Frequently Asked Questions about Direct Entry M.S.N.

How long will this program take to complete?

This program is 18 months in length and requires full time study.  At the completion of required coursework, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX exam. You may apply for licensure in the state in which you wish to work. At the completion of the 18-month program, you will graduate with a master’s degree in nursing.  During the final semester of your 18-month program, 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.

How much does this program cost? Are costs different for out-of-state students?

There is a flat program fee, a portion of which is due at the beginning of each summer and semester. The program fee for the prior year's cohort may be found on the Graduate School website but is adjusted each year. If you apply and are accepted to a specialty option, you will be charged the per-credit graduate tuition rate in effect at the time you take a master's class. There is no cost difference for out-of-state residents.

What are my choices for entering at different times of year?

This program admits once a year only and begins mid-May. Our online-based Direct Entry M.S.N. program in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, which is an hour's drive from Chicago, has class starts in January and August.

After the 18 month of the Direct Entry program, will I have a bachelor’s degree in nursing (B.S.N.)?

No. The academic degree offered in this program is the M.S.N. At the end of the 18-months, if you have maintained a 3.0 GPA (4.0 scale), we certify that you are academically eligible to sit for the NCLEX exam. Passing the NCLEX allows you to put the credentials RN after your name. You may then begin practice as a registered nurse if you have applied for licensure in a specific state and have received a license from that state. Once you complete the M.S.N. degree, you may choose to stay in Wisconsin or move to another state.  If you move to another state, you will need to obtain an RN license to that state.

I see that there is an application deadline in December. If I apply earlier, do I have a better chance of getting accepted?

We review completed applications on a rolling basis until the December 15th 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 December deadline will be considered for acceptance.

Do you require a personal interview as part of the admission process?

No. However, if you wish to visit the campus, please complete the Graduate School visit request to schedule a campus tour and/or meeting with Academic Advisor Taylor Rose Pamperin.

I will have to take the GRE since I do not have a 3.2 GPA. What score are you looking for?

Ideally, we would like to see a combined score of at least 1,000 plus at least a 4.0 on the analytical writing component for the old GRE.  The revised GRE scores are reported on a 130-170 score scale in 1-point increments for both the verbal and quantitative reasoning.  The analytical writing scores are reported on a 0-6 score scale, in half-point increments.  For the revised GRE, We would like to see scores above 150, plus at least a 4.0 on the writing component.

The school where I earned my undergraduate degree does not give grades; instead I was evaluated on competencies. How will I be evaluated against other candidates who had a more traditional grading system?

You will have to provide additional supporting documentation:

  • Attempt to get a document from your school that explains equivalencies.
  • If the school does not provide equivalencies, the written documentation evaluating your competencies in each course must be sent to us.
  • Take the GRE.

I have downloaded recommendation forms from the Graduate School website. Are the forms sufficient references or should I also ask my references to write letters?

Applicants no longer download the Graduate School recommendation forms.

Can I apply online?

All applications to nursing graduate programs at Marquette must be completed and submitted online through NursingCAS.

How many spaces are there in this program? How many applicants do you have?

Our on-campus Direct Entry M.S.N. program in Milwaukee currently accepts up to 56 students annually, with the average number of applicants ranging between 100 and 200.

Our online-based Direct Entry M.S.N. program in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, currently accepts up to 24 students for both its January and August class starts. Because this program is new, we don’t have an average applicant count at this time.

Can I work while I am in this program?

We highly recommend that you do not work while you are in the program. The program is highly rigorous and requires you to be present during classes, labs and clinicals, which can be scheduled Monday through Sunday, 0700-2330. In addition, a flexible schedule will be required because you will also need to prepare for classes, clinicals and assignments. If you must work, please limit it to no more than 8-10 hours per week.

How much clinical experience will I have in this program? Where are the clinical agencies? How many students are in a clinical group?

You will complete semester-long integrated clinical experiences with chronically and acutely ill adults and/or children. Clinical experiences can occur off campus in acute and/or long-term care settings as well as in our Milwaukee campus Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Center for Simulation. Students receive hands-on learning and scenario-based training during these clinical experiences. The clinical agencies utilized by the Milwaukee campus program are located in the Milwaukee metropolitan area and in adjacent counties. The clinical agencies utilized by the online-based Direct Entry M.S.N. program are located in and around Pleasant Prairie, WI, which is within an hour’s drive from Chicago. By the end of the program, students complete the required number of clinical hours to prepare them for the NCLEX exam as well as the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) certification exam. Each clinical group has a student-to-instructor ratio of 8:1.

Are there prerequisite courses for this program?

