Direct Entry MSN Programs - Online & Campus (2024)

Choosing a Master's Entry to Nursing Practice Program

With many direct entry MSN programs to choose from, selecting the right school can be a challenge. To make that decision more accessible, we have outlined a few factors to consider when researching schools. Remember these program elements to make choosing the right school a more straightforward decision.

  • Program Accreditation: When considering an MENP school, your first step is determining whether the program is accredited appropriately. Program accreditation by organizations 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. An adequately accredited program 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 entirely online or in traditional on-campus and hybrid formats that combine online coursework with face-to-face learning. Online, or "distance learning" programs, may be beautiful for students working or caring for family members while completing their degree because classwork can often be completed on your schedule.
  • Curriculum: When researching a school, review the sample curriculum to ensure the course subjects cover what you hope 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, and clinical practice hours.
  • Time Commitment: Most direct-entry MSN degrees take around three 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 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 program’s total cost, 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, 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 total 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 can 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 can handle a direct entry program’s rigorous coursework and accelerated pacing. In addition, students can complete their studies and begin 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 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 without a master's degree.

Prospective students should be aware of a few caveats to a direct entry nursing program. First, accelerated nursing programs are very challenging and academically rigorous. Students must be committed to becoming nurses and disciplined enough to complete challenging coursework and extended 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 ofDirect Entry MSN Programs

Jump to Your State Listings


School of Nursing

1720 Second Avenue South, NB 204
Birmingham, AL 35294-1210
(205) 934-5360

College of Nursing

HAHN 3071, 5721 USA Drive North
Mobile, AL 36688-0002
(251) 445-9400


College of Nursing

1305 N Martin Ave
Tucson, AZ 85721
(520) 626-6152


School of Nursing

8432 Magnolia Avenue, Lambeth House, Room 7
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
(951) 343-4700


Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing

1748 East 118th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90059
(323) 568-3304


School of Nursing

1600 Holloway Avenue, Burk Hall 371 B
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-6850


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


School of Nursing

700 Tiverton Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90095
(310) 825-8690


School of Nursing

505 Parnassus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94143
(415) 476-3105

Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4548

School of Nursing & Health Professions

2130 Fulton Street, Cowell 102
San Francisco, CA 94117-1080
(415) 422-2959

College of Graduate Nursing

309 East Second Street, College Plaza
Pomona, CA 91766-1854
(909) 469-5523




Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

1520 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-7980


School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene

2528 McCarty Mall, Webster Hall 402
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 956-8522


School of Nursing, College of Science and Health

990 West Fullerton Avenue, Suite 3000
Chicago, IL 60614-2458
(773) 325-1887

Deicke Center for Nursing Education

190 Prospect Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126-3296
(630) 617-3314

School of Nursing

1184 West Main Street
Decatur, IL 62522-2084
(217) 424-6366

College of Nursing

600 South Paulina Street, Suite 1080 Aca. Fac.
Chicago, IL 60612-3873
(312) 942-2308

College of Nursing

845 South Damen Avenue, Suite 118, M/C 802
Chicago, IL 60612-7350
(312) 996-7808


School of Nursing

555 South Floyd Street
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 852-8300



School of Nursing

3101 Wyman Park Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218
(410) 955-4766

School of Nursing

655 West Lombard Street, Suite 505
Baltimore, MD 21201-1579
(410) 706-6741


William F. Connell School of Nursing

Cushing Hall, 140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 552-1710

School of Nursing

36 First Avenue, Charlestown Navy Yard
Boston, MA 02129-4557
(617) 726-4547

School of Nursing

360 Huntington Avenue, 102 Robinson Hall
Boston, MA 02115-5096
(617) 373-3649


School of Nursing

235 Wellesley St
Weston, MA 02493
(781) 768-7091

School of Nursing

352 Lafayette Street, South Campus
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 542-7149


School of Nursing and Health Sciences

300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 521-2139


Graduate School of Nursing

55 Lake Avenue North (F1-853)
Worcester, MA 01655-0115
(508) 856-5081


College of Nursing and Health Sciences

700 East Seventh Street
Saint Paul, MN 55106-5000
(651) 793-1368


Henrietta Schmoll School of Health

2004 Randolph Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105
(651) 690-6000



School of Nursing

3525 Caroline Mall
Saint Louis, MO 63104
(314) 977-8909

New Hampshire


2500 N River Rd.
Manchester, NH 03106
(888) 387-0861

School of Nursing

105 Main St
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-2285

New Jersey

College of Nursing

400 South Orange Avenue
South Orange, NJ 07079-2693
(973) 761-9282

New York

School of Nursing

116th St & Broadway
New York, NY 10027
(212) 305-3582


Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing

10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-4904
(216) 368-2545


Department of Nursing

5701 Delhi Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45233
(513) 244-4325

College of Nursing

1585 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1289
(614) 292-8900


College of Nursing

2600 Clifton Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45220
(513) 558-5500

College of Nursing

3000 Arlington Avenue, M.S. 1026
Toledo, OH 43614-5803
(419) 383-5858


Graduate School of Nursing

3800 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45207-7351
(513) 745-3815


