Practical Nursing Admission Requirements

Start: Spring 2025

Location: Moorhead campus

Application deadlines

Round 1: Sept. 1, 2024
Round 2: Oct. 1, 2024 

Thank you for your interest in Minnesota State Community and Technical College’s Practical Nursing program. This page provides information you will need to apply to the Practical Nursing program offered at our Moorhead campus for a spring 2025 start. The M State Nursing programs are designed to prepare qualified students for a career in nursing. Graduates of the M State Practical Nursing program may apply to the LPN to Associate Degree Nursing Bridge program to continue their education in nursing.

Please note: 

  • PSEO students are not eligible to take Nursing courses.
  • Admission is based on the selective eligibility criteria below. Meeting the minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Please review this information carefully.
  • Curriculum information can be found at Practical Nursing.
  • The following biology courses have a five-year recency requirement, meaning they must have been taken within five years of the programs start date. For Spring 2025 admission, courses must be taken Spring 2020 or later to be valid.
    • BIOL 2260/2261 Human Anatomy & Physiology I Lecture/Lab
    • BIOL 2262/2263 Human Anatomy & Physiology II Lecture/Lab

We are pleased you are considering M State and look forward to receiving your application. We strongly encourage you to discuss the admission requirements and program requirements with an academic advisor. To reach an advisor, please call 877.450.3322 or email

Practical Nursing admission information

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Apply to M State

To be considered for an M State Nursing program, you must apply to and be accepted to M State. The application for the Practical Nursing program is separate. You must be accepted to M State to access the Practical Nursing program application.

New to M State - Follow the admissions checklist at Admissions

Returning to M State - Submit an online application for admission at Admissions. If you have attended another college since you last attended M State, you will also need to request the official transcript be sent to the M State Processing Center.   

M State Processing Center
1414 College Way 
Fergus Falls, MN 56537

Students should allow up to six weeks for transfer work to be received, evaluated and entered onto their degree audit. Transfer courses will not count toward admission to the program until they have been evaluated by the M State transfer specialist and successfully transferred.

Current M State student - If you are currently attending M State, you will not need to update your application to the college. 

Apply to Practical Nursing program

The Practical Nursing program application must be submitted for an applicant to be considered for the program. The eligibility criteria must be read and understood prior to applying. You must be accepted to M State to access the program application. 

Practical Nursing Program Application 

Placement testing

Nursing applicants must complete all developmental English and/or math courses with a grade of C or higher. Placement in these courses may be determined by ACT, SAT, Accuplacer assessment or high school GPA. Guided self-placement for students who do not have an ACT, SAT, Accuplacer or high school GPA waiver on file cannot be used for nursing applicants.

Complete the Accuplacer assessment to determine which, if any, English and/or math developmental courses you need to complete. Sign up for Accuplacer at Placement Testing

High school status

High school graduates are encouraged to register for college general education courses while they seek acceptance into the program.

Current high school students must complete their junior year before applying and supply a high school transcript with a GPA of 3.00 or higher upon completion of their junior year. Students must graduate from high school prior to starting PNSG courses.

Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) students are not eligible to take core Nursing program courses (courses with a PNSG prefix).

Students who have earned their GED are eligible to apply.

Practical Nursing program eligibility criteria

Students must meet the following eligibility criteria.

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Entrance exam

Students must score at the “Moderate” competency level (74%) or higher on the Health Science Reasoning Test - Associate Degree (HSRT-AD).

HSRT-AD scores expire one year after the test date. HSRT-AD scores must be valid at the time of the application deadline.

Applicants are allowed to take the HSRT-AD up to two times for the Spring 2025 application cycle. If taking the test for a second time, applicants must wait two weeks (14 calendar days) between test attempts. 

The HSRT-AD must be taken at an M State campus. For more information regarding the HSRT-AD, including special accommodations, exam dates and how to register, visit HSRT Exam

All eligible Nursing program applicants are ranked by their HSRT-AD overall score.

Math and English requirements

Math scores on the Accuplacer/ACT or high school GPA must place the student into Math 1020 Intermediate Algebra or higher. If assessment testing indicates developmental course work is required, the courses must be completed with a grade of C or better prior to starting the program. If the student has completed a developmental course and earned less than a C grade, the student will need to retake the course and earn a grade of C or better prior to the application deadline. If a math course higher than a developmental course is completed with a passing grade, developmental course grades will not be reviewed.

Reading scores on the Accuplacer/ACT or high school GPA must place the student into English 1101 College Writing. Students testing into developmental English must complete the highest-level developmental course with a grade of C or better prior to starting the program. 

If you have coursework in progress, submit the Practical Nursing program application to maximize your opportunity to be accepted to the program. Students may be conditionally accepted while courses are in progress, but courses must be completed before the program starts.

PLEASE NOTE: Program-required general education courses must be completed with a grade of C or better before or during the semester in which they appear in the program plan. Students who do not meet this requirement will not be permitted to continue taking PNSG courses and should work with an advisor to create a revised plan of study.

