Nursing – Prepare

Prepare For Nursing School

Prerequisites: UHM’s School of Nursing’s prerequisites are listed below:

PHYL 141/141L and 142/142LHuman Anatomy and Physiology I and II8 cr.
MICR 130
General Microbiology
3 cr.
PSY 100Survey of Psychology3 cr.
HDFS 230 (formerly FAMR 230)Human Development3 cr.
COMG 151/251Public Speaking3 cr.
1 FW course
(e.g. ENG 100)
3 cr.
1 FS/FQ course*
(e.g. MATH 100)
3 cr.
1 FG course(e.g. HIST 151)
3 cr.
1 DP course*CHEM 151/152/161/162 or BIOC 241/244/3413 cr.

For UHM’s School of Nursing, a grade of “B” (not Credit/No Credit, Pass/Fail) or higher is required for all PHYL and MICR courses. Remaining prerequisites must receive a grade of “C” (not C-, Credit/No Credit, Pass/Fail) or higher. Any combination of 16 or more prerequisite credits listed above must be satisfactorily completed at the time of application, which must include 1 PHYL lecture/lab & MICR 130. Applicants must complete all prerequisites by August 1.

*If you are planning on taking a chemistry or math course for the first time, please make sure to fulfill the placement exam requirement prior to registration. Information on the chemistry placement exam can be found here, and information on the math placement exam can be found here.

For admission to UHM’s School of Nursing, students may only repeat a maximum of six (6) prerequisite credits; only the most recent grade is used to calculate the prerequisite GPA.

GPA Minimums: Almost all nursing programs require a minimum grade point average (GPA), usually between 2.5 and 3.0. The published national average for a GPA cutoff is 2.8. Some programs, however, are “impacted,” which means they receive far more applications than they can accept. Students accepted into impacted programs usually have a much higher GPA than the published cutoff. We recommend you contact the admissions offices of programs you plan to apply to, and request information about the average GPAs (cumulative and prerequisite) for the most recently admitted class. UHM’s School of Nursing accepts students through a competitive application process. Pre-nursing students should consult an academic advisor before deciding whether to repeat courses.

The cumulative GPA of the 2016-2017 UHM’s School of Nursing BSN Cohort was a 3.85.

Entrance Exam: UHM’s SONDH accepts both the NLN and the TEAS but no longer proctor the exam. For the NLN, UH Mānoa’s School of Nursing uses the percentile, or “relative performance,” to evaluate students for admission. The minimum score for the NLN at UH Mānoa is the 50th percentile in each section, although admitted applicants typically score higher.

The minimum scores for the TEAS at UH Mānoa are 78% total, 83.3% reading, 86.7% mathematics,  66.7% science, and 80% English language and usage, although admitted applicants typically score higher.

Application: All applicants need to apply to the nursing program through NursingCAS. All new, returning, transferring, and unclassified students also need to apply to UH Manoa Undergraduate Admissions and declare their major as nursing. The applications for Fall 2020 admission open on September 1st, 2019 and the deadline is on January 5th, 2020. The website for the application timeline is

Contact Information: Students interested in UHM’s School of Nursing should attend an informational session; a schedule of sessions is available on its website: For general advising, contact PAC at (808) 956-8646, preferably after attending an informational session.

School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene
Webster 201
2528 McCarthy Mall
Honolulu, HI 96822
Telephone: (808) 956-8939


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Most importantly, remember that requirements vary from school to school! You must research to create a list of all the prerequisites you will need to apply to the schools you are interested in attending. Some nursing schools accept students directly from high school; others accept students at the sophomore or junior level; others accept students only after they have completed a set number of credits or course prerequisites; others accept students after they have completed an non-nursing bachelors degree.

More than 25% of the programs in this field require the following UHM courses for admission:

PHYL 141/141L and 142/142L Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II
8 cr.
MICR 130/140L General Microbiology
5 cr.
CHEM 161* General Chemistry I
3 cr.
PHRM 203**General Pharmacology
3 cr.

Additional requirements may include certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), or courses in biology, cultural anthropology, English composition, history, human development, medical terminology, nutrition, and statistics.

