Why Earn a Master’s in Nursing from Marquette

be all you can be in the nursing profession. earn a masters in nursing.

While our healthcare system is continuously evolving, never before have we seen the fast and furious changes a pandemic can bring. COVID-19 has shaken the very core of patient care in this country, creating a need for nurses like never before. So if you’ve ever thought about becoming a nurse, now is the time, and Marquette University is the place.  

Our second-degree Direct Entry MSN program makes it possible to earn a master’s in nursing in 18-21 months. It’s the smartest way to transition into the nursing profession. Think about it. Most accelerated BSN programs take 16 months to complete. If you spend a few more months in our program, you’ll be able to enter the nursing profession a degree ahead and benefit from better earning potential and career advancement in the future.

Our nursing students receive unique learning experiences grounded in Jesuit principles and pedagogy. All of our nursing programs, including the Direct Entry MSN program, focus on excellence, faith, leadership and service. Not to mention, our nationally renowned nursing faculty are helping to shape nursing education and nursing care across the profession.

As a Marquette nursing student, you’ll engage in high-quality teaching-learning experiences that will prepare you to “Be the Difference” for the individuals, families and communities you serve. You’ll also come to find that there’s just something special about being a Marquette Nurse. 

The Marquette Nurse embodies the following characteristics:

  • Cura personalis as a framework for nursing practice (care for the whole person).
  • Critical thinking and careful assessment of a situation to determine the best course of action. 
  • Advocating for others by helping those who need a voice or taking action toward a valued cause.
  • Leadership that provides direction, engages others and supports the progress of goals.
  • Social justice and the relentless pursuit of just cause, despite all obstacles.

When you complete our Direct Entry MSN program, you’ll graduate as someone who embraces Magis — someone who strives to be more and do more for others. You’ll also be able to use reflection as a way to understand others, discover relationships and search for the truth.

Direct Entry MSN Program Overview

Our full-time Direct Entry MSN program enables you to earn a master’s in nursing in less than two years. It does so by leveraging your non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Comprising 75 credit hours, the program follows a rigorous blend of nursing theory courses, hands-on labs and clinical rotations—all completed in tandem. Through this sequence, you’ll graduate prepared to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN®) with confidence and enter the profession as a practice-ready nurse.

Nursing Theory Courses

These core courses lay the foundation of your nursing education, covering subjects that include pharmacology, pathophysiology, healthcare advocacy, research and evidence, and informatics. Once you learn the fundamentals and theories of nursing practice, you’ll convert relevant knowledge into psychomotor skills during your hands-on labs.

two marquette students studying on their computers
Direct Entry MSN students completing nursing theory coursework. 

Nursing Skills and Simulation Labs

Under the guidance of faculty, you and others in your cohort will complete a series of nursing skills and simulation labs within a contextual, risk-free setting. Expect to learn how to apply core clinical skills such as checking vitals, catheterization and wound care. You’ll also develop your critical-thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills during realistic patient interventions that involve computerized patient simulators.   

a marquette student listening to a simulation manikin's heartbeat
Direct Entry MSN student in a nursing lab.

Types of Nursing Clinical Rotations

Clinical rotations, which begin in the first semester, provide relevant, real-world patient care experiences across the healthcare continuum. Our nursing clinicals offer a breadth of experiences at different facilities in different types of units, from oncology to ICU to orthopedics to med surg. Overall, you can expect to complete approximately 700 clinical practicum hours at various healthcare facilities throughout metro Milwaukee, southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

After graduating from our Direct Entry MSN program, you can further your education by pursuing a post-degree advanced nursing certificate in a specific practice area. While your MSN sets the foundation for your advanced nursing education, these certificates further hone your skills in your specialty of choice. We provide a wide variety of certificate options that include an acute care nurse practitioner certificate, a primary care nurse practitioner certificate and nurse-midwifery.

Direct Entry MSN Program Locations

We have two enrollment locations for our Direct Entry MSN program—one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the other in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. No matter which of these locations you choose, you’ll complete the same accredited curriculum taught by experienced, highly supportive instructors. Just note the slight differences between these two locations as described below.


By enrolling in our Milwaukee location, you’ll complete your coursework online and most of your lectures in the classroom. You’ll attend nursing skills and simulation labs on our main campus. Your clinical rotations will occur at healthcare facilities in metro Milwaukee, southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. This location offers one program start date a year (summer term).

Pleasant Prairie

By enrolling in our Pleasant Prairie location, you’ll complete both your coursework and lectures online. You’ll attend nursing skills and simulation labs at this off-campus location. Your clinical rotations will take place at healthcare facilities in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. This location offers two program start dates a year (fall and spring terms).

What Can You Do With an MSN?

There’s a lot you can do with an MSN. However, there’s a caveat that comes with graduating from a Direct Entry MSN program. Because you enter the program without any prior nursing experience, it’s important to understand that you’ll begin your nursing career at the entry-level.

Once you’ve spent some time in the field and earned your specialty certification, you’ll start to reap the rewards of an MSN. We offer several post-master’s certificate options that prepare you to sit for the national certification examination that corresponds with your chosen practice area.

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) Certificate

Whether you want to work in pediatrics or adult health, we have an ACNP certificate option that prepares you for this advanced-practice registered nurse role. Generally speaking, as an ACNP, you can diagnose and treat acute and chronic illness, which includes prescribing medication and focusing on disease prevention.

Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (NP) Certificate

Whether you want to work in pediatrics or adult health, we have an NP certificate option that prepares you for this advanced-practice registered nurse role. Generally speaking, as an NP, you can examine, diagnose, and treat patients, which includes prescribing medication. Individual state law determines if nurse practitioners can work independently of a physician.

Nurse Midwifery Certificate (CNM)

Our nurse midwifery certificate prepares you for this advanced-practice registered nurse role that provides a full range of primary healthcare services to women, from adolescence to beyond menopause. A CNM carries out the independent provision of primary care, gynecologic and family planning services, and patient care during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.

Nurse Educator

Serving as faculty members at nursing schools, teaching hospitals and the like, nurse educators prepare the next generation of nurses. These educators teach, advise and evaluate students in both the classroom and clinical setting. They also update the nursing curriculum, record the outcome of educational processes and write grant proposals. To become a nurse educator, you need a master’s in nursing, registered nurse licensure and nursing experience. Source: Johnson & Johnson

Nurse Executive

Nurse executives are the most senior nurses within a healthcare organization. They handle the administrative side of patient care and make decisions in support of company goals and objectives. They make tactical decisions daily and are visible members of the workforce. Nurse executives also have the responsibilities of hiring and training staff, resolving issues within an organization and collaborating with other health professionals. These executives work for hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies and consulting firms. To become a nurse executive, you need a master’s in nursing, registered nurse licensure and nursing experience. Source: Johnson & Johnson

Nurse Manager

Having both nursing skills and business savvy, nurse managers recruit, lead, guide and support nurses in hospitals and long-term care facilities. They also manage the budgets and finances concerning their staff. These managers work with doctors and other hospital staff to promote a safe working environment for all. To become a nurse manager, you need a master’s in nursing, registered nurse licensure and clinical management experience. Source: Johnson & Johnson  

Ready to Start Your Marquette Master’s in Nursing?

Now that you know what it means to be a Marquette Nurse and what you can do with an MSN, we recommend contacting our admissions team to see if our Direct Entry MSN in Milwaukee or Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, is a good fit for you. Just note you need a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to begin the admissions process. We also seek applicants who hold values that align with our university’s mission of promoting health, healing and social justice. So if you’re ready to be the difference in nursing, contact us today!