The mission of the American Public University System’s Nursing Program is to “provide quality, affordable, and accessible higher education for professional registered nurses to foster lifelong learning through a spirit of inquiry in order to prepare students for service and leadership roles in a diverse and global society.”

The online RN to MSN degree provides Associate and diploma degree prepared Registered Nurses an accelerated pathway to obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing degree while also obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. The RN to MSN degree is designed to facilitate the immediate and lifelong professional and personal development needs of Registered Nurses in the three areas of Practitioner, Scientist and Leader. Graduates of the RN to MSN program will be prepared to be agents of change in today’s rapidly transforming healthcare industry.

The RN to MSN degree program at APUS is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Note: This RN to MSN program is currently not open for admission to Tennessee residents or Washington State residents.

At this time, this program is not eligible for military tuition assistance; please speak with your admissions representative on other financial solutions.

This program has specific admission requirements.

Degree Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and degree level learning objectives, graduates of this program are expected to achieve these learning outcomes:

  • Improve performance in the professional nursing role by developing leadership, management, sound clinical judgment, and communication skills to promote the health of individuals, families, and communities.
  • Utilize evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and leadership principles to promote a culture of safety and achieve outcomes that are grounded in institutional values and professional ethics.
  • Apply informatics and healthcare technologies to access critical information, to collaborate with other professionals, and to facilitate optimal patient-centered care.
  • Apply scientific principles and the nursing process to evaluate responses to therapies and changes in patient health status.
  • Integrate knowledge of human and organizational behavior to lead teams and to promote cultures of safety.
  • Analyze the impact of financial, regulatory, and political decisions on local, national and global health outcomes.
  • Synthesize knowledge of ethical, socioeconomic, and cultural factors to decrease health disparities, to advocate for diverse populations and to provide culturally relevant healthcare to individuals, groups and communities.
  • Employ a spirit of inquiry to embrace the value of lifelong learning and to participate in professional activities that promote and shape the future of nursing.
  • Apply the principles of ethical decision making to the practice of the master’s prepared nurse
  • Demonstrate leadership skills to support safe nursing practices continually improve patient-centered care.
  • Advocate for healthcare policies that improve healthcare outcomes across the lifespan.
  • Apply data management principles in the delivery of cost-effective care to improve health outcomes.
  • Analyze how healthcare policy and health care economics affect change within the healthcare system.
  • Demonstrate effective inter-professional communication and collaboration to support safe and efficient coordination of care.
  • Reflect on personal commitment to lifelong learning to gain the competencies needed to lead the provision of care in a complex and changing healthcare environment. 

Programmatic Admission Requirements

To apply to this program, you must hold the following:

  • Associate degree or diploma from an accredited or board approved institution in nursing.
  • Current, active, unencumbered registered nursing (RN) license
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Signed statement of understanding
  • Current resume/CV
  • 500-600 word statement of purpose and goals for this master’s program

Note: This program is not currently open for admission to residents of Washington or Tennessee.

Please visit our AMU or APU graduate admission page for more information on institutional admission requirements.

Need help?

If you have questions regarding a program’s admission requirements, please contact an admissions representative at 877-755-2787 or

Degree at a Glance

General Education Requirements30
Registered Nurse License30
Major Required31
Elective Requirements26
Final Program Requirements (BSN)3
Select one of the following concentrations:24
Final Program Requirements (MSN)3
Total Semester Hours147

Degree Program Requirements

General Education Requirements (30 semester hours)