*If you are planning on taking a chemistry course for the first time, please make sure to fulfill the placement exam requirement prior to registration. Information on the chemistry placement exam can be found here.

**Students that are applying for Fall 2017 or later to ONLY UHM’s Schools of Nursing are advised to NOT take PHRM 203. Effective for the entering Fall 2017 class of UHM’s School of Nursing, students will no longer be allowed to use PHRM 203 toward the program. Students entering Fall 2017 or later will be required to take this requirement in their second semester of the program as slated. This course will be a Manoa NURS XXX course and will not be waived by any other PHRM course taken.

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  • If you’re looking for experience that can be done online during the COVID-19 pandemic, please view this page

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Field Experience: 

Gaining experience in the health professional field in which you are interested is a huge benefit in figuring out if that is the field you want to work in and provides you with a deeper understanding of the field. Some professional schools want to see that you have experience in their field and some schools may require a large amount of particular experience such as hands-on, patient contact experience or experience shadowing a professional in that field. Although UHM’s nursing program does not consider experience in the application, it is still highly recommended to gain exposure to patients in a healthcare setting to confirm that nursing is the right field for you. 

Other Experiences:

  • Research: To ensure that you will be prepared for the research that will be included in the health professional school/program curriculum.
  • Community Service: To demonstrate your genuine interest in helping others and the larger communities.
  • Enrichment: To be more well rounded and gain experience communicating with others from different backgrounds.
  • Jobs (does not have to be related to your field of interest): Another way to be well rounded and grow personally and professionally.

Experiences Accepted for Direct Entry in Nursing (DEN):

  • College Credit (AP/IB/CLEP and Early College/Dual Enrollment Program: Shows the ability to handle courses at a collegiate level while in High School
  • Military Involvement (ROTC): Showing growth in character through leadership and experiences from a high school regulated military program
  • References: To depict your character as viewed by leaders and professionals you have worked under
  • Achievements & Experiences: To reinforce your character through accolades and past experiences

Experiences Accepted for Bachelors in Science of Nursing (BSN):

  • Military Involvement (Active Duty/Veteran/ROTC): To show growth and well roundness in character from serving in the military
  • References: To depict your character as viewed by leaders and professionals you have worked under
  • Achievements and Experiences: To reinforce your character through accolades and past experiences

Personal Development: 

It is not enough for admissions committees to see that you have completed experiences. You also need to share with admissions committees what you gave and got out of the experiences.

Gave = What and how did you contribute to the organization and/or the people through the organization? How did you make an impact?

Got = What did you get out of the experience? What skills did you gain or establish? What knowledge did you gain?

Admission committees seek students who demonstrate certain qualities that will make them strong practitioners, such as empathy, compassion, a commitment to public service, high ethical and moral standards, a conscientious work ethic, and maturity. These qualities should be demonstrated through the previous experiences mentioned. If this is not the case, then find other experiences from which you can grow.


Networking with peers and professionals enables you to meet people with similar interests. You can find a mentor to help lead you in the right direction, or find a study buddy for your prerequisites and entrance exam! 

  • UH Connect: If you are a UH student or alumni,  you can find a professional mentor through the UH Connect website. You can use different search and matching tools to find UH alumni who are working in a field that you are interested in within the site.
  • Clubs and Organizations

Experience Log: 

When applying for professional school, you will be asked to list and describe the experiences you have gained in preparation for the profession of your interest. Rather than having to recall from memory all your experiences, having an experience log will allow you to fill out your application with more ease. Students can use their C.V. as a record of these experiences. However, an experience log can include additional beneficial information, such as your employer’s contact information and a reflection portion of what you learned. You may choose to make a personalized experience log or download our sample by clicking here.

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There are over 1,000 accredited nursing programs in the US, each unique in its mission, philosophy, criteria, and strengths. When researching schools, be sure to double check if the program is accredited.