Selection Process

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Admission to the Practical Nursing program

Applicants who meet all requirements for admission will have the greatest chance of being admitted to the program. Students are encouraged to submit the program application even if they are in the process of meeting all the requirements for admission to the program. If the application deadline has passed, check this page to see if applications are still being accepted.

All eligible applicants will be ranked by their HSRT-AD overall score. 

In the case of one or more ties, an applicants HSRT-AD analysis score will be used as a tiebreaker. If a tie continues, an applicant's HSRT-AD Inference score will be used as a tiebreaker.

If there are more eligible applicants than available seats by the first application deadline, eligible applicants with the highest entrance exam score will be offered a seat first. Eligible applicants who do not get into the program due to the competition for a limited number of available seats will be placed on the waiting list. If a seat in the program opens, it will be offered to the student highest on the waiting list. 

There are 45 available seats for the Spring 2025 Practical Nursing program.

Acceptance notification

Each student who has submitted a complete admissions file by a posted deadline will receive an email from M State indicating whether they are accepted to the program, placed on the program waiting list or currently ineligible for the program. Please be sure to provide your current email address on your program application. 

Applicants will be notified of their application status within 30 days after the application deadline. 

Additional program requirements for accepted students

M State will send more information on the requirements below, but applicants also are encouraged to consider these requirements ahead of time. 

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Laptop computer

All Nursing students are required to have a laptop computer. The cost will be in addition to the cost of tuition, fees and books. The required computer specifications can be found at Computer Requirements--Practical Nursing.

Nursing assistant requirement

Students must upload evidence of nursing assistant experience to Castle Branch by December 1 to be eligible to start PNSG courses in the spring. The following are ways to demonstrating experience:

Successful completion of a Nursing Assistant course OR Healthcare Core Curriculum with nursing assistant skill set within the last five years with a minimum grade of C or Pass. Current Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in good standing with a Department of Health Nursing Assistant Registry.

Applicants with health care experience other than CNA who feel that experience is equivalent to CNA may test out by challenging the national nurse aide registry exam, rather than enrolling and completing the Nursing Assistant course. Students are responsible for all costs and fees incurred as part of the test-out process. Students who do not successfully test out will be required to complete a Nursing Assistant course and upload supporting documentation into the Student Passport system before the Dec. 1 deadline.


Students are required to upload official documentation of American Heart Association Basic Life Support certification into Castle Branch by Dec. 1 to be eligible to start PNSG courses in the spring. Certification must include a hands-on component.

Minnesota Department of Human Services background check

Accepted nursing students are required to upload into Castle Branch a cleared Minnesota Department of Human Services background study by Dec. 1 to be eligible to start classes in the spring. A $30 fee will be assessed for processing the background study and fingerprinting/photo. The process for background studies and fingerprinting will be included with acceptance documents.

Accepted students who choose not to complete the background check OR who do not pass the background check may not be permitted to attend clinical experiences or service-learning opportunities. In such cases, the college cannot guarantee alternative learning opportunities, which ultimately will affect students’ ability to complete the program.

National Background Check

Accepted Nursing students are required to have a cleared national background check submitted to Castle Branch by Dec. 1 to be eligible to start classes in the spring, even if they have completed a national background check for employment. National background checks are completed through a third-party vendor. Instructions and codes will be provided via official M State email from Joel Hoffman, nursing lab assistant. The cost of the initial background check is $45.75. Students are responsible for the cost.

Accepted students who choose not to complete the background check OR who do not pass the background check may not be permitted to attend clinical experiences or service-learning opportunities. In such cases, the college cannot guarantee alternative learning opportunities, which ultimately will affect students’ ability to complete the program.

Health forms

Students are required to upload a completed Health Division Health Form into Castle Branch by Dec. 1. If there is a change in a student’s physical or emotional health status, they are required to upload a Change in Health Status Approval Form from a health care provider indicating the specific activities in which they can or cannot engage during clinical and/or lab. Students with clinical and/or lab restrictions must be able to meet all associated course outcomes to successfully complete the course(s). Clinical partners may choose not to permit students with restrictions(s) to participate in their facilities, resulting in the students not being able to meet those course outcomes. Nursing program technical standards are available at Accepted Nursing Students.

Proof of immunizations (including a yearly influenza vaccination) is required by clinical facilities. Conscientious objectors may not be able to complete clinical courses at the discretion of the clinical facilities.

Castle Branch

Health forms, supporting documentation, American Heart Association BLS (CPR) documentation and evidence of NA experience are required to be uploaded to Castle Branch by Dec. 1 to be eligible to start classes in the spring. Information on Castle Branch will be sent to all accepted Nursing students.

If you experience any issues with the application, please call 877.450.3322 or email

Please be aware that M State’s Nursing admission requirements are subject to change to assure the quality of the program.