Choosing a Master's Entry to Nursing Practice Program

With a large number of direct entry MSN programs to choose from, selecting the right school can be a challenge. In order to make that decision easier, we have outlined a few factors to consider when researching schools. Keep these program elements in mind to make choosing the right school a simpler decision.

  • Program Accreditation: Your first step when considering an MENP school is finding out whether the program is properly accredited. Program accreditation by an organization such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) ensures the program has been evaluated according to strict quality standards. A program that has been properly accredited will provide you with a high quality nursing education that will prepare you for the next step in your career.
  • On Campus vs. Distance Learning: MSN-level nursing programs may be offered in fully online or traditional on campus formats, and even in hybrid formats that combine online coursework with face-to-face learning. Online, or "distance learning" programs, may be particularly attractive for students who are working or caring for family members while completing their degree because classwork can often be completed on your own schedule.
  • Curriculum: When researching a school, review the sample curriculum to make sure the course subjects cover what you are hoping to learn for the next step in your career. Typical courses for a master's entry nursing program include pharmacology, physiology, healthcare policy, advance care nursing principles, nursing leadership skills, as well as clinical practice hours.
  • Time Commitment: Most direct entry MSN degrees take around 3 years to complete. However, the exact timing can vary from school to school. For example, a program may be completed in more or less time if classes are taken on a full- or part-time basis, or if a distance learning format allows you to complete coursework at your own pace.
  • Program Cost: Tuition for a master's entry nursing program varies from school to school, based on factors such as geographic location, online versus classroom format, a student's residency status and the type of school. Before you choose a school, make sure you have calculated the full cost of the program, including tuition, mandatory fees, materials costs and housing and/or the cost of commuting.

Online Master's Entry to Nursing Practice Programs

Online master's entry nursing programs provide students with several advantages, most notably the flexibility to complete coursework whenever and wherever it is convenient. With distance learning programs, students can often continue to work or fulfill family obligations and attend classes or complete assignments on their own schedules. Online program benefits also include:

  • Affordable Education: Distance learning programs may also be more cost-effective options for students, when compared with classroom programs. While tuition rates vary from school to school, online programs eliminate the cost of commuting to campus and campus housing from the full price of the program. Additionally, many schools provide financial aid options for students who need help paying for their education.
  • Flexible Schedule & Program Length: Online direct entry nursing programs provide students with the convenience of completing their courses when it works with their schedules, and self-paced learning means that programs can often be completed a quicker pace. For example, Marquette University's Direct Entry MSN program can be completed in as little as 18-21 months.

What Are the Admissions & Certifications Requirements?

Admissions requirements for direct entry nursing programs will vary slightly from school to school and in different states, but in general will include:

  • Completion of a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Completion of college-level pre-requisite courses, which may include statistics, human anatomy, biology and chemistry
  • Personal statement or essay
  • In some cases, schools may also require scores from standardized entrance exams such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Program Curriculum

The master's entry nursing program curriculum combines coursework from BSN and MSN programs, and prepares students to take the national licensing test for registered nurses, the NCLEX-RN. While exact course titles may vary from school to school, below is an example of some of the classes offered as part of the MSN Direct Entry program at Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences:

  • Art & Science of Nursing Practice
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiological Basis for Nursing Practice
  • Adult Health Nursing
  • Nursing Leadership, Management & Organizations
  • Technology in Health Care
  • Maternal/Newborn Nursing
  • Nursing Theory & Research-Based Practice
  • Healthcare Policy, Trends & Issues
  • Clinical Practice in the Community

In addition to coursework completed online or in a classroom, direct entry programs also include clinical practice hours for students to gain professional nursing experience.

MENP vs. Traditional Master’s Degree Route

Students pursuing an MSN through a master's entry nursing program are able to complete their studies at an accelerated rate by building on the foundation of their previous education and work experience. Schools know that a student who has already completed a bachelor's degree in another field is able to handle the rigorous coursework and accelerated pacing of a direct entry program. In addition, students have the benefit of completing their studies and beginning a new career faster than if they were to take a BSN and MSN program separately. In addition to a shorter completion time, these programs can also be more cost-effective than two separate degree programs. Upon graduation, these nurses are ready for higher paying and more advanced nursing positions than those who have not completed their master's degree.

