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Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing

Prepare for one of the most fulfilling, fast growing, high-demand jobs in the nation. If you’re interested in a career in nursing and have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree but don’t yet have education or training in the field, the Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing (DE-M.S.N.) program at Georgian Court University is the perfect place to get started.

DE-M.S.N. Program Highlights


Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.)

24 months

Average time to complete


Face to face



Total credits


Pace of courses

14 weeks

Financial assistance

Yes (up to $20,500)
Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing student

Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing

GCU’s direct-entry M.S.N. degree is the only program of its kind in New Jersey, and one of only a few in the nation. It’s full time, fast paced, and face to face, and our unique partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health offers unparalleled access to the practitioners, technologies, and resources of New Jersey’s largest health provider.


real-world training

Learn from practicing nurses from health systems across the region. Get hands-on, real-world training that will prepare you to hit the ground running, day one on the job. Engage in an innovative curriculum that takes you beyond bedside care and into emerging fields such as quality improvement and health informatics.

When you graduate, you’ll be ready to serve your community and advance the profession of nursing through ethical, compassionate, person-centered care.

Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing student

The direct-entry M.S.N. degree (also sometimes referred to as an accelerated M.S.N. program) is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field who would like to pursue careers as registered nurses (RNs) or advanced practice nurses (APRNs). The program also helps students pursue leadership roles within professional nursing and provides a broad foundation for future advanced practice roles and specialties.

As a graduate student, you’ll be eligible for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan. The maximum loan amount is $20,500 per year, which covers over half the cost of the DE-M.S.N. program’s tuition and fees. You do not have to demonstrate need to qualify for this type of loan. You may also be eligible for various outside scholarships for graduate nursing students.

Program Information

The direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing program is an integrated sequence of coursework and lab work—80 credits in total—designed for college graduates with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees. As a cohort program, all nursing courses must be taken in sequence. The direct-entry M.S.N. degree prepares individuals for professional nursing practice at the graduate level and provides a foundation for future advanced practice roles and specialties.

Required Courses
NU500Principles & Practices of Prof Nursing3.0
NU501Nursing Research3.0
NU502Foundations of Prof Nursing Practice4.0
NU503Health Assessment3.0
NU506Adult Nursing I6.0
NU507Gerontological Nursing2.0
NU508Behavioral Health Nursing5.0
NU509Perinatal Nursing4.0
NU603Advanced Health Assessment & Diagnostics3.0
NU604Advanced Pathophysiology3.0
NU605Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics3.0
NU606Adult Nursing II8.0
NU607Pediatric Nursing4.0
NU608Population Health5.0
NU609Quality Improv & Safety: Adv Practice3.0
NU610Health Care Informatics3.0
NU611Nursing Leadership and Management3.0
NU612Graduate Seminar for Prof Nursing3.0
NU613Transition to Professional Practice6.0
Total Credits80.0

View the full curriculum and admission requirements.

Students must meet general admission criteria/regulations for Georgian Court University. They must also have appropriate psychomotor, cognitive, and sensory capabilities to function in the professional nursing role and be able to tolerate physically demanding and stressful situations. As a cohort program, students are only admitted to the direct-entry M.S.N. (DE-M.S.N.) program for the fall semester. Admission is competitive: Meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not guarantee admission to the DE-M.S.N. program.

The DE-M.S.N. is designed for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in any major other than nursing from an accredited institution. Students who meet the following requirements are eligible to apply for admittance to the nursing program:

  • Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution before beginning the direct-entry M.S.N. program.
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. The GPA is cumulative and is calculated based on all previously attempted coursework.
  • Applicants are required to fulfill the below nursing prerequisite core courses prior to admission. However, applicants may submit their applications while in the process of completing the coursework. These courses can be taken at any accredited university or community college in the United States.
  • Applicants must earn a minimum of a B- or higher in ANY science or math class taken during the first enrollment in the course.
  • All courses with a lab component must have been taken within the last 10 years.

Lab Hours
Human Anatomy & Physiology I (with lab)314
Human Anatomy & Physiology II (with lab)314
Microbiology (with lab)314
Statistics (must include inferential statistics) 33
Chemistry (with lab): Inorganic, Organic, or Biochemistry
(A course that includes some biochemistry is preferred)
Psychology (A course in developmental psychology) 33
Ethics Course (Bioethics preferred)33

The completed self-managed application packet must include:

  • A completed graduate online application form.
  • Applicant’s current resumé.
  • Sealed and signed envelopes containing official transcripts of each undergraduate and graduate institution the applicant has attended. If the official seal has been broken, the transcript is considered unofficial and cannot be accepted for use toward application. Official transcripts electronically transmitted directly from the Office of the Registrar of each institution will be accepted in lieu of a paper copy.
  • A personal interview may be required.

