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Distance Accelerated BSN

Emory University’s distance-based Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (DABSN) program enables intelligent and industrious students to earn a nursing degree at a leading nationally ranked university in one year. In three semesters of study, students can be eligible to enter the nation’s most trusted profession.


Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing’s distance-based accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (DABSN) program is your fastest path to a nursing degree. Students enrolled in the program earn a nursing degree in just one year of study.

The program’s small size, with classes limited to 30 students, assures that every student has individual attention and can get to know their classmates. Each cohort of new students is welcomed to the program with a live, synchronous orientation prior to starting the program so that you know the program’s expectations, your instructors and your classmates even before you begin to study.

As part of an intimate, team-based learning community, you engage in a full-time, rigorous program of online study that develops your clinical and critical thinking skills. By using a blend of lecture and practice based on the clinical judgment instructional model, every graduate of Emory is prepared to enter the nursing profession with solid practice skills and the confidence to use those skills to help people who need competent, caring nurses.

Your clinical rotations are completed in a combination of on-campus intensive rotations and selected sites near your home, but can also include optional learning in immersive local, regional—or even international healthcare settings.

To be eligible for admission to the program, you must have earned a previous bachelor’s degree in another discipline from an accredited college or university before starting the DABSN program. But with three program starts each year, in August, January and May, you don’t have to wait.

Apply now!

The DABSN program is designed for students living outside the Atlanta metro region to enable access to Emory’s highly-regarded education to students throughout the United States. A special focus of the program is to address nursing workforce shortages by encouraging students to complete clinicals in their home communities and expanding the nursing workforce by filling positions in healthcare systems in areas designated as high-need or medically underserved. (Students within the Atlanta metro region should apply to Emory's residential MN program.)

The DABSN experience offers a unique, intensive program, requiring you to enroll for three continuous semesters combining classroom and clinical work.  You participate in virtual classroom courses via the internet, using real-time synchronous learning with live Emory faculty, supplemented with recorded content. The program uses a form of active learning that poses questions, problems or scenarios to promote critical thinking and sound clinical judgment. You are expected to contribute from your experience; every student is both a consumer and provider of knowledge. Our holistic admission  process evaluates your ability to be both.

Foundational course work is completed during the first semester of the program, and clinical practice is aligned with course content throughout your study to reinforce learning in an engaged, supportive environment that fosters your professional and clinical development.

In the clinical portion of your study, you participate in clinical experiences near your home and are assigned a faculty member as the clinical site visitor to support one-to-one clinical experiences overseen by an experienced on-site clinical nurse preceptor. Many nursing programs assign students to work in groups with preceptors, but not this one.  We believe your learning is more efficient and more effective when you work with a preceptor who is focused on you and your learning objectives.

You are also required to successfully complete two on-campus, Atlanta-based, intensive clinical rotations with your fellow classmates at the end of your first semester and at the end of your third and final semester just before graduation, with related expenses included in the program’s regular tuition and fees. The cost of travel and accommodations are covered in the regular tuition and fees for the program whenever the program requires you to visit to the Emory campus.*

*Students in the distance-based program do not have the option to choose clinical study in Atlanta as an alternative to assigned clinical sites near students’ residences.

The Atlanta-based clinical sessions include:

  • Your initial two to two and a half-week clinical experience in your first semester, with focus on health assessment, nursing skills, simulated learning and your first hospital-based clinical rotation. This foundation enables you to enter your local clinical site prepared for precepted clinical learning appropriate to your level as a competent student nurse.
  • The last semester, one-week capstone session includes a licensure test (NCLEX) review, presentations of capstone student projects, and on-campus simulations. This ensures that you enter the workforce with well-developed entry-level nursing skills and knowledge that differentiate new Emory-educated nursing graduates in a positive way.

This fast-paced program requires completion of 48 semester hours of credit. You must complete your prerequisite course requirements prior to the program’s start date. (Refer to the prerequisite and admission requirements tab for more information).

Financial Aid

More than 92 percent of the students in the School of Nursing receive some type of financial assistance.

Clinical Placements

Our students train in numerous clinical sites in Atlanta and across the U.S.

Global Opportunities

At NHWSN, we are preparing nurses to become globally engaged citizens.



