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Graduate Nursing Programs in Chicago

Are you thinking about a career change, or would you like to advance your existing skills in nursing? Either of these paths could lead to a graduate program in nursing, and you can easily find one that matches your interests in Chicago. Explore school options and admission requirements here.

Beginning a graduate nursing program in the Chicago area could net you one of several different academic awards. Even if you don't end up earning a degree at the master's or doctoral level, there are several types of graduate certificates you can earn as a licensed nurse to increase your credentials and specializations.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Clinical Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Direct-Entry Midwifery - LM, CPM
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Neonatal Nursing
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Assistant or Patient Care Assistant
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
  • Nursing Science
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Public Health Nurse or Community Nurse
  • Registered Nurse

Chicago Schools Offering Graduate Programs in Nursing

Loyola University at Chicago

Inside the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola students can choose from a number of graduate degree options in nursing. To begin, the Master of Science in Nursing gives you the option of specializing as one of several types of nurse practitioners. You could also choose to become a clinical nurse specialist. If you prefer health systems management, or the online program in infection prevention, Loyola has everything you need. A total of 2,000 clinical hours are required before you start the first practicum session, no matter which track you choose.

Loyola's post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates let you specialize in oncology or infection prevention. For those still in a master's program, you can add a certificate in areas like adult-gerontology and family nurse practitioner. Finally, you can earn a doctorate with Loyola in the form of a Doctor of Nursing Practice or a Ph.D. in Nursing. A fast-track program exists for the DNP degree, allowing students with a BSN to earn most of their credits online.

University of Illinois, Chicago

Even if you have never studied nursing before, UIC's College of Nursing has a program to help you transition into a new career. You'll earn a Master of Science in Nursing as long as you have a bachelor's degree of some kind. For everyone else who already has nursing credentials, there is a Master of Science program for nurses who have their BSN complete. Graduate certificates are available in four areas: palliative care, sleep health, school nursing, and nursing teaching. You can also choose from two doctorates, whether you want to focus on research (Ph.D) or achieve the highest possible level of clinical knowledge (DNP).

Rush University

Rush University has a huge selection of nursing doctoral programs. Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees are available in each of the following specializations:

  • Adult-gerontology acute care
  • Adult-gerontology primary care
  • Anesthesia
  • Family nursing
  • Neonatal nursing
  • Pediatric acute care
  • Pediatric primary care
  • Psychiatric/mental health
  • Transformative leadership in population health
  • Transformative leadership in systems

If you aren't planning to pursue a doctorate, you can still study nursing at the graduate level with Rush. Master of Science in Nursing degrees can be obtained in clinical nurse leadership, or as a general nurse for non-nursing degree holders. There's also a Ph.D. in Nursing Science.

DePaul University

At the DePaul University College of Science and Health, you'll find the Master's Entry to Nursing Practice program. This is tailored for college graduates who are looking for a career that might be different from what they were expecting. If you go on to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, you can follow tracks like family nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist. There are also DNP completion programs available in nurse anesthesia, as well as nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, and nurse midwife. Registered nurses looking to earn their MSN can complete an online program in as few as two years.

Elmhurst College

Located about 20 miles west of Chicago, Elmhurst College is home to two master's degrees in nursing. Like other schools, the Master's Entry in Nursing Practice is made for those who have yet to study nursing but hold degrees in other fields. You'll find some of the courses offered online, while others must be taken in person. The full Master of Science in Nursing allows for three different areas of focus: nurse administrator, clinical nurse leader, and nurse educator. Both programs are done in two years, although the MSN has an option for more time.

Admissions Requirements for Chicago Graduate Nursing Programs

Regardless of your previous exposure to nursing, anyone entering a graduate program in the field must have an existing bachelor's degree and/or a license to practice nursing in the Chicago area. Your resume/CV should include a professional history of your clinical experience as a nurse, along with your educational credentials. Letters of recommendation should come from your previous instructors or those who have supervised you inside a clinical setting. If your program asks for a personal statement, explain how each program will allow you to meet goals your have set for yourself.

Requirements and courses for a graduate nursing program in Chicago will differ depending on your background and the level of the degree or certificate you are seeking. Figure out which area of nursing you are most interested in before submitting your application for the graduate level.


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