RN to Master of Science in Nursing Education

RN to Master of Science in Nursing Education

Receive 30 credits for prior education
and successful completion of NCLEX-RN
No GRE required

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Online RN to MSN in Nursing Education

Expand Your Career as a Nurse Educator by Earning Both a Bachelor’s in Nursing and a Master’s in Nursing Education

If you’re a Registered Nurse looking to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing Education, this fully online dual degree program allows you to earn both degrees more efficiently than completing the programs separately.

Students earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing after completing all general education and bachelor’s component courses, which include five graduate-level online courses. Then, students continue seamlessly into the remaining graduate-level online courses. The dynamic and challenging curriculum of the Master of Science in Nursing Education part of the program prepares you for nurse educator roles in both academic and service settings. You’ll gain knowledge and skills you need in learning theories, teaching strategies, curriculum development, evaluation of learning outcomes, and using technology to support teaching.

Online courses, practice experiences, and a robust curriculum prepare you for work in academic settings such as vocational, associate degree, and bachelor degree nursing programs, and in non-academic setting that include staff-development, school nursing, community and public health, nurse recruiter, and clinical settings. The program requires outstanding critical thinking skills and nursing judgment as well as commitment to academic rigor.

Learn more about the application requirements for the online RN to MSN in Nursing Education.

Fast Facts:

The average median salary for a nurse educator is $77,360 (Source: BLS)

Master’s-prepared nurse educators work at universities, hospitals, and professional schools (Source: BLS)

Master’s degree holders earn on average $1 million more over a lifetime than those with only a bachelor's degree (Source: Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce)


credit hours

RN to MS in Nursing Education Program Details

Undergraduate General Education Component

Cornerstone Course

Information Literacy

Written English Requirement


  • Humanities
  • Ethics Core

Social Sciences:

  • Social Sciences/History
  • Psychology Core Requirement
  • Sociology Core Requirement

Natural Sciences/Mathematics:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology Core
  • Microbiology Core
  • Sciences Supportive of Nursing Core
  • Statistics Core
  • Natural Sciences/Mathematics

Arts and Sciences Electives

Nursing Credit for Prior Learning and Successful Completion of NCLEX-RN: 30 Credits

Core Courses:

Leadership and Management in Nursing
This course focuses on the application of leadership and management concepts and theories; inter-professional communication and collaboration; and evidence-based strategies and inquiry within health care organizations. Team building, quality improvement, patient and staff safety, and fiscal management are addressed within the role of baccalaureate-prepared nurse leader and manager across a variety of health care settings.

Community Health Nursing Caring for the Public’s Health
This course integrates evidence, theory, standards, and knowledge from nursing, public health, and other disciplines to guide population-focused nursing practice. Importance is placed on the application of the core functions of public health: assessment, policy development, and the assurance of available and necessary health services for diverse populations. Emphasis is placed in identifying determinants of health, advocating for vulnerable populations, prioritizing primary prevention, and utilizing available resources to improve the health of populations. Population-focused nursing involves assessing the health care needs of a specific population and making health care decisions for the population as a whole rather than for individuals. This course includes practice experiences in the community.

Transformational Nursing: Innovation, Inquiry, and Scholarship
This course explores how nursing may be transformed. The ways of knowing set a foundation for knowledge acquisition and competencies for master’s-prepared nurses. The need for nurses to be innovators, through the application of inquiry and scholarship, are discussed in relation to such topics as leadership, change, and power. Theory-based and scientific competencies are examined as they relate to specializations in nursing. A spirit of inquiry, combined with creativity, curiosity, and the translation of evidence, is explored through critical conversations that support interprofessional collaboration and professional nursing roles in a dynamic healthcare environment.

Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Practice
Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Practice focuses on the exploration of nursing knowledge development to include philosophy, theories, models, and concepts that have been designed to guide nursing practice. It provides approaches to analyze and critique a variety of theories in nursing and related fields.

Advanced Physical Assessment
This course focuses on the advanced comprehensive assessment of individuals. It builds on the students’ knowledge and skills and provides a foundation for the advanced practice nurse to evaluate the health of individuals and provide health promotion interventions. The interactions of developmental, biopsychosocial, and socio-cultural contexts resulting in health effects for individuals provide the structure of the course. Students obtain the practice skills necessary for advanced communication (i.e., clinical interviewing, focused history taking), biopsychosocial and physical assessment, critical diagnostic reasoning, differential diagnosis, and clinical decision-making through course readings, dialog, discussions, videos, simulations, and practical examinations. This course includes 45 hours of clinical experience.

Research and Evidence-Based Practice
Research and Evidenced-Based Practice focuses on the research process and the analysis and evaluation of research to integrate the best evidence into practice. Emphasis is on the identification of generic and discipline-specific health care issues, synthesis of client care and research initiatives to inform evidence, and translation of research to support and inform practice innovations.

Policy, Ethics, and Population Health
This course examines public policy, political ideology, and ethics as they shape health policy across populations. Political ideology, social and health policy are considered within the lens of population based health and reducing health disparities. The role of the master’s-prepared nurse is to lead and advocate within the public policy arena is explored and discussed. Contemporary issues in health policy viewed from the perspective of ethics and the social and material determinants of health are considered. A primary focus of the course is consideration and development of the knowledge and skills that the master’s-prepared nurse needs as a change agent in health policy.

Nursing Capstone
This capstone course focuses on integration and synthesis of knowledge, skills, and competencies from nursing, other disciplines, and the arts and sciences. Application of specific concepts and theories, such as communication, critical thinking, and leadership, enables students to transform theory to practice within health care systems. This course includes practice experiences.

