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Bachelor's of Science In Nursing (BSN) Options for Adult Students (Dix Scholars)

Thanks for your interest in nursing at Simmons. On this page, you will find program highlights and requirements. Please review these FAQs carefully before you visit.

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Overview: Nursing and Dix Scholar Program

What is a Dix Scholar?

The Dorothea Lynde Dix Scholars program is for adult women (24 years or older) seeking an undergraduate degree, or for those students seeking a second bachelor's degree. It is uniquely designed to meet the needs of adults in any of our more than 60 majors and programs.

Will I be out of place as an adult student?

You'll be in good company as an adult at Simmons! Dix Scholars make up 15% of our student body, and approximately two-thirds of our adults are nursing majors. Learn more about the resources for adult students here!

What is your ratio of clinical students to instructors?

Simmons offers an optimal ratio of 6:1.

Who are your Nursing faculty?

Click here to meet our faculty! Simmons nursing faculty are all practicing nurses, thus assuring that students learn the most up-to-date science and techniques in patient care.

What is your NCLEX pass rate?

Simmons nursing students' pass rate on the (NCLEX) Registered Nurse exam is consistently above 90%. In 2012, it was 95% for first time takers and 100% for accelerated students. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the national average for RN candidates is in the low 80% range.

How long is the program?

There are three nursing sequences for adult students who do not already have the RN credential. All three lead to the BSN degree and prepare you to take the NCLEX, which is required to become an RN. The lengths of the sequences are 14 months, two years, and three years. The primary differences among these tracks are based upon a student's educational preparation (previous degree, prerequisites taken, etc.) and the pace at which she chooses to pursue her BSN studies. Simmons also offers an RN to BSN option.

How many credits do I need to graduate?

To earn a Simmons bachelor's degree, students must complete 128 total credits (including the credits in the nursing sequence). The course content, clinicals, and credit hours are similar for the sequences.

When are classes offered?

Our nursing program is a daytime program. A small number of classes and clinicals are sometimes offered on evenings and weekends, but students must be available to take most of their coursework on weekdays.

My prerequisites are not complete. Can I still apply?

Students can - and often do! - apply with few of their prerequisites completed. We strongly recommend that students apply with the intention of completing these prerequisites at Simmons. Admitted students, however, cannot proceed into their nursing sequence unless each of the prerequisites has been satisfied with a C+ or higher.

Our unique model provides students with the opportunity to complete prerequisites at Simmons prior to their nursing sequence, with the following benefits:

  • No need to apply again after taking your prerequisites
  • Science foundation directly aligned to support our nursing curriculum
  • Knowledge of acceptance into the nursing sequence before the priority review
  • Acclimation to the Simmons community and resources

Please note that all application materials must be submitted for those students looking to begin prerequisites at Simmons prior to their nursing sequence.

Nursing Sequence Options

I will be pursuing nursing as my first bachelor's degree. What nursing sequence options are open to me?

Students with some or no prior college experience may apply for the nursing program that begins in September each year. After finishing their prerequisites, admitted students can elect to follow a two- or three-year sequence of nursing courses and clinicals. Both sequences begin at the same time and with the same courses; therefore, students do not need to choose between the two- or three-year sequence during the application process. Before beginning either sequence, students must have enough credits to be on track to graduate at the end of their sequence. Therefore, students with few transfer credits are typically ineligible for the two-year sequence.

I will be pursuing nursing as my second bachelor's degree. What nursing sequence options are open to me?

Second bachelor's degree candidates may apply for the accelerated nursing sequence. They may also apply for the non-accelerated option. Admitted students in the non-accelerated option can elect to follow a two- or three-year sequence of nursing courses and clinicals.

I already have my RN license. What nursing sequence options are open to me?

Simmons offers an RN to BSN program. This program is for the student who has graduated from an accredited nursing program, is a registered nurse, and has a diploma in nursing or an associate's degree in nursing. The RN to BSN option is a daytime program.

This option is not in a particular sequence. Simmons offers registered nurses the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science degree on a part- or full-time basis. This program's requirements are the same as those for the regular undergraduate nursing program with the exception of the language requirement, from which RNs are exempt. The methods by which course objectives are to be met by RN students are geared toward adult learners. RN students must complete 128 hours of credit and fulfill the Simmons modes of inquiry and competency requirements. While at least 48 semester hours of credit must be earned at Simmons, transfer credit, credit for prior learning, and advanced placement in nursing credit are also granted when certain specifications are met.

