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

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What are the academic requirements for the Direct Entry MSN program?

Applicants must have a non-nursing bachelor's degree and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. If you meet those requirements, you will then need to successfully complete a series of prerequisite courses before you can enter the program.

How many program starts are available each year?

Our Milwaukee campus DE MSN program offers one start date per year, in mid-May.

How do I get started on the application process?

Contact the Graduate School with any questions about the application process. You can also schedule an information session with our DE MSN Graduate Advisor or tour campus.

If you’re ready to start the application process, review the application requirements and begin your Graduate School application. Don’t forget to submit your supplementary application through the Graduate School.

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 my courses are acceptable?

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.

One or more of my prerequisite courses will not be completed by the December 15 deadline. The courses will be completed before the application deadline, but grades will not appear on my official transcripts. Will I still be considered for the program?


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.

What do my GRE scores need to be?

It can be competitive to get into nursing school. Therefore, we recommend preparing for test day as best as possible. We look for scores above 150, with at least a 4.0 on the writing component.

What are some things I can do to 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 to five letters of recommendation, and a professional goals statement—as part of the application process. In the statement of professional goals, we are looking to see how you came to the decision to pursue a career in 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. There is no right or wrong way to approach this, but it is an important part of your application. These materials help give us a sense of your character, motivation, and passion for the nursing profession. Be sure to ask the Direct Entry MSN Graduate Program Advisor for assistance; she will be more than happy to help you optimize your application package.

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.

I see the application deadline for Milwaukee is December 15. If I apply earlier, do I have a better chance of getting accepted?

We review completed and qualified 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.  Applicants should anticipate hearing admission decisions throughout the early part of the new year and through mid-March.

How long will this program take to complete?

The Milwaukee program is 18 months in length and requires full time study.  At the completion of the 18-month program, you will graduate with a master’s degree in nursing. During the final semester of your 5-semester 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.

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

No. you will have a master’s degree in nursing (M.S.N.) upon your successful completion of the 18-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 successful completion of your pre-licensure coursework.

How many clinical rotation hours can I expect to complete? Where are the clinical agencies? How many students are in a clinical group?

The first round of clinical rotations begins 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 in our Center for Clinical Simulation. Students receive hands-on learning and scenario-based training during these clinical experience simulations. Each clinical group has a student-to-Marquette clinical faculty ratio of 8:1 or 6:1 in critical care units.

I am concerned that 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.

Can I work while I am in this program?

We strongly 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, 0600-2330. In addition, a flexible schedule will be required because you will also need to prepare for classes, clinicals and assignments. If you must work, it’s best to discuss your options with your Direct Entry MSN Graduate Program Advisor because the accelerated nature of the program requires a lot of time and energy to keep pace.

I have been out of school for quite awhile. Am I too old to pursue 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!

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.  The program fee for the prior year's cohort may be found in the Graduate School bulletin but is subject to change.  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.

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.

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 B.S.N. You can also specialize in an advanced field of nursing, such as adult acute care, pediatric primary care or nurse midwifery, by completing one of our certificate programs.

Will I be able to pursue an advanced nursing role after graduating from the program?

As a graduate of our program, you will be prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam and work in inpatient, outpatient, or 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 M.S.N. 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.

Ready to transition into a more rewarding career? Request information to learn how to earn your master’s degree in nursing.