Direct Entry Nursing Programs

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, but are interested in the field, a direct entry MSN program could be a great option. Direct entry msn programs for non nursing majors, non-RN's do exist.direct entry msn programs; nursing students

What Is a Direct Entry MSN Program?

A direct entry MSN program is designed to quickly and effectively help students enter the nursing profession without earning a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN). These accelerated programs build upon a student's previous education to potentially save time and money.

Most nurses earn a BSN before pursuing a MSN degree. However direct entry programs provide an alternative path by combining the curriculum of both of these programs, This can be a great advantage for students with non-nursing backgrounds work towards an MSN, without first earning a second undergraduate degree.

Some direct entry nursing programs award both degrees as you make your way through the program. These may also be referred to as BSN to MSN programs. Others simply award an MSN upon completing the full program.

10 Direct Entry MSN Programs

Below is a list of some sponsored schools that offer a direct entry MSN degree. The schools are not listed in any particular order and should not be considered a complete list of available programs.

Click on any of the links below to learn more about a school or degree and to request more information.

#1: Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University was founded on the principle that we can make the world a better place by pursuing big ideas and sharing what we learn. The School of Nursing at JHU offers programs designed to fit the needs of a diverse student population.

The MSN entry into nursing program prepares you to discover the many rewards of nursing at the world-renowned Johns Hopkins University. It emphasizes leadership, global impact, and evidence-based interprofessional education.

#2: Simmons College

Located in the heart of Boston, Simmons College has offered a pioneering liberal arts education for more than a century. Their goal is to prepare you to seize moments and make the move that’s perfect for you.

The Simmons direct entry nursing program is designed for students who are already RNs, but who have not yet earned a BSN. The program focuses on helping nurses expand their clinical knowledge and gain the skills to serve as primary care providers across the life span.

#3: Northeastern University

The Bouve College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University, located in Boston, is focused on preparing students to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex and global world.

The Northeastern direct entry program allows you to use the experience you already have and leverage it into a BSN and Master’s degree in Nursing. After earning a BSN in the first 16 months, or four semesters, you may sit for the NCLEX-RN and become a licensed RN.

Then, continue your education to become a Masters-prepared Advanced Practice Nurse. This may take four to six semesters, depending on your pace and specialty track.

#4: South University

#5: Sacred Heart University

Founded in 1963, SHU is the 2nd leargest Catholic University in New England and offers over 70 academic programs.

The MSN program at Sacred Heart University offers specializations in Clinical Nurse Leadersihp, Nursing Management & Executive Leadership, Nursing Education, and Family Nurse Practitioner. 

#6: Boston College

A leader in the liberal arts, scientific inquiry, and student formation, Boston College is grounded in the ideals that inspired their Jesuit founders. The William F. Connell School of Nursing prepares students to thrive as compassionate nurse leaders in the classroom, in communities, in practice, and through research.

Graduates of the direct master’s entry MSN program at BC change their careers and could make an immediate impact as a nurse practitioner. The Boston College nursing programwas one of first to offer an accelerated master’s program, which could be completed in as little as two years.

#7: Indiana Wesleyan University

The MSN at Indiana Wesleyan teaches:

  • Clinical skills
  • Leadership
  • Research skills

#8: Monmouth University

#9: St. Louis University

St. Louis University seeks to ignite a desire to learn and to serve, to blaze trails in thought and action. Founded in 1818, St. Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic universities.

The 21-month, five semester direct entry accelerated master of science in nursing program at St. Louis University prepares you to pursue a career as a clinical nurse leader (CNL). The first of its kind in Missouri, this program focuses on nurse competencies and role development, such as:

  • Outcomes measurement
  • Risk assessment
  • Quality improvement
  • Interprofessional communication
  • Application of evidence-based practice

#10: Marquette University

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near downtown Milwaukee. Offering a comprehensive range of majors, Marquette prepares you for the world by asking you to think critically about it.

The College of Nursing at Marquette offers an accelerated direct entry program to allow students with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline to quickly transition into a nursing career. This rigorous, accelerated program offers hands-on learning and clinical practice taught by a supportive faculty and staff to help you keep pace.

