Nursing, Master of Science Degree

Please see the  Application Due Dates for the MSN Program Addendum for updated information.

The graduate program in nursing promotes foundational competencies that are core to advanced nursing practice in an ever-changing and globally reaching health care environment. Both academic, practicum and interpersonal preparation are characterized by increased depth in organizational and systems’ leadership within a culture of integrity and personal accountability in a community that values the dignity and contributions of our members. Standards of ethical behavior and decision-making are essential foundations of our graduate education programs, which guide individuals to distinguish ethical principles and understand the consequences and implications beyond personal and organizational self-interest. By pursuing more effective and innovative methodologies through which students utilize administrative expertise with the foresight to analyze problems, structure and facilitate development, and find and implement solutions, WCU graduates are prepared to make a positive impact on society.

The core courses and directed practicum offer expanded study in the health care areas of advocacy, program management, education, clinical practice, research, and health policy formulation. Graduates will be able to formulate an inspirational perspective of nursing, incorporating a wide range of theories from nursing and other sciences. The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing (AACN, 2011) provides a foundation for the theoretical and clinical emphasis of the MSN program.

Five MSN tracks are available:

  1. Generalist (MSN)
  2. Nurse Educator (MSN: Nurse Educator)
  3. Clinical Nurse Leader (MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader)
  4. Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner)
  5. Strategic Innovation Management (MSN: Strategic Innovation Management)

A 13 unit post-MSN Nurse Educator Certificate for the role of nurse educator is also available.

Semester credit totals from 36 - 53 are required to earn the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), depending on the track chosen by the student.

Full time enrollment in the Master’s program is 9 credits per semester. Part-time enrollment may be considered.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon graduation, MSN students will:

  1. Integrate the various sciences from nursing and such other fields as physiology, statistics, psychosocial, political, financial, genetics, public health and the organizations sciences in the continued improvement of nursing across the continuum of various health care settings.
  2. Provide leadership in a variety of settings that promote high quality safe patient care that also incorporates ethical decision making and effective working relationships across a variety of disciplines.
  3. Demonstrate the skills needed to effect quality improvement that incorporates the various models, standards and performance measures necessary to apply quality principles, within any type of organization.
  4. Apply evidenced based research in clinical practice by identifying actual or potential practice problems in a setting and resolving them through the role of change agent.
  5. Demonstrate proficiency in computer skills both technical and in the application of informatics to enhance, deliver, communicate and integrate and coordinate patient care.
  6. Recognize the need for and ability to affect policy changes by using the policy development process and advocacy strategies to influence health and health care.
  7. Communicate and coordinate with a variety of health professionals in a variety of settings to manage and coordinate care.
  8. Identify and integrate the various evidenced based practices of health promotion and disease prevention using client centered, culturally and age appropriate concepts in the nursing process of services to individuals, families and broad based aggregate populations.
  9. Demonstrate an advanced level of nursing and relevant sciences and the ability to integrate that knowledge into nursing practice that influences health care outcomes for individual, families, populations or systems.

Admission Requirements

Please see the MSN Admissions Requirements Addendum for updated information.

Applicants for the Master of Science in Nursing Program must:

  • Have a minimum of a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing or closely related field from an accredited institution for admission to the MSN curriculum.  Students with a Bachelor of Science degree in a field other than Nursing will be required to verify course work or experience in undergraduate research, leadership/management, and public/community health.  If course work is required, the student may be admitted, but must complete the following additional course requirements before starting MSN core courses: (Please see university’s policy Admission to Programs with Pre-Requisite Requirements)

Please Note: All transfer credit or course substitutions taken at previous institutions, must be approved by the campus Dean of Nursing. Enrollment in higher level courses prior to completion of these pre-requisite courses must be approved by the campus Dean of Nursing.

  • Have an unobstructed active license as a Registered Nurse (RN) in California or applicant’s state of residence, depending on location of preceptorship
  • Have a minimum of one year of full time experience as a registered nurse recommended
  • Satisfactorily complete statistics (MATH 210 or equivalent) in the past 5 years and before  NURS 540 Research Utilization,
  • Submit three satisfactory academic and professional recommendations (one from a professional in the MSN track of choice),
  • Submit a resume or Curriculum Vitae,
  • Complete an on-site essay,
  • Be recommended for admission following a personal interview with the campus Dean of Nursing or designees


  • Pass the HESI A2 at the 90% level,


  • have achieved eligible totals on the GRE as follows,

Old Scores

Updated Scores

Verbal Reasoning



Quantitative Reasoning



Eligible Totals




  • Have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the bachelor’s degree program;
  • Applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.7 to 2.99 may be considered for admission on probation, but must achieve a B (3.0) or better in the first 9 credits in the program to be removed from probation.
  • Students on probation who do not achieve a B or better in the first 9 credits will be dismissed from the program.

Graduate Nursing Transfer Credit Evaluation

Only courses in which a grade of B (3.0) or better has been received will be considered for transfer credit into the graduate program.   A student is limited to a maximum of six (6) transfer credits for graduate level (500 and 600 level) courses.

Please see the MSN Progression Requirements for additional information. 

Please see the MSN Admissions Requirements addendum for updated information.

Program Information and Disclosures

RN Licensure Disclosure

RNs who are not licensed in California, will be required to apply for a California RN license if their clinical practicum is to be completed in California. RNs wishing to complete their clinical practicum in their state of residence must identify a clinical site in their state of residence with which the university can execute a clinical affiliation agreement.  The RN license must be active and unobstructed.