Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's in Nursing

Oct 01, 2019

This article explores accelerated bachelors' to masters' (BNS-MSN) programs in Nursing. It goes over some typical perquisites, expected coursework, and program admission requirements.

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Accelerated bachelor's to master's degree programs in nursing (BSN to MSN) take a student through the coursework needed to qualify for his or her registered nurse (RN) license and culminate in becoming a nurse practitioner. Students usually earn an accelerated nursing bachelor's degree in the process, take the NCLEX exam, and then either continue on to the MSN program or gain some clinical experience before pursuing the master's portion of the program.

General Degree Program Information

Accelerated programs allow students to get their BSN in 12-15 months. Total program lengths range from 3-5 years, culminating in the completion of the MSN degree. The BSN components for these accelerated programs provided instruction in fundamental nursing concepts, while the MSN components allow students to focus on areas like nursing leadership, adult nursing, or pediatric nursing. Besides requisite coursework, most programs require or encourage clinical and work experience as RNs during the course of study. Some examples of requisite coursework are provided below.

Clinical Nursing Skills

Courses in this subject focus on developing students' clinical decision-making skills. Students can learn how to apply what they've learned in earlier courses about the nursing process and health assessment in a practice-based setting. Students also go over nurse-patient relationships.


BSN programs almost always require a pharmacology course or two in which students learn about drug classifications and administration techniques. Students also learn about dosage and how to properly measure medications. They learn about the types of drugs designed to treat various organ systems as well.


Pathophysiology explores change in the body brought about by disease. Topics of discussion include anatomy, physiology, and genetic concepts as they relate to the body's make up and systems. Courses in this subject build on theoretical nursing fundamentals.

Organizational Leadership

Leadership courses in an MSN track go over contemporary and historic concepts in healthcare leadership. They might also go over the role of nurses in patient advocacy and policy development. This type of course can be found in nursing leadership as well as nurse practitioner master's degree programs.

Healthcare Management

Healthcare management courses focus on concepts such as employee retention and selection, employment policies, and strategic human resources. Other topics covered include labor relations and employee appraisals. These courses prepare students for the responsibilities nurse leaders are expected to shoulder in healthcare organizations.

Research Methods

Found in both nurse practitioner and nursing leadership programs, courses in this subject go over research design and data collection techniques. Students learn how to evaluate research so it can guide their practice. They also explore research's role in the application of nursing theory.

Program Admittance Requirements

These programs each have specific course prerequisites applicants must meet before an accelerated BSN-MSN program will consider them. These usually include at least one to two years of chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, and statistics. Some programs require an applicant to already have a bachelor's degree from a non-nursing program. GPA requirements range from at a 3.0 or 3.2. Applications usually also require at least two letters of recommendation, applicable transcripts, and a personal statement on why the applicant wishes to enter the accelerated BSN-MSN program. Students who already have related work or volunteer experience in health care might be preferred.

This article went over accelerated BSN-MSN programs, which allow students to complete a nursing bachelor's degree in as little as a year. It discussed common coursework as well as the undergraduate prerequisites and GPA required for admission.

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