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Eligibility and Requirements

Review detailed information about the requirements for admission to KU's doctoral program in nurse anesthesia practice.

Our program accepts applications from registered nurses who meet the admission requirements set forth by the Council on Accreditation and the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists, the KU Department of Nurse Anesthesia Education and the University of Kansas. These requirements are subject to change based on the recommendations of the admissions committee.

KU seeks a culturally diverse student body and does not discriminate against any group protected by law. Learn more about the School of Health Professions' commitment to creating and maintaining diverse and inclusive learning and working environments.

Admission Requirements

Please carefully review the requirements below. Before proceeding to the application, please review the frequently asked questions, which include a special section with details about admission to the program.

1. Experience as Registered Nurse

To be eligible to enter the program, you must be a registered nurse and have two years' work experience as a licensed RN, including a minimum one year of recent (within the past 2-3 years), full-time experience in an intensive care setting. Experience as an LPN does not meet this requirement.

2. Critical Care Experience

Applicants must have at least one year of recent (within the past 2-3 years), full-time experience in an intensive care unit. This year of ICU experience must be completed prior to new student orientation in May. The admissions committee has found that the most successful applicants have experience in adult ICU, such as cardiac ICU, cardio-thoracic ICU, surgical ICU, medical ICU, burn ICU, or transplant ICU. Pediatric ICU is also acceptable. The following are not accepted: neonatal ICU, PACU, emergency department, or flight nursing as ICU.

Applicants should have experience with the following:

  • continuous hemodynamic monitoring (PA catheters, Swan-Ganz)
  • ventilators
  • EKG interpretation
  • pharmacological monitoring (instituting, regulating and maintaining patients on drugs related to cardio pulmonary status or life-death situations)
  • independent decision-making necessary in the ongoing care of unstable patients.

Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification is strongly recommended. Participation in professional and/or voluntary organizations or committees (e.g., hospital, alumni, nonprofits) is considered an advantage in the application evaluation.

3. License as RN in States Where Training Will Take Place

All applicants are required to be a licensed professional registered nurse. Upon acceptance into the program, the applicant will be required to obtain RN licenses for Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma prior to the start of the program (end of May each year). Any license with restrictions will not be accepted.

4. Four-Year Undergraduate Degree

A bachelor's degree in nursing is not required. A bachelor’s degree is required but can be in any appropriate discipline. Appropriate alternate degrees might be in respiratory care, biological sciences, health care administration, pharmacology, psychology, sociology, etc. Regardless of the specific degree held, RN license and critical care experience remain as requirements.

5. Prerequisite Courses

You should complete the prerequisite review form (PDF) as early as possible. This will help determine if you have fulfilled all prerequisite coursework. Proof of enrollment in a prerequisite course may be included in the application.

Preference in the selection process will be given to those students having completed all prerequisites by the application deadline of August 1 of the year in which you are applying.

All prerequisite courses must be taken at an accredited college or university and be eligible for transfer to the University of Kansas. Classes may also be taken at an accredited two-year college. Courses cannot be credit by examination. A "pass" grade will not be accepted unless the applicant provides written verification from the institution that the "pass" designation is equivalent to a grade of C or higher.

The following five science classes are required. Applicants must possess an overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale on the science prerequisite classes: chemistry, microbiology, anatomy and physiology.

For more specifics concerning prerequiste courses, please visit our frequently asked questions page.

Two semesters of college-level chemistry are required with a grade of C of higher. These two chemistry classes should have included some elements of inorganic, organic and biochemistry. For example, a chemistry I & II sequence would meet this requirement. If applicants have only taken one semester of chemistry (see note below), he or she should look for a second chemistry class which would extend knowledge beyond material learned in the first chemistry course and ensure all three areas of chemistry (inorganic, organic and biochemistry) have been covered. A course in organic and/or biochemistry would be a good choice for a second chemistry course.

The following chemistry courses are available at the University of Kansas. Use this guide to determine if your chemistry course meets the requirements for KU's doctoral program in nurse anesthesia practice.

Eligible Chemistry Course

CHEM 130. General Chemistry I. 5 Hours NP GE12/GE3N / N / LFE.

This course seeks to develop a working knowledge of the conceptual foundation and the quantitative chemical relationships on which subsequent chemistry courses are built. Atomic structure, chemical bonding, reaction stoichiometry, thermochemistry, and periodic trends are emphasized in this integrated lecture and laboratory course. Students pursuing or considering a major in one of the chemical sciences should strongly consider taking CHEM 170 or CHEM 190. Students with credit in CHEM 110 will have two hours added on to their total number of hours required for graduation. Prerequisite: Must be eligible for MATH 115. LEC.

Ineligible Chemistry Courses

CHEM 100. Chemistry in Context: _____. 3 Hours NP GE3N / N.

