Master’s Degree

Master's in Nursing Leadership (MSN)

Take the next step to advance your career as an executive nurse leader in health care and health system settings through Widener's hybrid MSN program.

Exceutive nursing leadership student with faculty

Program Overview

In our executive nurse leadership master’s program, you’ll partner with experienced nursing and business professionals to develop the skills to lead at every system level in health care. The program is offered in a hybrid format combining online and on-campus coursework.

With courses in both the School of Nursing and School of Business Administration, you’ll learn how to improve health outcomes for patients and populations. Improved outcomes will be accomplished through effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered leadership and health care delivery models using ethical and relationship-based business practices.

After you graduate, and have two years of nurse leadership experience, you’ll be eligible to apply for certifications offered by the American Organization for Nursing Leadership and/or the American Nurses Association.

The master's degree program in nursing at Widener University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

MSN Leadership Program Options

View the Loading... for information on the curriculum and coursework.

The executive nurse leadership master’s program is a hybrid program with in-person clinical practica in the student's home state of residence. The program can be completed in 24-36 months of full-time study or at the student’s pace for part-time study within the five-year time limit post matriculation.


Students who are registered nurses can enroll in an accelerated track to earn a master's degree through the RN-to-MSN program option.


After completing this program, students have the option to transfer the nine business course credits towards a master’s of business administration degree.

Students who hold an MSN and are interested in pursuing nursing leadership should consider a post-master's certificate. The School of Nursing offers a number of post-master's and post-doctoral certificates in different areas of study.

View post-master's certificate options

Many area health care systems offer their employees discounted tuition rates for Widener's graduate nursing programs.

View our educational partners

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Complete online application
  • Application fee of $35
  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing or equivalent from an accredited program
  • Minimum of 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) in a BSN program
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended institutions of higher education
  • Completion of an undergraduate statistics/research course with a grade of C or better
  • Two recommendations, preferably from professional nurses with graduate degrees, regarding applicant’s practice and potential for graduate work in nursing.
  • Valid U.S. license as a registered nurse; PA State Board of Nursing licensure prior to start of clinical practicum or as appropriate
  • Personal Statement
  • Updated resume
  • Interview with program director
  • International applicants, immigrants to the U.S., and U.S. permanent residents are required to submit the results of an English proficiency test taken with 2 years, unless they are from a TOEFL-exempt country
    View English Proficiency Requirements
  • International applicants who will be seeking licensure in the U.S. should work with Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) to utilize their credentials evaluation service

Applicants who meet all admission criteria except the 3.0 grade point average are eligible to complete two courses as a nonmatriculated student. The student should complete the application and contact the advisor to discuss course selection. If the applicant completes two nonmatriculated courses and attains a grade of B or better admission will be considered.

Loading... in the course catalog.

The School of Nursing requires a passing score on the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Qualifying Examination. The CGFNS Qualifying Examination is a prerequisite for taking the Registered Nurse Licensing Examination in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Application materials are available from the CGFNS website.

  • August 15—for matriculation in the fall semester.
  • December 15—for matriculation in the spring semester.
  • April 15—for matriculation in summer sessions.

MSN Nurse Executive Program Highlights

Leverage classroom and real-world experiences to prepare for your role as an executive nurse leader.

National Center of Nursing Excellence

The National League for Nursing named Widener a Center of Excellence for advancing the science of nursing education.

Recognized for Advancing Nursing Education

1 of 6 schools nationwide designated as a Center of Excellence for Advancing the Science of Nursing Education.

College of Distinction Nursing 2023-2024 Logo

College of Distinction for Nursing

Recognized for top-quality teaching and successful outcomes.

Founders Hall midday shot

Renowned in the Region

Our School of Nursing was ranked 7th in Pennsylvania among private colleges.

Best Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Best Master of Science in Nursing

Recognized as the best hybrid MSN program based on flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation.

Founders Hall, home to Widener's School of Nursing, at dusk

Top 30 in Nation

Our School of Nursing is proud to rank #28 out of more than 1,100 private institutions evaluated across the nation.  

Source: Nursing Schools Almanac


Real-World Experience

Gain real-world experience at the region’s top hospitals as you develop leadership skills that will build the foundation for a career in executive nurse leadership.

Interdisciplinary Education & Research

With opportunities to collaborate with the School of Business and other schools, you’ll enhance your understanding of how to meet the needs of patients and the systems that care for them.

Faculty Mentorship

Thrive in an online learning community that is guided by expert faculty with close mentorship and one-on-one support. As you complete courses led by nursing and business leaders, you'll build a network that will follow you long after graduation.

Clubs & Organizations

Nursing majors have the opportunity to join multiple clubs and organizations across campus to expand their network, including the Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders (PONL), National League for Nursing (NLN), and many more.


You’ll benefit from close faculty mentorship from full-time professors who aren’t just teaching the courses but are creating the science of nursing education.

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

You will graduate with the expertise you need to lead as an executive nurse leader.

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Chief nursing officer
  • Chief nursing executive
  • Director of nursing
  • Case manager

Nursing Manager Salary


Median annual salary of an MSN-prepared nursing manager.

Nursing Services Director Salary


Median annual salary of a director of nursing services.

Chief Nursing Officer Salary


Median annual salary of a chief nursing officer (CNO).

Take the Next Steps


We’re glad you made the decision to apply. All applications and supplemental materials are submitted through the online application system. There is a $35 application fee to apply to Widener.