The Master of Nursing program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers students a nursing master's degree that successfully builds upon their existing degrees. Whether a student is already a practicing nurse or they are looking to earn a second degree in nursing, UWM's program helps students meet their goals of working in a generalist nursing practice at an advanced level or in nursing education.

A variety of program pathways make earning a Master of Nursing degree possible, with track options and program formats tailored to their needs. These four program pathways are: Direct Entry Master's, Expedited MN, BSN-MN (with three tracks: Professional Development Practitioner, Nurse Educator, and Unit Manager), and RN-BSN-MN. Graduates of the MN program will feel prepared to function as an advanced care-giver or educator depending on the track they choose.

Credits and Courses

The Master of Nursing program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee prepares graduates for roles in generalist nursing practice and education in diverse and urban communities, consistent with the AACN Vision for Nursing Education (AACN 2018, 2021). This model allows students to build on a core nursing foundation to an advanced level of nursing education (AACN, 2021). The focus is on the roles that masters-prepared nurses fulfill in the ever-evolving health care system. The program is designed to meet the needs of two types of students who seek a master’s degree: 1) Direct Entry Masters students and 2) Students with a baccalaureate in nursing seeking a degree to prepare for an advanced role in nursing.

Points of Entry to the MN Program

The MN program offers four points of entry: 1) Direct Entry for students with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree; 2) Expedited Entry for Registered Nurses with a non-nursing degree; 3) Registered Nurses with a baccalaureate degree in nursing; and 4) RN’s who have completed the RN-BSN program. Each entry point offers individuals the opportunity to build on their current education and experiences and receive an education that positions them for specific roles that advance nursing practice within the health care system. 

  1. The Direct Entry prepare nurses who can function independently, yet collaboratively, at a wide variety of clinical positions with an emphasis on quality and evidence-based practice. Graduates will be able to provide care for individuals, families, and populations in all healthcare settings and across the lifespan. Graduates will also be prepared with advanced nursing knowledge to apply evidence to practice and address quality concerns to improve patient care and promote patient safety.
  2. Expedited MN entry. This entry point is open to students who have earned an associate degree in nursing and have a non-nursing baccalaureate degree. They are admitted as a special student and take courses in the RN-BSN program. This will allow them to have the educational experience and meet the competencies for Entry Level (level one) nurses as defined by the AACN in the Essentials for Nursing (2021). After completing the required courses, they enter the MN program and proceed with the course of study for the BSN-MN student. Students do not earn a BSN.
  3. The BSN-MN point of entry is for nurses with a nursing baccalaureate seeking to increase their educational preparation for career advancement to a role usually requiring a masters degree. Health care systems and nursing education organizations are seeking masters prepared nurses to function as Professional Development Practitioners, Nurse Educators and Unit Managers. Professional Development Practitioners carry out roles within health care organizations that assure that nursing personnel have the knowledge and skills needed to be competent providers and have strong clinical judgment. Nursing educators carry out roles within colleges and universities teaching students in classroom, simulation, and health care settings who seek to enter professional nursing practice. Unit managers lead organizational units within the larger health care setting. Managers work to ensure that quality goals are met by assuring resources are in place including recruitment, retention, workforce development, fiscal resource management and representing the organization to patients and families. Graduates of the MN will be prepared to assess and evaluate, develop, implement, and evaluate systematic and innovative approaches to improve quality either directly or through the education of nursing providers, depending on the role.
  4. RN-BSN-MN. The fourth point of entry is for RNs that enter the UWM education system without a baccalaureate degree. These students must first complete a RN-BSN program and then will be eligible to enter the BSN-MN program.

Four Program Pathways

  1. The Direct Entry Master’s (DEM) program students are inducted to professional nursing by meeting the essential areas of competency defined by AACN Essentials (2021) for entry into practice (Level 1) and the requirements of the State of Wisconsin needed for a nurse entering into professional practice. Graduates are eligible to become a Registered Nurse in the State of Wisconsin. This curriculum is designed with courses to establish clinical knowledge and to support practice as a leader in the clinical setting. Core competencies include provision of care, assessment, clinical practice, identification of quality gaps, utilization of data and information systems, and application and evaluation of evidence to address quality concerns while functioning in an interprofessional team.
  2. Expedited Master’s Entry. Students take courses to bridge requirements between an Associate degree and a Baccalaureate level practice as a professional nurse. These courses are offered in the UWM School of Nursing RN to BSN program, which offers the courses via two modes (FLEX or BSN@Home), and students choose their preferred mode of learning. Students in this pathway will be admitted as “Special Students” and must achieve a B- or above in all RN to BSN courses and prerequisites to be eligible to apply and enter the MN program. Once students have completed the required courses and any prerequisites, they can apply for admission into the MN program. Students completing this pathway do not earn a BSN.
  3. BSN-MN. This is for students that are seeking additional education to prepare themselves for roles in the healthcare system related to educating or leading others. Specific roles include Professional Development Practitioner, Nurse Educator or Unit Manager. Students admitted via this point of entry have a course of study designed to meet the core learning needs of a masters-prepared nurse and then allows for the students to individualize the program by collaborating with the Program Director and Student Affairs to utilize electives to enhance their specific role learning needs. 
  4. RN-BSN-MN, Master’s Entry Program. Registered Nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) but without a Baccalaureate in any discipline enter into the RN to BSN program first. Upon successful completion of the RN to BSN program, they are admitted to the MN program following the BSN-MN pathway. Students taking this pathway earn BSN and MN degrees.

