Degree Overview

Master of Science Nursing Leadership and Management (RN to MSN Option)

Our online RN to MSN graduate degree in nursing management will enhance your personal status and prepare you to make a tremendous contribution to the successful operation of healthcare facilities. You’ll complete bachelor’s degree coursework and earn your master’s degree. Competencies for this specialty are consistent with the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) standards for nurse administrators. You will become a valuable leader and manager in a variety of nursing settings.

Who the Program is For:

  • Registered nurses (RNs) who possess an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing, have a current unencumbered RN license, and wish to earn a master’s degree to move into nursing administration.
  • Individuals who can typically spend 15 or more hours per week on their studies.

Learn more about why you should choose WGU

This program will be flexible and adaptable to your schedule. Click here to learn how this program works.

What You'll Learn

Essential Knowledge and Skills

You’ll become an expert in all areas of study for this specialty, consistent with the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) standards for nurse administrators. You will become an effective leader and manager for a variety of nursing settings and healthcare facilities.

The program requires a total of 147 competency units (CUs), our equivalent to the traditional credit hour.  Almost every student who begins their program as an already licensed RN can receive 50 to 90 CUs in transfer credit, significantly shortening the time to graduation.

The WGU RN to MSN program is grounded in real research on effective instruction, and adheres to national standards. It provides the knowledge and skills that enable graduates to design, implement, and administer nursing programs in a healthcare facility.

Key Subject Areas

These Courses Add to Your Credentials

  • Health Assessment

  • Nutrition for Contemporary Society

  • Advanced Information Management and the Application of Technology

  • Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing

  • Professional Presence and Influence

  • Translational Research for Practice and Populations

  • Pathopharmacological Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice

  • Contemporary Pharmacotherapeutics

  • Policy, Politics, and Global Health Trends

  • Nursing Leadership

Core Subject Areas

Some of These General Education Assessments May Be Cleared through Transfer Credit

  • Foundations of College Mathematics

  • English Composition I

  • Survey of United States Constitution and Government

  • Elements of Effective Communication

  • Introduction to Humanities

  • Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan

  • Introduction to Psychology

  • Introduction to Sociology

  • Introduction to Probability and Statistics

  • Biochemistry

  • Anatomy and Physiology

  • Clinical Microbiology

How It Works

A Degree Program That Fits Your Schedule

WGU is designed to let you go to school on your time, not according to a class schedule. Our online degree program is flexible and puts you at the center of your education: you choose when and where to complete your coursework. Once you demonstrate your competency in a subject area, you can move on to your next course.

Online learning is not easy.

You should expect to work hard and spend 20 hours or more per week on your studies. Still, your program will be flexible enough to fit into your schedule, not the other way around.

How Long Will It Take?

It Depends On You

The average time it takes to complete the RN to MSN in Nursing Leadership and Management online degree program at WGU is 2.5 to 3 years. That’s significantly less than at other online schools.

Many students proceed faster than the normal pace designed into each program. But don’t assume doing so is easy. WGU programs are quite rigorous. The pace at which you complete your WGU program depends upon how quickly you are able to take and pass the required assessments. Successful students who commit 15 hours or more per week to their studies are often able to complete their programs more quickly.

Ultimately, the pace at which you complete your online RN to MSN nursing program depends on how rapidly you pass assessments.

It’s your program. It’s up to you. Create your own schedule, choose your pace and achieve your personal goals.

"Our partnership with WGU enables our employees to advance their education affordably without interrupting their careers." John Steele, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Hospital Corporation of America

How Competency-Based Education Benefits You

Put Your Existing Knowledge to Work

Western Governors University was the first university in the country to employ a cutting edge, competency-based learning model that lets you use skills and knowledge you already have to accelerate your degree program.

In WGU's online degree programs, students advance by demonstrating their competence in each subject area. You’ll be able to move quickly through material you already know so you can spend your time focusing on what you still need to learn.

  • You’ll work with your assigned Faculty Mentor on a personalized Degree Plan that establishes the pace at which you move through the program.

  • With few exceptions, you’ll be able to choose when and where you study.

  • You’ll complete as much work as YOU choose during each six-month term.

  • You’ll collaborate with your Faculty Mentor to determine the learning resources that will help you develop and demonstrate your competency in each subject area.

  • You’ll be required to complete at least 12 CUs per term for bachelor's degree programs and 8 CUs per term for graduate degree programs in order to make On Time Progress. If you choose to and are able, you can add courses and move more quickly through your program.

How Much Will It Cost?

Less Than You Think

We're committed to keeping tuition low and making sure our online education degree programs remain the very best value for hardworking students. WGU doesn't spend money on classrooms, research facilities, or football stadiums. Instead, we focus on keeping costs low. In fact, we haven’t increased tuition since 2008. And because we charge tuition at a flat-rate each term, if you complete coursework ahead of schedule, you can save yourself money as well as time.


You pay for time—not credits

  • No matter how many courses you complete each term, your tuition stays the same.

