Master of Science in Nursing

Chairperson: Lin Murphy
Professors: N. Crogan-Pomilla, S. Norwood
Associate Professosr: N. Beckham, A. Dupler
Assistant Professors: D. Abendroth, M. Gorski, L. Miklush, L. Murphy, J. Ramirez, J. Tiedt
Senior Lecturer: D. Smith
Lecturers: J. Derzay, J. Garrity, S. Harrison, K. Manion, J. Miller, V. Navarro, D. Ogorek, B. Senger, L. Tochterman


The Department of Nursing offers three advanced education nursing programs: the accelerated RN to MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) program, the MSN program, and second Master's in Nursing program. These programs emphasize leadership, the integration of theoretical concepts from nursing and related disciplines, and the application of these theories to practice. Both role development and preparation in a specialty focus area are emphasized. Grounded in Jesuit and nursing values, the MSN program prepares Registered Nurses to assume roles as Family Nurse Practitioners, Family Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Educators, or Health Systems Leaders. With Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) as the organizing framework for the curriculum, the program builds on the themes of servant leadership, social justice, community, and reflective practice. Gonzaga's MSN program is offered in an online distance delivery format with scheduled on-campus immersions. This format enables nurses in geographically isolated areas and those who would not be able to attend an on-campus program to pursue advanced nursing education and still continue to provide much-needed nursing services in their home communities while completing graduate studies. Graduates are qualified to take the national certification examinations for their areas of specialization. National certification is a requirement for licensure as a nurse practitioner in most states.  Students are responsible for checking state mandates for practice while in the student role and in an advanced nursing role.

Program Overview

Students who enter the master's program through the accelerated RN to MSN pathway complete a total of ten courses (30 credits) that "bridge" them to the graduate-level courses. After completing these "bridge" courses, they progress directly to the core courses in the MSN program provided they have successfully completed all bridge courses with a grade of “C” or better and have maintained a minimum GPA of 3.0. They  have the option of pursuing either the Health Systems Leader or the Nurse Educator track in the MSN program.

The students admitted directly into the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program apply for admission to one of four specialty tracks: Family Nurse Practitioner (44 credits), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (47 credits), Nurse Educator (36 credits), or the Health Systems Leader track (36 credits). They complete the core courses (15 credits) prior to advancing to one of the specialty tracks (additional 21-32 credits). They then progress through one of the four specialty options. In both of the nurse practitioner options, students complete courses in advanced pathophysiology and pharmacology, advanced health assessment, and the direct care core courses that prepare them for advanced practice. Students in these pathways complete 600 hours (10 credits) of practicum or clinical experience. Students preparing for the advanced role specialties of Nurse Educator and Health Systems Leader complete the core courses for those specialty tracks as well as 360 hours of practicum (6 credits).

The second master’s degree program is designed for the Registered Nurse who already possesses a master’s degree in nursing but desires additional preparation in another specialty area. The program is structured to meet the needs and schedules of working Registered Nurses through the same distributive learning formats used in the MSN program. The total credits required may vary depending on each student’s background and preparation.

RN to MSN Program (for Registered Nurses)

The RN to MSN program offers the licensed Registered Nurse with a diploma or an Associate's degree in Nursing the opportunity to earn a master's degree in nursing in less time and with fewer credits than would be required if completing separate BSN and MSN degrees. The MSN is the degree awarded, and there is no option for earning a separate BSN degree. In an effort to meet the needs of working Registered Nurses, the program is offered in a flexible distance delivery online format. Students complete ten courses (30 credits) that "bridge" them to the master's level courses. Once the "bridge" courses have been completed, students progress immediately to the graduate level courses. There is an emphasis on preparation for an advanced role as either a Nurse Educator or Health Systems Leader.

Admission Requirements RN to MSN Program

At the time of application to the RN to MSN program, the applicant also applies for admission to Gonzaga University. The applicant must have an Associate's degree in Nursing from an accredited college or a diploma in nursing from a state-approved program and must submit one official transcript from each college, university, and nursing program attended. The decision to admit an applicant to the RN to MSN program is based on consideration of the individual's overall portfolio including:

  1. Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better (4.0 scale).
  2. Evidence of a current unencumbered RN license.
  3. One official transcript from every college and university or nursing school attended.  Only degrees and courses from a regionally accredited institution will be accepted.
  4. Current curriculum vitae (CV).
  5. Two letters of recommendation from individuals such as employers, colleagues, or professors who can attest to the applicant’s leadership, interpersonal skills, professional practice, critical thinking and judgment, and potential for advanced study.
  6. Satisfactory score on the Miller Analogy Test or the Graduate Record Exam within the last five years
  7. Typewritten statement (maximum 500 words) that describes the applicant’s:
    a)    interest in the RN to MSN Program and specific MSN option, e.g., Nurse Educator or Health Systems Leader.
    b)    professional goals
    c)    personal and professional strengths
    d)    professional experiences
  8. Non-native English speakers are required to provide proof of English proficiency.  Gonzaga University accepts the following:
    a)    score of 6.5 or better on the IELTS
    b)    official TOEFL score of at least 88 ibt or 580 pbt
    c)    completion of an Associate's degree in nursing or a diploma in Nursing from an institution where English is the primary medium of instruction.
  9. Submission of a financial declaration and supporting documentation by international applicants
Degree Requirements

The RN to MSN program requires the completion of ten "bridge" courses (30 credits) with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to progress to MSN-level course work.

Bridge Courses: 30 Credits