Master of Science in Nursing

Advanced Nursing Practice Cognate
Nursing Education Cognate
Leadership and Administrative Cognate

Expect challenge.

Achieve distinction.

Become a visionary nurse leader.

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree will provide graduates with a foundation for practice as a leader and educator in healthcare systems or academic settings. The program contains 18 credit hours of core knowledge essential for practice as a leader including coursework in nursing theory and research, health information systems, organization leadership, health policy and quality improvement; 15 credit hours of cognate (advanced nursing or education) and three credit hours for a final capstone. NOTE: For financial aid purposes, six credit hours is considered full-time for a graduate student.

Program Goals

  • The goals of the MSN program are to prepare graduates:

    • As a nurse leader and educator in healthcare systems or academic settings.
    • To seek new knowledge by means of critical thinking, creative reasoning and scientific investigation in relation to nursing theory, science and practice.
    • To disseminate nursing knowledge and research to consumers and healthcare professionals.
    • As nurse leaders capable of determining effective strategies to promote change within the profession and leading to a more effective management of the healthcare delivery system.
    • As decision-makers who consider ethical principles in serving the needs of diverse individuals, populations and society
    • As learners who possess the foundation for doctoral education

General Requirements

  • Complete the Colorado Mesa University graduate application and application fees.
  • Possess a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a regionally accredited and discipline specific (CCNE or ACEN) college or university.
  • Possess a current, unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse in State of Practice.
  • Have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or better in nursing coursework earned toward a baccalaureate degree in nursing.
  • Have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or better for prior graduate work.
  • Submit ONE copy of official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended.
  • Provide three letters of professional and academic recommendation and three Reference Form for Application per recommendation letter.
  • Submit a 2,500-word essay demonstrating scholarly writing, critical thinking, depth of analysis and common knowledge of nursing current events.
    • This essay is an essential aspect of the admission process and will be carefully evaluated by the faculty in order to make a decision on your direct entry into either the MSN or DNP program. Develop and format your essay according to APA criteria. While specific references are not required, it is highly recommended that you support your assertions (as needed) with scholarly peer-reviewed citations.
    • The essay should address two areas: in the first part, discuss why you are interested in completing a graduate degree in nursing. In the second part, describe the population and problem you are interested in studying for your Capstone project. Consider a problem experienced by this population that you would like to focus your project. Describe one or two evidence-based strategies for improving the practice-based problem. Describe the type of agency and/or specific work until where you would wish to complete your project.
  • Interview, if required, with members of the Graduate Admission Committee.
  • Your admission to the program is contingent on successfully passing a criminal background check, at the applicant's personal expense.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of twelve (12) semester credit hours of relevant graduate/doctoral level course work taken prior to admission to the MSN program may be transferred in the MSN program.

A maximum of twenty-one (21) semester credit hours of relevant graduate/doctoral-level course work taken prior to admission to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program may be transferred in the DNP program.

  • Credits must have been completed from a regionally accredited college or university, also accredited by either the National League for Nursing (NLN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
  • The credit must be in courses similar in content and rigor to CMU's MSN and DNP programs and the grade must be at least a 'B'.
  • Courses must have been taken within five years prior to admission to CMU's MSN or DNP program.
  • Students must submit a course syllabus, catalog description, and an official transcript including the course grade to the DNP program director. These documents will be reviewed and a determination will be made about transferability.
  • Upon transcript evaluation, applicants to the DNP program who already have a MSN degree may be approved for maximum of 500 clinical hours of transfer credit toward the DNP degree. A minimum of 36 credit hours and 500 documented clinical hours must be completed at CMU to complete the DNP degree.

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the Master of Science in Nursing program, a student must complete the prescribed course of study with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and complete either a thesis or capstone project requirement. Students are expected to complete their program within four years.

Program Accreditation

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at Colorado Mesa University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC  20036, 202-887-6791,

Application Information

To be considered for admission the online graduate application/fee must be submitted (see link below) and all required documents listed below must be received in the Department of Health Sciences Office no later than April 1st for Summer/Fall semester start or November 1st for Spring semester start to be reviewed by the admissions committee.
  • MSN Application
    • MSN Application must be completed electronically via the above graduate application link.

The following documents must submitted directly to the Department of Health Sciences via electronic submission to with the subject line of "MSN Application Materials"

  • Application Essay
    • See the Admission Standards General Requirements section of the MSN Information Packet, above, for essay requirements.
  • RN License
    • Submit a copy of your RN License
  • Transcripts, Official
    • Submit ONE copy of official transcripts from all college or universities attended.
  • Professional Letters of Recommendation
    • Submit THREE Letters of Recommendation
  • Reference Form for Application
    • Please request the above Reference Form for Application to be completed by the individuals who've you requested Professional Letters of Recommendation.  Please request direct submission of the Professional Letter of Recommendation and Reference Form for Application to the Department of Health Sciences via email: