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Graduate Nursing Programs in Illinois

Many graduate-level nursing students come from completely unrelated backgrounds. If you have been a nurse for decades or if you have never taken an anatomy and physiology course, you can find a school in Illinois with the right program for you.

Depending on your career choice, several options are available if you want to pursue a nursing degree at the graduate level. It may not even be necessary for you to have studied nursing before you enter a graduate program if you have an existing degree.

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

Schools in Illinois Offering Graduate Programs in Nursing

Northern Illinois University

At the College of Health and Human Sciences at Northern Illinois University, you can study nursing at the master's or doctoral level. The Master of Science in Nursing is an online program, with most students opting for part-time study due to their existing careers in the field. Six years are allowed for you to finish your required courses. The school also contains a post-graduate certificate in nursing education, where you will combine an internship experience with a pair of lecture courses. For the doctoral program, NIU allows you to start with a bachelor's or master's degree before admission. If you are entering with a bachelor's degree, you will have family nurse practitioner as your specialization.

University of Illinois, Chicago

The College of Nursing at the University of Illinois in Chicago allows you to earn a Master of Science in Nursing from two different backgrounds. You could begin with a previous BSN, or you could enter the nursing field as someone who has never taken a nursing class before. If you want to supplement your education, graduate certificates are available in areas like school nursing and sleep health. The College of Nursing also contains a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, as well as a Ph.D. if you want to focus on research instead of clinical practice.

DePaul University

You can earn three types of graduate degrees in nursing with DePaul University. To start, there is a Master's Entry to Nursing Practice program for anyone who has no prior experience in the field, academically or professionally. This allows you to become certified just like other nurses. If you are an existing nurse, you can earn a Master of Science in Nursing in two years. You'll also obtain a certificate in health administration or health professions education during your graduate studies. DePaul's DNP program contains five total tracks, including nurse anesthetist and family nurse practitioner.

Lewis University

Located in Romeoville, Lewis University holds many track options for nurses who want to earn their MSN. You can choose specializations such as nursing education or adult gerontology clinical nurse specialist. If you don't have a bachelor's degree in nursing, the school has a degree to enter the field, but you need to become a registered nurse before entering the RN-to-MSN program. Lewis also contains a DNP program, and if you want to extend your potential for employment, there is a dual-degree MSN and MBA program. Finally, you can attend Lewis to earn your certificate for school nursing.

Elmhurst College

Elmhurst College, in the city of the same name, holds two different master's degrees for nursing. The Master's Entry in Nursing Practice is meant for those who are new to nursing. Once you finish this program, you can earn a Clinical Nurse Leader certification. This version of a master's degree will take two years to complete, and starts every fall. The Master of Science in Nursing, meanwhile, could be extended into more than two years if you prefer. Three specializations are available for this degree: nurse educator, clinical nurse leader, and nurse administrator.

Admissions Requirements for Graduate Nursing Programs in Illinois

Anyone entering a graduate program in nursing will need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, regardless of what field the degree came from, and an existing nursing license in Illinois (except for those beginning entry-into-nursing programs). Undergraduate GPA's from all fields should be at least a 3.0, as seen on your official transcripts submitted to a nursing school. You'll need a new or updated resume/CV to include both your academic and professional experience. Nursing schools will also ask you for a personal statement or essay that should explain why you are qualified for their program, and how a school pairs with your identity as a healthcare professional. Doctoral applicants will need to detail their research interests and how they align with each school. Their GPA standards are also typically higher.

Check out all of the options available at each university before you find the specialization that caters to what you wish to do as a nurse. If you haven't studied nursing or if it has been a while since you attended a formal program, you can still find a school that has what you need.


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