Wisconsin Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

State Nursing Board: Wisconsin Board of Nursing

State Nurses Association: Wisconsin Nurses Association

State Hospital Association: Wisconsin Health and Hospital Association

Wisconsin is in the midst of a nursing shortage that experts predict will worsen before it gets better. The gap between RN supply and demand will increase to 35 percent by the year 2035, says the Wisconsin Office of Economic Advisors. More nurses are clearly needed to meet the demand, but educating more nurses requires additional nursing instructors and faculty.

Unfortunately, there is also a shortage of nursing faculty, according to the Wisconsin Nurse Faculty Shortage Task Force. While a PhD is generally required to teach BSN students, a MSN degree is sufficient to teach LPN and basic RN students. MSN-prepared nurses can also lead clinical sessions for BSN students.

If you are interested in helping to strengthen the nursing profession by earning your MSN degree, you can find a good deal of programs, including RN to MSN bridge programs and online options. Contact the nursing schools in Wisconsin to learn more about how you can expand your nursing education.

MSN Nursing Programs in Wisconsin

Three are several quality nursing programs to choose from in Wisconsin and many of them have similar entrance criteria. You will typically be expected to submit many of the following items as you apply to a Master's in Nursing Program.

Admission requirements usually include:

  • BSN from a NLNAC or CCNE-accredited program or RN license if an RNtoMSN route
  • Current RN license in the state where clinical rotations will be completed
  • Three professional references
  • Statistics course of three credit hours with GPA of 3.0 taken within past five years
  • Official undergraduate and any graduate transcripts
  • Registered nursing experience helpful but not required
  • Resume

You can also expect the basic curriculum of most MSN degree programs to be similar, especially in the first semesters. Most Master's programs in Nursing consist of 30-60 credit hours, depending upon the route you take. You can expect to spend anywhere from two to four years in a program, depending upon your enrollment status. If you plan to enter a program that prepares you for a direct patient care roll, you may have a longer program with more clinical requirements. If you enter a program to become a nurse educator, you can expect a curriculum similar to the one below.

The curriculum for a typical nurse educator requires the following courses:

  • Roles in Adv. Nursing and Interprofessional Collaboration
  • Pharmacotherapetuics is for Advance Nursing Roles
  • Nurse Educator Practice Advancement
  • Healthcare Informatics
  • Advanced Health Assessment for CNL and NEs
  • Clinical Prevention and Population Health
  • Quality Improvement & Safety
  • Healthcare Systems Policy & Advocacy
  • The Education Process in Nursing
  • Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing Roles
  • Assessment and Evaluation Strategies in NE
  • Advanced Educator Practicum (224 clinical hours)
  • Clinical Paper/Thesis

Some of the other options for MSN degree specialties you may find include:

  • Adult – Older Adult Acute Care
  • Adult - Older Adult Primary Care
  • Adult - Older Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Pediatrics Primary Care
  • Pediatrics Acute Care
  • Nurse-Midwifery
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Systems Leadership & Healthcare Quality

Nursing schools in Wisconsin also offer a RN to MSN accelerated programs. Approximately 31 credits of Liberal Arts Courses are required from an accredited college or university with a GPA of 3.0 or better for admission to this type of program at Concorde University of WI. They specialize in programs for the Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner and the Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. The courses are offered in a flexible format for the student that is working full-time.

Careers for Master's Prepared Nurses in Wisconsin

After you have your MSN degree you will be able to sit for the credential test administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which includes nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, as well as, a number of specialty certifications.

The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, a branch of the Board of Nursing, requires the completion of their application to prescribe medication. The nurse must have an active license in Wisconsin, be currently certified by a national certifying body approved by the board as a nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, certified registered nurse anesthetists or clinical nurse specialist. The nurse must have a master's degree in nursing or related field granted by a college or university that is accredited by a regional accrediting agency approved by the state Board of Education in which the college or university is located.

You must have completed at least 45 contact hours of clinical pharmacology/therapeutics within three years preceding the date of this application for certification to issue prescription orders. In addition, you must pass a jurisprudence examination for advanced practice nurse prescribers.

As of May 2013 family nurse practitioners in Wisconsin earned a mean annual income of $89,560 and nurse midwife's annual income was $91,030. Salaries vary according to experience, education, employer and physical location, as rural areas do not pay as well as cities.

Funding your MSN Degree in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin League for Nursing awards scholarships in conjunction with other organizations to nursing students at various levels of their education.

There is a Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program designed for nurses to care for underserved people in hospitals and clinics. If a nurse works in one of these facilities for two years, 60 percent of their student loans will be paid.

The benefits of earning a MSN degree are plentiful and will give you a great deal of satisfaction. Numerous job opportunities due to the current nursing shortage are available, and you may also earn a higher income. Contact the schools listed on this page to learn more about specific nursing programs in Wisconsin.

MSN programs for Wisconsin nurses include:

  • Marquette University. Marquette's graduate nursing programs have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as among the best in the nation. Their nurse midwifery program ranks 19th in the nation. Marquette also offers MSN education for nurse practitioners, clinical nurse leaders and nurse administrators. A direct-entry option is available for students who lack a BSN but hold a bachelor's degree in another field.
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison. Wisconsin's flagship school offers a dual MSN/MPH degree for students who wish to become public health educators or administrators. MSN degrees are also available for nurses interested in careers as nurse educators.

Programs from Wisconsin Schools

Listed below are all of the nationally accredited MSN programs with campus locations in Wisconsin.

Online programs may not be available in all areas

Traditional On Campus Programs:

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Alverno College (Milwaukee, WI)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Specialist / Nurse Educator, Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Bellin College of Nursing (Green Bay, WI)
Program Name: Nurse Administrator Track, Nurse Educator Track
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Concordia University-Wisconsin (Mequon, WI)
Program Name: Family Nurse Practitioner (online), Geriatric Nurse Practitioner (online), Nurse Educator (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Edgewood College (Madison, WI)
Program Name: Nursing Administration, Nursing Education
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Kaplan University (Learning Center - Milwaukee, WI)
Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner, MSN - Executive Leader, MSN - Nurse Educator, MSN - Nurse Informatics
Marian University of Fond du Lac (Fond du Lac, WI)
Program Name: Adult Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)
Program Name: Acute Care NP, Adult CNS, Adult NP, Clinical Nurse Leader, Health Care Systems Leadership, MBA/MSN, Nurse-Midwifery, Older Adults CNS, Older Adults NP, Pediatric Acute Care NP, Pediatric Primary Care NP/CNS
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (Eau Claire, WI)
Program Name: Adult NP, Family NP, Medical-Surgical CNS, Nurse Administrator, Nurse Educator
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (Lacrosse, WI)
Program Name: MS in Biology
Accreditation: AANA/CANAEP accredited
University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI)
Program Name: MS/MPH
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)
Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (Oshkosh, WI)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (online), Educator (online), Family Nurse Practitioner (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Viterbo University (La Crosse, WI)
Program Name: Adult Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Leader, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator
Accreditation: CCNE accredited