The Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) offers nurses further specialization in a specific field, allowing them to advance their careers. With a graduate degree, a nurse is well qualified to serve in a leadership role at a health-care facility or as a member of a university faculty.
The M.S.N. curriculum helps nurses hone their research, communication, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills. Students must take about forty credits beyond their undergraduate degree, depending on the program. In general, the M.S.N. requires students to complete a series of nursing courses, clinical work, and research. Many programs entail the writing and defense of a thesis, while others require a final project. Students’ program of study centers on their area of interest. The M.S.N. usually takes between eighteen and twenty-four months of full-time study to finish, but many institutions offer part-time options.
Nurses with a B.S.N. from an accredited institution need a satisfactory GPA, a current RN license, clinical experience, and GRE scores to enter most M.S.N. programs; specific requirements vary by school. The majority of M.S.N. students have a B.S.N., but some accelerated programs are available to RNs with a diploma or an associate degree in nursing.
An M.S.N. graduate can work as a clinical nurse specialist (CNS), a nurse midwife, a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), a nurse practitioner, or a nurse psychotherapist, among others. Some M.S.N. graduates act as specialists in areas that include management, community health, and geriatrics. The master’s degree also prepares students for further study at the doctoral level.