Admission Requirements


The admission process for the DABSN program is both rigorous and selective, so you are encouraged to put forth your best effort to demonstrate that you are a competitive candidate for admission. To be considered for admission to the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, you must submit the following items:

  • Application for Admission
  • $50 Application Fee
  • Official transcripts from each school attended
  • Students with international transcripts must provide an evaluation from World Education Services (
  • Resume
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo scores are required if English is a second language. Read Emory University's accepted tests policy here.

Please review the Prerequisites tab to review prerequisite course requirements. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of C or higher by the start date of the program.

Transcript submission:

* Preferred method: Choose Emory University -School of Nursing in the electronic transcript systems or have your school email your official transcripts to

If your school does not participate in the electronic transcript system or cannot email your transcripts then please have them mail a hard copy to:

Office of Enrollment and Student Affairs
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing Emory University
1520 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322


The prerequisites for the DABSN program include seven courses. You may submit an application for admission with the courses in progress, but all prerequisites must be complete with a grade of C or higher by program Orientation. Please review the list of prerequisites below, effective for all DABSN applicants:

Physical Sciences

  • Human Anatomy & Physiology I with lab*
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology II with lab*
  • Microbiology with lab*
  • General Chemistry I with lab
  • Nutrition

*Starred courses must have been taken no more than seven years prior to beginning the DABSN program start date.

*May complete Human Anatomy + lab and Human Physiology + lab as separate courses.


  • Introductory Statistics

Social Sciences

  • Human Growth and Development or Life Span Development   

*The Human Growth and Development prerequisite must cover human development from conception through death.

**All courses are subject to review by the Office of Enrollment and Student Affairs.

*Please note that all courses and degrees in the application checklist must be verified by the Office of Enrollment and Student Affairs before they are marked as received. 


The DABSN application process may not strictly follow the NHWSON standard admission timeline. Applications are reviewed as submitted, after the application is determined to be complete. Once an application is complete with all needed application materials, it is carefully evaluated, and local clinical placement opportunities are considered. Students are considered for admission to each cohort until it is filled, at which time the application closes. If an application is open on the Woodruff School of Nursing website, there are still positions available for that semester. 

You may apply to only one entry semester at a time. If you wish to move your application to a different cohort, you should contact to discuss moving your application. Requests for deferral of admission to a future semester usually require submitting a new application.

Applications can be submitted here.

Clinical Placement Information

The clinical practicum experience is a core component of the DABSN program. Throughout the clinical experience, students work with assigned preceptors in selected clinical sites, while a DABSN clinical faculty site visitor provides oversight and support to both you and your preceptor. You might also complete some clinical experiences at Emory Healthcare sites or elsewhere as part of optional DABSN immersive learning opportunities.

Clinical Practicum Placement Process

The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing administration, faculty, and placement coordinators are dedicated to placing students in quality clinical sites that meet the School of Nursing’s curriculum standards and the unique needs of students. While every effort is made to match your geographic and program needs, no clinical site placements are guaranteed for students enrolled in any Emory nursing program. Many factors influence clinical placement matches. Students are regularly updated regarding clinical assignments and any need for travel outside of your residential area. Even with some limitations, however, no DABSN student has ever failed to complete their degree on time because of issues related to clinical placement.

Please submit questions about the Distance ABSN program to:

Thank you for your interest in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Please complete the Request for Information form to receive updates about Emory's admissions process and academic programs.

State Eligibility and State Licensure Requirements

The DABSN has alumni working as nurses in states across the nation, and even internationally. Because nursing licensure requirements vary from state to state and by professional organization, prospective students to any nursing program should be aware of the licensing requirements in the state or states in which they expect to be licensed. These requirements are typically governed by a board of nursing, health department or similar regulatory body. * The Nurse Licensure Compact enables nurses to be licensed in multiple states at the same time. 

Applicants to the program should familiarize themselves with licensing authority or Department of Education requirements in the state or states in which they intend to practice. In particular, you should learn about any specific rules and regulations pertaining to completion of clinical learning experiences in that state when enrolled in a distance-based program.

*Graduates of the program meet the requirements to be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), but passing the examination and licensing are not guaranteed.

Technology Requirements


Students enrolling in the DABSN program must have a laptop or desktop computer with web camera, required software, and broadband internet access. To participate in online courses, you need a computer system with the minimum specifications outlined below. Ideal specifications for a computer system are also provided.