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum of the Direct Entry Master of Nursing Program is designed to meet the Essentialof Masters Education in Nursing (2021) standards. With advanced education curriculum for the direct-entry-level student (4 semesters, two winterims, and one summer) it provides the foundation for nursing practice as indicated in the current AACN Essentials (2021). This program assures that Direct Entry students meet all the entry level competencies for entry level (Level 1) professional nursing practice (AACN, 2021). At program completion, students will be eligible within the State of Wisconsin to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become Registered Nurses.

Program Format: All theory courses in this program may be delivered face to face, hybrid, online or flex format dependent on program needs. All clinical and residency courses are delivered in person. 

Admission to the program is the fall of each year for the Direct Entry.

Direct Entry Master's Program

NURS 654GHealth Assessment and Promotion3
NURS 657GPharmacotherapeutics for Nursing Practice3
NURS 653GFoundations in Pathophysiology for Nursing Practice4
NURS 670GNursing Care of Adults and Older Adults I3
NURS 671GNursing Care of Adults and Older Adults II3
NURS 672GNursing Care of Women and Infants2
NURS 673GNursing Care of Children and Families2
NURS 674GMental Health Nursing Care Across the Lifespan2
NURS 7443
NURS 7363
NURS 675GNursing and Society3
NURS 676G3
NURS 686GProfessional Nursing Practicum I3
NURS 688GProfessional Nursing Practicum II4
NURS 663GTransformation to Professional Practice2
NURS 720Biostatistics and Applications for Nursing Practice3
NURS 726Advanced Perspectives on Cultural Diversity and Disparities in Health Care3
NURS 725Evidence Based Practice in Healthcare3
NURS 750Outcomes and Quality Management3
NURS 7463
NURS 733Integrated Clinical Concepts3
Total Credits61

Expedited Master's Entry Program

The following courses are requirements for the RN with a non-nursing baccalaureate. Students will be admitted as a special student until entry into the Master program and take courses in the RN-BSN program.

NURS 441XChronic Care Management3
NURS 446XResearch and Evidence-Based Practice3
NURS 453XInformation Management and Healthcare Technology3
NURS 454XCommunity Health Nursing3
Total Credits12

BSN-MN Curriculum

The BSN-MN component of the program (3 semesters and one optional summer) prepares the student with competencies consistent with a masters in nursing and the core skills and knowledge of a master level nurse with the addition of specialty knowledge and skills needed to function in one of three specialization roles: Professional Development Practitioner, Nurse Educator or Nurse Manager.

Post Baccalaureate and RN expedited master’s students may be admitted at the beginning of any semester, including summer.

Core Courses 
NURS 720Biostatistics and Applications for Nursing Practice3
NURS 804Healthcare Organization and Systems Leadership for Advanced Practice3
NURS 733Integrated Clinical Concepts3
NURS 773Information Systems to Support Clinical Decision-Making3
NURS 725Evidence Based Practice in Healthcare3
NURS 750Outcomes and Quality Management3
NURS 803Health Policy3
NURS 7853
Total Credits24
Students seeking to specialize in Nurse Education
NURS 716Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Education3
NURS 718Master of Nursing Education Residency I3
NURS 719Master of Nursing Education Residency II3
Total Credits9

Students seeking to specialize in other roles: Three 3-credit electives that must be planned with Program Director and Student affairs advisor.

Additional Requirements

Minimum Grade Requirement

For continuance in the program, in addition to general Graduate School requirements students must achieve a minimum grade of B- in all required Master of Nursing practicum courses, a minimum grade of B- in all other required courses, and a cumulative GPA of 3.00.

Master’s Clinical Project

The student will complete a final comprehensive clinical project.

Time Limit

Students in the Master of Nursing program must complete all degree requirements within seven years of the first enrollment semester as a degree student.