Online RN to MSN Programs

RN to MSN online programs offer students who do not have a bachelors of science in nursing, or BSN, a quick option to earn a nursing graduate degree. Often, most programs are designed to teach a few masters-level courses while pursuing the bachelors portion that can then be applied to MSN credit, potentially saving you time and money.

What Are RN to MSN Online Programs?

RN to MSN online programs are graduate nursing degrees designed in two different formats:

  1. For RNs with an associates degree in nursing (ADN) or a nursing diploma
  2. For RNs with a bachelors degree in a non-nursing subject

As a result, RN to MSN programs provide students with the option to earn an online masters of science in nursing (MSN) without having to first earn a BSN and then pursue a MSN.

Some programs are designed so that students are awarded both a BSN and a MSN, whereas other programs only award an MSN. Either way, those masters degrees are academically equivalent. However, if earning a BSN as well as the masters degree is important to you, be sure to check with a number of schools to find one that matches your goals.

Benefits of Online RN to MSN Programs

Some of the benefits of pursuing an RN to MSN include:

  • Earn BSN and MSN in less time than it would take to earn separately
  • Programs focus on leadership and interpersonal skills
  • May pursue a career as a nurse educator
  • May pursue a career in management
  • Begin work towards a doctorates degree

Common Admissions Requirements: RN to MSN Direct-Entry Degrees

As opposed to many MSN programs, RN to MSN online programs are designed for students who don’t have a BSN. However, there are still other common admissions requirements, which may include:

  • ADN, nursing diploma, or non-nursing bachelors degree
  • Two years of clinical practice
  • Active, unrestricted or unencumbered Registered Nurse (RN) license in the state where your clinical or practicum experience will be completed
  • Official transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay or personal statement

Keep in mind that every school has unique admissions requirements. For instance, some schools require that you earned your ADN, nursing diploma, or non-nursing bachelors degree with a 2.75 GPA or higher, whereas other schools require a 3.0.

Therefore, before applying, be sure to check with a number of different programs to find a school that matches your current academic standing.

9 Schools That Offer an RN to MSN Program

Though there are many schools that offer MSN online degree, there are only some that offer RN to MSN programs. Below are nine schools that offer RN to MSN online programs with a brief description of each school and their specific program.

Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of schools that offer this type of degree program. Be sure to check out a number of different options in order to find the perfect school for you.

1. Loyola University New Orleans

Founded on the Jesuit tradition of educating the whole person, Loyola University New Orleans helps students discover their personal and academic potential. This is one of the reasons they offer two types of RN to MSN online programs, which are:

(1) Traditional RN to MSN

This program is designed for active RNs with an associates degree but have no bachelors degree and provides the undergraduate education that may help you succeed in an MSN.

(2) RN to MSN Bridge Option

Specifically designed for active RNs with a bachelors degree in a subject other than nursing, this option offers courses to ‘bridge’ your education to an MSN.

With either of these options, you can choose from any of the following concentrations:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Nurse Educator

Learn more about Loyola University's RN to MSN program.

2. University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco, founded in 1855, provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed as both professionals and as people. The online master of science in nursing clinical leader program provides innovative leadership education within the health care system.

As opposed to focusing on a specific aspect of nursing, the MSN online program at San Francisco University is designed to teach a ‘big picture’ approach of patient outcomes.

Some of the courses include:

  • Epidemiology
  • Assessment Across the Lifespan
  • Healthcare Informatics

3. Southern New Hampshire University

The RN to BSN to MSN degree at Southern New Hampshire University allows you to earn both a BSN and MSN in less time than it would take to earn them separately. By allowing students to take two graduate level courses while pursing your BSN, this direct-entry nursing program is designed for professional nurses.

SNHU allows students to choose between four different tracks, which are:

  1. Clinical Nurse Leader
  2. Patient Quality and Safety
  3. Nurse Educator
  4. MSN General Program

4. Regis University

The combined BSN and MSN degree program at Regis University allows you to take three graduate courses while pursuing your BSN so that you can earn both degrees in a shorter amount of time.

Regis offers students the choice between education and management tracks, neither of which have any on-campus or residency requirements, allowing the degree to be earned completely online. Both options do include 210 practicum hours that provides you an opportunity to apply the theories you study in the classroom to authentic environments.

5. Spring Arbor University

Spring Arbor University is focused on developing an online community in which students support one another as they move toward accomplishing their mutual goal of earning a degree. With this in mind, the RN to MSN is designed for students to take one, seven-week course at a time.

This design allows students to focus on one subject and one class at a time without trying to balance multiple courses on top of personal and professional responsibilities. The curriculum is designed to teach the delivery of primary care as well as the clinical reasoning skills needed to prevent, assess, treat, and manage various diseases.

This RN to MSN nurse practitioner program allows you to choose between two tracks:

  1. Family Nurse Practitioner
  2. Adult Gerontology, Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

6. Drexel University

With approximately 26,000 students, Drexel University is one of the 15 largest private universities in America. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits all of the nursing programs offered at Drexel.

Drexel is one of the schools that doesn’t award a BSN to those who complete the RN to MSN online bridge program. Applicants are required to be RNs with a bachelors degree in a field other than nursing.

Some of the eligible RN to MSN online programs at Drexel University include:

  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Clinical Trials Research
  • Leadership in Health Systems Management
  • Nursing Education

7. Gannon University

Gannon University provides students with a well-rounded liberal arts education with an emphasis on social responsibility and in-depth professional preparation. The online RN to MSN program awards an MSN to students who successfully complete all of the requirements.

This online program integrates nursing administration, research, and clinical practice so that graduates can respond to the unique challenges facing nursing and the modern health care industry.

Currently, students may choose from one of three advanced practice options, which are:

  1. Family Nurse Practitioner
  2. Nurse Anesthesia
  3. Nursing Administration

8. Bradley University

Bradley University has been shaping nursing leaders for more than 50 years. The online RN to MSN Nursing Administration program is designed to expertly combine a rigorous curriculum with real-world practice.

The curriculum at Bradley combines the disciplines of nursing, management, and business to prepare you for the modern healthcare marketplace. Some of the other benefits include:

  • 100% online with no campus residencies
  • Complete clinicals locally
  • Prepare for the ANCC certification exam

9. Maryville University

As a private, four-year university, Maryville University is focused on providing students with academic excellence through small class sizes to enhance learning and ensure personal attention.

The RN to MSN online program at Maryville awards students who earn this degree both a BSN and MSN. The program is specifically designed for professionals working in the field. Some of the common courses include:

  • Nursing Care of the Adult
  • Pharmacology and Nursing Management
  • Foundations of Public Health Nursing

Potential Careers After Earning a RN to MSN

Some of the potential careers you may pursue upon earning your MSN, and their 2016 median annual salary, include:

  • Nurse Anesthetists: $160,270i
  • Nurse Practitioners: $100,910i
  • Nurse Midwives: $99,770i

The specific career you pursue may depend on whether or not you choose a concentration for your MSN. Therefore, be sure to check with a number of different programs to find one that matches your specific goals.

Find the Perfect RN to MSN Program for You

Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page for more information about any of the RN to MSN online programs.

This may include:

  • Program descriptions
  • Common courses
  • Admissions requirements

You can even contact your favorite schools directly to request more information and learn how to apply today.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-5

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