Minimum Hardware

Intel core i5 or i7 processor

  • 8 GB RAM memory
  • 500 GB hard drive or 256 GB SSD hard drive (at least 1 GB available free space)
  • Webcam and a Headset with microphone
  • Broadband connection: DSL or cable modem that supports 10 Mbps download 5Mbps upload; Networking: WiFi 802.11g
  • Operating System: 10 home premium or higher (Windows 7 starter or Home basic, Windows 10 S editions not supported)

Ideal Hardware

Intel i7 processor or faster

  • 8 GB RAM or more
  • 1 TB 7200 RPM drive or 256 GB SSD hard drive
  • Webcam and a headset with microphone
  • Fast broadband connection: DSL or cable modem that supports 25Mbps ; Networking: WiFi 802.11g (802.11n better, 802.11ac best)
  • Two external monitors
  • Docking station for laptop to connect to dual monitors, keyboard, mouse, wired network Operating System: Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise versions.
  • Two year hardware warranty with on-site service


Minimum Hardware

iMac or MacBook Air laptop

  • Intel core i5 or i7 processor
  • 8 GB RAM memory
  • 500 GB hard drive or 256 GB SSD hard drive (at least 1 GB available free space)
  • Webcam and a Headset with microphone
  • Broadband connection: DSL or cable modem that supports supports 10 Mbps download 5Mbps upload; Networking: WiFi 802.11g
  • Operating System: Mac OS 10.13.6 High Sierra or higher

Ideal Hardware

iMac or MacBook Pro laptop

  • Intel i7 processor or faster
  • 8 GB RAM or more
  • 1TB 7200 RPM drive or 256 GB SSD hard drive
  • Webcam and a Headset with microphone
  • Fast broadband connection: DSL or cable modem that supports 10 Mbps or higher; Networking: WiFi 802.11g (802.11n better, 802.11ac best)
  • Two external monitors
  • Docking station for laptop to connect to dual monitors, keyboard, mouse, wired network
  • Operating System: Mac OS 10.13.6 High Sierra or higher
  • Two year hardware warranty with on-site service

Note: Chromebooks or tablet devices, other than the Surface Pro, are not suitable for the program as they cannot support the ExamSoft system used to conduct quizzes, examinations and other evaluations of academic progress.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

When does the program start?

The program has three entry dates in January, May and August of each year, aligning with the Emory University academic calendar for on-campus nursing programs. 

Will you have an open house on campus, or virtual information sessions?

We hold regular virtual information sessions and record them for prospective students who are unable to attend. Session content is often driven by questions from participants, thus may differ slightly from session to session. 

What is the cost of this program?

The cost of the program will be approximately $82,000, billed each semester at a credit hour rate based on the number of credit hours taken. An online fee per semester and a one-time laboratory fee are also assessed. We seek to limit the expense of textbooks and course materials to $1500 for the entire program.

Students requiring health insurance coverage will be charged an insurance premium. License testing preparation fees and a licensing test review course are included as part of tuition and fees.

What about supplies for the program?

During required DABSN orientation, the faculty and staff will review all the required expectations for the program including supplies, shoes, uniforms, etc. A dashboard is provided to students with links and examples for your textbooks, scrubs, and other supplies. When you begin the program, you receive a kit containing basic clinical supplies, also included in standard tuition and fees. The program may have access to scrubs donated by program alumni, available to students free of charge. The link for purchasing scrubs is in your Dashboard Canvas course for all students and is reviewed during orientation.

What about financial aid?  

Students who have not used all of their federal loan eligibility from a prior degree may be eligible for student loans. Most students finance the DABSN degree with a combination of personal funds and private loans.

Are current and former students available to talk about their experience in the program?

Yes, recent graduates and current enrolled students are available and happy to speak with potential and admitted students in the DABSN program. If you would like to be connected, please ask.

How is a sense of community built among classmates living in distant locations?

Students attend live classes together and are expected to work together every day to respond to questions and contribute to discussions. You also work together on group projects. Our class size of no more than 30 students naturally encourages group interaction to develop during onsite sessions and in group projects.

Our faculty are also an important part of the learning community. When courses are in progress, faculty are available during virtual office hours and via telephone and email as needed to facilitate learning and support students.

Should students be concerned about joining a distance-based nursing program?

