With a growing emphasis on highly educated RNs and improved patient outcomes, North Dakota is encouraging graduate degrees for current nurses via RN to MSN programs. These programs allow RNs who currently hold an ADN or BSN the chance to earn a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Upon completion of the graduate degree, RNs will have the opportunity to enter advanced nursing specialties and earn a substantially higher salary. With online and classroom-based options available, RNs in the state can truly find the right program for them.

RN to MSN Admissions Requirements in North Dakota

RN to MSN programs can be competitive, so nurses are encouraged to ensure that they meet all admissions requirements for the school of their choice. Typical requirements include:

  • Nursing diploma/ADN or BSN from an accredited university (degree level requirement will vary by program)
  • Undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher
  • Current, unencumbered RN license in the state of North Dakota
  • Two letters of reference
  • Resume and goal statement

RN to MSN Courses

A traditional RN to MSN program geared toward those who currently hold an ADN will first require a series of "bridge" courses to get up to the baccalaureate level. From there, and for those who have already completed a BSN, advanced core nursing courses and specialty nursing courses are taken. Specialty courses usually correlate to a nursing concentration, such as Nurse Anesthetist or Nurse Educator.

The University of Mary, based out of Bismarck, offers the following courses as part of its RN to MSN program:

  • Critique & Design of Nursing Research
  • Evidence-Based Practice and Strategic Healthcare Decision Making
  • Influential Nursing Leadership
  • Professional Roles in Advanced Nursing
  • Applied Healthcare Economics, Finance and Budgeting

Online RN to MSN Programs in North Dakota

Busy nurses in need of maximum flexibility are increasingly opting for online RN to MSN programs. These programs allow students to take courses from home and generally at their own pace. Those enrolled receive the same rigorous academic courses that classroom-based programs offer, and knowledgeable faculty are available to assist. Online programs allow many RNs to continue working if they choose to do so.

Featured Online School

The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks offers a mostly online MSN program geared toward those who already hold a BSN. This program offers concentrations in the following specialties: Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse Educator, and Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. While courses are offered online, students are required to come to campus one week per semester to participate in traditional lectures, hands-on lab, and more. Students are able to identify a preceptor within their community in order to complete the clinical component of the program.

Admissions and Program Length

RN to MSN program length can fluctuate based on many factors. Part-time or full-time study, online or classroom-based attendance, and nursing specialty chosen can all impact the time it will take a student to complete the degree. Typically, an average of 3 years or so of dedicated study is a good example of how long it might take to complete the program. Admissions are typically granted at the beginning of each semester, though this varies by school. Online programs usually offer more frequent admission points.

Tuition and Cost of Attendance

Many prospective RN to MSN students worry about covering the cost of a graduate nursing degree. Tuition, mandatory fees, and course materials will all need to be accounted for. For those who qualify, financial aid and scholarships are usually an option. To provide an idea on costs, tuition for the MSN program at the University of North Dakota runs about $320.33 per credit for in-state residents. This does not include additional fees or extra expenses such as textbooks.

RN to MSN Career Pathways in North Dakota

Nurses who hold an MSN degree can enter advanced nursing careers in specialties including:

  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Administrator
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

RN to MSN Salary Comparison

While earning a graduate degree can be a costly endeavor, many RNs find that the increased salary more than makes up for it. For instance, a nurse practitioner with an MSN in Bismarck, ND, earns a median annual salary of roughly $92,009. Comparatively, a general registered nurse in Bismarck makes a median annual salary of approximately $59,605. This difference is leading many RNs to consider an advanced nursing degree.

Helpful Links

RN to MSN Listings

Evening and online programs is how North Dakota is offering the RN to MSN program to help nurses make the transition to graduate studies. The program is designed to fit within schedules that are conducive to continuing education, as well as working. The benefits of obtaining your MSN degree come by income compensation and through career advancements. Career advancements are attributed to specialty areas such as clinical nurse specialist, family/private practice, community health centers, and more; these careers also come with greater earning potential.

University of Mary
Online Campus
Division of Nursing
7500 University Drive
Bismarck, ND 58504
(701) 355-8173
University of North Dakota
College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines
430 Oxford St. Stop 9025
Grand Forks, ND 58202
(701) 777-4174