Graduate Elective

To meet the required number of program credits, 3 graduate-level elective credits must be taken. These may be completed within the graduate program or transferred from other graduate programs if they are deemed eligible for credit.

The nursing education component consists of five online courses.

Advanced Pathophysiology

This course examines the concepts of pathophysiology to guide advanced health care professionals in the diagnosis and management of disease. The focus of this course is to investigate both common and unusual disorders in individuals in primary care settings across the lifespan. In addition to etiology, pathogenesis, and disease evolution the influence of predisposing factors, including environmental, geographic, genetic, developmental, and global factors on disease manifestation will be presented. Students will also examine the impact of disease conditions within the context of a person’s life through case study analyses.

Advanced Pharmacology

This course provides an advanced-level pathophysiological approach to understanding pharmacological agents and their use across the lifespan. The mechanism of drug action provides a foundation for understanding applications and adverse effects of these agents. Emphasis will be placed on the fundamentals of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics as they relate to clinical practice. This course includes 9 hours of practice experience.

Designing a Learning Environment

This course focuses on the creation of teaching-learning environments and the integration of the role of faculty/educator, uniqueness of the learner, the setting and context within which the learning occurs, the teaching-learning strategies used to achieve learning outcomes, and evaluation of the effectiveness of this process.

Program and Curriculum Development in Nursing Education

This course focuses on curriculum and syllabus/program development, including theoretical frameworks and design, philosophical foundations, and selection of learning experiences to achieve outcomes.

Assessment and Evaluation in Nursing Education
This course is designed to introduce the student to the evaluation process, including test construction, clinical performance assessment, program evaluation, and strategies for evaluating learning outcomes.

The Nursing Education Capstone

This culminating experience provides learners with an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired throughout the program of study, focusing on the competencies of the graduate-level nurse. This course consists of several integrated components: a 135-hour practice experience, discussion, reflective journal, scholarly paper, and project presentation.

Bachelor’s End-of-Program Student Learning Outcomes

  • Apply principles of nursing scholarship to optimize health care outcomes.
  • Integrate equitable, person-centered care standards to improve care across diverse settings.
  • Employ ethical, fiscally sound strategies in the management of population health.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to optimize healthcare outcomes.
  • Assess strategies that create a culture of quality and safety
  • Apply information and healthcare technologies to manage the delivery of care.
  • Apply the role of the professional nurse leader in the empowerment of others to deliver quality care.
  • Apply effective written communication methods for diverse audiences to support decision-making.

Master’s End-of-Program Student Learning Outcomes

  • Function as a leader and change agent to promote holistic patient-centered care and population health.
  • Translate evidence to develop health care practices in a culturally and ethnically diverse global society.
  • Synthesize theoretical and empirical knowledge from nursing and other disciplines that are essential for nursing judgment and practice.
  • Integrate specialty practice knowledge to enhance inter-professional collaboration, inform decisions, and improve outcomes.
  • Exemplify professional values and standards, best practices, and the commitment to lifelong learning in the role of the master’s-prepared nurse.
  • Implement the role of master’s-prepared nurse as part of the inter-professional team.
  • Integrate scholarship, a spirit of inquiry, and innovation to support nursing excellence.
  • Apply effective written communication methods to resolve complex problems and organizational issues.

Surveys are administered to our nursing program students upon graduation and at one year post-graduation. The survey results are available here.

View our catalog for additional information.

Common Careers with an
RN to MS in Nursing Education

  • Community and public health nurse
  • Nurse educators
  • Nurse recruiter
  • School nurse
Each time I went back for another degree the information was very relevant to what I was doing, and it was almost as though Excelsior was acting as my mentor/preceptor into the new role that I had stepped into. What I was learning in school, I was applying to day-to-day work and what I was learning in day-to-day work, I was applying in my degree program. You just can’t beat that.

Jennifer Gentry
Associate in Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing
2004, 2011, 2015

Recognitions & Accreditations

New York State Board of Regents – Recognized Programmatic Accreditation

Excelsior University’s associate-level nursing programs are programmatically accredited by the New York State (NYS) Board of Regents, State Education Department Office of the Professions (the Regents). The U.S. Department of Education has recognized the Regents as a state agency for the approval of nursing education programs since 1969. More information about the NYS Board of Regents’ Recognized Programmatic Accreditation may be helpful for students or graduates to present to a school they are attending or to an employer seeking more information about their Excelsior University nursing degree.

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing logo

ACEN Accreditation

The bachelor’s and master’s nursing programs at Excelsior University are accredited by the:

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400
Atlanta, GA 30326

These programs include Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Administration of Health Care Systems, Master of Science in Nursing Education, Master of Science in Nursing Informatics, RN to Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Administration of Health Care Systems, RN to Master of Science in Nursing Education, and RN to Master of Science in Nursing Informatics.

The most recent accreditation decision made by the ACEN Board of Commissioners for the bachelor’s nursing program in March 2019 is Continuing Accreditation.

The most recent accreditation decision made by the ACEN Board of Commissioners for the master’s nursing programs in March 2019 is Continuing Accreditation.

View the public information disclosed by the ACEN regarding these programs at acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm.

Middle States Commission on Higher Education logo

Institutional Accreditation

Excelsior University is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE or the Commission) www.msche.org. Excelsior University’s accreditation status is accreditation reaffirmed. The Commission’s most recent action on the institution’s accreditation status on June 23, 2022 was to reaffirm accreditation. MSCHE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to conduct accreditation and pre-accreditation (candidate status) activities for institutions of higher education including distance, correspondence education, and direct assessment programs offered at those institutions. The Commission’s geographic area of accrediting activities is throughout the United States.

All of Excelsior University’s academic programs are registered (i.e., approved) by the New York State Education Department.