Before applying to enter a Master of Science in Nursing program, prospective students should learn about the program’s MSN prerequisites. While it is possible for nurses to start a successful career with their BSN degree, having an MS degree in the field is considered mandatory for professionals who would like to work in advanced practice nursing. Experienced RNs who would like to pursue a leadership role or a specialized role will find themselves at a stalemate until they have earned their Master’s degree.
Researching MSN programs to choose only the most reputable options is the first step that prospective MSN students need to take to earn their degree. Not all programs are accredited and some of these accredited programs are much more respected than others. After finding a reputable school with flexible scheduling, students will need to apply and gain acceptance. Before applying, they will need to meet the following MSN prerequisites:
Completion of a BSN Program
The first, most common, and the most important prerequisite for any traditional MSN program would be that applicants must possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Completing undergraduate studies ensures that all students have passed core coursework that sets the foundation for the advanced topics that will be covered in the MSN curriculum.
Accreditation is Key
Possessing just any BSN degree isn’t enough for students to be guaranteed entry into a Master’s degree program. Since nursing requires a lot of technical and practical knowledge, all students must have completed their education at a school that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or another respected commission recognized by the state licensing board. Earning a degree from a school that has lost its accreditation could land students back in undergraduate school.
Every school sets their own prerequisite requirements. Some of these requirements are more stringent than others. Anyone who has their eye on a specific program should reference the course requirements before they complete their BSN to be sure they are choosing the right classes. Generally speaking, graduating from a BSN program would mean that the student would have completed the prerequisites for most MSN programs. Here are common completion requirements:
- Social Sciences
- Introductory Statistics
- General Psychology
- Human Anatomy
- Communications (at least 6 semester units)
The last thing on the list of prerequisites for an MSN program would be the student’s GPA. All students must have a minimum GPA to be considered for entry into nursing programs. While the minimum completion grade for each prerequisite class is a ‘C’ or better, the overall Grade Point Average requirement can vary. Most graduate schools with nursing programs will want to see students apply with no less than a 3.0 overall GPA.
Admission into the top-ranked nursing programs in graduate schools can be very competitive. Where the competition is higher, just barely meeting the prerequisite requirements isn’t enough for all students to get accepted into graduate school. Anyone who would like to go back to school for their advanced degree will need to consider acceptance rates and realistically assess their standing as an applicant so that they can successfully enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing program.