M.S. Nursing, Education (RN to MSN Option) Areas of Study

The WGU MSN (RN to MSN Option) program is based on best practices for effective learning and national standards. It provides the knowledge and skills that enable graduates to expand their knowledge in areas of research, theory, community concepts, health care policy and finance, therapeutic interventions, and current trends.

General Education

The general education courses focus on basic subject matter knowledge that is typically included in baccalaureate level programs. Evaluation of your previous college transcripts may clear assessment requirements for some areas of the liberal arts domain, which could shorten your program of study by removing assessments. To waive or clear a course, the transcript must show that you have taken equivalent classes in the content areas and passed those classes with a C grade or higher at an accredited institution of higher education.

Foundations of College Mathematics
This course focuses on basic numeracy and calculation skills, basic algebra skills, basic geometry principles, and basic data and probability skills.

Communication Foundations
This course focuses on the application of grammatical standards and reading skills.

Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology and Human Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory

Survey in U.S. and World History
The content in these courses include major themes in world history and United States history; basic economic concepts; and the nature and development of American government.

Language and Communication: Essay

Language and Communication: Presentation

Literature, Arts, and the Humanities
These courses focus on content, concepts, terminology, methodology, models, and issues within and across the disciplines of the humanities.

Health Science Core

Clinical Microbiology

Behavioral Science


Nursing Science

Care of the Older Adult

Applied Health Care Statistics and Analysis

Nutrition for Contemporary Society

Advanced Evidence-Based Practice and Applied Nursing Research

Advanced Information Management and the Application of Technology

Nursing Theory and Practice

Health Assessment

Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing
This course will assist students to become familiar with foundational theories and models of health promotion and disease prevention, applicable to the community health nursing environment. Students will develop understanding of how policies and resources influence the health of populations. Students will engage in learning the importance of community assessment to improve or resolve a community health issue. Students will be introduced to the relationships between cultures and communities and the steps necessary to create community collaboration to improve or resolve community health issues in a variety of settings. Students will analyze health systems in the United States, global health issues, quality-of-life issues, and emergency preparedness.

Advanced Professional Roles and Values

Organizational Systems and Quality Leadership

Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing Field Experience
This course will assist students to become familiar with clinical aspects of health promotion and disease prevention, applicable to the community health nursing environment. Students will practice skills based on clinical priorities, methodology, and resources that positively influence the health of populations. Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills by applying principals of community health nursing in a variety of settings. Students will design, implement and evaluate a project in community health. Students will develop health promotion and disease prevention strategies for population groups.

MSN Professional Nursing Core

Organizational Leadership and Interprofessional Team Development
This graduate-level course builds on baccalaureate-level leadership knowledge to develop application skills in complex healthcare environments with diverse teams. Students will develop knowledge and competencies in the following areas: leadership theory, systems and complexity theory, advanced communication and building consensus.

Professional Presence and Influence
Professional Presence and Influence is a core course in the MSN program. This course is designed to help students see themselves as influential leaders in transforming health care. Professional practice includes therapeutic use of self, along with applications from the art and science of nursing. The presence of the nurse manifests the organizational mission and opens up possibilities for a richer patient experience as well as a more rewarding professional career.

Pathopharmacological Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice
This course uses an integrated approach to learning by examining five common and important disease processes that represent significant challenges in American healthcare. These disease process were chosen because of their prevalence and impact on the healthcare system and health of the nation. The course includes pathophysiologies, the associated pharmacological treatments, as well as social and environmental impacts.

Comprehensive Health Assessment for Patients and Populations
In this course students will learn about the principles of health assessment from the individual to the global level. Students will learn to perform a comprehensive functional health assessment that includes social structures, family history, and environmental situations, from the individual patient to the population.

Advanced Nursing Practice and Field Experience
In this course students will integrate and apply their learning in a clinical experience working with a nurse leader in their community by demonstrating the following: lead change and improve quality care outcomes; advance a culture of excellence; build and lead interprofessional teams; navigate and integrate care services; design innovative practices; translate evidence into practice. Students will complete the activities in this course in conjunction with the related course Advanced Nursing Practice Field Experience.

Policy, Politics, and Global Health Trends
This course explores social, political, and economic factors influence policies that impact health outcomes in acute care settings in communities, nationally and globally. Nurse leaders need to understand the determinants of health as well as how legal and regulatory processes, healthcare finances, research, the role of professional organizations, and special interest groups/lobbyists impact health outcomes.

Contemporary Pharmacotherapeutics
This course provides the opportunity for students to acquire advanced knowledge and skills in the therapeutic use of pharmacologic agents, herbals, and supplements. Students will explore the pharmacologic treatment of major health problems and examine the principles of pharmacogenomics. The effects of culture, ethnicity, age, pregnancy, gender, healthcare setting, and funding of pharmacologic therapy will be emphasized. Legal aspects of prescribing will be fully addressed.

Translational Research for Practice and Populations
This graduate-level course builds on baccalaureate-level statistical knowledge to help students develop skills in analyzing, interpreting, and translating research into nursing practice using principles of patient-centered care and applications to individuals and populations.

Nursing Education Specialization

Foundations of Nursing Education
This course examines the contemporary issues of nursing education. While traditional contexts for learning are included, students will also focus on modern technology and trends in nursing education. Students will explore curriculum development, educational philosophy, theories and models, instruction and evaluation, as well as e-learning, simulations, and current technology in nursing education.

Facilitating Learning in the 21st Century
In this course students apply traditional learning theories in contemporary nursing practice, using 21st-century educational paradigms. It addresses the big picture of application of principles of instructional design and instructional innovations. Students will examine and experiment with various educational ideas including: facilitating learning, facilitated learner development and socialization, assessment and evaluation strategies, and evaluation of course and program outcomes.

Future Directions in Contemporary Learning and Education
This course builds on previously developed concepts acquired in Foundations of Nursing Education and Facilitating Learning in the 21st Century. Changes in the economy, advancements in science, and the explosion of technology have created a paradigm shift in healthcare and healthcare education. The student explores how contemporary and futuristic education delivery methods and diverse student populations often require alternative forms of assessment, case study testing, adaptive learning environments, asynchronous learning, hybrid courses, traditional courses, and online distance learning techniques. In this course students will examine how to prepare and incorporate methods such as e-learning, simulations, and technology, and social media.

Nursing Education Field Experience
While the previous education courses focus on helping students build a deep understanding of theories of nursing education and form a philosophy of nursing education, this course requires the students to apply the competencies learned in a field experience with a preceptor.

Nurse Educator Capstone
The capstone is a scholarly project that addresses an issue, need, gap or opportunity resulting from an identified in nursing education or healthcare need. The capstone project provides the opportunity for the graduate nursing student to demonstrate competency through design, application and evaluation of advanced nursing knowledge and higher level leadership skills for ultimately improving health outcomes.