Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing (DEMSN, Entry to Practice)

What Is a Direct Entry MSN?

A Direct Entry MSN is a master’s-level nursing degree for career changers who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. It’s designed to help students make the transition to nursing with an advanced foundation of knowledge and skills.

GMercyU’s DEMSN program, based on our Gwynedd Valley, Pa. campus, is a full-time, 20-month, 72-credit prelicensure degree program.
Graduates will be prepared to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

See Program Details

The inaugural class, fall 2022

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Complete the form below and an admissions counselor will contact you to answer any questions and help as you assemble all the components of your admissions file.

The GMercyU Difference

Our Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing program offers you:

  • A graduate degree in as little as 20 months – Complete your DEMSN in just five consecutive semesters (20 months). You must have a bachelor’s degree in another field and earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) based on the last 60 credit hours of college coursework, including graduate coursework, attempted and accepted. Competitive candidates will have an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher. A minimum GPA of 3.3 is required for all science courses. A grade of “B” or better is required in all prerequisite courses.
  • Enhanced employability – Stand out among other entry-level nurses with a master’s degree and leadership preparation.
  • A future of opportunity – Your MSN prepares you for a DNP program.
  • An engaged learning community – Become part of the GMercyU nursing community, led by our clinically experienced professors and other leaders from across the region.
  • Extensive clinical preparation – Build patient care skills in our advanced simulation labs. Students will complete a total of 765 hours of clinical practice experience within our network of more than 100 regional healthcare partners.

Licensure: This program meets national licensure requirements. Please ensure you review your home state’s licensure requirements for RNs before you apply. For more information, please visit our Program Licensure Requirements page.

Exceptional Clinical Experiences

With more than 100 regional clinical partners, GMercyU ensures you benefit from real-world clinical preparation in diverse care settings. Nursing students often tell us this is their favorite part of the program because they enjoy caring for patients and interacting with healthcare professionals in a wide range of settings. Each day is different, and students are exposed to many different specialties, including medical-surgical, behavioral health, maternal-child, pediatrics, community health, and critical care.

Not only are clinical hours required for the program, but they are critical to helping students understand what type of care setting they would like to work in after graduation. GMercyU students will complete clinical rotations in hospitals and community sites recognized for nursing excellence, including Mercy Philadelphia Medical Center, Trinity Health, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Mercy Medical Center, to name just a few.

Additionally, students in the DEMSN program will have an opportunity in their final semester to participate in our Dedicated Educational Unit (DEU) program. This exclusive opportunity allows students to complete a one-on-one intensive clinical experience with a nurse mentor, helping them prepare for the transition to practice. Helping students make a smooth transition from nursing school to a new working nurse is a primary objective at GMercyU.

More About the DEMSN

The Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions at Gwynedd Mercy University has been a hub for nursing program options in the Philadelphia area for more than 60 years. Pursuing a degree in nursing — particularly a graduate degree in nursing — supports students to grow as educated people and citizens of the world. At GMercyU, pursuing a nursing degree also equips students to enter the profession infused with Mercy values of integrity, respect, service, and social justice.

Our Direct Entry MSN option prepares students to practice evidence-based nursing care and provides them with foundational leadership skills to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others.

Choosing to earn a DEMSN offers multiple benefits above and beyond a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. First, you don’t need to invest much more time to complete your master’s degree compared to our accelerated bachelor’s program — you can complete our DEMSN in 20 months, compared to 16 months for our Accelerated BSN (ABSN) program. This means you can enter the workforce with advanced nursing preparation employers notice with only a few additional months of study.

Another key benefit of earning a Direct Entry MSN is that it shows employers you are not just determined to become a nurse, but determined to lead as a nurse, too. Your DEMSN demonstrates to employers that you have an understanding of evidence-based practice and that you’re familiar with nursing and healthcare leadership concepts, including finance, best practices for collaborating in teams, nursing ethics, and more.

Master's-prepared Registered Nurses are educated to look at the "big picture" of patient care to impact current health care across the continuum. They influence care delivery and improve patient outcomes and satisfaction.

The various roles they can assume may include:

  • Point of care clinician
  • Outcome manager and advocate for a specific population of patients
  • Educator of patients and/or staff
  • Team manager
  • Role in quality improvement — being the risk anticipators/analyzers — assessing the microsystem, managing the microsystem to promote positive change, monitoring trends to promote positive outcomes

Curriculum and Prerequisites

The Direct Entry MSN at GMercyU is a full-time, 20-month, 72-credit prelicensure graduate degree program for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field.

GMercyU offers online prerequisite courses you may need to qualify for the program. They combine online coursework with in-home laboratory experiments and are offered at a cost of $350 per credit. You may also complete these courses at another accredited college or university. Please note that your nutrition course must have been taught by a registered dietitian (RD).