Common Admissions Requirements

The admissions requirements for direct entry msn programs for non nursing majors vary from school to school. For instance, some require you to have earned your non-nursing bachelor’s degree with a higher GPA than others.

Typical admission requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal goal statement
  • Transcripts
  • Resume
  • Essay

Typical Classes

In either case, msn direct entry programs typically focus on clinical leadership and prepare students to successfully sit for NCLEX-RN (Registered Nurse licensure) and Clinical Nurse Leader certification exams. Classes may teach best ways to deliver primary health care to a diverse population across the lifespan and touch on top healthcare topics, such as anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology.

They may also integrate practicums, observations, and research components to enhance classroom lessons.

Upon earning your degree, you may be prepared to continue your education by pursuing an advanced practice DNP or PhD in nursing degree. Or you could jumpstart your new nursing career!

Did You Know?

Linda Richards became the first nurse to earn a nursing diploma in the United States in 1873.

Some schools have an additional admissions requirement of earning a ‘C’ or better in specific undergraduate courses that apply to nursing, such as science, statistics, and development psychology.

As always, it’s important to check with a number of schools about their specific requirements to find a perfect option for you.

As America continues to face a nursing shortage due to an aging population and the retirement of currently-employed nurses, direct entry MSN programs offer students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree a way to quickly enter the field.

In fact, many employers have found that graduates of accelerated programs bring many layers of skill and education. Because of the diverse education and experience of these graduates, employers report that they maybe more mature, possess strong clinical skills and are quick studies on the job i.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a MSN in a Direct Entry Program?

Typically, BSN to MSN programs range from three to four years, but the specific length depends on the school. It may also take longer if you enroll as a full-time or part-time student.

Keep in mind that some programs are only available to full-time students because of the accelerated nature of the degree, at least for the first portion.

For instance, some direct entry MSN programs confer a BSN when you complete that portion of the program, which usually takes about four semesters, or 16 months full time. This allows you to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam to become a licensed RN before earning your MSN.

Once licensed, you could pursue an entry-level nursing position. Some students find this is an especially valuable benefit of direct entry programs. You could gain valuable experience in the field (not to mention a paycheck) while still working towards your graduate degree part-time.

Other students find it a better option to go through these accelerated programs as a full-time student to earn their degree in less time. Research a variety of programs and the different structures available to help make your decision.

What’s the Difference Between a Direct Entry MSN and MEPN?

A direct entry MSN (Master’s of Science in Nursing) and a MEPN (Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice) degree are academically equivalent and are both great options for non-nursing students looking to enter the field. However, there are some differences.

For instance, many entry level masters in nursing program don’t award a BSN. On the other hand, while not always the case, many direct entry MSN programs do.

Additionally, some MEPN programs may be completed in as little as 15 months, making them more even more accelerated than direct entry programs. However this accelerated format often means MEPN programs are for full-time students only.

Keep in mind that schools each design their programs differently. Therefore, while both of these direct entry nursing degrees are academically equivalent, there may be variations in prequisite courses, program length, and structure. Contact an advisor to learn more.

Fun Fact:

There are currently over 2.9 million nurses in the United States and only three of five work in hospitals.

Check out sponsored Direct Entry MSN Programs in the table below. 

List of Direct Entry MSN Programs

Direct Entry MSN Graduate SchoolSchool Location (some may be online)
1. Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore
2. Simmons CollegesBoston
3. Northeastern UniversityBoston
4. South UniversitySavannah
5. Sacred Heart UniversityFairfield
6. Boston CollegeBoston
7. Indiana WesleyanMarion
8. Monmouth UniversityLong Branch
9. St Louis UniversitySt. Louis
10. Marquette UniversityMilwaukee

Find a Perfect Direct Entry MSN Program for You!

Ready to jump straight into nursing with direct entry MSN programs? Click on any of the sponsored listing on this page, including any of the programs listed in the table above to learn about the admissions process, start dates, and specific requirements.

You can also easily contact your favorite nursing schools with the simple on page form. Your future as a nurse awaits!


Source: [i] aacnnursing.org/Nursing-Education/Accelerated-Programs/Fast-Track

Find Schools