Prerequisite Courses

What prerequisites do I need for each sequence?

Prerequisites are listed on the PDF for each sequence (above).

Does Simmons offer courses that fulfill more than one prerequisite?

Students accepted into the nursing program at Simmons may take a single course that fulfills both General Biology and Microbiology, and a single course that fulfills both Inorganic and Organic Chemistry.

Do you offer "science summer" prerequisites?

For second bachelor's degree candidates, many of the prerequisites are offered online at Simmons during Summer Session. These courses are: Lifespan Psychology, Biology + Microbiology, Inorganic + Organic Chemistry, and Anatomy & Physiology I and II. These classes are in an accelerated format only open to those who have already completed a bachelor's degree. Students are encouraged to take no more than two of the three accelerated science courses. The online courses are not credit-bearing and will not fulfill all-college graduation requirements. Some prerequisites are also offered in person over the summer; these classes are credit-bearing and can fulfill all-college graduation requirements.

I have taken Anatomy & Physiology I and II, as well as Microbiology. Do I also need Biology?

No, the Biology prerequisite can be waived if you have confirmed approval to transfer credits for A&P I and II, and Microbiology.

I have taken a Child and Adolescent Development course. Do I also need Human Growth & Development?

Your Development coursework must cover the entire lifecycle from birth to death; however, courses may be combined (for example, one semester of Child and Adolescent Development AND one semester of Adult and Elder Development) to fulfill the prerequisite.

Does Simmons have a math prerequisite?

While the admission committee looks for students who are strong in math, there are no specific math courses required as prerequisites. However, students must fulfill the basic math competency graduation requirement prior to registering for the chemistry prerequisites. Students who have taken their prerequisites elsewhere must fulfill the math competency requirement before beginning their nursing sequence. Please visit the Competency Exam Page and scroll down to "Mathematics Competency Exam" to learn about the ways to fulfill this requirement.

When is the deadline to complete my prerequisites?

Students taking their prerequisites at Simmons College must satisfy requirements before their nursing sequence start. Students taking their prerequisites elsewhere must satisfy requirements no later than July 1 prior to their nursing sequence start.

My prerequisites are not complete. Can I still apply?

Students can - and often do! - apply with few of their prerequisites completed. We strongly recommend that students apply with the intention of completing these prerequisites at Simmons. Admitted students, however, cannot proceed into their nursing sequence unless each of the prerequisites has been satisfied with a C+ or higher.

For students who intend to take prerequisites at Simmons, please note that all application materials must be submitted by the application deadline.

When can I take my prerequisites at Simmons?

You can take your prerequisites in the spring, summer, and fall terms. Simmons prerequisite courses are offered throughout the year, but the selection of courses offered may differ by semester. Therefore, it is important to check the Simmons course schedule. Generally, the schedule is posted ten weeks prior to the start of the new semester. Note that the summer schedule includes courses for the two summer sessions.

If I am accepted to complete my prerequisites at Simmons, do I need to apply to the nursing program after they are complete?

No, you only need to apply once! If you apply and are accepted to Simmons as a Dix Scholar, you would continue directly into a specific sequence (18-month, 2-year or 3-year) upon completion of your prerequisites. If accepted in this way, students will be guaranteed a space in the nursing sequence to which they have been accepted, provided they successfully complete their prerequisites at Simmons. For example, a student could be accepted to begin attending Simmons in the fall of 2014, take prerequisite courses in the fall and spring semesters, and then begin her 2-year nursing sequence the following fall (2015).

Can I take my prerequisite classes before being accepted to Simmons??

Yes, however, you would not be guaranteed a space in the nursing program. There is limited space for students who have not been accepted to Simmons to take prerequisites. After completing your prerequisites, you would need to apply as a Dix Scholar and be considered in the same applicant pool as students who completed their prerequisites elsewhere. If you have any questions about this process, contact Latasha Johnson at

Am I eligible for financial aid while taking prerequisites at Simmons?

Students who have been accepted into the Dix Scholars program are eligible for financial aid provided they take a minimum of two classes per semester. Non-degree students take prerequisites at Simmons on a per-course basis and therefore are not eligible for financial aid.

Where can I take the prerequisites?