There are a couple of caveats to a direct entry nursing program that prospective students should be aware of. First, accelerated nursing programs are very challenging and academically rigorous. Students need to be committed to becoming a nurse and disciplined enough to complete challenging coursework and long practice hours. In addition, any master's level education is a significant cost investment in your future. While many schools offer financial assistance to those who qualify, it can be a financial hurdle to pay for a master's degree in nursing.

List of Direct Entry MSN Programs

Jump to Your State Listings

Alaska

Programs
3211 Providence Dr,
Anchorage, AK 99508
(907) 786-4550

Arizona

Programs
1305 N. Martin
Tucson, AZ 85721
(520) 626-6154

Arkansas

2105 Aggie Rd
Jonesboro, AR 72467
(870) 972-2100

California

901 E Alosta Ave
Azusa, CA 91702
(626) 969-3434

Programs
8432 Magnolia Ave
Riverside, CA 92504
(951) 689-5771

Programs
5241 N Maple Ave
Fresno, CA 93740
(559) 278-4240

Programs
800 N State College Blvd
Fullerton, CA 92831
(657) 278-2011

Programs
1250 Bellflower Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90840
(562) 985-4111

Programs
5151 State University Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90032
(323) 343-3000

Programs
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 278-6011

Programs
1731 E 120th St
Los Angeles, CA 90059
(323) 563-4800

Programs
1530 Concordia
Irvine, CA 92612
(800) 229-1200

Programs
3100 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 869-6511

Programs
1600 Holloway Ave
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-1111

Programs
1801 E Cotati Ave
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
(707) 664-2880

Programs
2570 48th St.
Davis, CA 95817
(916) 734-2145

Programs
252 Berk Hall
Irvine, CA 92697
(949) 824-5011

Programs
700 Tiverton Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095
(310) 825-4321

Programs
505 Parnassus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94143
(415) 476-9000

Programs
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4600

Programs
309 E 2nd St
Pomona, CA 91766
(909) 623-6116

Connecticut

Programs
400 West Campus Drive
Orange, CT 06477
(203) 737-5678

Georgia

Programs
1120 15th St
Augusta, GA 30912
(706) 721-0211

Hawaii

Programs
2500 Campus Rd
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 956-8111

Idaho

Programs
College of Nursing
921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, ID 83209
(208) 282-1044

Illinois

Programs
5700 College Road
Isle, IL 60532
(630) 829-6000

Programs
N 11th St
Quincy, IL 62301
(217) 228-5520

Programs
2320 N Kenmore Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 687-1000

Programs
190 S Prospect Ave
Elmhurst, IL 60126
(630) 617-3400

Programs
1184 W Main St
Decatur, IL 62522
(217) 424-6211

Programs
600 S Paulina St
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-5000

Programs
1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 996-7000

Maryland

Programs
School of Nursing
525 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
(410) 955-4766

Programs
655 West Lombard Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 706-3100

Massachusetts

Programs
36 First Avenue
Boston, MA 02129
(617) 726-2947

Programs
360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2000

Programs
352 Lafayette St
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 542-6000

Programs
55 N Lake Ave
Worcester, MA 01655
(508) 856-8989

Minnesota

Programs
700 7th St E
St Paul, MN 55106
(651) 793-1300

Programs
5-140 Weaver-Densford Hall, 308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(800) 598-8636

New Hampshire

Programs
4 Library Way
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-1177

New Jersey

Programs
College of Nursing
400 South Orange Ave.
South Orange, NJ 07079
(973) 761-9000

North Carolina

Programs
1007 Walker Ave
Greensboro, NC 27412
(336) 334-5000

9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28223
(704) 687-8622

Programs
601 S Martin Luther King Jr Dr
Winston-Salem, NC 27110
(336) 750-2000

Ohio

Programs
1 College Ave
Columbus, OH 43209
(614) 236-6011

Programs
2120 Cornell Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 368-2529

Programs
College of Nursing
3110 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45221
(513) 558-5500

Programs
3800 Victory Pkwy
Cincinnati, OH 45207
(513) 745-3814

Tennessee

Programs
461 21st Ave. South
Nashville, TN 37240
(615) 322-4400

Texas

Programs
701 S Nedderman Dr.
Arlington, TX 76019
(817) 272-2011

Utah

Programs
2035 N 550 W
Provo, UT 84604
(801) 377-2900

Vermont

Programs
Department of Nursing
Burlington, VT 05405
(802) 656-3131

Virginia

Programs
225 Jeanette Lancaster Way
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(434) 924-2743

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

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