Program accreditation
Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

Program goal

The mission of the Department of Nurse Anesthesia is to provide learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to work as part of an interprofessional team to serve the public through the delivery of safe, cost-efficient, quality anesthesia services and to develop leaders and scholars who will advance the specialty of nurse anesthesia through research, scholarship and public service. The department achieves this mission by establishing an environment that promotes excellence, values diversity, stimulates creativity and recognizes achievement.

Student learning outcomes

The overall objective of the Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia degree program is to prepare graduates who have acquired knowledge, skills and competencies in patient safety, perianesthetic management, critical thinking and communication to fulfill their professional responsibility as certified nurse anesthetists.

Upon completion of the program, the graduate will:

  1. Plan, organize, deliver and evaluate safe anesthesia care

  2. Design, implement and evaluate perianesthetic care

  3. Incorporate critical thinking into ongoing professional practice

  4. Evaluate the postoperative course of a patient

  5. Assimilate into practice effective and culturally competent written, verbal and nonverbal communication with patients and families, other individuals involved in patient care, and the public

  6. Assume responsibility for professional behavior

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

A student handbook will be made available to all admitted students in their cohort organizations in Blackboard.

Apply online at

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.S.N.A.Fall onlyOct 1GRE within five years of application

Note: Review of applications is ongoing. Preference is given to applications received prior to Jan. 1 for fall entry.

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Baccalaureate degree in nursing or related science

  2. Current licensure as a registered professional nurse in Virginia (by completion of the first semester)

  3. Cumulative minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (preferred)

  4. Upper-division undergraduate organic chemistry course or a Web-based medicinal chemistry prep course offered through VCU’s Department of Chemistry [Contact (804) 828-9808 to register.]

  5. A minimum of one year’s experience in an area of acute/critical care nursing (recent)

  6. Personal interview with members of the admissions committee (by invitation)

  7. Three professional references (One must be from the immediate supervisor who is responsible for applicant’s performance evaluations with contact phone number attached.)

Contact the department (804) 828-9808 for specific admission requirements.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, candidates for the M.S.N.A. degree must be recommended by the faculty and:

  1. Complete all requirements for the prescribed curriculum

  2. Earn a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all NRSA courses

  3. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all work presented for graduation

  4. Meet all clinical requirements as specified by the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists

  5. Successfully complete the Self Evaluation Examination offered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists and a two-part (didactic/research) written comprehensive examination

Curriculum requirements

MEDC   532Medicinal Chemistry for Nurse Anesthetists3
NRSA   601Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia I3
NRSA   602Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia II3
NRSA   603Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia III3
NRSA   604Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia IV2
NRSA   605Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia V2
NRSA   620Advanced Health Assessment for Nurse Anesthetists I1
NRSA   621Advanced Health Assessment for Nurse Anesthetists II1
NRSA   622Clinical Practicum I-II1
NRSA   623Clinical Practicum I-II3
NRSA   624Clinical Practicum III6
NRSA   625Clinical Practicum IIII6
NRSA   626Clinical Practicum V6
NRSA   627Clinical Practicum VI6
NRSA   633Pathophysiology for Nurse Anesthetists3
NRSA   642Professional Aspects of Anesthesia Practice I1
NRSA   645Professional Aspects of Anesthesia Practice II1
NRSA   647Professional Aspects of Anesthesia Practice III1
NRSA   683Research Methods in Nurse Anesthesia Practice3
NRSA   684Evidence-based Decision Making in Nurse Anesthesia3
NRSA/DNAP 701Human Factors and Patient Safety for Nurse Anesthetists3
NRSZ   601Laboratory in Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia I1
PHIS   501Mammalian Physiology5
PHTX   515Pharmacology for Nurse Anesthetists I3
PHTX   516Pharmacology for Nurse Anesthetists II3
Total Hours73

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 73

Sample plan of study

Year one
Fall semesterHours
NRSA   601 Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia I 3
NRSA   620 Advanced Health Assessment for Nurse Anesthetists I 1
NRSZ   601 Laboratory in Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia I 1
PHIS   501 Mammalian Physiology 5
PHTX   515 Pharmacology for Nurse Anesthetists I 3
 Term Hours: 13
Spring semester
MEDC   532 Medicinal Chemistry for Nurse Anesthetists 3
NRSA   603 Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia III 3
NRSA   621 Advanced Health Assessment for Nurse Anesthetists II 1
NRSA   622 Clinical Practicum I-II 1
NRSA   683 Research Methods in Nurse Anesthesia Practice 3
PHTX   516 Pharmacology for Nurse Anesthetists II 3
 Term Hours: 14
Summer semester
NRSA   602 Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia II 3
NRSA   623 Clinical Practicum I-II 3
NRSA   633 Pathophysiology for Nurse Anesthetists 3
NRSA   642 Professional Aspects of Anesthesia Practice I 1
 Term Hours: 10
Year two
Fall semester
NRSA   604 Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia IV 2
NRSA   624 Clinical Practicum III 6
NRSA   645 Professional Aspects of Anesthesia Practice II 1
 Term Hours: 9
Spring semester
NRSA   605 Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia V 2
NRSA   625 Clinical Practicum IIII 6
NRSA   647 Professional Aspects of Anesthesia Practice III 1
 Term Hours: 9
Summer semester
NRSA   626 Clinical Practicum V 6
NRSA   684 Evidence-based Decision Making in Nurse Anesthesia 3
 Term Hours: 9
Year three
Fall semester
NRSA   627 Clinical Practicum VI 6
NRSA   701 Human Factors and Patient Safety for Nurse Anesthetists (crosslisted as DNAP 701) 3
 Term Hours: 9
 Total Hours: 73

Graduate program director
Michael D. Fallacaro, D.N.S., CRNA, FAAN
Professor and chair, Department of Nurse Anesthesia
Phone: (804) 828-9808

Additional contact
Suzanne M. Wright, Ph.D., CRNA
Associate professor and assistant program director
Phone: (804) 828-9808

Program website: