Top Minnesota RN-to-MSN Programs

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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.

RN-to-MSN programs offer an accelerated and affordable option for students seeking graduate education and careers as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Because RN-to-MSN programs do not require a bachelor’s degree in nursing, these bridge programs work best for practicing RNs with an associate degree or nursing diploma.

Graduates often go on to become nurse practitioners (NPs), a type of APRN authorized to offer many of the same services as doctors, including primary and preventive care. As the physician shortage expands across the country, the demand for NPs has skyrocketed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 45% increase in NP positions between 2019 and 2029. Minnesota currently employs 3,970 NPs earning a median salary of $119,010.

As NPs become more accepted in healthcare settings, the number of RN-to-BSN programs has tripled over the past 25 years. These programs, which can take up to three years to complete, train nurses for clinical practice and administrative, teaching, and research roles.

View ranking methodology here.

Best RN-to-MSN Programs in Minnesota

Rank School Location
1 Capella University Minneapolis, MN
2 Bethel University Saint Paul, MN
3 Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN
4 Mayo School of Health Sciences Rochester, MN
5 Metropolitan State University Saint Paul, MN
6 Minneapolis School of Anesthesia St. Louis Park, MN
7 Minnesota State University at Mankato Mankato, MN
Advertisement NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

  1. Capella University
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    At Capella University, you can take part in higher learning that is innovative, compelling and fresh. The goal of the university is to facilitate lifelong learning, which is why students are encouraged to continue on to their doctoral degree after completing their master’s. The programs are available online to offer students the greatest degree of flexibility. All programs are designed to deliver highly competent professionals who are ready to take on important careers.

    • Campus: Minneapolis, MN
    • Type: Private
    • Accreditation: $387 per credit
    • Tuition: CCNE
    • Minimum time commitment: Between 56 and 85 credits
    • Online availability: Yes
    • Degree requirements: BSN, GPA of 3.0 minimum, RN license, work experience,
    • Programs: MSN Diabetes Nursing, MSN General Nursing, MSN Nurse Educator, MSN Nursing Leadership and Administration, RN to MSN Diabetes Nursing, RN to MSN General Nursing, RN to MSN Nurse Educator, RN to MSN Leadership and Administration
    • School Site:  Tuition and Financial Aid
  2. Bethel University
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    At Bethel University, the master’s degree in nursing program is designed to help students transition into leadership functions in the field of health care. The curriculum is versatile and comprehensive. All students take part in a number of core courses, as well as choose a number of elective courses in specific concentrations. This means that the final degree is fully customized to your own needs. Students are also encouraged to study on towards their doctoral degree.

    • Campus: Saint Paul, MN
    • Type: Private
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    • Tuition: $575 for MSN Nurse Educator and Nurse Leader, $740 per credit for MSN Nurse-Midwifery
    • Minimum time commitment: 2 years, 1 summer and 6 months capstone project for nurse leader; 2 years, 2 summers and a 6 months capstone project for nurse educator; three bachelor’s courses followed by MSN specialization for BSN to MSN option; varies for MSN Nurse-Midwifery
    • Online availability: No, but certificates in Nurse Educator and Nurse Leader are
    • Degree requirements: Varies, prospective students should contact an admissions adviser
    • Programs: MSN Nurse Leader, MSN Nurse Educator, BSN to MSN Combined Option, MSN Nurse Midwifer
    • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid
  3. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    The MSN degree program offered by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers formal and informal instruction curriculum for specialization on nurse anesthesia. Students will learn about clinical practice, scientific principles and the opportunities for professional growth that are available to them. The nursing community that emerged from Saint Mary’s follows a number of core values, including professionalism, academic excellent, responsibility, personal integrity and compassion. The faculty and the students share the responsibility for achieving the goals required of someone who wants to be a nurse anesthetist.

    • Campus: Minneapolis, MN
    • Type: Private
    • Accreditation: CANAEP
    • Tuition: $541 per credit
    • Minimum time commitment: 64 semester credits
    • Online availability: No
    • Degree requirements: BSN, GPA of 2.75 minimum, transcripts, RN license, one year’s work experience, one professional reference, chemistry course, immunizations, health check
    • Programs: MSN Nurse Anesthesia
    • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid
  4. Mayo School of Health Sciences
    Location

    Rochester, MN

    The Mayo School of Health Sciences offers master of science studies in nursing that were created specifically to ensure students have extended theoretical knowledge in that field. This is achieved mainly through scholarly inquiry, during which time nurses prepare themselves to be able to facilitate and manage complex health needs in a variety of settings. Nurses who graduate from Mayo can become nurse educators, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, nurse administrators, or nurse anesthetists.