Kramer School of Nursing

2501 N Blackwelder Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
(405) 208-5904



828 E. 11th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401
(154) 134-3164 x1



School of Nursing

4881 Taylor Cir
Collegedale, TN 37315
(423) 236-2942

School of Nursing

461 21st Avenue South, 111 Godchaux Hall
Nashville, TN 37240-0008
(615) 343-8876



School of Nursing

110 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 471-4100



12257 Business Park Drive
Draper, UT 84020
(801) 816-1444



School of Nursing

194 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401-3596
(802) 656-3131


School of Nursing

907 Floyd Ave
Richmond, VA 23284
(804) 828-5174


School of Nursing

12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, WA 98447-0029
(253) 535-7672



College of Nursing

530 North 16th Street, Clark Hall, PO Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 288-3812


College of Nursing

3253 N Downer Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 229-4173

Direct Entry MSN Programs - Online & Campus (2024)


How hard is a direct entry msn program? ›

Direct-entry MSN programs are highly competitive and selective. Admission favors applicants with strong GPAs, especially in prerequisite courses, and other indicators of preparedness for graduate-level work.

Is an entry level MSN worth it? ›

This degree program is a great way to become involved in the nursing profession at an advanced level after graduation. Having a master's degree may lead to higher income and the chance to take on leadership roles within an organization, which can allow you to make a big difference for both organizations and patients.

Is it hard to get your MSN? ›

MSN programs are hard, especially Nurse Practitioner (NP) programs. These programs focus on advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacology.

Can I work while getting my MSN? ›

That being said, students in a program with an intensive curriculum like Marquette University's 19-21 month Direct Entry MSN are generally not advised to work beyond part-time hours due to the increased rigor and demands of their coursework.

What are the benefits of direct entry MSN? ›

Benefits of Direct Entry MSN Programs

Students can often complete their studies within two to three years. Increased earning potential: Nurses with an MSN degree often have higher salary prospects than their counterparts with bachelor's or associate's degrees in nursing.

Is BSN or MSN harder? ›

If work and other responsibilities already have you pressed for time, an RN-to-BSN program will be less demanding. MSN programs are usually more difficult to get into than BSN programs, and more prestigious MSN programs are especially competitive. Applying to an MSN program also requires nursing experience.

What is the hardest MSN course? ›

Hardest Nursing School Classes
  • Pathophysiology. In this course, students learn how different anatomical systems work and how diseases or injuries affect these systems. ...
  • Pharmacology. ...
  • Medical Surgical 1 (also known as Adult Health 1) ...
  • Evidence-Based Practice.

Is the MSN degree going away? ›

Ask A Nurse: MSN Nurse Practitioner Programs Are Changing To DNP Programs By 2025.

What percentage of nurses have a MSN degree? ›

In 2022, 17.4% of the nation's registered nurses held a master's degree and 2.7% held a doctoral degree as their highest educational preparation. The current demand for master's- and doctorally prepared nurses for advanced practice, clinical specialties, teaching, and research roles far outstrips the supply.

Does MSN earn more than BSN? ›

Salary differences can be pretty significant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for registered nurses totals $75,330 per year, while master's degree-prepared advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) earn a median annual salary of $117,760.

Does a MSN make money? ›

Although salaries vary, nurses with an MSN generally earn a higher salary than nurses with a BSN. In 2022, the median annual salary for a registered nurse was $81,220, while the average salary for nurse anesthetists, midwives, and practitioners (roles that usually require an MSN) was $125,900.

What type of nurse can you be with an MSN? ›

There are a lot of career options available for nurses with an MSN degree. Some career paths may include nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, certified registered nurse anesthetist and nurse administrator.

How much does an entry level MSN make in Minnesota? ›

As of May 25, 2024, the average hourly pay for an Entry Level Msn in Minnesota is $25.10 an hour. While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $77.46 and as low as $14.13, the majority of Entry Level Msn salaries currently range between $16.73 (25th percentile) to $22.60 (75th percentile) in Minnesota.

How long is Johns Hopkins direct entry MSN program? ›

MSN (Entry into Nursing) is offered by School of Nursing under Johns Hopkins University, USA. This a Masters level program of a course duration of 2.5 Years.

What does entry level MSN mean? ›

The entry-level MSN program is designed for candidates who hold a non-nursing bachelor's degree and seek to transition professionally into the field of nursing. Those who have completed all prerequisite courses may apply directly to the EL MSN program.

Does GPA matter for MSN? ›

Many schools will require a 3.0 GPA to get into nurse practitioner school. Based on the type of NP program you are applying for (MSN or DNP), your GPA will be calculated from your bachelorly or master's degree coursework.

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