GW SON Top-Ranked

GW SON continues to be ranked among the top 50 schools of nursing. GW is in the top 13% of ranked graduate nursing schools. 

US News & World Report also ranks our online MSN #26 out of more than 144 programs nationwide.

In a first-ever ranking of Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, we are no. 30, placing us in the top 20% of ranked programs. These top rankings reflects the quality of our student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, peer recognitions, and admissions selectivity.

New agreement with VA Community Colleges

Improving Lives and Communities
January 28, 2013

Secretary Fornash, Dabney S. Lancaster  Community College President Taef, Governor McDonnell, GW University President Knapp, GW School of Nursing Dean Johnson

In what Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell hailed as a “great step forward in higher education,” the GW School of Nursing now offers guaranteed admission into the GW ADN-BSN/MSN to students graduating with an ADN from any accredited community college nursing program in Virginia and who meet the GW established academic requirements. Signed ceremonially at an event on January 28 in Richmond with the Governor, GW President, Knapp, and GW SON Dean Jean Johnson, the agreement improves lives and communities. IMPACT SUMMARY This new partnershipVA Community Colleges and GW SON partnership:

Responds to regional and national issues: 1) economic development, 2) access to primary care

Moves people into professions with available jobs and an expanding job market

  • Provides cost-effective pathway for entry-level nurses to advance their career in their own community
  • Offers an innovative mechanism to increase degrees in a STEM concentration area
  • Expands primary care in rural and underserved communities
  • Contributes to improved community health and economic development
  • Full-circle pathway that improves lives and communities in a relatively short time
  • Is a potential model for our country

Economic development and access to primary care are regional and national issues.  

In response, GW SON established an ADN-BSN/MSN (associate to bachelor/masters in nursing) program which students complete in their local communities.  Students complete the GW BSN/MSN coursework via distance education and clinical preceptorships in their community with faculty mentoring.  The arrangement is especially beneficial to nurses in rural areas where local educational opportunities are usually limited.  The program is cost-effective for students, positions them to have a stronger impact in their community, and provides them with an opportunity for substantially increased earning potential.

Through the new VA Community Colleges and GW SON agreement, admission to the GW ADN-BSN/MSN program is guaranteed to students who earn an ADN from an accredited VA community college and who meet established academic requirements.   

Students enrolled in the GW program part-time can earn a BSN in four semesters and an MSN in approximately three years.   The BSN option is designed to provide students with an academic credential option in the event “life happens” and to help hospitals meet their requirements for BSN-educated nurses.   For students with a BA/BS in a non-nursing field and an ADN with work experience as a licensed registered nurse, the guaranteed admissions program will allow them to transfer into the master’s program after taking a bridge course.  

The ADN-BSN/MSN fields of study are: adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, family practice nurse practitioner, and nurse-midwifery (with Shenandoah University).


GW SON launched a rural Virginia primary care initiative last fall, enrolling its first class in the ADN-BSN/MSN program.  As part of this, GW established a pilot partnership with Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (DSLCC) to create a portal to the ADN-BSN/MSN program and to serve as a pilot for future potential partnerships.  

The pilot partnership is so successful that Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and GW President Steven Knapp signed an agreement creating a similar partnership between the GW SON and all community colleges in Virginia.  The agreement provides guaranteed admission into the GW ADN-BSN/MSN program to students graduating with an ADN from any of the twenty-three (23) accredited community colleges in Virginia and who meet the GW established academic requirements.

Last fall, Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash described GW’s innovative partnership with Dabney S. Lancaster Community College as a model for the country, and this new state-wide community college agreement is a major stride toward expanding the model, and Governor McDonnell described it “as one of the most exciting things I’ve personally been involved here in a long time in public service.”


The VA Community Colleges and GW SON partnership has tangible benefits for all involved:

  1. Moves people into professions with available jobs and an expanding job market.  The US Department of Labor projects 26% job growth in this decade– faster than average for all occupations—and more than 700,000 new entry level nursing positions for this decade (US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, March 2012).
  1. May iIncrease enrollment at VA community colleges in STEM concentration areas, as recently evinced at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.
  1. ADN-prepared nurses can complete their BSN/MSN coursework online and clinical preceptorships in their local communities.  With their new degrees and advanced skills, these nurses will be positioned to have a stronger impact in the community and will have improved earning ability.  In VA, BSN graduates have the highest average starting salary of all baccalaureate graduates (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/15/12).  Nurses earning an MSN will provide nurses with advanced skills for a high demand market in primary care and with substantially increased earning potential.
  1. Provides a pipeline for hospitals seeking to have an 80% BSN-prepared nursing staff
  1. Communities will have improved access to health care—for example, four (4) new nurse practitioners create approximately 16,000 new primary care visits a year—and the populations in these communities will have an improved health status.
  1. Strengthens the economic development of communities through the nurses’ improved economic capacity and the healthier population.
  1. Opens doors to address severe shortages of economically, racially, and ethnically diversity nurse practitioners
  2. For GW, the partnership creates a strong recruitment portal for the ADN-BSN/MSN program and is a key step toward achieving our vision of driving innovation and improvements in health care.