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Frequently Asked Questions

We receive a variety of common questions from applicants and others interested in our doctoral program in nurse anesthesia practice.

General Questions

The KU Department of Nurse Anesthesia Education is approved to accept up to 36 students per year. Currently, 36 students are admitted annually. Each year more than 120 applications are received.

Becoming a nurse anesthetist is very demanding. Students should expect to devote up to 70 hours per week to program requirements including clinical experiences, class time and study time. Student employment is strongly discouraged throughout the program. The department chair reserves the right to disallow any employment if there is evidence of clinical or academic deficiencies which jeopardize the student’s progress. At no time will a student be employed as an anesthesia provider while in the program.

No. Because of the unique design and content of the curriculum, the KU nurse anesthesia program does not accept transfer students.

No. At this time, KU does not have the resources to offer a degree-completion doctorate program with a specialization in anesthesia for the practicing CRNA.

Applicants to this program must be licensed as an RN in one of the 50 states in the United States and have two years of experience working as a registered nurse. This does not allow international students who would be on a student visa to be admitted. Foreign nationals who are residents in the US and who are licensed registered nurses with experience working as a registered nurse can be admitted to the program. A copy of a permanent residence visa (also known as a green card) is required. In addition, if prerequisite course work was completed outside the U.S., please review the foreign transcript policy.

Admissions: requirements, eligibility, and applications

Applicants must have experience as a registered nurse specifically in the intensive care setting. Please review the experience requirements for details and send questions about experience requirements to the department at 913-588-6612 or na@kumc.edu.

No. It is acceptable to apply while completing the required nursing experience. The experience must be completed by the time of enrollment. The program starts at the end of May each year.

Visit the Kansas State Board of Nursing at ksbn.org and the Missouri Board of Nursing at pr.mo.gov.

If accepted, RN licenses must be obtained 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.

No. A bachelor's degree in nursing is not required. A bachelor’s degree is required but that degree can be in any appropriate discipline. Visit our eligibility and admission requirements page for more information.

You must first become a nurse before you can apply to become a nurse anesthetist. The quickest way to become a nurse if you have a bachelor’s degree in a related field is to earn an associate’s degree in nursing and become an RN, or, enroll in an accelerated bachelor's degree to bachelor's degree in nursing program. This generally takes one to two years depending on the student's background and the program entered. After becoming a registered nurse, students still need two years of experience as an RN, including one year of ICU experience, before entering the program.

Please review the list of prerequisite courses and minimum grade standards on the program's eligibility page.

Take a second class that covers material not previously studied. Two semesters of college-level chemistry are required. These two chemistry classes should have included some elements of inorganic, organic and biochemistry. If applicants have only taken one semester of chemistry, they should look for a second chemistry class that would extend their knowledge beyond what they learned in their first chemistry and ensures that they have covered the three areas of chemistry (inorganic, organic and bio). A chemistry I & II sequence would meet this requirement. An introduction to organic and/or biochemistry would be a good choice for a second chemistry. If unsure which chemistry class to take, please contact our office at 913-588-6612 for assistance.

No. Applicants having taken human physiology more than 10 years ago* must retake a human physiology class and earn a grade of B or better. This is required even if human physiology was completed more than ten years ago as part of a degree earned in college.

If an applicant has taken combined human anatomy/physiology classes, such as A&P I & A&P II, both semesters must have been taken within the past 10 years. If taken more than 10 years ago and without a B or better in both classes, students must retake one course of physiology and earn a grade of B or better to satisfy this requirement.

* Note: the 10 years limitation is from the date of first class in the program, not from the date of applying.

Only for human physiology, which must have been taken no more than 10 years from the start of class in the program. There is no timeframe limitation for any of the other required courses.

If an applicant only has one class of combined human anatomy/physiology, such as A&P, the applicant will be required to take one semester of human physiology and earn a grade of B or better, or students can take a second combined A&P course (see the previous question for more details).

Applicants having completed all prerequisites (that is, all five science classes, a statistics class, and a bachelor’s degree) by the July 15 application deadline will be given priority in the application process. Applicants who have not met all the prerequisites by the application deadline must submit proof of enrollment in any missing prerequisites. Review our application information page to learn more.

