BSN to MSN Online Degree Programs Guide

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs incorporate the best of both degrees. They allow BSN graduates to complete an MSN, focusing on the specializations that suit them—all in about two years. Nurses with an MSN can pursue a variety of jobs in the nursing world, including leadership roles.

While BSN qualifications are increasingly prized in a profession that’s getting more sophisticated every year, many are looking to sharpen their talents even further. More focused than BSNs, MSN degrees may provide nurses the chance to specialize across a number of healthcare fields.

Sponsored Online Nursing Programs

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Earn a Master of Science in Nursing online from Simmons University.

  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Preparation to pursue certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Part-time, full-time, and extended plans of study

Earn an MS in Nursing online from Georgetown University.

  • Earn your MS in Nursing in as few as 23 months
  • Choose from one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP, or WHNP
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience in evidence-based practice

Earn an M.S. in Nursing online at the Wegmans School of Nursing

  • The Wegmans School of Nursing is ranked among the top 100 nursing schools nationally, and is No. 6 in New York state1
  • Part-time and accelerated tracks available
  • Four program options: PCFNP, PMHNP, AGACNP, AGPCNP

Earn your MSN online from USC’s Top-Ranked School of Social Work.

  • Prepares RNs to pursue board certification as family nurse practitioners
  • Earn a CCNE-accredited MSN in as few as 21 months
  • Choose from part-time and full-time study options

1 U.S. News & World Report, 2022 Best Nursing Schools: Master’s. Ranked in 2021.

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Online BSN to MSN Programs

Online BSN to MSN programs are offered in part-time and full-time formats which may be a viable option if you’ve just graduated with a BSN degree or if you’re an active professional who would like to keep working as you learn. 

From nursing education to family nursing, the breadth of BSN to MSN courses is rich and varied offering you the opportunity to specialize. Here are some universities offering online BSN to MSN degrees:

UniversityLocationType of Degree Programs
Augusta UniversityAugusta, GAClinical Nurse Leader
Brookline CollegePhoenix, AZNurse Administrator
Nurse Educator
Franklin UniversityColumbus, OHNurse Administrator
Family Nurse Practitioner
Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VANurse Administrator
Nurse Educator
Nursing Informatics
Samford UniversityBirmingham, ALFamily Nurse Practitioner
Family Nurse Practitioner with Emergency Specialty
Family and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NCHealth Care Leadership and Administration
Walden UniversityMinneapolis, MNFamily Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Executive
Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Western Governors UniversitySalt Lake City, UTLeadership and Management
Nurse Educator
Nursing Informatics 
Xavier UniversityCincinnati, OH Forensic Nursing
Nurse Educator

Related Nursing Programs

A BSN to MSN is a great option for those who want to take on an advanced position in the field. An online program is often more convenient, especially for working professionals. There are also many other types of online nursing degrees to choose from; most of these can also be found online. Consider these related nursing programs:


Learn more about BSN to MSN programs below:

What is a BSN to MSN?

A BSN to MSN program allows nurses who have already completed a BSN to transition onto an MSN, so the curriculum builds on a student’s existing nursing knowledge. A BSN to MSN program may help you hone your teamwork or leadership skills, sharpen patient outcomes at your workplace, or bolster your marketability as a nurse practitioner or other advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

What can I do with a BSN to MSN?

After earning your MSN via BSN to MSN program, you may be able to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) such as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse leader, family nurse practitioner and more. Requirements for APRN licensure will vary by state, so be sure to check with your state of licensure for more information.

BSN to MSN training may also be a stepping stone to a Ph.D., doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) or a career in teaching. Where you end up largely depends on your nursing career ambitions.

Should I pursue a BSN to MSN?

Designed with your existing BSN qualifications in mind, BSN to MSN programs are built to help you jump past basic material and dive right into more sophisticated learning. Many BSN to MSN programs allow you to work at your own pace from home, with professors available to help remotely. This allows you to structure your life around your education—and if you’re working in a hospital or clinic, you may even pass on new insights to patients as you learn. 

Earning advanced educational qualifications, namely an MSN, may lead to higher pay. Earning a MSN degree, as mentioned, may prepare you for a career as a nurse practitioner or other APRN career. Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners earn a median annual salary of $115,800 as of May 2019, according to the BLS.

What are the requirements to be admitted?

As the name implies, getting into a BSN to MSN degree program typically requires you to have completed a BSN program first, often with a GPA of 3.0. You may also need an active (RN) license. Apart from that, the specifics vary by institution, but many universities will expect candidates to submit a personal statement, two references, and previous transcripts. Some courses may require particular professional qualifications or evidence of work experience in a certain field.

What will I learn?

Because they vary so much by institution, it’s hard to say exactly what you’ll learn in an online BSN to MSN degree. That said, because you’ll likely have already finished a BSN, MSN courses will be more specialized and will likely proceed at a faster pace. And because they usually revolve around higher-level care, they’ll often contain fewer direct medical skills than BSN courses. Put another way, you might find yourself working on leadership or informatics rather than how to change a bandage or give injections.

Apart from exploring what courses different institutions offer, you should also investigate how they organize their teaching. Some will go for synchronous instruction, meaning students and teachers will meet for video lectures and seminars at prearranged times. If you prefer more of a traditional classroom atmosphere while studying, this method might cater to that. 

On the other hand, asynchronous instruction means that materials will be put online for students to work through in their own time. If you value flexibility and can’t commit to logging in at particular times, this style may be suitable for you. Be aware that some MSN programs may combine synchronous and asynchronous teaching. 

BSN to MSN Program Accreditation

Accreditation is crucial across medical education and MSNs are no different. There are two main national agencies to look out for. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is a national agency dedicated to the quality of MSN programs. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) works to improve nursing education by accrediting degrees that reach their standards. 

Accreditation is important for a number of reasons. If your institution isn’t accredited, you may not be eligible for federal financial aid. And even if it is accredited regionally, you might be unable to transfer credit to another university across the country. After you graduate, moreover, prospective employers might check that your BSN to MSN program was accredited, regionally and nationally. 

FAQs

Apart from BSN to MSN programs, many universities also offer training—guiding students all the way from an RN to an MSN qualification. Here’s a list of frequently asked questions with brief answers. 

Is an RN to BSN worth it?

The answer to this question depends on your career goals. If you’ve already achieved RN status, earning a BSN may offer more career options and insight into the field. The reasons for this are clear: BSN programs go beyond the clinical aspects of nursing, arming students with a solid knowledge of patient safety and improved outcomes, healthcare systems, and technology integration, among others. 

Because they’re able to take on more complex roles, BSN graduates may earn higher salaries, though this depends on the job and location. From there, BSN graduates can always pursue further study by taking an MSN.  

How long is an RN to BSN program? 

RN to BSN programs typically last between one and two years for full-time students. Part-time study may take double that time. This is similar to the length of other bridge programs—BSN to MSN courses take between 15 and 24 months to complete full-time. 

What is the cost of an RN to BSN program?

The cost of RN to BSN programs varies by institution. There is plenty of financial aid available to qualifying students. One state-run option is the Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students. The Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program is another. Specific institutions offer their own packages of financial aid too, but to be eligible most require you to file for federal financial aid by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. 

What is the difference between an RN to MSN and BSN to MSN?

RN to MSN programs generally involve more foundational learning than BSN to MSN programs. Because BSN to MSN candidates are already RNs and may even have years of work in the profession, their programs may skip past the basics of a BSN curriculum.  

Information on this page was retrieved in June 2020.