Iowa Master's Degree in Nursing

Get your Master's Degree in Nursing in Iowa - online & campus-based options.
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Check current course listings for campus-based and online MSN Programs available for Iowa students.

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

Iowa MSN Programs

Any nurse who wants to stay in nursing but pursue a different type of job may want to consider getting an MSN degree in Iowa. Many nurses end their training at the associate level because they know that is all they need to get a job. This may be true, but to work in the advanced levels of nursing, a nurse must have an advanced degree. Students are generally able to complete an MSN program within 2 years if they attend the program full-time.

Online vs. Traditional Programs

MSN programs all cost different amounts to attend, but certain schools are less expensive than others. In general, public schools are most affordable than private schools, and financial aid is often available to help pay for further education.

Traditional MSN programs are advantageous because they allow one to learn alongside fellow students in the classroom. This program format creates face-to-face contact between students and instructors. The downside to on-site MSN programs is that there is a limited number in Iowa and they require students to travel to campus at scheduled times.

Online MSN programs are offered by a broader range of colleges and universities. While students do not interact with instructors in person, the virtual environment is designed to simulate the classroom. The major advantage of these programs is that they offer a greater amount of convenience and flexibility.

Capella University offers one example of an accredited online MSN program. This school offers many specialties, including diabetes nursing, general nursing, gerontology nursing, nurse educator, and nursing leader and administration. MSN students must complete 56-57 credits, and most specialty tracks also include a clinical component of up to 500 hours.

South University's MSN program is also accredited. This program allows students to choose between Nurse Administration, Nurse Education, and Nursing Informatics. South University also offers an MSN Nurse Practitioner track, with the option to specialize in either Adult Health Care Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner. Students are required to complete 48-52 credits, and those on the Nurse Practitioner track must complete 62 credits.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements vary, but the following is common:

  • Application and fee
  • BSN from accredited program with a 2.7 GPA or higher (many schools require a minimum 3.0)
  • Official transcripts
  • Unencumbered RN license
  • Completion of undergraduate statistics course with "C" or better
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Essay or goal statement
  • Resume/CV


Tuition varies by program, and is subject to change. Program cost at South University is estimated to range from $40,470-$53,690, depending on the specialty track. Capella University's tuition can be estimated at $21,000-$21,375.

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Iowa Board of Nursing
RiverPoint Business Park
400 S.W. 8th Street
Suite B
Des Moines, IA 50309-4685
Phone: (515) 281-3255
Fax: (515) 281-4825

Iowa Nurses Association


Schools with MSN Programs Accepting Students in Iowa

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Iowa MSN Degree Prerequisites

Iowa nurses who continue their education and gain a Masters in Nursing (MSN) Degree are licensed by The Iowa Board of Nursing as either an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) or an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner(ARNP).

To enroll in a MSN degree program in Iowa, you must first become licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN). The most common Nursing Masters Degree curriculum in Iowa and across the US is the RN-MSN program. See our directory of Iowa RN to MSN programs

Those holding Iowa RN certification have most likely already earned their Bachelors in Science of Nursing (BSN) degree. This is typically a four year training program at a nationally accredited school of nursing.

Contact your school of choice to learn more about their specific MSN program prerequisites.

Iowa MSN Degree Areas of Specialization

In Iowa, there are typically four specific areas that MSN degree seeking students may choose to specialize in. These include:

  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

Check with the Iowa Board of Nursing to learn about the about the legal authority the state of Iowa grants Advanced Practice Nurses(APNs) and Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners(ARNPs)in each particular area of specialization.

Online MSN Degree Programs

In Iowa, online nursing degree programs are increasingly popular. This is mainly due to the convenience of nursing distance learning programs. As long as the online MSN program is nationally accredited, earning your MSN degree online is accepted and honored by the state of Iowa.

Iowa MSN Degree Resources

Here are a few examples of MSN degree programs in Iowa.

Find MSN Programs by State