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Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

About the program

At a time of unprecedented change and challenges in health care, it is increasingly important that nurses provide the vision, talent, and leadership necessary to serve individuals, groups, and communities.

The Graduate Nursing Program at Seattle Pacific University prepares you to advance clinical care and expand your career opportunities within a specialty concentration of your choice. Our program focuses on using current theory and evidence-based practice to improve the quality and safety of care. The School of Health Sciences (SHS) is committed to robust academics within a relationship-centered learning environment.

Program concentrations

The MSN program offers the following specialty concentrations:

  • Clinical Leadership in Practice
  • Clinical Leadership in Practice, Nurse Educator Specialization
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist*
  • Nurse Practitioner (family or adult/gerontology)

*Eligibility criteria for board certification as a clinical nurse specialist are established by accrediting agencies (e.g., American Nurses Credentialing Center-ANCC). Additional elective coursework may be needed to satisfy eligibility criteria for CNS board certification. Refer to the accrediting agency’s website for specific eligibility criteria.

The Graduate Nursing Program plans to enroll our first Doctor of Nursing Practice cohort in September 2017 with specialties offered for Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist students.  At that time, no additional student will be admitted to the MSN program under the Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist pathways.


The Graduate Nursing program operates on a cohort model beginning with foundational coursework that a focuses on quality clinical practice, evidence-based practice, and leadership.

Your coursework is separated into specialty areas, and your clinical internship experiences begin only after the completion of all prerequisite courses. All graduate coursework must adhere to specified levels of scholarship before progression can occur.

Application requirements

The graduate nursing admissions counselor ( is available to assist you with your application. Requirements vary by specialty practice and your educational background. GRE scores are not required for admission.

Clinical Leadership in Practice; Nurse Educator Specialization

Our ADN to MSN entry option allows practicing associate degree-prepared nurses to accelerate their education and seamlessly complete a MSN degree on a full-time or part-time plan.

Entry options are also available for nurses with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing or with a BSN. For admission to the Clinical Leadership in Practice Program — with or without the Nurse Educator Specialization — the following are required:

  • An associate or a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program.
  • Active, unencumbered Washington state RN license.
  • Documented minimum of 18 months of active RN experience* by the start of this MSN program.
  • For applicants who do not hold a BSN the following prerequisite coursework is required.*  (Each course must be equivalent to 5 undergraduate, quarter credits with a minimum grade of 2.0 and a cumulative GPA at minimum 3.0):
    • General (Inorganic) Chemistry (equivalent to CHM 1310 or 1211)
    • Biological (Organic) Chemistry (equivalent to CHM 1360 or 1330)
    • Anatomy (equivalent to BIO 2129)
    • Physiology (equivalent to BIO 2130)
    • General Microbiology (equivalent to BIO 3351)
    • General Psychology (equivalent to PSY 1180)
    • Developmental Psychology (equivalent to PSY 2470)
    • Statistics (equivalent to MAT 1360)
    *A gap analysis will be completed for every applicant to determine fulfillment of prerequisites and potential substitution for courses in the SPU curriculum.

    Clinical Nurse Specialist; Nurse Practitioner

    For admission to the Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Practitioner programs the following are required:

    • A baccalaureate degree in nursing.
    • Documented minimum of 24 months active RN experience* at the start of this MSN program.
    • Satisfactory completion of a 5-quarter credit statistics course with a grade of 2.0 or better.
    • Active, unencumbered Washington state RN license. 

    * The SHS graduate programs define “active” nursing practice to include those activities that require RN licensure, employment, and utilization of the nursing process to deliver or direct care.

    • CNS applicants must demonstrate a population focus or specialty practice in their active clinical practice. Refer to the American Nurse Credentialing Center for current CNS certification specialties.
    • It is preferred that FNP applicants demonstrate nursing experience as a licensed RN in the care of patients across the life span (pediatric and adult populations).
    • It is preferred that AGNP applicants demonstrate nursing experience as a licensed RN in the care of adult populations.

Admission requirements

Applicants who meet minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission. Completed applications are screened and reviewed by Graduate Admissions and Graduate Admissions Committee. Graduate Admissions Committee consists of members of the Graduate/Post Graduate Studies Committee (GPSC) and other SHS community members.

To apply, submit the following items to Graduate Admissions to be considered:

  • Online application and $50 processing fee.
  • Official transcript(s) from each college or university attended.
  • Two professional recommendation letters. (One must be from a current manager, supervisor, or direct report.)
  • Personal reflection statement. (Prompt is found in the online application.)
  • Résumé and cover letter.

Graduate Admissions will confirm your active, unencumbered RN license.

After the review of your application, you may be invited to have an in-person interview as part of the admissions process.

It is recommended that you begin the process by submitting an application, although you may send other admissions documents at any time. It is also recommended that you talk with Graduate Admissions early in the application process in order to ensure a smooth transition into the program.

Application deadline

  • January 15 by 5 p.m.

Enrollment policy

The general requirements for a master’s degree are consistent with those listed for the University.

  • All courses must be completed as designated on your individual curriculum plan.
  • If you elect to complete a thesis, you must register for additional thesis credits. 
  • The University requires that all master’s degree coursework be completed within a six-year limit.
  • To graduate, you must demonstrate beginning proficiency within your professional role as put forth by professional standards for practice, as well as fulfill all requirements as stated by the University.