Prerequisite courses must be taken at a regionally-accredited institution.

Does Simmons accept tests such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, CLEP, or A-levels to fulfill the nursing prerequisites?

No, we only accept college courses to fulfill the prerequisites. However, we can accept some tests for elective credit. Click here to learn more!

Do I need to take a lab for my prerequisites?

Yes - with the exception of the two Psychology courses, all prerequisites must include a lab.

How can I tell if my class fulfills the nursing prerequisite?

Simmons faculty make final decisions regarding the acceptability of prerequisites taken at other institutions. The course content and credit hours must closely match with the prerequisites offered by Simmons. Please consult the Simmons Nursing Prerequisite Guidelines when determining if prerequisite courses you have taken or plan to take elsewhere will satisfy the nursing prerequisite criteria at Simmons.

Can my prerequisites be taken online?

Online courses will be reviewed using the same standards as in-person coursework.

Does Simmons accept prerequisites that were not taken recently?

Prerequisites must have been completed in the past ten years.

What grade do I need in my prerequisites?

A grade of C+ or higher is necessary to satisfy each prerequisite. Note that successful applicants typically have a 3.33 GPA or higher in prerequisite courses not taken at Simmons.

I got below a C+ on some of my prerequisites. Can I still apply?

Candidates for the nursing program will not be considered if they have: earned below a C+ in a single science prerequisite course more than twice, or in more than two science prerequisite courses in the past ten years. Beginning with students entering in 2015, candidates will not be considered if they earned a grade below C+ in their first attempt at Introduction to Psychology or Lifespan Psychology. Note that although we do consider students with one or two retakes in their science prerequisites, or with retakes from more than ten years ago, most successful applicants typically have not needed to retake any prerequisites.

Are there any exceptions to the retake policy?

No, the retake policy is strict and there are no exceptions.

Does withdrawing from a course count against the retake limit?

Although a grade of "W" does not count against the retake limit, withdrawn courses are considered by the admission committee and may negatively affect your application. We recommend that candidates address any withdrawn courses in their application or interview.

I am currently enrolled in a nursing program at another school, or I have been in the past. Can I transfer to the program at Simmons?

Yes. In order to be considered for admission to a nursing program at Simmons, students must be in good academic standing in their current or prior nursing program. In addition, they must not have taken (or need to take) any nursing course more than once.

Admission Criteria

What type of grades does the committee look for?

Typically, admitted students have a college GPA and a science GPA exceeding 3.0, with a pre-requisite GPA exceeding 3.3. Students must earn at least a C+ on prerequisites. We also like to see success in a math course above the level of Algebra II (preferably, at least through PreCalculus) or on the math section of a standardized test.

What test scores does the committee look for?

If you have not received a bachelor's degree, we require you submit one of the following tests:

SAT: Successful applicants typically have at least 1100 or higher on the Critical Reading and Math sections of the SAT.

ACT: Successful applicants typically have at least a 24 or higher for their composite score and a 24 or higher on the math section.

TEAS V: Successful applicants typically have scores of at least 80%..

When should I take my standardized tests?

We recommend taking your standardized tests six to twelve months prior to applying. You should have these results available before scheduling your personalized information session and interview.

What else is the committee looking for?

We are looking for women who can succeed within our nursing program and contribute to the Simmons community. The committee reviews applications holistically, meaning that in addition to your academics, we consider other factors such as your personal statement, recommendations, experiences outside of the classroom, and interview.

Does the committee look for anything different in applicants to the accelerated program?

Successful candidates typically have not retaken any nursing prerequisite course. We also look for evidence that you can handle the rigors of our fast-paced program.

Application Requirements

What do I need to submit to apply?

An application is considered complete when the Simmons Office of Undergraduate Admission has received ALL of the following:

  • Completed Application Form
  • $55 Application Fee, waived if you apply online
  • Personal statement: You may include with your application or submit separately via email to
  • Official transcripts from ALL institutions attended. Note that transcripts become the property of Simmons College and cannot be returned.
    • For students who have taken coursework or received degrees from international institutions, Simmons requires an official copy of the translation/course evaluation report prepared by the Center for Educational Documentation
  • Two recommendations (academic recommendations preferred, especially for students who have been in college recently)
  • Resume (recommended)
  • Personalized information session and interview, which can be done by phone (recommended)
  • Students who are not native English speakers are required to submit scores from the TOEFL or IELTS
  • For first bachelor's degree candidates:
    • Official score report for SAT/ACT or TEAS (for more information, please read the standardized test requirements below)
    • High school transcript (or official GED): This requirement is waived if the candidate has earned an associate or bachelor's degree
  • For RN to BSN candidates: RN license

I have coursework from another college. Can I apply as a transfer student?

