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Master of Science

Nursing Leadership and Management (RN to MSN)


This Online Bridge from RN to MSN Helps You Make a Difference as a Nursing Leader


As a nurse, you know how to combine the science of success with the art of care. Your chosen career path shows that you feel called to care—you work hard to serve, meet your patients’ needs, and ultimately change lives. An RN to MSN degree in leadership and management can prepare you to help others in your organization succeed, bring out the best in your co-workers, and execute procedure as effectively as possible. An RN to MSN in leadership and management is critical in helping you take your career to the next level and have a positive impact on the future of healthcare. WGU’s online, CCNE-accredited RN to MSN program will prepare you to lead the way in a changing healthcare industry. It begins with BSN-level coursework and then continues with cutting-edge curriculum designed to build the transformational leaders a rapidly evolving healthcare industry demands. And because of the personalized pacing of our competency-based approach to earning your nursing degree, you can complete this online MSN degree program even on a busy nurse’s often-unpredictable schedule.

In this online degree program we want to give you as much real-world, hands-on experience as possible. We want to set nursing leaders up for career success through our program. When you pursue this degree you'll get clinical practice experiences such as real-time simulation using immersive virtual reality training. Additionally, you'll earn the NAHQ (National Association for Healthcare Quality) HQ Principles certificate along with your degree. This will help you boost your résumé before you even graduate.

Already have your BSN? No problem! Check out the BSN-to-MSN version of this program.

75% of RN to MSN grads finish within 

42 months

WGU lets you move more quickly through material you already know and advance as soon as you're ready. The result: You may finish faster. 

Tuition per six-month term is


Tuition charged per term—rather than per credit—helps you control the ultimate cost of your degree. Finish faster, pay less! 

Students can transfer up to

90 credits

Students from an accredited program will receive 80 transfer credits toward their BSN at application, and will have their transcript evaluated for up to 10 more transfer credits.

Ready to Start Your WGU Journey?

Next Start Date: March 1

Start Dates the 1st of Every Month

Bridge RN to MSN Programs

Earn Credentials on the Way to an MSN


RN to MSN programs at WGU allow you to complete your BSN and then move forward to your MSN. As you are close to finishing your BSN coursework, you will choose your MSN specialty: Nursing Education, Leadership and Management, or Nursing Informatics. Upon completion of your undergraduate coursework and the conferral of your BSN degree, you will also have taken 5 graduate-level courses, which allows you to earn a post-baccalaureate certificate. This helps you enhance your résumé and demonstrate your advanced education right away. A post-baccalaureate certificate credential is a great addition to your résumé and shows your current or potential employers the value you can bring to your position even while you are finishing your MSN degree. Or if you need to delay your MSN portion, you can still showcase the graduate-level coursework you have already completed. 

Now's the time to advance your healthcare career with a master's degree. There is no RN work requirement. This means you don't need to be currently working as an RN in order to be eligible for admission into our MSN programs.

Safety Notice

WGU and the Leavitt School of Health are committed to the health, safety, and well-being of all patients, community members, and key stakeholders that interact with WGU students at various clinical/host sites. Interactions might include direct patient interaction, observation experiences, laboratory experiences, project development, or conducting research.  Standard compliance verification for students in applicable LSH programs is required to protect the public, meet LSH program expectations, reasonably assure compliance with state regulatory board requirements, meet WGU’s contractual and legal obligations with clinical partners, and support WGU’s mission to prepare students who will be qualified to enter their desired field. Compliance items may include, but are not limited to, background checks, immunizations, and drug screens as needed.


Nurse Leadership Courses

The curriculum in WGU's online, CCNE-accredited RN to MSN – Leadership and Management degree programs is evidence-based.

Competencies for this RN to MSN specialty are consistent with the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) standards for nurse administrators.

The BSN portion of this program  focuses on contemporary nursing practice. Earning a BSN adds theoretical and policy depth to the practical knowledge you have as an RN.

The MSN portion of this program addresses the complexities of healthcare, access, quality, and costs for diverse populations. In the leadership and management specialization, you'll master topics like leadership theories, strategic planning, financial and HR management, and more.

The M.S. Nursing – Leadership and Management (RN to MSN) degree program is a mostly online nursing program that you will complete by studying and working independently with instruction and support from WGU faculty. You will be expected to complete at least 8 competency units (WGU's equivalent of the credit hour) each 6-month term. (Each course is typically 3 or 4 units.)

The first person you speak with at WGU will be your Enrollment Counselor, an expert in your program who can explain all the requirements and expectations in more detail. You can also read more about each course in the Program Guide.