  • The more courses you complete each term, the fewer terms you have until graduation.

  • Our competency-based model gives you the opportunity to accelerate your progress.

  • If you complete your program ahead of schedule, you'll save both time and money.

Cost of Earning a Degree

You’ll pay the same low tuition each 6-month term, regardless of how many courses you complete. If you accelerate your degree program, you’ll pay less for your degree.

Tuition and Fees

For this program, a full-time course load is 12 competency units in a term during your bachelor’s degree coursework; 8 competency units per term during graduate-level coursework. Because we allow you to complete extra courses at no extra cost, you may be able to increase the value of your program by dedicating extra time to your studies.

  • $3,250: Tuition per 6-Month Term
  • $145: Resource Fee per 6-Month Term
  • $350: One-Time Nursing Program Fee
  • $42: Criminal Background Check Fee

The RN to MSN in Leadership and Management online degree program at WGU is designed to be affordable for hard-working adults with bills to pay.

Learn more about tuition and fees.

(Note: Residents of California are required to pay a one-time immunization tracking fee of $50.)

WGU Is Half The Cost

WGU's Master of Science degree program in Nursing Leadership and Management (RN to MSN Option) is typically about half the cost of other equally reputable nursing programs.

Tuition Comparison: Master of Science Nursing Leadership and Management (RN to MSN Option)

WGU University of Phoenix
$3,250 per six month term.
If it takes four years = $26,000
$57,600 for BSN + 84 credits x $387 per credit = $90,108

*Note: This chart is for illustration only and reflects the tuition information made public by other institutions and WGU's standard tuition of $2,890 per term as of February 1, 2015. Tuition for the MBA and nursing programs is higher at $3,250 per term. Actual rates will vary depending on the number of terms needed to complete the program. Check the website for the most current tuition information.

Compare WGU tuition to tuition at other schools

Financial Aid

You Can Afford to Earn a Degree

WGU's financial aid experts are on hand to help you finance your education in the smartest way possible. 76% of WGU students receive some type of financial aid.

Federal Financial Aid is available to most students.

Respected, Recognized, and Accredited

Northwest Commission Accredited

Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The Northwest Commission is also responsible for the accreditation of other major universities in the West, including the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, Gonzaga University, and the University of Utah, among many others. Learn more about accreditation here.

CCNE Accredited

The bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs at WGU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791).

An online degree in healthcare from WGU tells employers that you're serious about success.

Take the next step into a prosperous future.

WGU Graduates Succeed

Become a Success Story

Our latest survey of leading employers speaks volumes about our ability to prepare grads to work in many industries:


of employers rate the “soft skills” of WGU graduates as equal to or better than graduates from other institutions.


of employers agreed that WGU graduates meet or exceed their expectations.


of employers rated WGU graduates' job performance as good as or better than the job performance of graduates from other universities.


of employers consider WGU graduates prepared for their jobs.

Note: 2014 Survey of 300 Employers by Harris Poll

You can learn more about how employers view WGU grads by exploring our National Student Success and Performance Data.

"The big draw was the fact that it was online. I could work at my own pace." James Dye,
WGU Alumnus

How a Course Works

Prove What You Know and Move Forward

You set your own pace by demonstrating your skills. In the online degree programs at WGU, you'll advance through each course by first mastering the course content, then completing and passing challenging assessments that measure your knowledge and skills in each subject area.

These rigorous assessments (tests, papers, assignments, and projects) let you demonstrate your competence in each subject area in order to pass the course and earn competency units (CUs), our equivalent to the traditional credit hour.

WGU sets a high standard, and we want our students to succeed. You'll be given ample opportunity to master the subject matter and re-take assessments as needed in order to graduate.

Get Started

Enrollment is easy. View our Enrollment Checklist for the easy steps to getting started.

Applicants must possess a current, unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license. Applicants must be actively working as an RN at the time of application and enrollment.

See More about College of Health Professions Admission Requirements

Speak to an Enrollment Counselor and Apply Today

You'll be on your way to a successful career. A world of opportunity awaits.

Request Info Apply Now

Question and Answer

Select a question from the left, see the answer to the right.

How does WGU keep its tuition so low?

As a nonprofit university, WGU doesn’t need to benefit shareholders. Our students are our main concern. We also try to keep our operating costs low. And since we’re an exclusively online university, we don’t need to maintain expensive classroom buildings, a campus, and other non-academic programs. 

Should I consider financial aid?

Using financial aid is a personal decision. When making this decision, you should know that a degree is a great investment in yourself that will pay for itself many times over. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn on average almost a million dollars more over the course their careers compared to those without one. A master’s degree typically has a similar impact on your wallet. You should definitely consider federal financial aid if it means the difference between getting your degree or not. Speak to an Enrollment Counselor to learn more.


Is WGU a good fit for you?

Take the quiz

Schema Markup for WGU Logo

You’re using an unsupported version of your browser..

You’ll still have full access to the site, but some functionality may be lost. For the best experience, upgrade your browser by following the links below.