Arts and Humanities (6 semester hours)
Select 2 courses from the following: 16
Art Appreciation
Film and Literature
Image Enhancement using Adobe Photoshop
World Literature through the Renaissance
World Literature since the Renaissance
English Literature: 18th Century to Present
American Literature before The Civil War
American Literature from The Civil War to Present
Arabic I
Arabic II
French I
French II
German I
German II
Introduction to Japanese
Music Appreciation
Introduction to Philosophy
Critical Thinking
Introduction to Ethics
Philosophy of Science
Introduction to Brazilian Portuguese
Introduction to World Religions
Russian I
Spanish I
Spanish II
Civics, Political and Social Sciences (6 semester hours)
Select 2 courses from the following: 16
Introduction to Anthropology
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Human Sexuality
Social Media and Society
Intercultural Communication
Humane Education: A Global Interdisciplinary Perspective
Introduction to Geography
Practical Food Safety and Awareness
International Relations I
Contemporary World Culture Through Literature
Cultural Diversity in Contemporary American Literature
American Government I
Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to Sociology
Social Problems
American Popular Culture
Communication: Writing, Oral, and Multimedia (9 semester hours)
COMM120Information and Digital Literacy3
ENGL110Making Writing Relevant3
Select 1 course from the following:3
Public Speaking
Effectiveness in Writing
Composition and Literature
Technical Writing
Scientific Writing
Business Writing
Human Relations Communication
Information Literacy and Global Citizenship
Introduction to Information Technology Writing
Human Relations
History (3 semester hours)
Select 1 course From the following:3
American History to 1877
American History since 1877
World Civilization before 1650
World Civilization since 1650
Western Civilization before The Thirty Years War
Western Civilization since The Thirty Years War
African-American History before 1877
African-American History since 1877
History of the American Indian
History of Science
Mathematics (3 semester hours)
MATH120Introduction to Statistics3
Natural Sciences with Lab (3 semester hours)
Select 1 course from the following:3
Introduction to Biology
Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology
Introduction to Chemistry
Introduction to Meteorology
Introduction to Environmental Science
Introduction to Physics
Introduction to Astronomy
Total Semester Hours30

Registered Nurse License (30 semester hours)

Current active, unencumbered registered nursing license30
Total Semester Hours30

Major Required (31 semester hours)

NURS300Professional Transitions in Nursing3
NURS310Assessment, Evaluation and Clinical Decision-Making3
NURS325Integrated Pathophysiology and Clinical Pharmacology4
NURS340Science of Evidence-Based Practice3
NURS400Emerging Scholarship and Trends in Healthcare3
NURS421Community Health I3
NURS422Community Health II3
NURS502Population-Based Healthcare 13
NURS504Informatics and Technology 13
NURS507Leadership for the Master's Prepared Nurse 13
Total Semester Hours31

Elective Requirements (26 semester hours)

Select any courses that have not been used to fulfill major requirements. Credits applied toward a minor or certificate in an unrelated field may be used to fulfill elective credit for the major.

Final Program Requirements (BSN) (3 semester hours)

NURS498Senior Seminar in Nursing Studies (Must have a ‘B’ or better and to be taken as the last course before conferral) 13
Total Semester Hours3

Total Degree Requirements for BSN Conferral = 120 

Concentration in Nurse Educator Track (24 semester hours)

Looks at curriculum, instruction, and assessment in nursing education with a focus on teaching and evaluations for nurse educators.


Upon successful completion of this concentration, the student will be able to:

  • Apply programmatic objectives to the nurse educator role in clinical or academic settings.
  • Create educational and curricular materials for a variety of audiences.
  • Evaluate effectiveness of teaching strategies and modalities.
NURS500Research and Evidence-Based Practice3
NURS505Healthcare Systems and Health Policy3
NURS601Advanced Health Assessment3
NURS604Advanced Pathophysiology and Pharmacology3
NURS606Nursing Curriculum Development, Assessment and Evaluation3
NURS610Learner-Centered Teaching Methodologies3
NURS620Educational Assessment and Evaluation for Nurse Educators3
NURS695Practicum in Nursing Education3
Total Semester Hours24

Concentration in Nurse Leader Track (24 semester hours) 

Offers a focus in leadership, human resource management, and operational quality. Healthcare business and finance are also covered.


Upon successful completion of this concentration, the student will be able to:

  • Apply programmatic objectives to the role of the nurse leader.
  • Advocate for business practices that promote healthcare quality and patient safety.
  • Synthesize knowledge of key business and human resources practices to lead healthcare teams.
NURS500Research and Evidence-Based Practice3
NURS505Healthcare Systems and Health Policy3
HCAD605Human Resource Management in Healthcare3
HCAD650The Business of Healthcare3
HCAD651Healthcare Finance3
HCAD652Operational Quality in Healthcare3
HCAD520Legal and Ethical Aspects of Healthcare Administration3
NURS696Practicum in Nursing Leadership3
Total Semester Hours24

Final Program Requirements (MSN) (3 semester hours)

NURS699Evidence-Based Practice Capstone Project 13
Total Semester Hours3

Total Degree Requirements for MSN Conferral = 27