    • Campus: Rochester, MN
    • Type: Private, not for profit
    • Accreditation: NLNAC
    • Tuition: $580 per credit
    • Minimum time commitment: 3 to 5 semesters for MSN Clinical Education; varies for Nurse Midwifery
    • Online availability: No
    • Degree requirements: Good academic standing, immunizations, background check, drug screening, health insurance, RN license
    • Programs: MSN Clinical Education, MSN Nurse Midwifery Clinical Rotations, Specializations in Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Midwife, Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator, and Nurse Anesthetist
    • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid
  5. Metropolitan State University
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Metropolitan State University has a very clear mission. They want to make sure all RNs are able to advance in their professional careers, as well as focus on fostering better health in Minnesota’s underserved and highly diverse populations and communities. The school has made a strong commitment towards collaborative community involvement, academic excellence, and the promotion of scholarly activities for all faculty members.

    • Campus: Saint Paul, MN
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    • Tuition: $446.68 per credit
    • Minimum time commitment: 7 semesters
    • Online availability: No
    • Degree requirements: Transcripts, essay, two letters of reference, computer literacy, prerequisite courses
    • Programs: Entry Level MSN
    • School Site:  Tuition and Financial Aid
  6. Minneapolis School of Anesthesia
    Location

    St. Louis Park, MN

    The MSN program offered by the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia is a collaboration between the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia. As such, students can take part in courses in various states and locations should they choose to. Graduates from the program will be able to get to work in a huge range of settings and they will focus on the safe administration of anesthetics, using state-of-the-art technology.

    • Campus: St. Louis Park, MN
    • Type: Private
    • Accreditation: AANA/CANAEP
    • Tuition: $3,900 per semester
    • Minimum time commitment: 48 semester credits
    • Online availability: No
    • Degree requirements: High school or GED, BSN or ADN with bachelor’s in other discipline, GPA of 3.0 or more, one year nursing experience, RN license, chemistry course, cardiac support certificate, interview, health check, personal statement, four letters of recommendation
    • Programs: MSN Nurse Anesthesia
    • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid
  7. Minnesota State University at Mankato
    Location

    Mankato, MN

    The Minnesota State University at Mankato offers two highly popular MSN degree programs the Family Nurse Practitioner and the Nurse Educator. The goal of the school is to make sure all graduates have true academic and professional excellence. Additionally, students are encouraged to study on towards their doctorate degree.

    • Campus: Mankato, MN
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: CCNE, NLNAC
    • Tuition: $365.95 per credit
    • Minimum time commitment: 37 credits for Nurse Educator, 83 credits for Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Online availability: No
    • Degree requirements: Attendance at information session, transcripts, GPA of 3.0, TOEFL if applicable, BSN/BS/BA, RN license, two years work experience, one professional reference, resume, personal statement, interview
    • Programs: MSN Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator
    • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

Applying to an RN-to-MSN Bridge Program

RN-to-MSN bridge programs in Minnesota provide an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree without first earning a bachelor’s in nursing. Designed for RNs with an ADN degree or nursing diploma, these programs require applicants to hold an unencumbered RN license and at least one year of clinical experience.

Each Minnesota nursing school establishes its own specific admission requirements. Generally, applicants should have completed approximately 60 general education credits and nursing prerequisites, including courses in human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and chemistry. Most schools accept students with a minimum 3.0 GPA overall and a 3.0 in the science prerequisites.

Most schools ask for official transcripts from previously attended nursing programs, a valid RN license, and three or more letters of recommendation. A resume and an essay describing career goals should also accompany the application.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do bridge programs work?

    Designed primarily for RNs with an ADN or nursing diploma, bridge programs leading to an MSN degree prepare graduates to enter advanced practice nursing fields as NPs, clinical nurse leaders, and other roles. This accelerated degree provides a fast and reasonably inexpensive pathway toward a nursing career by allowing practicing nurses to transition directly into a master’s program without first earning a bachelor of science in nursing.

  • What is accreditation and why is it important?

    Aspiring nurses who intend to seek licensure should only enroll in nursing schools accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. The accreditation process ensures a quality education that provides the necessary skills to enter the workforce, qualifies students for financial aid, and facilitates transfer credits.

  • How long does it take to complete an RN-to-MSN program?

    Most bridge programs can take between 24-36 months to complete, requiring 60 credits or more depending on the number of courses accepted from prior coursework transferred from an ADN or nursing diploma program. Some MSN specialties require additional clinical hours which extend the length of time needed to earn the degree.

  • What can I do with an MSN in Minnesota?

    Most MSN graduates in Minnesota enter rewarding and lucrative careers as APRNs in direct care clinical practice or indirect practice in nursing administration. According to the BLS, graduates of nurse practitioner programs in Minnesota earn an average salary of over $122,000. NPs with in-demand specialties in areas like psychiatric and mental health practice, pediatrics, family practice, and acute care can expect even higher earnings.