Yes. You must have at least five semester credits of human anatomy and physiology to include all body systems. You will need five to six credits of sciences from the areas of chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology or biology (biochemistry and microbiology preferred), and a three credit nutrition course. In addition, you need to present three credits of a behavioral science, such as psychology or sociology. Finally, you will need at least three credits in statistics, which must have an inferential component. You will need to have a minimum grade of a C in each course for it to be considered.

I have already taken some of these prerequisite courses, but it was quite awhile ago. Is there a time limit on these courses? Also, how will I know if you will accept the courses I took, such as statistics?

Statistics must be completed within the past five years. 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 may contact the coordinator of direct-entry programs with your questions about the suitability of a course.

I will still be taking prerequisite courses in the fall semester. The courses will be completed before the application deadline, but grades will not appear on transcripts and arrive at Marquette University by the deadline. Will I still be considered for the program?

Yes. You can take prerequisite courses in the fall. Please have your instructor email with the final grade as soon as the instructor knows it. You will need to send an email to your instructor so there is a record of your request for the grade to be forwarded to another person. This step is necessary because the official transcripts for the fall semester will not be received in the College of Nursing by the application deadline.

I will still be taking prerequisite courses in the spring semester. The courses will not be completed until after the application deadline. Will I still be considered for the program?

Yes. You can continue taking courses in the spring, either to complete your undergraduate degree or to finish your prerequisites. We will evaluate your application and your plan for completing the courses; if we decide we would like you to join the program, we will offer you admission contingent upon successful completion of those courses. To facilitate the review process, it is recommended that the majority 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 starts at the end of May.

Do I need to take the GRE?

This program requires a GPA minimum of 3.0. However, if you have a GPA of 3.2 or higher from your bachelor’s or higher degree, you do not have to take the GRE. Some choose to do so anyway; that is completely up to you.

I have been out of school and working for quite awhile. Do you take older students?

Age is never a criterion for admission.

I am concerned that my GPA does not reflect my true abilities. I did very well in my undergraduate program except for one semester, which pulled down my GPA. Would you take this into consideration?

If you feel that a unique, short-term situation may be a problem for your candidacy, please bring this to our attention, 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.

Do you consider the GPA I earned while taking my missing prerequisite courses?

We do not average this GPA with the GPA from your degree. However, high grades in your prerequisites are certainly noticed.

What are some things I can do to make my application more attractive?

Some of the parts of your application, such as your transcripts, can't be changed. However, great care taken with your résumé, reference letters and your statement of professional goals can definitely enhance your candidacy. These are the pieces of your application that can give us a good picture of you as a person in addition to factual information. In addition, any experience you have in health care, whether through volunteerism, paid employment or shadowing, should be noted in your application. And, of course, meet all the requirements and deadlines. We do not review any application that is not complete by the deadline, with the exception of prerequisite courses still in process.

Can you tell me what you are looking for in the statement of professional goals? Also, does that take the place of the essay required in the application form?

In the statement of professional goals we are looking to see how you came to the decision to move from one career to nursing. We want to know why you are looking at not only nursing, but an advanced level of practice in nursing, and what you know about it. We want to get a picture of you! There is no right or wrong way to approach this, but it is an important part of your application. We suggest you give serious thought to the construction of this document. It can take the place of the essay in the application form. Please limit your statement to no more than two double-spaced pages.

I am interested in your program, but I am an international student. Am I eligible to apply to this program?

You are welcome to apply, though some special additional requirements may apply to you. For example, you may need to take the TOEFL exam for English proficiency, and you may need to have a credentials evaluation of your transcripts done; special legal and financial requirements may also apply. Please contact the Graduate School for guidance with this process.

Is financial aid available for this program?

Please contact Marquette Central at (414) 288-4000 with any financial aid questions. We recommend discussing scholarship and Financial Aid.

How can I get the application materials and list of requirements?

Request Information on Direct Entry M.S.N. to learn how to earn your master’s degree in nursing.

Individuals interested in our on-campus Direct Entry M.S.N. program in Milwaukee should contact the College of Nursing at (414) 288-5632 or email Taylor Rose Pamperin, Graduate Program Clinical Placement Coordinator and Academic Advisor.

Individuals interested in our online-based Direct Entry M.S.N. program in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, located near Chicago, should contact our admissions team at (414) 375-0353 or visit the program’s microsite to learn more.

Is there a time limit to complete the program?

The Direct Entry program is a cohort program. Students are expected to complete the program in 18 months.

Must I be CPR certified before starting the program?

CPR certification classes will be offered at the College of Nursing within the first month of the program. You are free to seek certification elsewhere, but please note that we only accept the following certification: American Heart Association, BLS for Healthcare Providers.

Are you ready to transition into a more rewarding a career? Request Information on Direct Entry M.S.N. to learn how to earn your master’s degree in nursing.