Nursing: Direct Entry

Simmons University’s Master’s in Nursing—Direct Entry (MSN) is designed for students from all academic backgrounds looking to pursue a master’s degree in nursing. 

Students in a nursing simulation lab

Whether your bachelor’s degree is in psychology, chemical engineering, or English, once you've completed the prerequisite courses for admission, you'll be on your way to an MS in Nursing and a career as a family nurse practitioner. 

The MSN is an RN program and nurse practitioner program in one that only takes 3 years to complete. In the first four semesters of the program, students complete the pre-licensure nursing curriculum. They learn from industry leaders and are adeptly prepared for the registered nurse licensure (NCLEX) exam. Upon passing, newly-certified RNs move into the graduate portion of the program, which consists of three components—foundational courses, primary care, and research.

Simmons prepares nursing graduate students to deliver primary health care to diverse populations across the lifespan. Graduates of this program are prepared to take the family nurse practitioner (FNP) certification exam. Our students find success in positions in primary health care and community care settings, private practice, and in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs.

CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) Seal

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master's degree program in nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Simmons University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

Why study Nursing?

Advanced practice nurses command higher salaries than registered nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for nurse practitioners in May 2017 was $103,880. Massachusetts ranked in the top paying states for the occupation, clocking in at $120,140 for the mean annual wage. 

The BLS also predicts the overall employment of nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners to grow 31 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

What will you learn?

Our Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) provides students of all backgrounds the opportunity to become registered nurses and then continue immediately on to become family nurse practitioners. 

Simmons has close relationships with the world-renowned teaching hospitals and research facilities that surround the Simmons campus, like Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Our students expand their knowledge by completing clinical practicums, attending lectures, and taking advantage of research opportunities.

See below for the program requirements and a sample course sequence. 

What can you do with a Master’s degree in Nursing?

Graduates with an MSN from Simmons go on to offer a wide range of healthcare services that revolve around the family unit; from health promotion and disease prevention to direct care and counseling for patients of all ages. FNPs work in doctor’s offices, clinics, private homes, schools, and hospitals.

Since family nurse practitioners possess a graduate-level education, as well as clinical training in family medicine, they are qualified to diagnose and treat complex health conditions. Their advanced training and education also often qualify FNPs to serve as hospital and clinic administrators and policymakers.

Learn more about our Direct Entry MSN program!

Our Nursing faculty would be happy to answer your questions. See below for faculty contact information and to view FAQs about the Master's in Nursing program, or request more information today!

Pre-licensure curriculum

  • NURS 404 Advanced Pathophysiology (4 credits)
  • NURS 426 Variances in Health Patterns of Adults and Elders I (4 credits)
  • NURS 435 Pharmacology (4 credits)
  • NURS 438 Variances in Health Patterns of Adults and Elders II (6 credits)
  • NURS 447 Variances in Health Patterns of the Childbearing Family (4 credits)
  • NURS 448 Variances in Health Patterns of the Client with Psychiatric and Mental Illness (4 credits)
  • NURS 449 Variances in Health Patterns of the Childrearing Family (4 credits)
  • NURS 487 Nursing Care of Individuals, Families & Communities (4 credits)
  • NURS 454GR Leadership & Management in the Clinical Setting (4 credits)
  • NURS 455GR Clinical Decision Making and Complex Care (4 credits)
  • NURS 494 Nursing Fundamentals and Health Assessment (4 credits)
  • NURS 495 Contemporary Issues and Role Development for Advanced Nursing Practice (4 credits)


