in the program.
  • Labs are not required for science courses. However, please check with your home state as labs may be required for your home state licensure.
  • Advanced placement courses are acceptable if itemized on the transcript.
  • Prerequisites do not have to be completed by the application deadline. They must be completed by the start of the program. However, it is required that at least one science prerequisite (Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, or Microbiology) is completed by the application deadline. 
  • There is no expiration date for prerequisite courses, except for statistics.
  • Online and community colleges are acceptable for prerequisite courses.

The Online Prerequisites for Entry to Nursing (OPEN) program allows non-nurses to take courses needed to apply to nursing school or other health professions that require science prerequisites.


There are three types of courses within the psychology prerequisite that Columbia University School of Nursing will accept: Introduction to psychology, developmental psychology, or lifespan psychology. A course within these areas can include completion of the following concepts:

  • Fundamental principles of psychology.
  • Broad areas of research within psychology, such as but not limited to emotion, development, memory, and psychopathology.
  • Study of human growth and development across the lifespan.

Statistics (must be completed within the last 5 years of the start term of program)

A statistics course must be completed within five years of the anticipated start term of the Columbia Nursing program. The following types of courses may satisfy the requirement: Introduction to Statistics, Basic Statistics, Biostatistics, Applied Statistics, Descriptive Statistics, Business Statistics, Probability Theory, Statistical Design, and Experiment Analysis. A statistics course should include mastery of the following concepts:

  • Measures of central tendency, dispersion, graphs, the chi-square distribution, the normal distribution, sampling distributions, t-tests, and correlation.
  • Principles of measurement, data summarization, univariate, and bivariate statistics.

Human Anatomy or Human Anatomy and Physiology I

A course within this area should cover a structural and functional approach to human biology with an emphasis upon cell biology, tissues, and the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, and an introduction to the endocrine system. Labs are not required.

Human Physiology or Human Anatomy and Physiology II

A course within this area should cover a structural and functional approach to human biology, with an emphasis on circulatory, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, endocrine, and reproductive systems. Labs are not required.


A course within this area should cover the following concepts:

  • Essentials of microbiology, interactions between microbes and the human host, and microbes and important human diseases
  • Techniques for culturing, identifying, and controlling pathogenic microorganisms, host-parasite relationships, and epidemiology of infectious disease, and host defense mechanisms

Labs are not required.


A nutrition course should include the following concepts:

  • Integrated overview of physiological requirements and functions of protein, energy, and the major vitamins and minerals in humans
  • Dietary sources, intake levels, physiological role and requirement of major nutrients
  • Role of nutrition in growth and health through the life cycle
  • Development of dietary guidelines and nutrition policies in different countries
  • Role of diet in the development of chronic diseases

International Applicants Only: English Composition

An English composition or writing-intensive course is focused on building a student’s ability to communicate clearly and effectively through writing. Writing-intensive courses incorporate composition and writing assignments during the duration of the course.


Questions about prerequisite courses should be emailed to the Office of Admissions at To verify whether a course satisfies our requirements, please include a copy of the course description and/or syllabus.