Frequently Asked Questions about the Direct Entry MSN Program

If you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of information surrounding our Direct Entry MSN program. Therefore, we thought it might be helpful to provide the answers to our most frequently asked questions right here.

1. What is the minimum cumulative GPA required?

Interested students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in their conferred non-nursing Baccalaureate Degree. If you meet these requirements, you will then need to successfully complete a series of prerequisite courses before you can enter the program.

2. How many program starts are available each year?

Our Direct Entry MSN program offers three start dates per year, in January, May and August.

3. Can I earn a master’s degree in nursing without a BSN?

Yes, we developed the Direct Entry MSN program to make it possible. In fact, you have to come from a non-nursing background to be eligible for the program.

4. Do I earn a BSN while in the program?

No, you will have a master’s degree in nursing upon your successful completion of the 18-21 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.

5. How many days a week will I have to go to the online-based program site?

There will be stretches of the program where you will need to come to our site in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, 2 to 3 days per week to take proctored exams and participate in labs.

6. How many days a week do students go to the campus-based program site?

There may be times during the Milwaukee, WI program where students will need to plan to be at the program site for 4-5 days per week for lectures, labs, and exams.

7. How many clinical rotations hours can I expect to complete?

The first round of clinical rotations begin during the first semester of the program. You should expect to complete at least 700 in-patient clinical practice hours and at least 170 hours of on-campus lab and simulation practice.

8. How do I get started on the application process?

The first step is to speak with an admissions adviser to confirm your program eligibility.

9. What do my GRE scores need to be?

The GRE is not required to apply to the program. However, if you feel that your GRE scores would strengthen your application, you can submit them and we will include that information in the application review.

10. How can I make my application more competitive?

While you can’t go back and improve your academic history, you can control how well you do in the prerequisite courses and how well you put together your application package. We require applicants to submit a series of supplementary admissions materials—a resume, three letters of recommendation, and an admissions statement—as part of the application process. These materials help give us a sense of your character, motivation, and passion for the nursing profession. Be sure to ask your adviser for assistance; he or she will be more than happy to help you optimize your application package.

11. What if I miss the application deadline by one day?

We do not review any application that is not complete by the specified deadline, with the exception of any prerequisite courses you are in the process of completing.

12. Do Pleasant Prairie student I have access to the main campus resources?

You have access to many of the resources available to students on the main Milwaukee campus, such as the library and career services. The Pleasant Prairie location has its own simulation center and classrooms.

13. 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.

14. Am I too old to earn a degree in nursing?

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!

15. What are the benefits of having a master’s degree in nursing?

By earning a master’s degree in nursing, you open yourself up for better upward mobility and higher earning potential when compared with a BSN holder. You can also specialize in an advanced field of nursing, such as adult acute care, pediatric primary care or clinical nurse leadership, by completing one of our certificate programs.

16. Can I pursue an advanced nursing role after the program?

As a graduate of our program, you will be prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam and work in a variety of areas such as hospital, outpatient clinic/office, and community settings. Keep in mind, because you’re new to the nursing profession, your first job after graduation will most likely be at the entry-level. However, your MSN degree holds the key to future upward mobility in areas such as nurse management, education, and administration—which would not be possible with a BSN degree. Continued education in a post-master’s certificate option is required to work as an advanced practice nurse (APRN), such as a nurse practitioner.

17. What is the NCLEX?

The NLCEX is the licensure exam that students must pass in order to become a registered nurse. NCLEX pass rates indicate the percentage of students in specific programs that pass the licensure exam. In 2020, Marquette University had a combined overall NCLEX-RN pass rate of 99.66%.

18. Does Marquette offer an on-campus option for the DE MSN?

Yes. The Direct Entry MSN program has three starts per year in January, May, and August. The May start enrolls in our campus-based program in Milwaukee, whereas the January and August starts enroll for our online-based program in Pleasant Prairie, WI.

19. Is there a time limit on prerequisite courses?

Statistics must be completed within five years of program start. It is preferred that anatomy and physiology be completed within the past five years. If your prerequisites are older, you may wish to refresh your learning in these areas. You are encouraged to contact the Direct Entry MSN Graduate Program Advisor with your questions about the suitability of a course.

20. I’m not done with my prerequisites. Can I still apply?

Yes. You may take prerequisite courses and/or be in the process of completing a degree when you apply. To strengthen your application, please have your instructor email our Graduate Program Coordinator with the final fall semester grade as soon as it is available.

You will still be required to submit an official transcript reflecting the completed prerequisite and any other outstanding requirements as soon as it is available. To provide your strongest application, it is recommended that all but one or two of your prerequisites be completed by the application deadline. In all cases, all courses leading to your degree or the completion of your prerequisite requirements must be successfully completed by the time the program begins.

21. Is it better to apply before the application deadline?

We review completed and qualified applications on a rolling basis until the application deadline. The sooner your completed application is submitted, the sooner your application can be reviewed. All qualified applicants who submit a complete application by the deadline will be considered for acceptance.

22. How long will this program take to complete?

The Direct Entry MSN program is 5 semesters long. Depending on your start date, and therefore when breaks occur during the course of the curriculum, this could mean that program will be between 18 to 21 calendar months.

At the completion of the Direct Entry MSN program, you will graduate with a master’s degree in nursing. During your final semester, if interested, you will be eligible to apply to a post-master’s program. If you are accepted, there may be requirements regarding RN licensure and practice as a registered nurse before students can enroll in post-master’s clinical practicum courses. The length of time required to complete a post-master’s certificate is dependent on the option selected and whether you enroll as a full or part time student.

23. My GPA does not reflect my true abilities. Would you take this into consideration?

While we do require a 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA for consideration, if you feel that a unique, short-term situation may be a problem for your candidacy, please bring this to our attention. You may wish to include a brief statement explaining the situation and asking us to take note of a special circumstance. For example, an applicant could ask us to look at each semester’s GPA, where we would see outstanding performance except for one semester, when a special problem occurred.

24. How much does this program cost?

This program is a cohort model and with that comes a cohort-based tuition. Students are expected to complete the program in the designated 5-semester sequence. In this case, our students are offered a flat program fee, a portion of which is due at the beginning of each of the 5 semesters. This tuition does not include costs associated with housing, transportation, supplies, or other requirements. Reach out to your Direct Entry MSN Graduate Program Advisor for more details.

25. Is financial aid available for this program?

Please contact Marquette Central at (414) 288-4000 with any financial aid questions. We recommend discussing private outside scholarships, Federal Financial Aid, and graduate student loan eligibility.

Contact us to learn more about earning your second-degree master’s of science in nursing.

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