Accepted students will receive a health form that must be completed and submitted to the Office of Health Services. Candidates are evaluated on an individual basis. Strong consideration will be given to an applicant’s professional experience. Upon matriculation, all coursework is to be completed at GCU.

If you’re interested in our direct-entry M.S.N. degree, here are other programs at GCU you might want to explore:

Why earn your master’s in nursing at GCU?

At GCU, we’re passionate about improving the health of the communities we serve. Our students were the first to travel to the Meadowlands mega site to help give vaccinations during the height of the pandemic. Our faculty are hard at work every day as practicing health professionals and as educators training the next generation of nurses.

If nursing is your calling, here’s why Georgian Court is the best choice for your M.S.N. degree program:

Hackensack Meridian Health partnership

GCU’s nursing school is a partnership with New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive health network: Hackensack Meridian Health, which includes some of the top-ranked hospitals in the state. For our students, this means intensive, hands-on experiences at clinical sites and access to cutting-edge technology like the state-of-the-art simulation center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

Experienced, student-centered faculty

Our faculty understand firsthand what students must learn to be exceptional nursing professionals. They include practicing nurses from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Drexel University College of Medicine, and Monmouth Medical Center. Several are nurse leaders and researchers, and many hold joint appointments at Georgian Court and Hackensack Meridian Health locations.

In-person training

Nursing is about relationships and helping people. Our program, delivered full-time on campus at GCU, is designed to provide the range of human interaction and face-to-face learning that is essential to success. Small class sizes and personalized attention also make a key difference for our students, and you can count on your professors being there to help when you need them.

Mercy values

Nurses are the most trusted professionals in America. It’s why earning your nursing degree in a program that emphasizes ethics is so important. Grounded in the Mercy core values of justice, respect, integrity, service, and compassion, Georgian Court University provides the ideal environment for fostering the character traits essential to this career.

Career flexibility

Health care systems need professionals who can navigate emerging fields like data mining, informatics, and quality performance. Our direct-entry M.S.N. program provides this critical training, along with advanced coursework in areas such as health assessment, pharmacology, and pathophysiology. For our graduates, this means more options and flexibility to pursue different leadership roles.

Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing student
Master of Science in Nursing

What can you do with a Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing?

The direct-entry M.S.N. program prepares you to sit for the NCLEX-RN and enter the profession as a master’s-prepared registered nurse. From there, this degree also provides the broad foundation to pursue advanced practice roles, specializations, and management positions.

In addition to training nurses who can work at the bedside, our program prepares you to analyze data and work with health care informatics. This opens additional opportunities to work in quality improvement—an urgent need in today’s hospitals and health systems—and gives you wider options in your career.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for advanced practice nurses is expected to increase by 45% over the next decade. Demand for nurse managers is projected to grow by 32% over the same period, making these among the fastest-growing careers in the nation.

Master’s in nursing jobs

Getting your Master of Science in Nursing degree will open a variety of career pathways as shown below. Note that the direct-entry M.S.N. program provides a foundation for future training in the specialties listed if desired. Further education and certifications may be required.

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Nurse educator
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioner
  • Nurse midwife
  • Informatics nurse

You might also pursue administrative and managerial roles in health systems, such as:

  • Nurse administrator
  • Nurse manager
  • Director of nursing

Master’s in nursing salaries

Registered nurses with M.S.N. degrees have access to some of the highest-paying jobs in the field. Here are average salaries for some of the top M.S.N. nursing jobs:

  • Registered nurse: $73,330
  • Informatics nurse: $80,265
  • Nurse educator: $84,060
  • Nursing administrator: $104,280
  • Clinical nurse specialist: $109,437
  • Nurse midwife: $111,130
  • Nurse practitioner: $111,680
  • Nurse anesthetist: $183,580
Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing student
The direct-entry M.S.N. program is a great choice for anyone wanting to switch careers and become a nurse. Completion of the program allows our students to take the National Council Licensing Examination for the Registered Nurse, and the graduate degree offers a greater potential for career advancement. The unique partnership between GCU and Hackensack Meridian Health Systems provides access to excellent nurse training experiences and networking opportunities. Students will be taught and trained by nurse educators, nurse practitioners, nurse scientists, and nurse leaders from the health systems. Students invest their time and money to learn, and our faculty is committed to ensuring the best student experience and student success.
Joann Cummings
Jo Ann F. Cummings, Ph.D., RN
Associate Professor and DE-M.S.N. Program Coordinator

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