RN to MSN Curriculum & Admissions

Earn your MSN 100% Online

Our Online Master of Science in Nursing Clinical Systems Leadership program is designed to strengthen your patient care and leadership abilities. You'll expand your expertise and understanding of emerging interventions and technologies, as well as the inner workings of care systems across a spectrum of health environments. Nurses are the public's most trusted professionals. Trust us to share with you a powerful MSN program that can begin to change your life in as few as 15 months. 

ADN & BSN Tracks

The online MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership program offers two tracks:

  • An ADN track for students who hold an associate degree in nursing.
  • A BSN track for students who hold a bachelor of science in nursing degree.

Our application process is the same for both tracks, but the ADN track includes three additional courses to address material typically covered in a BSN undergraduate program.

NURS 520 - Foundations of Systems Leadership

  • Using a systems perspective, you will explore basic concepts related to the health care system, professional knowledge, and quality and safety.

NURS 521 - Evidence-Based Practice Improvement

  • You will analyze and apply evidence for selected areas of clinical practice to facilitate optimal patient outcomes and use evidence to develop, validate and endorse strategies for system-wide practice improvements.

NURS 540 - Health Promotion and Risk Reduction

  • At the individual and interpersonal level of care, you will explore the concepts of health promotion and risk reduction and examine evidence-based strategies that acknowledge patient-centered values and beliefs optimizing health/wellness.

NURS 541 - Population Health

  • For vulnerable (including cross-cultural) populations and communities, you will apply concepts related to the assessments, surveillance and interventions for risk reduction, disease prevention and health promotion. 

NURS 543 - Health Information and Patient Care Technologies

  • You will evaluate and apply emerging health care technologies, such as point of care clinical support, telehealth/medicine and electronic documentation, in support of patient-provider communication, interprofessional practice and coordinated patient care delivery.

NURS 545 - Healthcare Environments and Care Coordination

  • You will examine health policy and regulation, health economics and advocacy, and apply advocacy strategies for transitioning ‘at-risk’ individuals across the health care continuum.

NURS 640 - Healthcare Business Dynamics

  • You will apply business concepts and principles consistent with patient-centered care across a variety of health care settings. Concepts include organizational structure and finance, budgeting, cost-benefit analysis, marketing, resource allocation, innovation and entrepreneurship.

NURS 641 - Leadership for Patient-Centered Care

  • You will explore the principles of shared leadership, team dynamics and interprofessional practice as the foundation of patient-centered care with emphasis on mediation, negotiation, conflict resolution, collaboration and consultation. 

NURS 653 - Healing Enviornments and Practices

  • You will examine evidence-based integrative approaches that support structural and human care processes and evaluate models of optimal healing environments that promote personal and organizational health/wellness.

NURS 654 - Quality and Safety Management

  • You will examine concepts related to the quality and safety improvement process and management strategies that ensure patient safety and quality outcomes, including continuous quality improvement processes and program planning, implementation and evaluation.

NURS 660 - Clinical Systems Leadership Immersion

  • During your 16-week Clinical Systems Leadership Immersion, you will work with a faculty mentor of your choosing to develop a comprehensive care management plan for a chronic care population utilizing patient-centered leadership concepts.

NURS 521 - Evidence-Based Practice Improvement

  • You will analyze and apply evidence for selected areas of clinical practice to facilitate optimal patient outcomes and use evidence to develop, validate and endorse strategies for system-wide practice improvements.

NURS 540 - Health Promotion and Risk Reduction

  • At the individual and interpersonal level of care, you will explore the concepts of health promotion and risk reduction and examine evidence-based strategies that acknowledge patient-centered values and beliefs optimizing health/wellness.

NURS 543 - Health Information and Patient Care Technologies

  • You will evaluate and apply emerging health care technologies, such as point of care clinical support, telehealth/medicine and electronic documentation, in support of patient-provider communication, interprofessional practice and coordinated patient care delivery.

NURS 545 - Healthcare Environments and Care Coordination

  • You will examine health policy and regulation, health economics and advocacy, and apply advocacy strategies for transitioning ‘at-risk’ individuals across the health care continuum.

NURS 640 - Healthcare Business Dynamics

  • You will apply business concepts and principles consistent with patient-centered care across a variety of health care settings. Concepts include organizational structure and finance, budgeting, cost-benefit analysis, marketing, resource allocation, innovation and entrepreneurship.

NURS 653 - Healing Enviornments and Practices

  • You will examine evidence-based integrative approaches that support structural and human care processes and evaluate models of optimal healing environments that promote personal and organizational health/wellness.

NURS 654 - Quality and Safety Management

  • You will examine concepts related to the quality and safety improvement process and management strategies that ensure patient safety and quality outcomes, including continuous quality improvement processes and program planning, implementation and evaluation.

NURS 660 - Clinical Systems Leadership Immersion

  • During your 16-week Clinical Systems Leadership Immersion, you will work with a faculty mentor of your choosing to develop a comprehensive care management plan for a chronic care population utilizing patient-centered leadership concepts.

RN License

  • A current RN license in the state where you now practice with no restriction, encumbrance, or probationary limitations imposed by the applicable Board of Nursing or any judicial entity associated with yourself, your license or your practice. The RN license must be current upon application and throughout the program. RN licenses that expire before classes begin must be updated before starting the program.

Statistics Requirement

  • To get started in the online MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership program, you'll need to have passed a 3-credit, college-level statistics course in the last 5 years. If you haven't, you'll add one to the start of your program. One option is our online NURS 502 course, Principles of Statistical Inference for Clinical Practice. If you do need to take a statistics course, ask us about all your options when you talk with one of our enrollment counselors.

Foundational Degree

  • All applicants must have an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited educational institution such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN, formerly the National League for Nursing), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or a national accrediting body for nursing programs in countries outside of the U.S. Degrees may be an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), an Associate of Applied Science-Nursing (ASN) or equivalent, or a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Past GPA

  • A 3.0 or higher GPA (based on a 4.0 scale), or equivalent, for your associate or bachelor’s degree based on one of the following:

    • The last 30 credits of your associate program (ADN-MSN track)
    • The last 60 credits of your bachelor's program (BSN-MSN track)

Work Experience

  • Within the last five years, the equivalent of one of the following:

    • Two full years of RN work experience (ADN-MSN track)
    • One full year of RN work experience (BSN-MSN track)

    Students who are practicing RNs in the US but who have an international nursing degree, should have the equivalent of two full years of RN work experience in the United States (50 states) within the last five years.

    RN work experience is defined as employment in a role that specifically requires a registered nurse. Nursing practice may be in clinical practice such as clinical nurse in acute care, ambulatory care, home health, case manager for an insurance company, clinic, or home health nurse; or in nursing administration, education, research, or consultation.

English Proficiency

  • Proof of English proficiency is required for any international applicant born in a country where English is not the official language. Visit the International Applicants page for additional information on this requirement, including exemption details and testing procedures.
  • Current RN license (a photocopy, screenshot, or PDF).
  • Unofficial transcripts from all colleges or universities attended (official transcripts will only be required if your application is recommended for review).*
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • A completed Work Verification Worksheet
*If you completed your initial nursing degree outside of the United States, the College of Nursing requires a transcript evaluation. Additionally, transcripts in a language other than English must be translated into English with GPA equivalencies. Transcripts will be reviewed for equivalency to either ADN or BSN programs based on U.S. standards for nursing programs. Frequently used transcript evaluation organizations are CGFNS, WES or similar services.