Our School of Nursing is highly ranked nationally and has offered BSN programs since 1944. We began offering our accelerated BSN (ABSN) program in 2011, and the distance-based program is built upon the solid foundation of our on-campus program. In 2017 100% of our ABSN students passed NCLEX, the certification examination to become a professional registered nurse (RN); and our overall NCLEX pass rate for all of our pre-licensure programs was 99%, well above the national average of 85%.

Our dedicated full-time faculty work closely to equip students for success. Students are assigned clinical site faculty visitors to coordinate and oversee all clinical experiences .and expert preceptors work with you and you clinical faculty one-to-one within the clinical setting.

How do students in the program preserve a positive work/life balance? 

The three-semester program is rigorous and intense, requiring students to spend 8-10 hours per day interacting in online sessions with classmates, working on individual projects, or reading and studying. While the program is intense, it is designed to quickly move you to your academic goal—a nursing degree and career. Employment, even part time, while enrolled in the program is discouraged and no allowances are made because of conflicts with outside work schedules.

Courses are sequenced to build on prior knowledge, and clinical rotations enhance the application of concepts learned in course work. Fellow classmates create a sense of community, and faculty members foster connections and are closely involved with your progress.

Before you enroll in the program, it is important to talk to family members and significant others about the commitment you are making. Streamline your budget as much as possible and create patterns of positive health behaviors that include good nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Identify and practice coping strategies you’ve used successfully in the past; coping strategies such as mindfulness and yoga may be helpful.

What is the job outlook for students in the program?

Most our graduates receive job offers prior to graduation. Nationally, 99% of nurses are employed within three to six months of graduation. Working in the health system in which you have completed clinical study may also provide an advantage in the hiring process.  Graduates of all nursing programs must pass the NCLEX-RN licensure examination to begin working as a registered nurse. The last few months of the program focus on preparation for the NCLEX-RN certification examination, and include a review course and assessment testing. The cost of NCLEX Assessment Testing and a review course are built into the program.

Some of our graduates will study toward a future master’s degree (MSN), Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP), or a PhD in Nursing. Emory offers nine specialty areas of study for those who choose to pursue a career in advanced nursing (nurse practitioner or midwifery). For graduates working in a critical care unit (intensive care or cardiac care), Emory’s certified registered nurse anesthesia (CRNA) program may be of interest.

What if prospective students have specific questions about the program?

Watch for our virtual information sessions. Times are posted on the School of Nursing website, and recordings of the information sessions are available. Please contact the DABSN program with program questions or contact the Office of Enrollment and Student Affairs for information about your application.


Will students be able to enroll from anywhere in the United States?

Currently, students are accepted from states with existing clinical affiliations. Additional states are being added on a continual basis, so please follow up directly with inquiries about your specific state. There are several states that currently do not support DABSN enrollment, including but not limited to, California, Texas, Tennessee, New York, Oregon, and New Jersey.

When are application materials due? 

Completed applications are reviewed as they are received.  (See website tab for admission requirements.) If you are notified that a cohort is full, you are advised to notify the Office of Student Enrollment if you would like to be considered for admission in the next cycle. Applicants are not required to submit a second deposit or resubmit materials already present in their application file. For questions about the application process, please contact the School of Nursing's Office of Enrollment and Student Affairs at 404.727.7980.

How are candidates evaluated for admission?

Completed applications are reviewed in a holistic process that includes evaluation of transcripts, and work and life experiences. If there are factors that you would like to be considered that are not required as part of the application, you should communicate these in your application. You may be asked to participate in an interview as a part of the admission process.

Do you require all transcripts if I have attended multiple schools?

Yes. All transcripts must be submitted, even if only one class was taken at an institution.  Science and life science-related courses and grades receive particular attention.

How do I accept an offer of admission?

Once you’re admitted, a deposit is required to hold your place in the program and is applied to your first tuition bill. We offer admission to applicants each semester until we receive deposits from the limit of 30 enrolled students. 

Does Emory offer online prerequisite classes?  

Emory does not offer online prerequisite courses. Prerequisites can be taken at any accredited university, either online or on campus. Please note the credit hours required to fulfill admission eligibility requirements. Applicants should contact the Office of Enrollment and Student Affairs with questions about whether particular courses fulfill the prerequisite requirements.