All students who are 24 or older, or are applying for a second bachelor's degree, are considered Dix Scholars. Even if you have college coursework, you should not use the transfer application.

Can I apply using the Common Application?

No, please use the Dix Scholars application. The Common Application is specific to students applying from high school or for transfer students under the age of 24.

I accidentally applied using the transfer application or the Common Application. Should I apply again using the Dix Scholars application?

Please email to let us know if this happens.

Do you offer application fee waivers?

Yes, we waive the application fee for all students who apply online. Simply press "submit", even if prompted to enter your credit card information.

What is the topic of the personal statement?

Please write an autobiographical essay, reflecting upon your personal and professional experiences. Describe how these experiences have influenced your decision to attend college as an adult student.

How long should my personal statement be?

Your personal statement should be between two and four pages long, double-spaced. Most applicants submit a two-to-three page statement.

Can my high school transcript(s) be waived?

To waive the requirement for high school transcripts, we must receive an official college transcript showing you have completed an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree. Please contact your counselor to request this waiver.

I will receive my associate's or bachelor's degree at the end of this semester. Do I need to submit my high school transcript?

We must receive an official transcript showing your associate's or bachelor's degree has been awarded before we can waive your high school transcript. Please contact your counselor to request this waiver. If your associate's or bachelor's program is not complete when you apply, your high school transcript is still required.

Can I submit my high school or college transcript(s) myself?

In order to be considered official, any transcript sent by the student must remain in its original sealed envelope. We cannot accept transcripts faxed or emailed by the student.

I have a GED, but no college degree. Do I need to submit my high school transcript?

Yes, all applicants with GEDs are required to submit all high school transcripts up until the point they left high school, as well as official documentation of their GED. This requirement is waived for students who have completed an associate's or bachelor's degree.

I attended high school outside of the United States. Do I need to submit my high school transcript?

Yes, unless your associate's or bachelor's degree is complete, you must submit all transcripts from all high schools attended abroad. This should include a record of subjects taken and grades earned for each year of secondary school. These documents must have the official signature and seal of your school.

I attended high school years ago. Do I need to submit my high school transcript?

Yes, unless you have completed an associate's or bachelor's degree, your high school transcript is required.

I attended college outside of the United States. Do I need to submit my college transcript?

We require a course-by-course evaluation of all international college transcripts. This can be done through CED (Center for Educational Documentation). If you studied abroad through a regionally-accredited institution in the United States, this is not required as long as your study abroad courses are recorded on your college transcript along with grades.

I took a single course at a college, in an area not related to nursing. Do I need to submit that college transcript?

Yes, college transcripts are required for all college-level work.

I took courses at a college that is not regionally accredited (such as a technical college). Do I need to submit those transcripts?

Contact your admission counselor. Although transcripts are not required from such institutions, they may provide helpful information to the admission committee (especially for applicants with few or no college credits).

I attended college years ago. Do I need to submit my college transcript?

Yes, we require all college transcripts, regardless of when the courses were taken.

Can I submit my standardized test scores myself?

We can accept standardized test scores only if they are sent directly from the testing agency or recorded on an official transcript.

I will receive my first bachelor's degree at the end of this semester. Do I need to submit test scores?

Yes, unless your official transcript shows your bachelor's degree has been awarded, you must submit standardized test scores. We accept the SAT, ACT, or the TEAS V.

I attended high school outside of the United States. Do I need to submit test scores?

Yes, unless your official transcript shows your bachelor's degree has been awarded, you must submit standardized test scores. We accept the SAT, ACT, or the TEAS V.

I took a standardized test more than 18 months ago. Are my scores still admissible?

We only accept test scores taken in the 18 months before your intended start term.

Can I submit the scores from more than one test, or more than one score for the same test taken on different dates?

We accept test scores from a maximum of two different dates. We will use the higher of the two results.

Can I submit results from the TEAS 3.0 or 4.0?