Entire RN to MSN Nursing Leadership and Management Coursework

General Education
Leadership and Management Specialty
Nursing Core
MSN Core

32 Courses

This program consists of 32 courses

At WGU, we design our curriculum to be timely, relevant, and practical—all to ensure your degree is proof you really know your stuff.

Field Experiences

Special requirements for this program

While most of your coursework will be completed online, your nursing program includes some requirements—including field experiences—that must be completed in a facility near you. And while most of your courses can be accelerated based on your prior knowledge and hard work, some nursing programs begin with a cohort-based course that must be completed via five scheduled webcam sessions with faculty and fellow students.

“I became an RN at 52 and have received my MSN at 56. With my children grown, I have expanded my nursing experience to travel nursing and have decided that I enjoy school so much that I will continue to educate myself so I can assist other nurses in their journey.”

—Savannah White
M.S. Nursing – Leadership and Management

Why WGU?


WGU tuition is charged per six-month term, not per credit. That means if you want to move faster through this nursing leadership program, you'll pay less.

On Your Schedule

You can continue working at your full-time job or maintaining your responsibilities while pursing your RN to MSN degree. You don't have to log-in to classes and there aren't due dates. You are in charge of your degree.

Alumni Network

When you enroll in the nursing management program at WGU, you join an impressive network of healthcare professionals. Over 18,000 students earned healthcare degrees from WGU in 2020 alone, and are hard at work, changing the lives of patients and impacting communities.

Accredited, Respected,

One important measure of a degree’s value is the reputation of the university where it was earned. When employers, industry leaders, and academic experts hold your alma mater in high esteem, you reap the benefits of that respect. WGU is a pioneer in reinventing higher education for the 21st century, and our quality has been recognized. 



An Affordable Nursing Leadership Degree

By charging per term rather than per credit—and empowering students to accelerate through material they know well or learn quickly—WGU helps students control the ultimate cost of their degrees.


Tuition per 6-month term for the undergraduate portion of the program

At WGU, tuition is charged every six months. For the undergraduate portion of this master's degree in nursing, other fees include a flat fee of $200 each term for e-books and learning resources and a $350 Health Professions Fee.


Tuition per 6-month term for the graduate portion of the program

For the graduate portion of this degree, other fees include a flat fee of $200 each term for e-books and learning resources and a $350 Health Professions Fee.

A Nursing Master's Degree Is Within Reach

There is help available to make paying for school possible for you:

The average student loan debt of WGU graduates in 2019 (among those who borrowed) was less than half* the national average.

Most WGU students qualify for financial aid, and WGU is approved for federal financial aid and U.S. veterans benefits. 

Many scholarship opportunities are available. Find out what you might be eligible for.


WGU's Online MSN Bridge Program Was Built to be Different—for a Busy RN’s Schedule

Competency-based education puts working nurses in the driver’s seat of their education. As a busy nurse, you need a degree program that's more than simply online—you need a nursing program that truly reflects the realities of your work life and experience. At WGU, progress through programs is driven by your ability to prove what you’ve learned. How—and how quickly—are largely up to you. Once you’ve mastered the defined competencies (knowledge and skills), you prove what you know through tests, papers, projects, or other assessments. Demonstrating mastery is how you pass a course, and passing courses is how you complete degree programs, so learning what it takes to be outstanding in your career is at the heart of WGU’s MSN – Leadership and Management curriculum.

Other universities' online M.S. programs may give you the convenience of distance learning; WGU's competency-based online programs take that flexibility further—many steps further!

"This degree has allowed me the opportunity to make a difference in every nurses career, giving them the advice and mentorship I wish I had. This degree gave me the knowledge I needed to grow into education leadership.”

—Rachel Thompson
M.S. Nursing – Leadership and Management (RN to MSN)


An Online MSN Degree Program Preparing RNs to Become a Leaders and Administrators

Once you have completed your M.S. in Nursing–Leadership and Management online, you will have the knowledge and skills to be an outstanding nurse manager, leader, or administrator. You'll be in demand, because you'll be prepared to translate your extensive nursing knowledge into a level of leadership, guidance, mentorship, and management that will change your team—and your facility—for the better.

An RN to MSN degree gives you credentials and skills so you can become an influential nurse leader or administrator. Take your experience in the nursing field and use it to your advantage, helping others find success and impacting the future of healthcare. Master’s-prepared nurse managers combine their technical nursing know-how with strong people skills, organizational prowess, and business knowledge to lead healthcare teams to success—success that transforms lives. You will be prepared to work in settings such as:

  • Hospitals.
  • Community agencies.
  • Schools.
  • Industry and businesses.
  • Nursing programs.