Course Work Questions

What is the format for the distance classes?
Courses will be offered in 6-8 week sessions for six total sessions (three consecutive semesters--refer to the current plan of study for specific class dates and times). Our curriculum, using the clinical judgment model, uses an active learning approach in which you must be present and participate to receive maximum benefit. Prior to scheduled class times (based on Eastern Standard Time), students prepare by watching pre-recorded lectures and completing course readings. During scheduled real-time class sessions, students participate in active learning strategies, including discussions among class members,  for application and analysis of course content.

Students should plan to spend 8-10 hours per day working on assignments, readings, and studying. Clinical rotations vary based on the preceptor’s daily schedule; we anticipate, however, that preceptors work standard 12-hour nursing shifts. Students should expect some course assignments to be due during clinical rotations, but your clinical requirements will never conflict with scheduled class sessions.

How are students tested?

We use an online proctoring service for testing to ensure test integrity. Testing is at an application and evaluation level using multiple choice, multiple-multiple choice and other methods to prepare you for the nursing license (NCLEX) exam.

How are students prepared in basic nursing skills before beginning clinical practice? How is simulation incorporated into the program? 

During the first on-campus clinical visit, you practice nursing skills through laboratory and simulated experiences, are evaluated for basic skills competence and complete your first clinical experience at an Emory Healthcare site under the supervision of an Emory clinical faculty member.

Where do students stay during visits to campus? Are transportation and lodging provided?

Round trip travel to Atlanta and hotel accommodations are provided for each student from their approved home location. A meal allowance is provided, but some meals are provided during the on-campus programming. These costs are included in your tuition and fees.

Clinical Placement Questions

How are clinical sites and preceptors chosen in the state where I live? Will I make the clinical site arrangement or will Emory? 

Emory identifies clinical sites and manages the requirements for student placement. You are not responsible for your clinical arrangements. Emory identifies and assigns experienced clinical site faculty visitors and preceptors for each rotation in your local geographic areas, as available. Although placements are not guaranteed, no student enrolled in the DABSN program has never failed to graduate on time because of a lack of clinical practice hours.

How does Emory evaluate clinical sites and preceptors, and how is clinical performance evaluated? 

Local clinical preceptors work with school-assigned clinical site faculty visitors to support your clinical experience, including review of course objectives, clinical assignments and student evaluations. Site evaluations also occur annually, or more frequently if needed.

Technical Standards for Nursing Applicants and Enrolled Students

When considering nursing as a career, students must evaluate their abilities and skills. To succeed in a nursing program, you must possess certain abilities and skills deemed essential for the care of patients. These abilities and skills, as determined by Emory University nursing faculty, are as follows:

Behavioral and Professional Expectations

Students must possess the physical and emotional health necessary to apply intellectual abilities and use sound judgment in a variety of situations. Students must be able to function effectively under physically taxing workloads and in times of physical and mental stress. Students must display compassion, sensitivity, and concern for others and consistently maintain and display professional integrity.


Students enrolled in the nursing program should have adequate vision, hearing, sense of smell and other sensory modalities to enable them to observe and conduct patient assessments, perform skills demonstrations and simulations, and participate in other activities.


Students must be able to write and speak fluently in English, and to hear well enough to exchange information with patients, family members, and other health professionals. Students must read and write effectively in English to fulfill academic requirements and to maintain accurate clinical records of patient care.  Foreign language proficiency is also often valuable in clinical care settings, but is not a requirement for the program.


Nursing students should be able to conduct laboratory and diagnostic tests and perform physical assessments. You are required to have sufficient motor skills to draw information from patients through hands-on diagnostic procedures including palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other skills. You must possess motor skills required for your scope of practice as determined by the relevant accrediting organization. You must also be able to coordinate fine and gross muscular movements in order to care for patients.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities

These abilities include an aptitude for rapid problem solving, the capability to assess and interpret medical files independently, and evaluate physical examinations to formulate a logical plan of care.  Students must demonstrate good judgment in patient assessment and develop the ability to incorporate new information, understand complex relationships, and have the ability to retain and recall pertinent information. Students must also be able to learn to provide in-depth rationale for a proposed plan of care.


The Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is committed to accommodating the needs of students with documented disabilities and does so to the extent reasonable without compromising the essential components of the curriculum, including didactic and clinical experiences.

Address any questions or concerns regarding these technical standards to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education at


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