No, we require the TEAS V if you are choosing to submit the TEAS.

Must recommendation letters come from professors?

Although it is not required, we prefer recommendations from academic sources (especially from students who have taken college coursework recently). If you have been out of school for awhile, you may want to consider recommendations from a supervisor or colleague from a work or volunteer setting.

How do I schedule a personalized information session and interview?

You can schedule a time by calling us at 617-521-2051 or 1-800-345-8468.

I am not available to come to campus during the day. How can I have my personalized information session/ interview?

We are happy to speak with you over the phone or via Skype! We are also open on Saturdays on a limited basis from September-April.

I am not a native English speaker, but I have lived in an English-speaking country for years. Do I still need to submit TOEFL results?

In order to ensure your success at Simmons, the admission committee is looking for applicants who have a demonstrated mastery of academic English. Contact your admission counselor to determine if your TOEFL can be waived. If you have taken the TOEFL, we look for a score of at least 83 on the internet-based test.


When is your application deadline?

Entrance Date Priority Deadline Final Deadline
Fall January 1 July 1
Spring n/a Nov 1
Summer January 1 April 1

I have not completed my prerequisites. Can I still apply?

Students have the option to enroll at Simmons (part-time or full-time) in order to take all or some of their prerequisites in the semester(s) prior to the nursing sequence to which they have been admitted. Students interested in taking prerequisite courses at Simmons are strongly encouraged to complete their application as soon as possible; such applications will be reviewed for admission to nursing on an individual, rolling, and space-available basis.

I have completed my prerequisites elsewhere, or they will be completed elsewhere by July 1. When should I apply?

The priority deadline for students who will not be taking prerequisites at Simmons is January 1. Students taking prerequisites elsewhere are strongly encouraged to complete their application, which includes submitting all required credentials, no later than January 1 in order to be included in the priority nursing admission committee review that takes place at the end of January.

What happens if I am waitlisted?

Our waitlist is unranked. Should space become available, we will re-review all students on our waitlist to be offered a spot in the class. We encourage all students on the waitlist to continue working towards completing their prerequisites, so they will be prepared if they are offered admission. We will notify all waitlisted students of their final decision by mid-August.

I was denied acceptance. How soon can I reapply?

You should contact your admission counselor to develop an application strategy.

Transfer Credit Evaluation (TCE)

What information is included in a TCE?

A transfer credit evaluation (TCE) can help you better understand how many of your previously taken credits will transfer into Simmons, what all-college graduation requirements you have already fulfilled, as well as which courses will fulfill Simmons's nursing pre-requisites. The TCE alerts you to prerequisites that you will need to complete by the July 1 prior to your nursing sequence start.

When do I receive my TCE?

All admitted or waitlisted applicants will receive a transfer credit evaluation by email after acceptance. Please allow several weeks after your acceptance for evaluation.

Can I request a TCE before I apply or while I am applying?

Yes, we are happy to perform a preliminary TCE! Just follow these steps:

  1. Request that ALL official college transcripts be sent to YOU from the institutions you attended.
  2. Send ALL official college transcripts to the Simmons College Office of Undergraduate Admission in one large envelope with a written request for a preliminary transfer credit evaluation.
  3. Please allow several weeks for the evaluation. Preliminary TCEs requested in December, January, August, or September may take longer due to a new semester starting.

I have questions about my TCE. What do I do?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding requesting your TCE, please contact your admission counselor.

What type of coursework is transferable to Simmons?

Typically the following coursework will be accepted for credit toward graduation: courses taken at an accredited college or university, and courses that carry three credits or more, in which you have earned a C or better. (Note that a grade of C+ or better is required of courses to satisfy the nursing department's prerequisite policy.)

How many credits can I transfer to Simmons?

Simmons College allows students to transfer in up to 80 credits.

I have more questions about Simmons' transfer credit policy. What do I do?

Our full transfer credit policy is available here, and we expect students to review this as a first step for their questions regarding our transfer credit policy. If you have any other questions not answered in the policy, just contact your admission counselor!

Your Dix Scholars Admission Contacts

Dayna Bradstreet, Assistant DirectorDayna Bradstreet
Assistant Director

phone: 617-521-2502

Counselor for:

  • US Citizens and Permanent Residents

Heather Zeman
Senior Assistant Director

phone: 617-521-2052

Counselor for:

  • International Students