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Master of Science in Nursing in Nurse Anesthesia

Applications are now being accepted through January 31, 2021 to the MSN in Nurse Anesthesia program at Drexel University.


The Drexel MSN in Nurse Anesthesia is an on campus 28-month, 89-quarter credit, full-time integrated program that begins each January. Upon successful completion of the program's outcomes the student is awarded an MSN and is eligible to take the national certification examination offered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).

All anesthesia core and science coursework is offered at Drexel University's Center City campus in Philadelphia. The MSN core and research courses are provided in an online format with some blended virtual class requirements.

Graduates of this program are able to provide safe, compassionate, culturally competent anesthesia care in rapidly changing practice environments. The MSN educational experience will facilitate your professional growth and development into a competent, knowledgeable and vigilant nurse anesthesia practitioner.

What you'll learn

The Nurse Anesthesia program is an advanced-practice nursing specialty track providing challenging learning experiences. You'll be engaged to think critically and make evidence-based decisions to expand your nursing knowledge and enhance patient outcomes.

Students take part in nurse anesthesia clinical practicum under direct supervision of certified registered nurse anesthetists and/or anesthesiologists to learn how to administer a variety of anesthetics including sedation during monitored anesthesia care, general anesthesia, and regional anesthesia. Additional clinical subspecialty rotations provide anesthesia management experience for the obstetrical, pediatric, cardiac, and neurosurgical patients.

The program curriculum currently offers:

  • 19 theoretical nursing and research quarter credits.
  • 15 quarter credit science component.
  • 30 quarter credit didactic anesthesia component integrated with a 25-credit clinical practicum.

Those applicants who already have an MS in nursing follow the same curriculum as MSN students but only complete 71-quarter credits in the post master's certificate (PMC) program.

What makes the Drexel Nurse Anesthesia program unique?

  • Premiere clinical sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware providing comprehensive anesthesia case experience.
  • Smart classroom technology with archived lectures online to use for examination preparation.
  • Personalized plan of part-time study to complete MSN core courses online prior to full-time enrollment.
  • You are part of the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions with access to clinical practice environments and interprofessional simulated health care scenarios.

The Nurse Anesthesia Program's attrition rate for the Class that graduated in May 2020 is 10.5%.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware RN licensure is required prior to the start of your clinical components. While this is not a requirement for admission, we recommend starting the process immediately after admission.

*The nurse practitioner programs in the Division of Graduate Nursing at Drexel University provide students the flexibility of finding and coordinating their own clinical site and preceptor. The Division of Graduate Nursing offers students resources to assist in this process. Accessibility to clinical sites and preceptors varies from state to state. Students may be required to travel to access clinical sites/preceptors and achieve the necessary clinical hours. Pennsylvania RN licensure is required prior to the start of your clinical components if you will need to travel to Pennsylvania to complete your clinical. While this is not a requirement for admission, we recommend starting the process immediately after admission.

Application Deadline

The current application cycle will be accepting new applications through January 31, 2021

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admission to the Nurse Anesthesia Program, please submit the following application materials:


  • A baccalaureate degree with a major in nursing (BSN) from an accredited program.

Standardized Tests:

  • If the BSN GPA AND general science GPA is less than 3.25, satisfactory performance on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogy Test (MAT) is required

International Students:

International applicants, as well as immigrants to the United States and U.S. permanent residents whose native language is not English and who have not received a bachelor's degree or higher in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, must show proficiency in English speaking as well as listening, writing and reading.

American citizens born on U.S. military bases abroad may be waived from the TOEFL requirement after providing documentation of this status. Otherwise, applicants must meet one of the following requirements:

If taking the TOEFLiBT exam, the applicant must have:

  • a minimum combined score for the listening, writing, and reading sections of 79 plus a speaking section score of 26 or higher
  • a minimum score of 550 or higher and a Test of Spoken English score (TSE) of 55 or higher

Professional Licensure and Certifications:

  • Current unencumbered United States Registered Nurse (RN) License with eligibility for licensure in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware
  • Current American Heart Association CPR/BLS certification
  • Current Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification
  • Current Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification

Personal Statement/ Essay:

  • Describe past professional and educational accomplishments and future goals for graduate nurse anesthesia education


  • A current curriculum vitae detailing academic and professional experience

Clinical Work Experience:

  • A minimum of two years current full-time critical care experience where the registered professional nurse has direct patient care and manages invasive hemodynamic monitors (such as pulmonary artery catheter; CVP; arterial), cardiac assist devices, mechanical ventilation, and vasoactive drips (such as norepinephrine, epinephrine; dobutamine; nicardipine; nitroglycerine).
  • Preferred areas include: SICU (Surgical Intensive Care), MICU (Medical Intensive Care), CVICU (Cardiovascular Intensive Care), Coronary Intensive Care, PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) and a Level I Emergency/Trauma Unit are also acceptable. Other areas may be considered provided competence can be demonstrated with invasive monitoring, ventilators, and critical care pharmacology.
  • While applicants must have a minimum of two years recent full-time experience prior to starting this program, they can apply after having one year of experience (not including orientation time) in a critical care setting.


