Step One: Your Accelerated MSN Prerequisites

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Marquette University’s Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing (Direct Entry MSN) program can be completed in 18-21 months, but first you may need to complete some or all of the accelerated MSN prerequisites. While the Direct Entry MSN program leverages your non-nursing bachelor’s degree so you can earn your master’s in nursing faster, there may be some courses your first degree didn’t cover that you’ll need before you can begin your nursing school journey.

Why Do I Have to Take Prerequisites?

Marquette’s accelerated msn prerequisites consist of science courses that help provide you with the foundations you need before beginning your nursing school journey through the Direct Entry MSN program. How many you have to successfully complete depends on your previous academic history, specifically within the past five years. For example, if you have a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, you will probably have less prerequisites to take than someone with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, because your education has more of a science background.

Either way, many nursing students are actually thankful they have to take prerequisites, especially if it’s been a few years since you have been in school. Marlyn Paniagua, a second semester student in Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, says she was grateful she had to take all of the accelerated MSN prerequisites for the program since her previous degree was in business.

What Prerequisites Courses Do I Need to Complete?

In order to qualify to apply for Marquette University’s Direct Entry MSN program, you must complete the following prerequisite courses with a grade of “C” or above:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology or Microbiology
  • Nutrition for Health Sciences
  • Behavioral Sciences: Psychology or Sociology
  • Statistics, including inferential analysis

These all have to be taken within the past five years, so if you have already taken one or more of these courses in that timeframe for your previous degree, you may have less to take to get started.

How Do These Accelerated MSN Prerequisite Courses Help Prepare Me for Nursing School?

Like Marlyn stated above, these prerequisite courses help lay the educational foundation you will need to understand and complete the nursing curriculum in the Direct Entry MSN program. Each course specifically helps prepare you to succeed as a nursing student and, ultimately, as a registered nurse.

Human Anatomy and Physiology

It’s a bit obvious why you would need to take this prerequisite, but what you may not realize is that this course helps many students, like you, figure out if nursing is the right profession for you.

Nursing students need to know Anatomy and Physiology because you must understand how the body works in order to care for patients and keep their bodies in balance. In this course, you’ll learn the structure and function of the body. The knowledge you gain from this course will help you assess, monitor and report the conditions you find in your patients – which is useful during simulation labs, clinical rotations, and ultimately, your job as a registered nurse.

Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology or Microbiology

A good foundation in Biology and/or Chemistry is key for any nursing student. For instance, Chemistry or Biochemistry applies what you learn in physiology so you can learn more about the chemical activity that takes place within the human body. This is important so you understand how the human system reacts to drugs.

A biology prerequisite course will introduce you to the foundations of life from cells, to the five kingdoms of life, to evolution and genetics. Or you can take a microbiology where you’ll focus more on microorganisms and their interaction with patients, how they cause disease, how they mutate, and how they are transmitted between patients.

Nutrition for Health Sciences

Many nursing students wonder why they need a course in nutrition, but this is important to know since a patient’s body function depends on the food and nutrition he or she ingests. Medical conditions can occur when a patient is not eating correctly, so it’s important for nursing students to have a basic knowledge of the foods that help keep their patients’ bodies healthy and strong.

For George Vanags, a first semester student in Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program, nutrition was the only prerequisite course he had to take before applying.

Behavioral Sciences: Psychology or Sociology

Marquette nursing students learn more than just how to treat a patient’s body, but also their mind and spirit.

Psychology and Sociology allow you to understand the mental health of patients and human interactions, which is a huge part of what you’ll be doing as a registered nurse. You are the social agent not just for the patient, but also their family members.


Statistics has played a role in nursing since the days of Florence Nightingale. She used statistics not only to improve health but to also gain public support. Now nurses use statistics to be able to translate medical research. Statistics also helps nurses determine a treatment plan for patients and find patterns in a patient’s symptoms.

Where Do I Begin?

Odds are that you are looking into an accelerated MSN program, like Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program, because you want to start your nursing education quickly. While prerequisites may make your journey a little longer, they play an essential part in preparing you for the rigorous work required in the program.

Marquette University wants to help make sure you are successful as a student and a future nurse. So if you are ready to take the first step towards becoming a master’s-educated nurse, Marquette is ready to talk to you about what prerequisites, if any, you will have to complete before beginning the 18-21 month Direct Entry MSN program in Pleasant Prairie. Give us a call.