Although there are resources that “rank” schools, the rankings are rarely pertinent for individual applicants. More important is whether there is a good match between applicant and school. To find schools that are good a fit for you (PAC peer advisors can help with this process):

  1. Assess your individual strengths and weaknesses, your professional interests, learning style, and personality;
  2. Start by considering all schools, which usually includes all 200+ schools;
  3. Create your “Long List” by omitting the schools that do not match your professional interests, learning style, and personality;
  4. Create your “Short List”. The short list includes the schools to which you will most likely apply. You will need your entrance exam scores and/or current cumulative GPA to narrow and sort your school choices. We strongly recommend that you apply to schools for which your entrance exam score and/or current cumulative GPA are within the ranges of those who were accepted into that program. Ideally, you will apply to schools for which both your entrance exam score and cumulative GPA fall within the ranges of accepted applicants. 
  5. You can also consider other factors when categorizing your schools like prerequisites, pass rate on boards/ licensing exams, areas of specialization, and cost/ aid. When deciding how many schools to apply to, consider how many schools to which you can afford to apply. Finally, consider if you really want to attend the school if/when accepted even if it is the only school to which you have been accepted.

Here is more information on researching and selecting schools to apply for. If possible, visit the schools to see their facilities, talk to admissions directors, and chat with students.

Nursing Master’s Programs Application statistics for the 2015-2016 admission cycle.

* The number of UH Mānoa applicants and matriculants are omitted for confidentiality reasons.
Based on Data Acquired by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Health Professions (NAAHP).

ApplicantsApplicationsMatriculantsAverage Number of Applications per ApplicantRange of Number of Schools applied toPercentage of Applicants that Matriculate
National Applicants4845061359192501.27N/A39.73%

Nursing School Search Resources:

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Almost all nursing programs require applicants to take one of the following standardized tests: National League of Nursing Pre-Admission Examination (NLN or NLN PAX), Nursing Entrance Test (NET), or Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS or ATI-TEAS).

Preparation: Your most important preparation for the NLN/TEAS is your undergraduate courses, many of which sharpen your writing and verbal reasoning skills. 

NLN Summary: The NLN assesses basic skills in verbal reasoning, mathematics, and science. The test requires ~4 hours to complete, and entails ~214 multiple-choice questions.  The NLN is administered in computer-based and paper-based formats.

To register and select a test date for the NLN, you must create an account of the NLN website.

NLN Scoring: Several scores may be reported for the NLN, including a raw score, subscores, percentiles, and percentages. UH Mānoa’s School of Nursing uses the percentile, or “relative performance,” to evaluate students for admission. The minimum score for UH Mānoa is the 50th percentile in each section, although admitted applicants typically score higher.

TEAS Summary: The TEAS assesses basic skills in reading, mathematics, science, and English language and usage. The test requires ~3.5 hours to complete, and entails ~170 multiple-choice questions. The TEAS is administered in computer-based and paper-based formats. In Hawai’i, the TEAS is only administered in computer-based format.

Students must register twice for the TEAS exam— once online through the ATI website, and again with their specific testing institution. Be sure to contact the institution or testing site for specific registration instructions. 

TEAS Scoring: Composite scores are computed in each of the four weighted areas; 13 sub-scores assess specific content comprehension. Students will receive comprehensive score reports to detail individual performance. The minimum scores for UH Mānoa are 78% total, 83.3% reading, 86.7% mathematics,  66.7% science, and 80% English language and usage, although admitted applicants typically score higher.

Official Test Preparation Material

Note: Most Hawai`i nursing programs accept the ATI-TEAS (Assessment Technologies Institute – Test of Essential Academic Skills) and not the NLN-PAX. The NLN-PAX is no longer offered in the state of Hawai’i. Pre-nursing exam requirements vary within the UH consortium. The reference sheet below details which exams are necessary for each Hawai`i nursing program. Note that registration procedures and fees for both exams vary greatly by testing center.

Commercial Test Preparation Companies

UH Mānoa students ONLY: To borrow test preparation material for free, check out our Lending Library.

Hawaiʻi Nursing Entrance Exam Reference Sheet

Here is more information on how to prepare for an entrance exam.

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REMINDER: Some schools like the Bachelor’s Degree Program in Nursing at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa recognizes that experience is an important contribution to a student’s application, but primarily uses academics (GPA and test scores) when selecting students to admit into the program.