This program includes health sciences prerequisites. If you took health science courses during your bachelor’s degree, but they did not include laboratory sciences, were completed more than seven years ago, or you did not pass the class with a grade of “B” or higher, you will need to complete and pass these courses before beginning your DEMSN program.

The required prerequisite courses include:

  • Nutrition – taught by a registered dietician- 3 credits
  • Developmental Psychology with a focus across the lifespan – 3 credits
  • Statistics or Biostatistics – 3 credits
  • Anatomy and Physiology I (Lecture and Lab) – 4 credits
  • Anatomy and Physiology II (Lecture and Lab) – 4 credits
  • Microbiology with lab – 4 credits
  • General Chemistry II course (Lecture and Lab) or equivalent – 4 credits 

GMercyU offers online prerequisite courses (see tab below) you may need to qualify for the program. They combine online coursework with in-home laboratory experiments and are offered at a cost of $350 per credit. You may also complete these courses at another accredited college or university. Please note that your nutrition course must have been taught by a registered dietitian (RD).

  • Nutrition (7-week course)
  • Developmental Psychology Across the Lifespan (5-week course)
  • Statistics (5-week course)
  • Microbiology with Lab (8-week course)
  • Anatomy and Physiology I with Lab (8-week course)
  • Anatomy and Physiology II with Lab (8-week course)
  • Chemistry for the Allied Health Sciences with Lab (8-week course)

Visit our Online Nursing Prerequisites page to learn more.

Total credits: 72

Semester 1

NUR 512 Foundations to Professional Nursing Leadership and the Healthcare System
NUR 502 Health Assessment
NUR 501 Fundamentals of Nursing
NUR 548 OL Nursing Ethics & the Larger Healthcare Arena

Semester 2

NUR 516 Introduction to Pathophysiology and Pharmacology Concepts for Advanced Nursing Roles
NUR 514 Clinical Practice and Role Development lll: Nursing Care of Women, Children, & Families
NUR 520 Clinical Practice and Role Development ll: Nursing Care of Adults with Common Health Problems

Semester 3

NUR 510 OL Advanced Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing Roles
NUR 518 Clinical Practice and Role Development l: Nursing Care of Persons with Mental and Behavioral Health Issues
NUR 544 Clinical Practice and Role Development IV: Nursing Care of Adults with Complex Health Problems

Semester 4

NUR 500 OL Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Nursing Roles
NUR 545 Clinical Practice and Role Development V: Community Health Nursing
NUR 546 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Across the Lifespan and Across the Globe
NUR 507 HY Concepts in Gerontological Nursing
NUR 530 Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing Roles

Semester 5

NUR 570 HY Advanced Assessment & Lab for Advanced Nursing Roles
NUR 584 Clinical Practice and Role Development VI: Synthesis of Learning Practicum
NUR 535 OL Leadership and Health Policy
NUR 610 OL Nursing Research Methodology & Evidence-Based Practice

Total credits: 24

Semester 6

NUR 585 Leadership Seminar: Microsystem Analysis & Capstone Development/ Intercollaborative CNL Role
NUR 611 CNL Transition to Professional Nursing Role and Clinical Practice

Semester 7

NUR 554 Leadership and Healthcare Management: Finance in Healthcare and Leading Teams
NUR 612 CNL Role Immersion & Capstone Practicum
NUR 549 Leadership for Evidence-Based Innovation in Nursing & Health Professions

You will also complete clinical rotations in local healthcare facilities to a total of 765 hours. 

GMercyU has a wide network of healthcare affiliations, and your instructors will be able to help you obtain placements. Clinical placements are subject to facility availability and may require evening or weekend hours.

This program requires the applicant to be a U.S. citizen and pass a criminal background check, child abuse clearance, certain immunizations, and other health-related clearances in order to participate in clinical experiences. These requirements must be met before beginning the program.

See the graduate catalog for more information, including complete admission requirements and course descriptions.

More Nursing Options for Career Changers

If you’re not ready to commit to a master’s degree, or don’t meet prior education requirements for the DEMSN, we also offer the following programs for career changers who want to enter nursing:

Leading the Region in Nursing Education Since 1959

Gwynedd Mercy University has been producing exceptional nurses for more than 60 years. Our community of experts, scholars, and regional healthcare leaders — not to mention our thousands of nursing alumni — is an invaluable resource for your professional development and personal enrichment.

In our small classes, you’ll be led by nursing faculty members with clinical expertise, a love for the nursing profession, and a passion for passing on their knowledge to the next generation of nurses.

Begin Your Nursing Journey with GMercyU

Get the advanced education you need for a career that changes lives: earn your Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing with GMercyU.

Call 844-707-9359 or email to contact an admissions counselor, or request information now!