Return on Your Investment


Employment of medical and health services managers is expected to grow 32% by 2029.

—U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Enjoy a Career That is Both Fulfilling and in High Demand

Our 3,300-plus MSN – Leadership and Management alumni have great jobs and satisfying careers:

Job Titles

  • Director of Nursing
  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • Quality Director
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Project Manager

Diverse Industries

  • Hospitals
  • Health Systems
  • Cancer Centers
  • Hospice Providers
  • Local, State or Federal Government

Major Employers

  • Anthem
  • Ascension Health
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
  • U.S. Army
  • UCLA Health System

WGU Grads Hold Positions With Top Employers

Hospitals and clinics around the country know the benefit of a master's degree from WGU, so your nursing degree is valuable.


Admissions Requirements Unique to This Nursing Degree

To be considered for this online RN-to-MSN bridge program, you must

  • Possess an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing, such as an ADN or ASN degree, from an accredited institution. 
  • Possess an active, unencumbered RN license:

1. In your state of residence, or
2. In your state of employment.

Prior to your clinical placement, you must submit to a criminal background check through American Databank and provide proof of current immunizations. Additional fees apply.

NOTE: RN licensure in your state of residence or employment is required to successfully complete clinical experiences. You must be licensed in the state in which you will complete the project or clinical experience. Compact licenses must be endorsed by your state of residence. More information about compact licenses.

Get Your Enrollment Checklist

Download your step-by-step guide to enrollment.

Get Your Questions Answered

Talk to an WGU Enrollment Counselor.

More About the RN-to-MSN Nursing Leadership & Management Program

Yes. You may talk to an Enrollment Counselor without paying the $65 application fee, but the fee must be paid before you can be admitted. The application fee helps defray our costs associated with admissions, transcript collection, enrolling students, etc. Note: It is against federal regulations to use financial aid for an application fee.

Transcripts must be received by the 1st of the month before your intended start date. WGU requires that ALL official transcripts of previous academic work completed at other colleges and universities be submitted for evaluation.

Admissions requirements vary widely from program to program and from school to school. Nurse practitioner programs—including Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and post-MSN NP certificate programs—can be among the most competitive. One factor commonly considered for enrollment in post-graduate nursing programs is grade-point average (GPA) from previous college work. The nature of WGU’s competency-based model means WGU graduates do not have a GPA when they earn their degree. WGU will work with you to help other institutions understand our model.

However, other factors beyond GPA are considered by many programs across the country. WGU provides opportunities for students to students to demonstrate excellence beyond a GPA, including participation in nationally recognized honors programs, real-world projects that you complete as part of your program that you can showcase in your post-graduate applications, and letters of recommendation from WGU faculty or leadership.

The WGU non-NP MSN courses do not satisfy the requirement for three separate courses in Physical Assessment, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology.  These are often referred to as the “3 Ps” and are required for national certification and licensure as a nurse practitioner.

You will need to work closely with the nurse practitioner program, national certification organization and licensing agency to be sure you have completed all requirements before certification and licensure.

For any aspiring graduate student, it is important to maximize your own qualities as well as do the research to understand the schools that offer the programs you seek to join.

You can start your research by reviewing post-graduate programs that have admitted WGU alumni in the past. Look on LinkedIn for WGU nursing alumni who have gone on to become nurse practitioners, and check their profiles to see which schools they attended after graduating from WGU. Contact the school to ask whether they enroll students from competency-based programs like WGU’s. And talk to your WGU Enrollment Counselor. WGU can provide alumni with a letter they can share with graduate schools, explaining our competency-based model. This letter has helped WGU alumni be accepted into a variety of graduate programs in a number of fields and disciplines.

WGU is approved to offer federal student aid. You will need to apply using the FAFSA, which is used to determine your eligibility for aid. WGU’s FAFSA school code is 033394.

Scholarships are available for new WGU students and returning graduates. This video shows more about scholarship opportunities and how they can help you pay for school. Get information on:

  • How to apply
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Examples of scholarships
  • What happens after you apply
  • FAQs
  • Other financial aid options

WGU's tuition is a flat rate that is charged every six months. You can take as many courses as you are able in that six-month term—with no extra cost. You simply pay for the term and do as much work as you can or want to during that time. This means that finishing faster helps you save money—a major benefit you won't find at most other schools. 

Ready to Start Your WGU Journey?