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Northeastern University

Direct Entry Nursing (MS)

School of Nursing

Northeastern’s On Campus Direct Entry Nursing program allows you to use the degree and experience that you already have and leverage it into a BSN and Master’s degree in Nursing. Students enter the Direct Entry Nursing (MS) program with an undergraduate non-nursing degree and completion of program prerequisites. Then students continue their education to become a Masters-prepared Advanced Practice Nurse in an area of specialization.


Part I: Pre-licensure

The Direct Entry Nursing student enters the Accelerated Master’s program as a graduate student. The first 16 months (4 semesters) of the program consist of intensive, sequential classes and clinical with combined undergraduate and graduate level courses. Students are then prepared to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) upon completion of 64 program semester hours. Students earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) after this part of the program. Financial Aid will be granted on an undergraduate basis during the Pre-Licensure phase of the program.

RN Work Experience

Once a student becomes licensed as an RN, the student acquires full time RN work experience. This part of the program (2 semesters) requires at least 6 -9 months of work experience as a RN before returning to school (including 1 year of experience in Acute Care and 2 years of experience in Neonatal). It is important to know that finding a job is the responsibility of the student as it is professional RN experience. Northeastern will help support the student in preparation for the job search. A Leave of Absence (LOA) after the two semesters of RN Work Experience may be granted on an individual basis to gain more nursing experience before returning to the Master’s portion of the program. Please see the FAQ on Page 14 for more LOA information.

Part II: Return to Master’s Specialty Tracks

In the Master’s Specialty Track, students are required to take professional and research core classes, clinical core, and specialty clinical courses. Full or part-time academic study is available to students. Although most students return to the Master’s segment of the program and take coursework as a part-time student while continuing to work and increase the amount of RN professional experience. Full-time study, however, is also an option at this point. Completion of the MSN can take four to six semesters depending on the student’s pace and specialty track. Upon completion of the required specialty area credits, the student receives a Master of Science Degree and is eligible to take the National Certification Exam in their area of advanced specialty nursing practice. Financial Aid is awarded on a graduate basis during this portion of the program.

Application Deadline

December 1

Contact Info

Janet Briand-McGowan, DNP, RN
Program Director
Northeastern University
407G Robinson Hall
360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617.373.7330


Sixteen months of nursing-specific courses prepare you to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). A full-time registered nurse work experience is then required for 6 to 9 months. You retain your student status for your loan and insurance purposes enrolled in this Transition to Practice. This segment is followed by advanced courses in a speciality track and MS degree.

Sample Schedule

Sample Program Plan – Phase One: “RN Pre-Licensure” (4 Semesters)

  • Fall Semester

    • Influences on Health and Illness: Nursing Perspective (3)
    • Nursing Interventions, Assessment & Community Care I (3)
    • Lab for Nursing Interventions, Assessment & Community Care I (2)
    • Pathophysiology for Advanced Practice (3)
    • Nursing with Women and Families (3)
    • Clinical for Nursing with Women and Families (2)
    • Health Care Research (4)

    20 Credits

  • Spring Semester

    • Advanced Pharmacology (2)
    • Nursing Care of Adults I (4)
    • Clinical for Nursing Care of Adults I (2)
    • Nursing & Promotion of Mental Health (3)
    • Clinical for Nursing & Promotion of Mental Health (2)
    • Intermediate Nursing Interventions, Assessment & Community Care (1)
    • Lab for Intermediate Nursing Interventions, Assessment & Community Care (1)

    15 Credits

  • Summer Semester

    • Nursing Care of Adults II (4)
    • Clinical for Nursing Care of Adults II (2)
    • Nursing Care of the Child (4)
    • Clinical for Nursing Care of the Child (2)
    • Public Health Community Nursing (3)
    • Clinical for Public Health Community Nursing (2)

    17 Credits

  • Fall Semester

    • Comprehensive Nursing Practicum (6)
    • Managing and Leading in Nursing (3)
    • Health Informatics I (3)

    12 Credits

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the structure of the Direct Entry Nursing Program?

The Direct Entry Masters’ program offers a student with a bachelor’s degree in another field to leverage that education and experience and enter as a graduate student Nursing. The program consists of two portions. The first 16 months is devoted to nursing-specific classes (undergraduate and graduate levels) including clinical rotations to meet the requirements for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN). During this initial phase of the program, financial aid will be awarded on an undergraduate level. Once the BSN is completed, the student is eligible to sit for the nursing licensure exam or NCLEX. Successful completion of this examination results in a Registered Nurse or RN license.

Before the student can enter the master’s portion of the program, the prerequisite of 6 to 9 months of work as a Registerd Nurse (RN) is required as part of the academic preparation. All subsequent enrollments in graduate level coursework following completion of this initial phase of the program and receipt of the RN license will be covered under graduate level financial aid.

The second portion or the master’s degree level of the program varies in length and courses according to the specialty track selected. Most tracks take approximately two years of full time study to complete. At the end of this program the student earns a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and is eligible to sit for specialty certification in the selected track.

How many credits is the entire program?

The first segment of the program (RN pre-licensure) is 64 credit hours and prepares you to take the registered nurse licensure exam. The Master’s segment requires approximately 43 credit hours, and may require more credits depending on the specialty track you choose. For example, a dual-degree specialty such as MS/MBA requires approximately 67 credits and a certification as Family Nurse Practitioner requires approximately 54 credits.

