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Master of Science in Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing

One Degree: More Roads to Leadership

Being a nurse is your passion, but it takes more than just passion and commitment to be a truly great nurse. Nurses in leadership roles today also need advanced expertise to successfully face the challenges of health care, including new technology, complex organizational structures, today’s diverse culture, and the future role of nursing.

No BSN or GRE Required


While most MSN programs require you to first complete a BSN degree before applying, Sacred Heart University's direct entry online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program does not. Develop the superior clinical, leadership, and educational competencies you need to thrive as a clinical nurse leader, nurse educator, or nurse manager in less time. See our full RN-MSN admissions requirements.


Top 50 Best Value Online MSN Programs 2018

Specialize in Nursing Leadership Roles
Among all the types of nursing degrees available to you, choose one that gives you more opportunities to customize your learning experience to reflect your career goals. Sacred Heart’s online MSN offers four specializations that speak to your passion in the nursing field, elevate you to leadership positions and match nursing’s growing needs.

1. Clinical Nurse Leader (348 hours of role immersion): Clinical Nurse Leader programs focus on learning to lead an integrated team of health care professionals. As a significant part of patient care at the bedside, gain the skills and knowledge designed to address complex challenges involving patient safety, quality of care, and costs. 

2. Nursing Management & Executive Leadership* (120 hours of clinical practicum): As a nurse, you know the ins and outs of patient care and therefore, have an advantage as you move into a leadership role. With the tools learned in this specialization, you will be prepared to adopt the necessary leadership principles and practices to assume greater responsibility ensuring effective and efficient care across all levels of a healthcare organization. Learn how to practice positive management and leadership with an emphasis on quality and safety.

Interested in a standalone graduate certificate in Nursing Management & Executive Leadership? Request more information from one of our admissions advisor.

3. Nursing Education (180 hours of clinical practicum): Pass on your hard-won expertise and learn to teach nurses! This fulfilling specialization is designed to complement your clinical expertise with skills in teaching and learning strategies. The curriculum provides an understanding of issues in nursing education, application of curriculum design and evaluation theory, and experience in the role of the instructor. 

Interested in a standalone graduate certificate in Nursing Education? Request more information from one of our admissions advisor.

4. Family Nurse Practitioner*: Develop the clinical skills and knowledge to provide primary care to families in an advanced practice role throughout the lifespan. Study pharmacology, health assessment, and pathophysiology to effectively diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries to patients of all ages. This MSN FNP specialization prepares students to sit for certification exams from the American Nurses Association and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Not sure which specialization is right for you? You have all the way up to the middle of the program to declare your specialization, so you have plenty of time to consult with faculty and staff to consider the direction of your studies.

Watch the video and learn about the program from Sacred Heart's MSN faculty members:


Read the video transcript for our MSN online virtual open house.

MICHELLE JOHNSON: Nursing is so much more than giving care at the bedside. I think, the more of us that are educated the more our profession grows.

LINDA MORROW: An MSN is required in many institutions for managerial positions and to accelerate your career goals.

MARIO WINFREY: We do have one of top 10 online programs, most particularly in the MSN program.

LINDA STRONG: What makes a Sacred Heart University experience unique is that all the curriculum is values driven. It gets the student back to why they wanted to be a nurse in first place.

DENISE JENNINGS: Our nursing program has been around for over 30 years. So it's tried and true in its experiences and its knowledge, as well as its delivery methods.

MARLENE BECK-WILSON: Specialization is important in an MSN program because it sets you apart from other nurses with advanced degrees.

DENISE JENNINGS: We offer three specializations.

LINDA COOK: RNs should choose the Clinical Nurse Leader track if they love being a bedside nurse because they bring the most current evidence-based practice to the bedside in the multidisciplinary fashion.

LINDA MORROW: Students that choose the administration track are leaders in the organization or those who have a goal to be a nurse leader. The career goal for that student would be possibly to be a chief nursing executive at a hospital or a hospital system.

MICHELLE JOHNSON: I teach in the Nurse Ed track so I teach Nurses, actually, how to teach. I try to model behavior for my students. The kind of things that I want them to emulate when they become teachers.

MARLENE BECK-WILSON: Our faculty are all doctor prepared nurses. And we all have extensive experience in the specialties that we teach.

LINDA MORROW: Not only are our students from all over the country but our faculty are. And I think that brings together a richness to our program.

MICHELLE JOHNSON: When I taught in the face to face environment I used to always tell stories to my students. When I transitioned to online education I was kind of worried that I'd lose that component. But I share with them both my positive and negative experiences that I have had.

LINDA MORROW: I make myself available to online students in whatever way that they would like to communicate, whether it's email, Skype or just picking up the phone and calling me.

MICHELLE JOHNSON: Coming to Sacred Heart you are going to be a leader in the nursing profession.

Benefits of our Online Master of Science in Nursing

Sacred Heart’s MSN is distinguished from other accredited online nursing programs with advantages that make combining your life and your studies easier:

  • 6 start dates per year – Flexible modules for financial aid, tuition reimbursement, or scholarship funds.
  • Set your own pace—we know you’re busy as a working nurse! At Sacred Heart, we’ll help you schedule a curriculum map that best suits you and your personal obligations. You can take up to six years to complete the program.
  • No residency is required! Practicum hours can be completed locally.
  • Ability to transfer up to 12 credits from prior master’s-level courses (40 percent of required program credits).
  • GRE is not required.
  • An undergraduate degree in nursing is not required—just a diploma or ADN plus a bachelor’s degree in any subject area.
  • Experience 24/7 convenience and the flexibility of an online curriculum. You will also have access to a Student Services Coordinator from enrollment thru graduation, and 24/7 technical support.

Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education Accredited Plus, we have accreditations and recognition:

  • The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, the master’s degree program in nursing, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Sacred Heart University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791. http://www.ccneaccreditation.org
  • SHU is ranked a Best College in the North (2015-2017) and for Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs (2016-2017), U.S. News & World Report.
  • SHU’s MSN program is ranked among the Top 50 Best Value Online MSN Programs of 2015 by Value Colleges
  • Learn from award-winning faculty members with extensive clinical experience, scholarly credentials, and cutting-edge knowledge.
  • SHU makes the Top Ten for Graduate Starting Salaries in Connecticut - SmartAsset.


Sacred Heart University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), one of six regional association in the United States that accredit schools and colleges.