An introduction to chemistry that focuses on basic chemical principles, designed for students with no previous background in chemistry. This course promotes the development of chemical literacy within a context that encourages an appreciation for the role and significance of chemistry in the modern world. Not intended for students who need to fulfill a specific chemistry requirement as part of their degree program. LEC.

CHEM 110. Introductory Chemistry. 5 Hours NP GE3N / N / LFE.

This integrated lecture and laboratory course provides an introduction to basic concepts related to general, organic, and biological chemistry. Suitable for students seeking an introductory course and for students who are majoring in health and allied health fields. Students whose majors require more than one semester of chemistry should enroll in CHEM 130, CHEM 170, or CHEM 190. CHEM 110 and CHEM 150 cannot both be taken for credit. LEC.

Helpful Tips
  • Eligible chemistry courses will have a course designation number equal to or greater than that of the lowest eligible course. Most course descriptions of eligible chemistry courses will include "stoichiometry, thermochemistry; for science majors, chemistry major, pre-med, pre-vet, pharmacy, engineering majors."Note:

    Examples of eligible KU chemistry courses: CHEM 130 and higher e.g. CHEM 135, CHEM 330, CHEM 335, etc.

  • Ineligible chemistry courses will have a course designation number less than that of the lowest eligible course. KU ineligible chemistry course examples lower than the eligible CHEM 130 are: CHEM 100 and CHEM 110. Most course descriptions of ineligible chemistry courses will include "for non-science majors, allied heath, and nursing majors."

One class with a grade of C or higher is required.

Human Anatomy

One class with a grade of C or higher is required.*

Human Physiology

One class with a grade of B or higher is required.* If less than a B grade in human physiology was earned, or the class was taken more than 10 years ago, a human physiology course must be retaken. Pathophysiology does not meet the human physiology requirement.


Instead of separate human anatomy and human physiology courses, applicants may also take two semesters of a combined human anatomy/human physiology course, such as A&P I and A&P II.
If taking A&P I and A&P II, students must obtain a grade of B or higher in both courses and both semesters must be completed within 10 years entering the nurse anesthesia program. If only one semester of a combined A&P course has been completed, students may take one semester of physiology to meet the requirement for physiology and anatomy.

When completing the prerequisite courses section of the application, please click the "Not Applicable" box for courses you have not taken.

One class is required. The class must contain both parametric and nonparametric content; these are covered in most basic statistics courses. A nursing research class does not fulfill this requirement.

6. A 3.0 Overall Grade Point Average

A minimum overall cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required. The applicant's overall GPA will be calculated including every class at every college/university attended. All college course work must be documented by official transcript sent from each academic institution directly to KU.

7. Graduate-level Writing Ability

Writing skills appropriate to graduate level education are required. This will be evaluated by the statement of purpose submitted with the application (see more information below).

8. ACLS/BLS/PALS Certification

Students are required to have completed certifications in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) prior to starting the program. Certifications must be maintained while in the program and are the responsibility of the student. All life support training must be certified by the American Heart Association.

9. Technical Standards

Technical standards define physical and other attributes required to be successful in this profession. Applicants must review the program’s technical standards and acknowledge having reviewed them during the application process. Upon admission, applicants will be asked to verify they can meet the standards or request consideration in meeting the standards.

10. Vaccine and Clinical Site Requirements

Matriculated students will need to provide an immunization profile prior to participating in curricular and/or clinical experiences required by the program. Please read the information found at the bottom of the program's curriculum page and be sure that you understand these requirements.

12. Background Check

The Joint Commission requires all incoming students to request a background check. This one-time fee must be paid directly to the company performing the background investigation. Students will be asked to provide information and make the payment after being accepted into the program. For more information, please see the School of Health Professions background check and drug screening information.

Additional Information for Applicants

Ready to Apply?

KU's nurse anesthesia doctoral program has two application deadlines.

  • Standard application deadline: July 15
  • Early-decision application deadline: May 15

Review the steps to apply

KU reserves the right to make changes in policy, requirements, tuition, financial aid, and fee structure as the needs of its administration, faculty, students, and conducting or affiliating institutions change. These changes may occur without prior notification. For any questions, and to assure applicants have the most current information available, please contact the program offices.

Note: Obtaining the doctorate in nurse anesthesia practice from the University of Kansas does not guarantee licensure in any state, including Kansas. Information regarding grounds for disciplinary action pertaining to a Kansas license is addressed in regulation KSA 65-1120 (PDF).

KU School of Health Professions

University of Kansas Medical Center
Nurse Anesthesia Education
Mailstop 2020
3901 Rainbow Blvd
Kansas City, KS 66160
913-588-6612 • 711 TTY