Do students receive a BSN---Bachelors Degree in Nursing ---after the first 16 months?

Yes, students completing the prelicensure segment (first 16 months) of the program are awarded a BSN degree.

After the RN work experience, may students attend the graduate portion of the program part-time?

After completing the first part of the program and becoming licensed RNs, students choose to continue to work part-time or full-time as a RN and take courses in the Master’s segment of the program.

What specialty areas can students choose in completing the Master’s portion of the program?

Students may choose from the following specializations:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration Leadership/Health Policy (MS or MS/MBA)
  • Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health CNS/NP, Child and Adult
Can students enter the Nurse Anesthesia Program after Registered Nurse work experience?

No. Nurse Anesthesia is not one of the graduate specialty options at this time.

Is a thesis required or optional during the Master’s portion?

Is a thesis required or optional during the Master’s portion?

When is the application deadline for admission to the Direct Entry Program?

The Direct Entry program enrolls once a year, in the fall semester. There is a December 1 application deadline. The application is for entry into the program that following September.

What are the admission criteria for the Direct Entry Nursing program?
  • Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree from an accredited college or university
  • GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Goal Statement regarding interest in nursing and future plans
  • TOEFL scores for international students
  • Experience with patient care, volunteer or paid, is highly recommended
Must an applicant declare a Master's specialty track at the time of the application?

No, students are not admitted to a specific specialization track. Selection of specilaty track is decided by the 4th semester in the pre-licensure segment of the program. Speciality tracks are competitive and open to all Direct Entry Nursing students.

Are GRE's required as entrance criteria into the Direct Entry Nursing program?

No, GRE’s are NOT required.

What prerequisites are required for entrance to the program?

The following prerequisites must be completed as a semester course at an accredited college or university (including accredited community colleges) with satisfactory grades of a “C” or better.

  • Social / Behavioral Sciences (2 courses – 1 of the 2 courses must be Human Growth and Development or Developmental Psychology)
  • Introduction to Chemistry with Lab (1 course)
  • Anatomy and Physiology with Lab (2 courses)
  • Microbiology with Lab (1 course)
  • Statistics (1 course that includes inferential statistics and hypothesis testing)
  • Nutrition

*If an applicant plans to take the prerequisite courses through Northeastern University School of Continuing and Professional Studies (CPS) please see the FAQ below for further details on course requirements.

Can I take my science prerequisites at Northeastern University?

YES. Northeastern University School of Continuing and Professional Studies (CPS) offers some prerequisite courses. CPS is on a quarter system rather than a semester system. The required prerequisite courses to fulfill the Direct Entry Nursing Program prerequisites through CPS are:

  • Anatomy 1, 2, + 3 (3 courses with labs)
  • Chemistry 1 + 2 (2 courses with labs)
  • Microbiology 1 + 2 (2 courses with labs)
  • Statistics 1 + 2

You can contact CPS at website,

What grade do I need in a prerequisite course for it to be accepted by the Direct Entry Nursing Program?

We require a “C” grade or better for credits to be accepted from an accredited institiution.

Can I still apply to the program if I have not yet completed my prerequisites?

YES, you may apply to the program without having completed all of the pre-requisites; however, your prerequisite courses must be completed before you begin the program in the Fall semester. Please include a letter with your application indicating where and when you will be completing the remaining prerequisite courses. If you are unsure if the college or university where you are taking the pre-requisite course is accredited, contact the respective college or university.

Can students complete their registered nurse work experience in another state?

Yes, your Direct Entry Nursing Program Advisor can provide you further information on this process.

Is the program selective? What do you look for when accepting a candidate to your program?

The Direct Entry Nursing Program is selective. When assessing a candidate factors such as GPA (3.0 or >), three strong recommendations, a positive personal interview by faculty after the application deadline, and a compelling personal goal statement are all weighed and considered. Experience in patient care, whether paid or volunteer, is highly recommended and will make an applicant a stronger candidate.

What is the cost of the program?

The pre-licensure part of the program has a flat fee rate for each of the first four semesters (Fall, Spring, Summer, Fall). There is no tuition fee when the student is on the RN work experience between the pre-licensure and Master segments of the program. When returning to the Master’s portion of the program the tuition is based on the graduate fee for individual course credits. To obtain current tuition costs, refer to

Where can I obtain an application?

You can download the application online by going to Questions regarding the online application should be directed to the Bouvé College of Health Sciences Graduate Admissions Office: Phone: 617.373.2708 or email:

Where can I obtain further information?

View the dates and time of the Graduate Open House schedule at

Contact the Graduate Admissions Office at telephone number: 617.373.2708 or email:

Admissions Requirements

  • Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree from an accredited college or university
    GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Goal Statement regarding interest in nursing and future plans
  • TOEFL scores for international students
  • Experience with patient care, volunteer or paid, is highly recommended

Experiential Learning

The School of Nursing has a network of clinical affiliations at major teaching and community hospitals, and health centers including:

The Northeastern University Health and Wellness Van provides experiences in health care and education to citzens in the community.

Apply to the Direct Entry Nursing (MS) Program.
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