Master’s Degree

Nursing Education (MSN)

Prepare to lead the next generation of nursing professionals and make an impact on the health care industry with a master's degree focused on nursing education.

Nursing educator teaching students

Program Overview

In our nursing education master’s program, you’ll take the inside track to a future in an advanced nursing practice role as a nurse educator. You’ll receive a broad foundation through core nursing courses as well as clinical and teaching practicums that will equip you to emerge as a nurse educator in clinical and academic environments.

You’ll join a nationally recognized program led by expert faculty whose research and expertise are guiding the field of nursing education.

When you graduate, you’ll be prepared to take the Certified Nurse Educator examination offered by the National League for Nursing.

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.

Program Options

The program uses a hybrid of online and in-person coursework to create a foundation in advanced nursing practice with core and clinical courses.

View the Loading... for curriculum and coursework requirements.

Students can enroll for the program at either our Main Campus in Chester or Central Pennsylvania campus in Harrisburg.

The program can be completed in 18–24 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 and hold a bachelor’s degree in another area of study can enroll in an accelerated track to earn a master's degree in the RN-to-MSN program. 


Students who hold an MSN and are interested in pursuing nursing education 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 our post-graduate certificate options 

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Completed 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. NP option requires PA State Board of Nursing licensure or as appropriate
  • Satisfactory scores (550 written and 213 computer-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for all applicants from non-English speaking countries
  • Personal Statement
  • Current resume

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 reconsidered.

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.

View application materials on the CGFNS website

  • July 15—for matriculation in the fall semester.
  • November 15—for matriculation in the spring semester.
  • April 1—for matriculation in summer sessions.

Program Highlights

Leverage classroom and clinical experiences to prepare for your role as an advance nursing practitioner.

Nursing education graduate student


Our program makes you the priority. A flexible hybrid course delivery system offers in-person and online classes at both the Main Campus in Chester and Harrisburg Campus to ensure that you can still meet the demands of your career and personal life.

Nursing education faculty mentor

Faculty Mentorship

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

Nursing education master's student

Real-World & Clinical Experience

You’ll gain clinical experience tailored to your course of study with practicum experiences in higher education. On campus, you’ll have access to practice your skills in real-world scenarios in our state-of-the-art simulation and testing center.

Nursing education students

Interdisciplinary Education & Research

Through collaboration with schools and departments across campus, you’ll enhance your understanding of the curriculum and how the science of nursing can be applied to other disciplines.


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.

Darrell Spurlock Jr.
Professor and Scholarship Director

"I teach because I believe sharing knowledge and stimulating thinking is a fundamental task of any discipline. I believe that education is change, and change is a constant human feature; education is, in this way, choosing to change. Though the focus of my scholarship and teaching centers on research methods, measurement, evaluation, and quality improvement, these knowledge areas form the bedrock of evidence-based practice—the kind of practice all health care professionals aspire to deliver to patients, families, and communities."

Kim A. Noble
Associate Professor

I believe that an education with a foundation in science is essential for entry into nursing or advanced practice nursing. Nursing clinical reasoning skills grow as students apply an understanding of disease as the loss of normal function.

Students have great variation in their manner in which they acquire, process, manipulate, store, and retrieve learned information. It is a faculty priority to assist students with the development of metacognitive strategies to assist learning success and retention.

Shirlee M. Drayton-Brooks
Professor of Nursing

I ascribe to a pragmatic philosophy of teaching and learning. I believe that nursing education must be practical and logically aligned to the diverse needs of the population we served.

Nancy Laplante
Associate Professor

I consider myself to be compassionate and caring, and strive to engage my students in respectful dialogue. Teaching is a collaborative process between students and faculty, and there is a reciprocal relationship as we all learn from each other. As an advanced holistic nurse, I incorporate self-care, self-responsibility, spirituality, and reflection in my teaching and seek to be a role model for my students.

Paula A. Gray
Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing

"I am a proud graduate of Widener's FNP program and very passionate to teach, mentor and guide students to achieve their goals in becoming successful graduates of this program. The program is well known in the Tri-State area and beyond, and because of our certification pass rate and graduate's preparedness for the work-force, our graduates are able to be employed as APRN's very soon after graduation."

Barbara J. Patterson

"As an educator, researcher, and student advisor, I am passionate about preparing the next generation of nurse leaders, educators, and scholars. I believe advancing the science of nursing education is dependent upon preparing doctoral students who question and explore how they teach while generating the best evidence for their teaching practices."

Rose Rossi Schwartz
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

"As a teacher, my role is to help students go beyond the facts. It is equally important to help students grow as people, support their professional and intellectual development, and to expand their world views. Through this growth process, students better understand themselves, their clients, and the clients' experiences."

Donna M. Callaghan

"My teaching philosophy has its roots in Bandura's Theory of Self-Efficacy. I believe that students learn (and clients change behaviors) through observing others perform activities, doing the activities themselves, having positive feedback provided, and having their anxieties decreased."

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

You will graduate with the expertise you need to lead as nurse educator.

Recent Employers & Industry Connections

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Jefferson University Hospitals
  • Main Line Health Systems
  • Virtua Health System
  • Kennedy Health

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Clinical educator
  • Clinical instructor
  • Clinical professor
  • Nurse educator
  • Nurse leader

Industry Growth

Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Next steps to apply

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.

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