Master of Nursing FAQs

The Master of Nursing Program is designed for individuals who hold a BA/BS in a non-nursing major and whose career and educational goals include advanced nursing practice. Students who enter the program are admitted to both the MN and MSN programs.

The MN Program allows for several career paths:

  • Pre-Licensure - Students earn their MN and can sit for their RN licensure exam (NCLEX) to become advanced generalist Registered Nurses
  • Advanced Specialty (APRN) Students apply the 15 MSN credits earned in the MN Program toward an MSN specialty, complete the remaining MSN coursework,  and take board certification exams in their  specialty area (Adult/Geriatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, or Midwifery as examples)
  • Doctoral Studies - Following completion of the MN Program, graduates may apply to the MSN/ DNP, PhD or DNP/PhD program

No. In order to be certified as an advance practice registered nurse, you must first be licensed as a registered nurse. After successful completion of the Master of Nursing Program, you can begin the MSN Program with 15 credits of MSN coursework already completed.  Several specialties require a minimum of one year of acute care RN practice prior to continuing with MSN coursework.

No. We believe students should be exposed to different RN roles and practice settings before committing to an advanced specialty. Therefore, we do not require our students commit to a Specific APRN Specialty until they begin clinical courses in the MSN major they have selected. 

We strongly recommend students learn about APRN specialty areas through activities such as interviewing, shadowing, reading or having received care by an advanced practice nurse. In an effort to assess if an applicant’s educational/career goals align with our program, we do ask about possible specialty interest during the application process.

Once students have reached the final semester of the MN Program, they are provided the opportunity to meet with MSN faculty in an open panel discussion of the various specialties, and are assigned an MSN academic advisor.  A student can change their specialty at any point prior to resuming their MSN coursework.

Although individual students have various reasons why the MN Program more closely meets their needs, a major consideration is a student’s desire to obtain an advanced practice degree. Students admitted into the MN Program are admitted into the MSN Program as well, so there is no need to reapply. In addition to preparing for their role as a Registered Nurse, during the program students complete 15 credits of coursework toward their MSN degree, shortening their path to Advanced Practice and decreasing the overall cost of the program.

Yes. After graduating with your MN degree and completing minimum critical care practice requirements, you may apply directly to the CRNA program. You are not guaranteed acceptance, as the program is competitive. In order to practice as a CRNA, you must earn a doctoral degree (DNP). If accepted, the program requires an additional 3 year, full time plan of study.

Yes. You may apply separately for the joint MSN/DNP program after earning your MN degree, but will still need to complete MSN coursework prior to advancing to DNP studies.

Both the DNP and PhD are terminal degrees in nursing. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a practice doctorate. It is designed for nurses whose educational and career interests include advanced clinical practice, nursing education and/or administration. The PhD in Nursing is a research doctorate and prepares nurses to conduct nursing research, and build the science of nursing. 

The MN Program enrolls one class of students each year, in the fall semester. A mandatory orientation is held the week before start of classes. Classes begin according to the CWRU calendar (typically Monday of the last week of August).

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis from September to March. Our goal is to have a decision to the applicant within 4 weeks after receiving their completed application. The Deadline for Applications is March 1 for fall enrollment.

The natural science GPA is based on grades received in all undergraduate courses with biology and chemistry prefixes (such as BIOL and CHEM). The behavioral science GPA is based on all undergraduate courses with psychology, sociology and anthropology prefixes (such as PSYCH, SOCI, and ANTH).

Yes, however, prior to application review by the Admissions Committee a minimum of two (2) pre-requisite courses with a grade of B- or higher must be completed. All pre-requisite course requirements must be completed with a grade of B- or higher prior to enrollment in the first semester of the program.


Our admissions staff can answer questions related to course pre-requisites. The official transcript evaluation is done at the time the application is reviewed by our admissions committee. We are also willing to review course descriptions to determine if a course you plan to take meets our pre-requisite course requirements.

While a GRE test is not required to apply, the scores may be requested for an admission decision. We do require a minimum GPA of 3.0 in your undergraduate major. 

Maybe. It is possible to complete some MSN Specialties via distance. For more information, visit the MSN homepage.

  • In your first semester, you will have Medical-Surgical clinical experiences in a hospital setting. Your clinical instructor will supervise and support you. The foundational clinical experience begins with communication, vital sign measurement, and activities of daily living for patients as well as basic nursing skills.
  • In your first semester, you will engage in Interprofessional Experiences with students enrolled in medicine, dentistry and physician assistant programs, and care for patients in outpatient settings.
  • In the second year, you will experience Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Psychiatric Mental Health, and Critical Care nursing in some of the top ranked hospitals in the country.
  • You will gain knowledge of and experience related to Nursing leadership, Health Care Improvement, and Evidence-based Practice in your MSN coursework (see Curriculum).
  • You will learn how to engage with diverse patient populations and provide culturally competent care in a variety of health care settings in the MN Program. 

If you are interested in additional information or have questions please attend one of our MN program Information Sessions (MN Information Session Link). These sessions provide detail on all aspects of the MN Program, and we encourage you to ask questions using the chat box in Zoom.