Three references are required from the following individuals who can attest to the applicant's clinical knowledge, skill, and potential aptitude for graduate study:

  • Nurse manager
  • Physician, or clinical supervisor
  • Clinical Educator, or professor
  • References will not be accepted from colleagues or family members
  • Applicants may use Drexel’s electronic letter of recommendation service
  • If a recommender prefers to submit an original, hard copy letter, please remind them that it must include an ink signature and be submitted in a sealed envelope

The Nurse Anesthesia Program requires that all applicants must be able to meet the technical standards for admission, progression and graduation. The technical standards can be found by clicking on this link: Technical Standards-Nurse Anesthesia


  • Official transcripts must be sent directly to Drexel from all the colleges/universities that the applicant has attended. Transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope with the college/university seal over the flap. Please note that transcripts are required regardless of number of credits taken or if the credits were transferred to another school. An admission decision may be delayed if transcripts are not submitted from all colleges/universities attended.
  • Transcripts must show course-by-course grades and degree conferrals. If the school does not notate degree conferrals on the official transcripts, you must provide copies of any graduate or degree certificates.
  • If your school issues only one transcript for life, you are required to have a course-by-course evaluation completed by an approved transcript evaluation agency


  • An on-campus interview is required for admission and will be held after the application deadlines. Selection of qualified candidates for an interview is based upon meeting the admissions criteria, the size/competitiveness of the applicant pool, as well as the quality of the application materials. Therefore every applicant who meets the admission criteria is not offered an interview.
  • Selected candidates who complete the personal interview with the program’s admissions committee will be notified of the committee's decision approximately four weeks after the interview. Candidates who accept the offer of admission will receive a part-time plan of study outlining the M.S.N. core courses to complete online prior to beginning the program full-time.
  • Accepted candidates can request a deferral of admission for one year prior to the full-time start date. A request of deferral is granted only once and must be made in writing to the Chair of the Nurse Anesthesia Program.


The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.



Nurse Anesthesia Didactic Curriculum

The anesthesia core curriculum exceeds the requirements of the AANA Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. The basic principles of nurse anesthesia practice and perioperative patient management introduce the student to the scope of the profession.

The overview of nurse anesthesia course offered in the first quarter is complemented by a 9 week simulated clinical experience in which small student groups practice basic anesthesia skills, including:

Pre-operative anesthesia preparation utilizing pharmacological agents and anesthesia equipment.
Interaction with standardized patient actors to practice a pre-operative anesthesia interview and health assessment
Hands-on experience with airway management and regional anesthesia techniques.
Participation in the anesthesia process of induction, maintenance and emergence
An overview of professional aspects of nurse anesthesia practice is integrated throughout the curriculum.

A separate chemistry and physics course related to nurse anesthesia practice is offered in the spring quarter of the first year.

Pharmacology I and II for nurse anesthetists provide a comprehensive study of anesthetic agents and pharmacologic adjuncts related to anesthesia.

Advanced principles of nurse anesthesia practice I, II and III, which provide theoretical and evidence based concepts, facilitate the student's ability to modify the anesthetic management based upon the patient's physiological and pathophysiological state.

The anesthesia seminar course enhances research and writing skills, offers experience with Peer Review and promotes student scholarship on campus and at the state and national level.

In the final quarter, the clinical correlative seminar course encompasses an extensive curricular review to prepare for the program's comprehensive exam and national certification exam.

Nurse Anesthesia Clinical Practicum

The nurse anesthesia clinical practicum is offered at one of several sites located in the tri-state area. All students accepted into the program will be required to travel to clinical sites. The expenses incurred will be covered by the students.

The clinical practicum is an essential component of the program and includes eight courses that span 24 of the 28 months. Students are assigned to a variety of clinical sites to administer anesthesia to a diverse patient population and receive a comprehensive clinical experience which exceeds the Council on Accreditation minimum requirement of 600 cases and 2000 hours. Clinical experience is also obtained in the following subspecialty areas: cardiac, thoracic, neurosurgical, obstetrical, pediatric and regional anesthesia. The program also offers an advanced pediatric clinical rotation at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia which affords a select number of students the opportunity to administer anesthesia to a high acuity patient population undergoing general or cardiac surgical procedures. Students administer anesthesia under the supervision of nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists which facilitates the development of knowledge, skills, and critical thinking needed to provide safe and competent patient care.


The Nurse Anesthesia program is fully accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). In 2010, the program received the maximum accreditation status of ten years from the COA.

The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) requires that all students matriculating into a nurse anesthesia educational program on January 1, 2022 or thereafter be enrolled in a program approved by the COA to award a practice doctoral degree. The program submitted its application to the COA for approval to award the doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) degree in November 2020. Pending approval by the COA, the program plans to enroll its first doctoral cohort of students in Spring 2022. Further information regarding the transition may be obtained by contacting

Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia
Educational Programs (COA)
222 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge, IL 60068-4001
Phone: 847.655.1160

CCNE: The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master's degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program and post-graduate APRN certificate program at Drexel University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington DC 20001, 202.887-6791.


Upon successful completion of the program's outcomes, as specified by the Council on Accreditation for Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), the student is awarded an MSN and is eligible to take the National Certification Exam (NCE) offered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). Drexel University's Nurse Anesthesia Department's class of 2019 had an 85% pass rate on the NBCRNA's NCE. The average number of clinical cases for the class of 2020 was 841 with an average number of clinical hours of 2,251. The employment rate within six months of graduation for all of Drexel's 2020 graduates was 100%.