MSN Curriculum

  • NURS 422 Advanced Pharmacology Across the Life Span I (3 credits)
  • NURS 423 Advanced Pharmacology Across the Life Span II (2 credits)
  • Health Assessment Across the Lifespan Workshop (on campus during January intercession)
  • NURS 500 Advanced Health Assessment Across the Lifespan (2 credits)
  • NURS 500A FNP I Clinical Decision Making (1 credit)
  • NURS 501 FNP II Primary Care Nursing of the Childbearing Family (4 credits)
  • NURS 501A FNP II Clinical Decision Making (1 credit)
  • NURS 502 FNP III Primary Care Nursing (4 credits)
  • NURS 502A FNP III Clinical Decision Making (2 credits)
  • NURS 503 FNP IV Primary Care Nursing (4 credits)
  • NURS 503A FNP IV Clinical Decision Making (3 credits)
  • NURS 504 Family Theory: Health and Illness (3 credits)
  • NURS 507 Scholarly Inquiry I (2 credits)
  • NURS 508 Scholarly Inquiry II (2 credits)
  • NURS 589 Informatics (3 credits)
  • SNHS 410 Research Methods (3 credits)
  • SNHS 450 Health Care System: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (3 credits)
  • SNHS 570 Health Promotion: A Global Perspective (2 credits)

Sample Course Sequence for the Direct Entry MSN Program

Clinical and research are key components of our nursing programs. You'll have opportunities to explore your interests, build your skills and develop mentoring relationships with leaders in the field.

Our students put their knowledge into practice in many ways, including:

  • Six group clinical rotations, a final-semester preceptorship for approximately 600 clinical hours to prepare you for the NCLEX exam.
  • For Advanced Practice Clinical Preparation, you'll complete 770 clinical hours over four semesters at a variety of settings – hospitals, clinics, community-based health centers, nursing homes – and with diverse populations across the lifespan, including pediatrics, women’s health, adult and geriatric care.
  • Collaborate with faculty or community agencies to develop and implement scholarly research projects. 
  1. Do I need a degree in a science discipline to apply to the Direct Entry Nursing program?
    No. You may hold a bachelor's degree in any academic area from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university. We have had students in the program who majored in business, psychology, chemical engineering and theology to name a few. That's the beauty of the program - we welcome all backgrounds! However, the key is that you must have completed or are completing the prerequisite courses for admission.
  2. Can I take prerequisite courses at a community college?

    Yes, as long as the community college is regionally accredited, courses were taken within 10 years of the application deadline and include labs. We require a course syllabus for all online courses; these will be considered on a case by case basis.

  3. Is the TOEFL required if English is not my first language?

    Yes, TOEFL is required if English is not your native language. Scores taken within 2 years prior to the application deadline are required. Student score reports are not acceptable. SNHS is unable to accept electronic scores so the Educational Testing Service (ETS) must send official test scores to Simmons. Allow 4-6 weeks for such scores to arrive. Score requirements: paper-based: 570 computer-based: 230 internet-based: 88.

    The TOEFL is waived if an applicant earned either a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university, or, a post-secondary institution abroad which has been recognized by the Ministry of Education in the home country of English-speaking countries only.

  4. When are courses offered?

    Some courses are offered during the day while others are offered during the evening. This is why we strongly suggest that you do not plan to work during the first part of the program.

  5. Can I concentrate in a specialty, such as pediatrics?

    The Simmons graduate program prepares students to become Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP). We focus on this area as the current and future U.S. population is in great need of qualified advanced practice nurses who can fill the gap in the primary care setting, for which there is a critical national shortage. This does not mean that you would not be able to work in a pediatric setting, since the FNP deals with care for infants to the elderly. Upon completion of the DE program and earning your MS, you would take the FNP exam for certification.

  6. What do I do if I want to speak or meet with a current student, graduate or faculty member?

    Please contact us for information about availability for such meetings.

    PLEASE NOTE: we do not require an interview for the DE program as other nursing programs do. Due to the academic and practice demands of our we may not be able to honor all of the requests we receive. We strongly encourage you to attend one of our campus information sessions where faculty will be present. 

  7. If I live out of state, can I complete my clinical rotations there?

    Students who live in New England may have an opportunity to complete clinical experiences outside Massachusetts while in the final semester of the pre-licensure curriculum or graduate curriculum.

Ready to take the next step? We'll guide you through the requirements and deadlines — and get you started on your way.

Apply Now

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Our Faculty

Charlene Berube photo

Charlene Berube

  • Associate Professor of Practice of Nursing and Chair of Undergraduate Nursing