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

In addition to the learning outcomes of the individual M.S.N.A. and D.N.A.P programs, graduates of the combined M.S.N.A./D.N.A.P. program will be able to:

  1. Apply physiological, safety and organizational theories to promote patient safety, enhance quality care and improve nurse anesthesia practice

  2. Analyze and synthesize relevant scientific literature and apply results to improve nurse anesthesia practice and patient care outcomes in a culturally sensitive manner

  3. Communicate effectively with patients, families, the public and other health professionals

  4. Develop effective strategies for managing ethical dilemmas inherent in anesthesia patient care and the workplace

  5. Employ teaching and learning principles in educating and counseling individuals, families, students-in-training and groups

  6. Demonstrate leadership skills to meet the challenges of complex health care and educational environments

  7. Demonstrate scholarship through presentations, publications, leadership activities and collaboration with other disciplines

  8. Utilize technology and information systems to analyze, manage and present data

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 academic regulations 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 academic regulations 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 academic regulations 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 only Jun 1 GRE

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

Master of Nurse Anesthesia students with a minimum GPA of 3.25 are eligible to apply to the combined M.S.N.A. and D.N.A.P. program during the third semester of study. Students enrolled in the M.S.N.A./D.N.A.P. combined degree option will graduate with the master’s degree in nurse anesthesia at the end of the seven-semester, 28-month master’s curriculum and take the national certification exam. These students will then continue their doctoral studies (largely via distance) in the eighth semester (spring) to graduate with the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree at the end of the eighth semester.

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

  1. Currently enrolled and in good academic standing in VCU’s M.S.N.A. program

  2. Current licensure as a registered nurse and advanced practice nurse (as applicable)

  3. A cumulative minimum graduate GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale

  4. Graduate Record Examination general test within five years of application

  5. Personal statement including:

    1. Reasons for seeking this educational opportunity

    2. Career goals and how this degree will aid in that process

    3. Prior lifework experience that will contribute to your success in the program

    4. Potential areas of interest for the capstone project

  6. Completed Graduate School application to D.N.A.P. program by July 1 of year graduating from M.S.N.A. program

  7. Three professional references

  8. Personal interview (by invitation)

  9. M.S.N.A./D.N.A.P. students must pass the National Certification Examination to be eligible for graduation from the D.N.A.P. component of the M.S.N.A./D.N.A.P. program.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students in the combined program must complete a minimum of 97 credit hours (98 with elective).

Curriculum requirements

Course Title Hours
ALHP 708Ethics and Health Care3
ALHP 760Biostatistical Methods for Health Related Sciences3
DNAP/NRSA 701Human Factors and Patient Safety for Nurse Anesthetists3
DNAP 702Nurse Anesthesia Patient Safety Seminar3
DNAP 703Health Services Delivery Systems for the Nurse Anesthetist3
DNAP 711Policy and Practice for Nurse Anesthetists3
DNAP 712Leadership in Nurse Anesthesia Education3
DNAP 789Nurse Anesthesia Professional Practice6
DNAP 799Nurse Anesthesia Capstone Project6
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 611Advanced Physiological Concepts for the Nurse Anesthetist (elective) 11
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 IV6
NRSA 626Clinical Practicum V6
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
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 Hours97

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 97 1


Completing NRSA 611, an elective course, brings curriculum total to 98 hours.

Sample plan of study

Year one
Fall semesterHours
NRSA 601 Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia I 3
NRSA 611 Advanced Physiological Concepts for the Nurse Anesthetist (elective) 1 1
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
ALHP 708 Ethics and Health Care 3
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: 12
Spring semester
DNAP 703 Health Services Delivery Systems for the Nurse Anesthetist 3
NRSA 605 Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia V 2
NRSA 625 Clinical Practicum IV 6
NRSA 647 Professional Aspects of Anesthesia Practice III 1
 Term Hours: 12
Summer semester
DNAP 712 Leadership in Nurse Anesthesia Education 3
NRSA 626 Clinical Practicum V 6
NRSA 684 Evidence-based Decision Making in Nurse Anesthesia 3
 Term Hours: 12
Year three
Fall semester
ALHP 760 Biostatistical Methods for Health Related Sciences 3
DNAP 701 Human Factors and Patient Safety for Nurse Anesthetists (crosslisted as NRSA 701) 3
DNAP 789 Nurse Anesthesia Professional Practice 6
M.S.N.A. awarded  
 Term Hours: 12
Spring semester
DNAP 702 Nurse Anesthesia Patient Safety Seminar 3
DNAP 711 Policy and Practice for Nurse Anesthetists 3
DNAP 799 Nurse Anesthesia Capstone Project 6
D.N.A.P. awarded  
 Term Hours: 12
 Total Hours: 97

Completing NRSA 611, an elective, results in 14 semester hours and 98 total hours.

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: