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The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) prepares students to focus their practice on the identified health needs of society, become leaders in their field through scholarship, influence the quality of patient care, manage technology and information, gain autonomy in their careers, and develop a lifelong commitment to learning. The MSN program offers a range of specializations in the most critical areas of nursing today.
Note: The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is offered in two different learning modalities: the course-based modality and the competency-based modality, Tempo Learning®.
MSN Learning Outcomes
At the end of this program, students will be able to:
- Synthesize organizational/systems leadership for cost-effective specialist nursing practice that contributes to high-quality healthcare delivery, advancement of the nursing profession, and social change.
- Critique evidence-based literature drawing from diverse theoretical perspectives and pertinent research to guide decision making that demonstrates best practices for specialist nursing practice in a global society.
- Integratively assess, diagnose, plan, implement, and evaluate cost-effective healthcare strategies that reduce health disparities by patient/population advocacy for access to specialist nursing care.
- Demonstrate ability to effectively communicate using audience-specific oral, written, and information technology for professional delivery of specialist nursing care.
- Evaluate health needs of diverse populations for necessary teaching/coaching functions based on specialist nursing knowledge to restore/promote health and prevent illness/injury.
- Exhibit ongoing commitment to professional development and value of nursing theories/ethical principles (altruism, autonomy, human dignity, integrity, social justice) in accordance with ethically responsible, legally accountable, specialist nursing practice.
- Implement specialist nursing roles to promote quality improvement of patient-centered care in accordance with professional practice standards that transform health outcomes for diverse populations.
In addition to the course-based option described below, students can choose to earn their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) through the competency-based education modality. Upon successful completion of program requirements, students will earn the same Walden degree in either modality. See the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) (Competency Based) page for program details.
Please note: All specializations require a practicum experience or experiences.
The College of Nursing recommends completing one clinical course at a time because of the number of required hours that need to be completed during one 11-week quarter. All Nurse Practitioner specialization courses require satisfactory completion of prerequisite courses prior to beginning the practicum component (i.e., Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Pharmacology, and Advanced Pathophysiology).
- BSN Track: 53 or 63 quarter credits; RN Track: 79 or 84 quarter credits (depending on specialization)
- Foundation course (3 cr.)
- Professional Development Plan and program of study
- Core courses (20 cr.)
- Specialization courses (30 or 40 cr., depending on specialization)
- Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Pathophysiology, and Advanced Pharmacology are prerequisites for the Nurse Practitioner practicum component.
- Portfolio (excludes Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specializations)
The MSN program has two admission tracks for registered nurses:
- BSN Track: This track is for students with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
- RN Track: This track is for students with an associate’s degree in nursing or a diploma in nursing that prepares for licensure in registered nursing. RN-MSN applications will not be accepted without a nursing degree conferred.
BSN Track: BSN graduates enter the MSN program at the core course level.
RN Track: Students complete 26 quarter credits of undergraduate-level foundational courses before starting the MSN core courses. The foundational courses contain the essential content and learning activities to prepare students for the core courses but are not equivalent to the degree requirements of a BSN program.
BSN and RN Tracks: All students complete the same MSN core and specialization curriculum. The four core courses provide students with graduate-level knowledge in areas of theory, research, diversity, legality/ethics, and healthcare systems. The specialization courses build on the core courses and offer students direction and guidance for influencing nursing practice in selected areas. A portfolio based on the specific outcomes of the program must be submitted and approved before the degree is granted. (Portfolio required for Nursing Education, Leadership and Management, Nursing Informatics, and Public Health Nursing specializations only).
Foundational and Core Curricula
BSN Track Only: Foundation Course (3 cr.)
RN Track Only: Foundation Courses (29 cr.)
BSN and RN Tracks: Core Courses (20 cr.)*
General Education Courses Available
Courses are available at Walden for those RN students who have not completed the required prerequisite undergraduate credits of general education courses.
Note: Students must earn a “C” or better in each course and maintain a GPA of 3.0.
|Communication (including one college composition course)
|Mathematics and Science (including microbiology and anatomy and physiology)
Communication (2 courses)
Arts & Humanities (2 courses)
Social/Behavioral Sciences (2 courses)
BSN Track students undertake courses in the following sequence.
RN Track students undertake courses in the following sequence.
*General Education courses are available at Walden for those students who have not completed the minimum undergraduate credits of general education courses required for admission to the master’s program.
The Baccalaureate Degree Program in Nursing (BSN), Master’s Degree Program in Nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (https://www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE). Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is an autonomous accrediting agency, contributing to the improvement of the public’s health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.
Note on Certification
The MSN nurse practitioner specializations are designed to prepare graduates to qualify to sit for national nurse practitioner certification exams, which are required for practice as a nurse practitioner in most states. Because no graduate program can guarantee that graduates will be permitted to practice as a nurse practitioner upon graduation, we encourage students to consult the appropriate Board of Nursing or state agency to determine specific certification exam requirements. Walden enrollment specialists can provide information relating to national certification exams; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to national certification exams for the state in which he or she resides, as requirements vary widely. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain national certification. For more information about nurse practitioner certification exams, students should visit the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) at https://www.aanp.org/education/aanp-certification-program, American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) at www.nursecredentialing.org, or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) at APRNcert@aacn.org.
Note on Licensure
The MSN nurse practitioner specializations are designed to prepare graduates with an active registered nurse (RN) license to practice as nurse practitioners. However, each state Board of Nursing has its own academic and certification requirements and issues its own credential for an RN to be permitted to practice as a nurse practitioner in that state. Because no graduate program can guarantee that graduates will be permitted to practice as a nurse practitioner upon graduation, we encourage students to consult the appropriate Board of Nursing or state agency in the state in which he or she resides to determine specific requirements. Additionally, prospective students are advised if they choose to relocate to carefully review, evaluate, and understand the requirements of the applicable licensure board in the state in which they intend to relocate. Walden enrollment specialistscan provide guidance relating to the state-by-state requirements for practice as a nurse practitioner; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to the practice as a nurse practitioner in the state in which he or she resides, as requirements vary widely. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure, authorization, endorsement, or other state credential. For more information about the requirements to practice as a nurse practitioner, students should contact the appropriate Board of Nursing or state agency.
Prospective Alabama students: State approval of a program to offer Alabama licensed nurses’ opportunities for advanced degrees does not indicate eligibility for approval to practice as an advanced nurse in Alabama. Applications for approval in Alabama are required to meet the Alabama requirements for national certification, graduation from a specific-type program for the advanced practice approval, and completion of the appropriate application. Any program offering a pre-licensure track to Alabama students shall meet the requirements of the Alabama regulations for pre-licensure programs or the graduates may not be eligible to take the national licensure examination required by the Alabama Board of Nursing to enter the practice. www.abn.alabama.gov
Prospective Washington students: Walden University is approved by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission to provide practice experiences in Washington State for a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, Leadership and Management, Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, as well as the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. For more information, go to the following website: https://www.doh.wa.gov/LicensesPermitsandCertificates/NursingCommission/NursingEducation/NursingPrograms.
Note on Field Experience and Relocating
Students who are considering relocating are advised to contact their student success advisor prior to any decision to relocate in order to determine how relocation may impact progress in their program. Advisors can provide information and guidance on how relocating may result in possible changes, restrictions, and/or additional requirements affecting field experience. Each Board of Nursing and Higher Education Authority governs the field experience rules and regulations in their respective states, and students may be unable to complete field experience in the state in which they plan to relocate. While Walden is committed to working collaboratively with students to secure field sites across the United States, it is imperative that students contact their student success advisor immediately when considering relocating.