Direct Entry MSN for Non-Nurses

Our Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing program for non-nurses leverages your previous bachelor’s degree to fast-track your master’s in nursing education. This 19- to 21-month second-degree accelerated nursing program provides the academic foundation and clinical skills required to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam through a blend of advanced nursing coursework, hands-on labs and clinical experience.

To be eligible for our competitive nursing program, you must have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, complete any necessary prerequisites and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in your conferred baccalaureate degree.

How the Accelerated MSN Program Works

During the full-time, 5-semester program, you will complete a rigorous blend of online and on-site curriculum—all framed within the context of Catholic, Jesuit values.

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While you can expect to devote a lot of time and energy to the program, you’ll never feel like you’re on your own. Our faculty and staff are readily available to help you keep up the pace every step of the way.

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“I feel like I have more contact with my professors than I did in my undergraduate,” says Tristan, a Direct Entry MSN student. “They go out of their way to help you and make sure you learn. They do not want to see you fail.”

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Our Blended Learning Model

  1. Nursing theory courses designed to accommodate diverse learning styles to help you to learn advanced nursing concepts. These courses can be completed either online through our Pleasant Prairie-based program or on-campus through our Milwaukee-based program.
  2. On-site skills and simulation labs let you hone your nursing skills in a safe, mock clinical setting. Students attend in-person labs at our Pleasant Prairie, WI learning site or Center for Clinical Simulation in Milwaukee.
  3. Clinical rotations provide real-world experience in diverse settings. They occur at top healthcare facilities in metro-Milwaukee, southern Wisconsin, and northern Illinois.

Taking the NCLEX-RN

Passing your licensure exam is the last step in becoming a registered nurse. With a combined 93% pass rate of first-time and repeat testers in 2021 across all its MSN programs, Marquette University takes great pride in preparing our students to sit for the NCLEX-RN. To be eligible to take the NCLEX, you must first apply for licensure with the board of nursing or regulatory body in the state in which you intend to practice. After applying, you will need to register to take the NCLEX. Once you receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) number from Pearson VUE, you can then schedule a testing time.

Because Wisconsin is a member of the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), you will have the option to apply for a multistate license. This means that if you are a resident of Wisconsin, upon passing the NCLEX-RN and receiving licensure, you could be licensed to practice in 39 states (as of April 18, 2022).

Post-Master’s Advancement

One of the best reasons to pursue an MSN is the opportunity for career growth. After graduating from our Direct Entry MSN program and earning RN licensure, you can pursue an advanced nursing certificate through Marquette University. Our post-degree certification includes options for the following roles:

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nurse Midwife


Who is this program for?

We developed the Direct Entry MSN program to make it possible for non-BSN holders to obtain their MSN. In fact, you must come from a non-nursing background to be eligible for the program. You will not earn a BSN but you will have a master’s degree in nursing upon your successful completion of the 19- to 21-month program. If you maintain a 3.0 GPA while in the program, we certify that you are academically eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam after graduation.

Can I work while in the program?

We recommend not working during the pre-licensure phase of the program. If you must work, it’s best to discuss your options with an admissions adviser because the accelerated nature of the program requires a lot of time and energy to keep pace.

Am I too old to earn a nursing degree?

Age is never a criterion for admission. You are never too old to pursue your dream career. In fact, because this is a second-degree program, many of our students have spent years in another profession or pursuing other goals, which means the age range for our cohorts often varies. Besides, age is only a number—everyone in the program has the same goal as you, to become a masters-prepared nurse!

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Contact us for the complete details on our Direct Entry MSN program.