Please review the list of prerequisites, which includes information on our minimum standards for both overall GPA and science GPA.

Complete the prerequisite review worksheet. This will help calculate the science GPA and determine if any prerequisite courses are missing. After completing the worksheet, contact the department office if questions remain. If the applicant's science GPA is less than 3.0, retaking one or more science courses may help improve it.

Yes. Applicants must have one official transcript sent directly to KU from every college attended, even if only one class was taken and even if the credits show up on another transcript. Review our application information page to learn more.

You will be asked to supply contact information for two references, including a current nurse manager/supervisor and an advanced-practice nurse or physician who has routinely worked with and observed your work. Review more details about references on our application information page.

One reference must be from the applicant's nurse manager. If a nurse manager is not available, this reference can also be from an assistant nurse manager, a charge nurse, a night supervisor, a house supervisor, or a day supervisor. The person who completes this reference must be involved in the evaluation process.

Only two references are accepted. The admissions committee will not review more than two.

No. All complete applications received prior to the deadline are evaluated on the same merits and qualities.

Applicants must shadow with either a CRNA or an anesthesiologist to gain a better understanding of the nurse anesthesia profession through both observation and discussion. Applicants are responsible for arranging their own shadow experience and ensuring that the anesthesia provider completes the verification documentation. Review more details about submitting the form on our application information page.

If the shadow experience has not been completed by the time application materials are submitted, please fax the verification document to the department at 913-588-3334 when the shadow experience has been completed. This form must be submitted to be considered for an interview.

Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification is not required but is strongly recommended. If qualified, applicants should provide a copy of their CCRN certification with their application materials. If applicants become a CCRN after submitting their application materials, they can still submit a copy of their CCRN certification later.

Applications are processed as soon as possible after receipt. Due to the volume of applications and the number of applications arriving immediately before the application deadline, it can take several weeks or more for processing after July 15. Please email concerns about the application process or materials to na@kumc.edu. Applicants are advised to check the status of the online application regularly at https://gograd.ku.edu/apply?sr=ca7d45b3-1f3c-471c-89d2-5abe042c93bb.

Interviews are held in the fall for applicants using the standard application process. For Kansas residents using the early-decision option, interviews are held in the summer. Qualified applicants are invited for an interview and must attend the interview to be considered for admission. Note: not all applicants will be granted an interview. The top 80-90 applicants will interview each year.

No. The Graduate Record Exam is not required for this program and is not considered during the admissions process.

All applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate an established level of English language proficiency through either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the academic format of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The test must have been taken within two years of the first semester of enrollment. When submitting test scores to KU Medical Center, please submit only original scores sent directly from the admitting agency. Photocopies will not be accepted. For testing purposes, the ETS school code is 6895. For more information on English language requirements, including acceptable test scores, see http://www.kumc.edu/international/esl_req.html.

No. If admitted to the program, all students must become BLS-, ACLS- and PALS-certified before the program start date and must keep them current throughout the program. Students are required to submit copies of BLS, ACLS and PALS certifications prior to starting the program.

To be reconsidered, all application materials must be submitted again. The only exception is original transcripts are not required to be submitted if already received by KU within the past two years. However, additional transcripts must be submitted if additional courses were taken since the earlier application attempt. Please note: Applicants may only interview for the program two times.

Questions about the early-decision option

Up to 12 applicants may be admitted with early decision each year. However, the program may choose not to accept all 12 at that time.

No. Only standard application interviews, held in October, count toward the limit. However, only one interview for early-decision status is allowed.

No. Students not accepted after early-decision interviews will have their applications rolled over to the standard application cycle. These students may or may not be selected for an interview in October of that same year.

Please visit the Office of the Registrar for details.

The standard application is available from March 15 to July 15 each year. Interviews are generally held during the first half of October. Please review the admission and eligibility requirements.

The early-decision option is available from March 15 to May 15 each year. Interviews generally take place during the first half of July. The early-decision option follows all of the standard application eligibility requirements except for two differences: 1) Kansas residency is required, and 2) all five prerequisites must be completed prior to applying. Please review the details of the early-decision option.

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