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Going back to school has had a tremendous impact on both my professional career and personal life. The RN to MS(N) Early Entry Option allowed me to grow and explore other avenues that would not have been available to me in the traditional work environment. Western Carolina University opened doors to me as a student that were other wise closed.

The distance program provides a structure that connects the entire region together. No longer do our geographical boundaries separate us as students. Being connected to the entire region though your fellow students has proven to be invaluable. It has allowed us to see not only our differences but our similarities as well.

Diane Fox RN, BSN
Owner of HealthCare Directions and RN to MS(N) student



Health & Human Sciences Bldg
Room 336
Cullowhee, NC 28723
828.227.7467 tel
828.227.7052 fax

WCU Prog. at Biltmore Park
28 Schenck Pkwy, Ste 309
Asheville, NC 28803
828.654.6499 tel
828.654.6507 fax


MS(N) Early Entry Option

Purpose: to assist selected RNs with good academic records to move smoothly through the RN to BSN curriculum directly into the MS(N) Nursing Leadership program, the MS(N) Nurse Educator program, or the Nurse Anesthesia program.

  • Normally, the student would take 6-8 semester hours of WCU undergraduate upper-division electives to complete the BSN following the RN to BSN Program of Study.
  • These electives could be replaced with up to 6 hours of WCU MS(N) graduate-level work by following the RN to MS(N) Program of Study. (See the first page vs. the 2nd page).
    • The graduate electives would count towards the electives needed in the BSN program and also towards electives needed if later accepted into a MS(N) program.
  • This may reduce the time needed to complete both degrees by one semester.
  • RN to BSN students may still need to complete 3 upper-division perspective hours while completing their undergraduate work.

Those who are interested in this program must first enter the RN to BSN program. Once enrolled, they will be advised on how to proceed if interested in this option.

Admission requirements for the RN to MS(N) Early-Entry Option:

  • A Statistics course completed from any accredited institution in any discipline with a C or better
  • Completion of at least 12 of the required 24 hours of WCU RN to BSN NSG courses, with projected completion of the remaining hours before or during the semester of  application to the WCU RN to MS(N) Early-Entry option.
  • Students applying to the Nurse Anesthesia track must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores that meet track-specific minimum score requirements.
  • GPA of 3.00 on last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework
  • Professional statement and resume
  • Three professional recommendations (one must be submitted by an RN to BSN faculty member)
  • Interview with the Graduate Nursing Admissions Committee

Enrollment in the RN to MS(N) Early-Entry Option does not guarantee admission to the MS(N) program. Admission of the RN to MS(N) applicant is provisional until the BSN is successfully completed.

While enrolled in the MS(N) core courses, students must apply to the Graduate School to be considered for full admission to the MS(N) Program. Upon successful completion of the MS(N) core courses, the student receives the BSN and then, if accepted, continues seamlessly into the MS(N) Program.

Current Available MS(N) tracks include:

  • Nurse Educator
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Nurse Anesthesia

Current RN to BSN students interested in RN to MS(N) Early-Entry Option should consult with both their advisor and the RN to MS(N) Director.


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