Students in a classroom

Pre-Nursing Scholars Partnership

Select students, based on a combination of high school GPA and ACT/SAT test scores, are invited to join the Rockhurst University – Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences Pre-Nursing Scholars Program.


As a Pre-Nursing Scholar, students are offered the following program benefits:

  • Direct admission to the bachelor of science in nursing program at Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences.
  • Pre-Nursing preparation from a world-class Rockhurst Jesuit education anchored in leadership, service, and Jesuit values.
  • A bachelor of science in nursing from one of the most respected and renowned health science colleges in the nation.
  • Choose a track in study abroad, service learning, internships, and more for an experiential semester that will provide invaluable life experience to your education.

Prospective Students


Nurses talking


  • First-year freshmen starting in fall 2019 who meet specific academic criteria from their high school GPA and ACT or SAT test scores are invited.
  • There are 25 direct admission seats available in the Rockhurst Pre-Nursing Scholars cohort.
  • Invited students secure their seat by submitting their $200 enrollment deposit to Rockhurst. Seats are secured in order of deposit.
  • Eligible students who deposit after the 25 seats are secured are added to a wait list for if/when spots become available (both prior to and after fall 2019 enrollment begins).

Direct Admission Requirements

Following an eligible student securing their direct admission offer to the Pre-Nursing Scholars program, they must meet the following continuation requirements through their academic course work at Rockhurst University:

  • Attend full-time and complete 63 pre-nursing pre-requisite credit hours from Rockhurst University (2.5 years)
  • Maintain a 3.50 cumulative GPA at Rockhurst with no grade below a B, and meet the Saint Luke's College of Health Sciences clinical readiness requirements.
  • Direct admission to the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences is for the January 2022 entering term with projected BSN degree completion in December 2023 (2 years)
  • Participation in the Rockhurst/Saint Luke’s Pre-Nursing Scholars program does not prevent a pre-nursing student from competitively applying to Saint Luke’s prior to the January 2022 term, or applying to any other bachelor of science in nursing program.
Nurses working together


I am admitted to Rockhurst as a freshman and indicated pre-nursing as my primary academic program. How do I know if I am eligible for Pre-Nursing Scholars?

Congratulations on your acceptance to Rockhurst! Students academically eligible for the Pre-Nursing Scholars program are notified separately from their general admission to RU. Typically, students earning a Breen or McCabe academic scholarship meet the GPA and ACT requirements.

I am interested in nursing, but am not academically eligible for the Pre-Nursing Scholars program. What are my options at Rockhurst?

Pre-Nursing Scholars is a unique direct admission partnership between Rockhurst University and the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences. However, Rockhurst offers a general pre-nursing program that can also support non Pre-Nursing Scholar Program students in pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing degree from one of several potential accredited nursing programs. Our academic advisors and faculty work with students to tailor their time and coursework at RU to become competitive applicants to their target nursing schools.

Additionally, Rockhurst University is known for producing exceptional graduates in the health sciences. We also offer bachelor’s degrees in Health Science, Exercise Science, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Biomedical Physics, programs in Pre-Med, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Occupational Therapy, and graduate degrees in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Communication Sciences and Disorders. Therefore, there are several opportunities to pursue a career in healthcare with Rockhurst University. Visit our list of majors for more information.

I have received my invitation to be a Rockhurst/Saint Luke’s Pre-Nursing Scholar. What do I do now?

Congratulations! If you choose to accept your offer for one of our 25 direct admissions seats, your next step is to submit your $200 enrollment deposit to Rockhurst University. These limited seats are secured in order of when the enrollment deposit was received. Eligible students who deposit after the first 25 seats have been secured will be added to a wait-list and notified once one of the program spaces becomes available. A wait-listed student can still attend RU as a general pre-nursing student, and could secure a cohort seat if/when it becomes available based on original enrollment deposit date and current RU academic performance.

Does this mean I do not have to apply to nursing school later?

Correct! If you secure one of the 25 direct admission seats within the Pre-Nursing Scholars program, complete the 63 credit hours pre-requisite coursework at Rockhurst, earn a cumulative GPA of 3.50 with no grade below a B, then you will automatically be direct admitted into the January 2022 starting term with Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences – no competitive application process required.

What will my major be at Rockhurst?

Pre-Nursing is not a full degree program at Rockhurst University, and program participant’s final bachelor’s degree will be from the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences. During the 2.5 years of a student’s pre-requisite courses at Rockhurst, they can major in any of RU’s over 50 academic programs as long as they complete the required 63 credit hours in specific pre-nursing pre-requisite courses.

How long does the full program take?

This program takes a total of 4.5 years (9 semesters), with one of those semesters being a unique experiential term. Often times, nursing programs are very rigid in course scheduling and don’t leave a lot of room for exciting college experiences like internships, study abroad, service learning and more. Because the direct admission to the BSN with Saint Luke’s begins in the spring (5th term) – this provides additional flexibility to include these unique and beneficial experiences.

What if I don’t want a 4.5 year program or I have an opportunity to go to a different nursing school while at Rockhurst?

The Pre-Nursing Scholars program is not intended to hinder or prevent talented students from competitively applying to the standard fall entry term at Saint Luke’s, or any other accredited bachelor of science in nursing program. It is designed to provide a clear successful pathway from a world-class Jesuit education at Rockhurst, to a nationally renowned BSN program at Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences. At any time, Pre-Nursing Scholars can work with their Rockhurst advisors to competitively apply to any BSN program of their choosing, and our pre-nursing academic preparation can make them strong candidates for competitive consideration at Saint Luke’s and other strong nursing programs.

How does my Rockhurst scholarship and financial aid work with this program?

Pre-Nursing Scholars’ Rockhurst scholarships and financial aid are applied during their first 2.5 years while enrolled at RU. Once a Pre-Nursing Scholar transfers into Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences, they then pay tuition and fees, and file for financial aid, with that institution. Rockhurst University scholarships and grants do not transfer or apply to students once they enroll in the full BSN program with Saint Luke’s.

I am a student athlete. How does my NCAA eligibility work with this program?

Because NCAA eligibility is associated with a student athlete’s primary institution, once a student transfers into the BSN program at Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences they will no longer be eligible to participate in Rockhurst University Athletics.

Where will my classes be held?

For the first 2.5 years, Pre-Nursing Scholars take their pre-nursing pre-requisite courses as a full-time students on the Rockhurst University campus. The program includes multiple opportunities to engage with current Saint Luke’s students, faculty and staff as they prepare to transfer into the full BSN program. Then, after completing the Pre-Nursing Scholars criteria (3.50 GPA from 63 pre-requisite credit hours, no grade below a B), they will enroll as a full-time student taking courses at the Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences.

What happens if I don’t meet the Pre-Nursing Scholars direct admission continuation criteria of a 3.50 cumulative GPA and no grade below a B from Rockhurst?

Pre-Nursing Scholars who do not meet the direct admission transfer requirements of a 3.50 cumulative GPA from 63 credit hours of pre-requisite coursework and no grade below a B will forfeit their direct admission seat. However, they can continue in Rockhurst’s general pre-nursing program and pursue competitive application to any bachelor of science program of their choosing (including still competitively applying to Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences).