BSN/MSN Dual Degree Programs

Aug 27, 2018

BSN/MSN dual degree programs are fairly common and help students gain a solid foundation in nursing and specialize in a particular area of the field. Find out more about these programs, their admission requirements and typical coursework.

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Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) dual degree programs, known as BSN/MSN programs, are typically accelerated programs designed for students with bachelor's degrees outside of nursing. The professional portion of these programs can be completed in as little as 12 months (full-time), followed by graduate study and clinical experiences in a student's particular area of interest, such as nursing administration or adult nursing. Learn more about this degree program, including common coursework, below.

Information for BSN/MSN Dual Degree Programs

As mentioned, BSN/MSN dual degree programs vary slightly in coursework based on a student's specialization, but all of these programs include a solid foundation in nursing and hands-on, clinical experiences. Here we discuss a few of the common courses you may find in these programs.


Students in these degree programs typically take a course concerning pathophysiology to learn how illnesses and diseases progress from the cellular level to the multi-system level. Some of these courses may also include topics in therapeutic interventions and/or pharmacology. Other common topics include the role of genetics, immunity, disease management, clinical decision making and acute versus chronic illnesses.

Pediatric Nursing

These programs usually include courses in different nursing concentration areas, including pediatric nursing. Courses in pediatric nursing train students to make clinical judgements in response to children's illnesses. These courses typically teach from a family-centered approach, include clinical experiences and may discuss topics in health teaching, promoting optimal developmental functioning and clinical reasoning.

Health Assessment

Sometimes called Physical Assessment courses, these classes usually take place, at least in part, in a laboratory setting to train students in proper techniques for physical examinations. Some of these courses may also discuss an individual's overall health and train students to investigate environmental, psychosocial and other factors that may play a role. Students may also have access to computer simulations, videotapes and other resources to develop their assessment skills.

Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based practice courses are usually included as a part of the MSN portion of the dual degree and discuss the role of research in quality care. Students learn about key concepts in the subject, as well as ethical issues and other types of evidence that go into clinical and policy decision making. These courses may include team projects and/or presentations and discussions.


Courses in leadership usually vary based on the school, but all aim to equip students to be effective leaders and decision-makers in nursing care situations and environments. These courses may discuss topics in advocacy, global health issues, healthcare systems, health policy, ethics and communication. Some of these courses may include a seminar component that focuses on leadership topics specific to students' area of specialization.

Common Entrance Requirements

Admission to BSN/MSN dual degree programs can be competitive, and it is fairly common for these programs to have a minimum GPA requirement of a 3.0. It is also fairly common for these degree programs to require prior coursework in areas such as biology, chemistry, statistics and anatomy or physiology. Some of these programs may require an interview process and/or prefer students who have experience in a healthcare field. Most applications require students to submit their official transcripts, GRE test scores and a resume, but some programs may also ask for a personal statement, letters of recommendation and/or a background check.

BSN/MSN dual degree programs are typically accelerated degree programs that provide students with plenty of hands-on clinical work. Admission is usually competitive, and students generally need some science coursework prior to admission.

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