Direct Entry Master Of Science In Nursing (DEMSN)

Direct Entry Master Of Science In Nursing (DEMSN)

Get started on an advanced nursing career path and gain advanced skills for patient care. Designed for anyone who holds a bachelor’s degree from any background, the Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing (DEMSN) program from Alverno College prepares you to enter the nursing profession with graduate-level clinical assessment, patient care and leadership skills. 

During the course of this intensive, full-time 18-month program, you’ll gain hands-on training and clinical experience with support from experienced faculty, earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and be prepared to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

After graduation, you’ll enter the job market with a qualification that employers prefer and the academic foundation to pursue certification as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) or earn a doctoral degree in nursing.

About the Direct Entry MSN program

The DEMSN program consists of 77 credits of coursework covering bachelor’s- and master’s-level content in health science, nursing practice, nursing administration and research.

Alverno College features an ability-based model to teaching and learning, meaning you will be challenged to show what you can do with the knowledge you’ve gained, not just whether you know it. We also embrace evidence-based practice, emphasizing the importance of research to inform patient care and nursing leadership decisions.

We keep classes in the DEMSN program small so you can receive personal attention from our experienced faculty and participate meaningfully in learning experiences, especially those that take place in our Center for Clinical Education (CCE) simulation facilities.

Program outcomes

The DEMSN is designed to prepare you for competent, confident practice through rigorous academic preparation, hands-on training and extensive clinical experience. As a graduate, you will be able to:

  • Exhibit mastery of communication skills in multiple modes to build crucial interprofessional team relationships that promote collaboration to ensure safe and effective outcomes.
  • Provide holistic, patient-focused and evidence-based care.
  • Evaluate and apply informatics using current and evolving technology to facilitate and enhance optimal clinical care and organizational decision making.
  • Skilfully engage in collaborative and trans-disciplinary leadership to (re)construct strategies for innovative and transformative change in complex healthcare settings.
  • Synthesize current and emerging science and theory to design ethical and cost-effective approaches to care that consider the uniqueness of individuals, families, communities and populations.

In addition to entering nursing practice, you will be equipped with administrative leadership, research, education and policy advocacy roles.


Direct Entry MSN program structure

The Direct Entry MSN is a full-time program designed to be completed in 18 months. Students take courses over five semesters. Coursework includes theory, hands-on training in our Center for Clinical Education (CCE) and clinical experience within our network of community health care partners. At the end of the program, you will complete a capstone project in which you apply research to a specific problem within health care or nursing practice.

Hands-on training and experience in our CCE

Alverno College’s Center for Clinical Education offers you a safe, stimulating environment in which you will develop your clinical assessment, decision-making and patient care abilities. The CCE consists of two facilities:

Clinical Simulation Center (CSC) — This high-fidelity simulation unit includes two medical/surgical rooms, one birthing suite/pediatric unit and one trauma/ICU room. The CSC is equipped with advanced patient simulators, including adults, a newborn and a pediatric patient.

Clinical Learning Center (CLC) — The CLC includes primary care exam rooms, multi-bed patient care spaces and a simulated studio apartment in which you can learn home-based care skills.

Curriculum for the DEMSN: training a future generation of nursing leaders

Coursework for the DEMSN establishes a foundation of nursing and health care knowledge, then builds advanced clinical assessment, research and leadership skills.  

Course Sequence

Semester 1 – 15 credits

  • MSN 600B: Orientation to MSN Program – 0 credits
  • N 500: Professional Nursing Practice Essentials – 3 credits
  • N 520: Health Assessment and Clinical Skills – 3 credits
  • N 520P: Health Assessment and Clinical Skills – 2 credits
  • N 521: Pharmacology: Nursing Connections – 3 credits
  • BI 338: Physiological Mechanisms Disease – 4 credits

Semester 2 – 17 credits

  • N 525: Theories of Holistic Nursing Management A – 2 credits
  • N 527: Theories of Holistic Nursing Management B – 2 credits
  • N 529: Clinical Nursing Practice I – 5 credits
  • N 530: Nursing Inquiry: Evidence-Based Practice and Quality Improvement – 3 credits
  • N 535: Theories of Holistic Nursing Management C – 2 credits
  • N 545: Nursing Management: Women and Children – 3 credits

Semester 3 – 16 credits

  • N 546: Nursing Management of Aging Adults D – 2 credits
  • N 555: Nursing Leadership and Policy, the Health Care System, and Transition to Practice – 3 credits
  • N 556: Nursing in Complex Clients and Communities – 4 credits
  • N 565: Clinical Nursing Practice II – 3 credits
  • MSN 605: Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology – 3 credits
  • N 522: Ethics for the Nurses – 1 credit

Semester 4 – 15 credits

  • MSN 614: Nursing Research and Scholarship – 3 credits
  • MSN 618: Population Based Health – 3 credits
  • MSN 631: Advanced Health and Physical Assessment – 3 credits
  • MSN 632: Advanced Nursing Theory I – 3 credits
  • MSN 632P: Clinical Nursing Practice III – 2 credits
  • MSN 755: Capstone 1 – 1 credit

Semester 5 – 14 credits

  • MSN 629: Roles, Interprofessional Teams and Theories – 2 credits
  • MSN 770: Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics and Clinical Decision Making – 3 credits
  • MSN 775: Advanced Nursing Theory II – 3 credits
  • MSN 776: Clinical Nursing Practice IV – 5 credits
  • MSN 760: Capstone II – 1 credit

Total: 77 credits

Continuing education after graduation

You’ll graduate from the DEMSN with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) without specialization.

If you want to become a nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS) or other APRN, you’ll need to enroll in a post-master’s certification program after graduation.

Alverno College offers the following post-master’s certification programs you can pursue after successfully earning your DEMSN:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS)
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

The DEMSN also lays the groundwork for future study at the doctoral level, in either a PhD or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Admissions requirements and how to apply

Our Direct Entry MSN program is for those who have graduated with a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university (or an international equivalent). The bachelor’s degree can be in any major except nursing.

Application materials

You must provide:

  • A completed application
  • Official transcripts of all previous college work showing a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0
  • A completed health form and physical, evidence of a health check, and a background check. In addition, completion of the American Heart Association Basic Life Support Training for Health Care Professionals within three months prior to admission; uploaded evidence to CastleBranch.
  • Non-U.S. applicants must provide evidence that they received a minimum score of 550 on TOEFL
  • Non-U.S. applicants must also provide an evaluation of foreign credentials and evidence of financial support

Prerequisite course requirements

You must have fulfilled a specific set of prerequisites within the past seven years (five for statistics) and with a grade of C or better to be considered for admission. These include:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology (with a lab component) – 2 semester (some 1-semester courses may qualify)
  • Microbiology (with a lab component)
  • Chemistry or Biochemistry
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Inferential Statistics

Begin your nursing career with advanced knowledge and skills

Start training for a lifelong career in nursing with Alverno College. Contact us about the Direct Entry MSN program today!