Master's in Nursing Programs

Master's Degree in nursing opens a lot of doors. Nurses with MSN degree can work as an advanced practice nurse or can assume a specialized role and work in various healthcare settings.

The Master's programs admission requirements tend to be stricter than those for Bachelor's programs. To begin with, you need to have a current and active RN license in order to apply for a Master’s Degree program. For online enrollees, you are required to have the license in whatever state you are completing your clinicals in. The program takes anywhere between 2 to 3 years to complete depending on how you study: fulltime/parttime, on campus/online/hybrid.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

This degree is generally offered to registered nurses with BSN degree and offered in different tracks with each track combining specialties (clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner or CRNA/nurse anesthetist); populations (adult, pediatric or family) and sub-specialties (acute/critical care or psychiatric/mental health). 


Also known as RN to MSN Pathway or RN to MSN Bridge program, RN to MSN programs offer a means for registered nurses who hold a diploma or associate degree in nursing to obtain a masters degree bypassing the BSN degree programs. An interesting point that you need to know about RN to MSN programs beforehand is that nursing schools sometimes grant BSN and MSN degrees during graduation. There are times, though, when only the MSN degree is awarded and the BSN degree is not. If this is a cause of concern for you, then you should ask the school about their program. 

Typically, incoming students of Master’s of Science in Nursing programs are already registered nurses. They should hold a license as this is one of the common admission requirements. 

Master of Arts in Nursing or MA

Master of Arts in Nursing prepares registered nurses for leadership role. The most common concentration areas you will find when you join this program are healthcare leadership and nursing education. The main focus of MAN is preparing in-career nurses for transformational leadership and trans-cultural practice across care settings.

Direct Entry MSN

Also known as accelerated MSN, this program is generally offered to bachelor's or advanced degree holders in a non-nursing program who wish to join the nursing field. As a result of recent policy changes in nursing education, a number of direct entry MSN programs are opening up everywhere to speed up the preparation nurses with master's level education.  

Joint Degree or Dual Degree Programs

The most popular dual masters degree in nursing are MSN/MBA and MSN/MPH. The MSN/MBA is a program that prepares students to take part in management roles in healthcare settings. The MSN/Master in Public Health program, on the other hand, trains students for clinical and public health work with a dash of policy administration. Students who graduate from dual/joint degree programs receive two degrees.

General Admission Requirements 

A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above is required to get into any master's program. A few schools may ask you to take the Graduate Record Exam or GRE. There are also programs that require 1-2 years of RN experience, sometimes, in an area that you specialize in such as pediatric nursing.