Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing

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 at our main campus in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, is a full-time, 24-month, 79-credit prelicensure degree program. Graduates will be prepared to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Certification exam governed by the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC).

Advanced Preparation for a Career That Changes Lives

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.

Benefits of Earning a Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing

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 24 months, compared to 16 months for our Accelerated BSN (ABSN) program. This means you can enter the workforce with advanced nursing prepartion 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.

Finally, earning your DEMSN with GMercyU distinguishes the graduate from others. Our DEMSN graduates are eligible to obtain certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader, meaning they can practice across the continuum of care and contribute to improving patient care outcomes while working with other healthcare professionals.

Career Options for Direct Entry MSN Graduates

Clinical Nurse Leaders 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
  • Clinical leaders at the bedside
  • Clinical leaders to advance global health care

The GMercyU Difference

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

  • A graduate degree in as little as two years – Complete your DEMSN in just six consecutive semesters (24 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 be prepared to take the CNL certification exam.
  • 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.

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.


Curriculum and Prerequisites

The Direct Entry MSN at GMercyU is a full-time, 24-month, 79-credit prelicensure graduate degree program for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field.

Prerequisite Courses

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 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).

Our Online Prerequisite Courses
  • Nutrition (6-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.

Courses for the Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing
  • NUR500 - Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Nursing Roles
  • NUR510 - Advanced Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing Roles
  • NUR512 - Foundations to Professional Nursing Leadership and the Healthcare System
  • NUR513 - Health Assessment and Clinical Skills
  • NUR514 - Clinical Practice and Role Development I: Nursing Care of Women, Children, and Families
  • NUR516 - Introduction to Pathophysiology and Pharmacology Concepts for Advanced Nursing Roles
  • NUR518 - Clinical Practice and Role Development II: Nursing Care of Persons with Mental and Behavioral Health Issues
  • NUR520 - Clinical Practice and Role Development III: Nursing Care of Adults with Common Health Problems
  • NUR530 - Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing Roles
  • NUR535 - Leadership and Health Policy
  • NUR544 - Clinical Practice and Role Development IV: Nursing Care of Adults with Complex Health Problems
  • NUR545 - Clinical Practice and Role Development V: Community Health Nursing
  • NUR546 - Health Promotion and Disease Prevention across the Lifespan and Across the Globe
  • NUR548 - Nursing Ethics and the Larger Healthcare Arena
  • NUR549 - Leadership for Evidence-Based Innovation in Nursing and Health Professions
  • NUR554 - Leadership and Healthcare Management: Finance in Healthcare and Leading Teams
  • NUR570 - Advanced Assessment and Lab for Advanced Nursing Roles
  • NUR584 - Clinical Practice and Role Development VI: Synthesis of Learning Practicum
  • NUR585 - Leadership Seminar: Microsystem Analysis and Capstone Development/Inter-Collaborative CNL Role
  • NUR610 - Nursing Research Methodology and Evidenced-Based Practice
  • NUR611 - CNL Transition to Professional Nursing Role and Clinical Practice
  • NUR612 - CNL Role Immersion and Capstone Practicum
  • RS231 - Bioethics

You will also complete clinical rotations in local healthcare facilities to a total of 765 hours. 405 of those hours will be conventional nursing clinical hours, and 360 hours will be specifically dedicated to the CNL role.

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 US 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.

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 e-mail to contact an admissions counselor, or begin your online application now!