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About MSN Programs: Masters in Nursing

A master's degree in nursing is a type of education that teaches nurses advanced practice skills. Also called a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), this degree requires study at the graduate level of college, and students typically pursue areas of specialty for practice after graduation. Some of the nursing professions that require MSN degrees include Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs). There are also specialties within these different roles, according to patient population, such as oncology, family practice or pediatrics.


Many students who pursue masters in nursing education are already working as nurses, and may have bachelor’s degrees. Some students work toward MSN degrees with undergraduate education in other disciplines. There are also registered nurses with associate’s degrees who want to pursue MSN degrees, and programs are available that assist students in each of these situations with attaining their graduate education. Many schools offer accelerated tracks or completion programs that recognize the previous work and education of potential students.

For students who are unable to attend classes on a regular schedule, many schools offer online course options for courses. Online MSN programs provide classes and correspondence with instructors online, allowing students to complete their degrees when it is convenient. Online masters in nursing degrees are optimal ways for busy nurses to work toward career advancement while simultaneously holding jobs. The path toward an MSN requires practice and hard work, but results in an advanced career that may be both challenging and rewarding.

  • A Long and Winding Road: One woman’s story of working toward a master’s degree in nursing and her future goals for using her education.
  • Career Planning for Nurses: Answers to frequently asked questions about the path to becoming a nurse, including information about attaining a master’s degree.
  • Master’s in Nursing Online Courses: Information about master’s degrees within nursing that are related to women’s health, including family nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives.
  • MSN Nursing Outcomes: Details about the nursing program at Mansfield University, with expected outcomes for those pursuing master’s degrees with emphasis on education and administration.
  • RN to MSN Option: A specific school with two different types of methods for attaining a master’s degree, either through online courses or an accelerated track from an associate’s degree.
  • School of Nursing Admission Criteria: Information for prospective students to determine eligibility for a master’s degree from LSU School of Nursing, including curriculum and graduation requirements.
  • Master’s Nursing Programs: An account of the different types of specializations within masters of nursing degrees, including curriculum and job placement, from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
  • Master’s Program for Prospective Students: Direction for students who are considering MSNs as part of dual-degree programs with other subjects, such as public administration.
  • RN to Master of Science: Information about how to obtain a master’s degree for students who are registered nurses with diplomas or associate’s degrees.
  • MS in Nursing: Frequently Asked Questions: A comprehensive explanation of the Rutgers College of Nursing program. The site explains information specific to the school, but also has general details about the benefits of pursuing a master’s degree.
  • Is a Master’s Degree in Your Future?: A description of benefits and other factors to consider when applying for a master’s degree in nursing, from Sigma Theta Tau, a nursing honor society.
  • Nursing Degree Options: Details of various types of careers available for those with master’s degrees in nursing.
  • Professional Nurse: The benefits of choosing nursing as a career, as well as a list of prospective job categories.
  • Master’s Entry Program in Nursing: Information about this program at the University of California, San Francisco, which is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in fields unrelated to nursing.
  • Unique Aspects for Prospective Students: Information about four different specializations for those pursuing master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Florida, including nurse midwives, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists.
  • Master’s Degree Specialties: A list with descriptions of certain clinical specialties to use with an MSN, including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified registered nurse anesthetists.
  • Ready for the Next Level of Nursing Professionalism?: Details about the various specialty tracks available with an MSN from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, including dual-degree options.
  • MSN Program and Goals: An in-depth explanation of a program at Aspen University and its expected outcomes for students graduating with MSNs.
  • Questions from Prospective Students: Frequently asked questions about the University of San Diego to help students decide if an MSN is the right educational choice.
  • Associate Degree to Master’s Program: A flexible program for students who are trying to obtain their MSNs while working at the same time. 

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New graduates celebrate with their families at their nursing commencement ceremony.