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Program Overview

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and a passion for healthcare, the Direct Entry to Master of Science in Nursing program is an accelerated pathway to a career in nursing. This full-time program builds on your undergraduate experience and prepares you for licensure as a registered nurse with an advanced nursing education.

Start working as a nurse in one year

  • After completing the one-year in-person pre-licensure year and successfully passing the NCLEX-RN exam, you can practice as a registered nurse (R.N.) in Vermont or in a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state.
  • Advance your career while you work as a nurse and complete your master's in nursing online.

Apply Now

Choose your passion

While earning your master’s in nursing, you'll develop advanced clinical expertise through a combination of lectures, simulation labs, seminars, and experiential learning.

As you progress through the program, you’ll choose a specialty area you’re passionate about and earn a master’s micro-certificate, a 9-credit intensive, in an area of interest. Some options include: 

  • Business Leadership
  • Education
  • Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching
  • Public Health (Epidemiology, Public Health Informatics, Public Health, Health Equity, Global Health, Climate Change and Human Health, Health Services Administration and Health Policy and Law)
  • Trauma-Informed Care

Why a master’s in nursing at UVM?

  • 100% NCLEX pass rate in 2023, well above the national average of 87%.
  • 98% of UVM graduates are employed or continuing their education within 6 months of graduating.
  • UVM’s master’s in nursing is one of the few programs that allows you to receive an advanced nursing degree with specialization through micro-credentialing.
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience within the University of Vermont Health Network.

Fill the need for more nurses

advanced practice nurse tests patient's reflexes in primary care office

In Vermont alone, over the next seven years, there's a pressing need to almost double our current nursing workforce to keep up with demand. This demand is echoed nationwide.

Embark on a journey towards rewarding and fulfilling employment by joining our direct entry master’s in nursing program. Become a registered nurse within just one year, then advance into a master's program in nursing tailored to your specific needs.


Students must be able to commit to the first year of in-person learning and the second year online.

Year One

Students develop proficiency in clinical skills, including nursing procedures, clinical decision-making, and nursing concepts through 675 hours of hands-on experience.

This prelicensure year culminates with the NCLEX-RN exam and licensure to work in Vermont while completing the two-year master’s degree.

Fall (12.75 credits)

  • GRNS 5130: Pathophysiology - 3 credits
  • GRNS 5280: Pharmacology - 3 credits
  • GRNS 6020: The Science of Nursing: Across Life I - 3 credits
  • GRNS 6030: Practicum: Adults Lifespan I - 3.75 credits, 225 clinical hours

Spring (15.5 credits)

  • GRNS 5320: The Science of Nursing: Children - 3 credits
  • GRNS 6000: Professional Nursing Issues - 2 credits
  • GRNS 6120: The Science of Nursing: Adult Lifespan-II - 2 credits
  • GRNS 6050: Practicum: Complex Nursing Care of Adults - 2.5 credits, 150 clinical hours
  • GRNS 6060: The Science of Nursing: Mental Health - 3 credits
  • GRNS 6080: The Science of Nursing: Gyn Care & Family - 3 credits

Summer (6 credits)

  • GRNS 6303: Compassionate Care for Nurses - 2 credits
  • GRNS 6090: Practicum: Women and Newborns - 1.25 credits, 90 clinical hours
  • GRNS 6070: Practicum: Mental Health - 1.5 credits, 120 clinical hours
  • GRNS 6110: Practicum: Children - 1.25 credits, 90 clinical hours
  • ATI 3-day Intensive NC

Total: 34.25 credits, 675 clinical hours

Year Two and Beyond

Students progress into the master’s core curriculum and earn a micro-certificate or a 9-credit cognate intensive (CI) in an area of interest.

With options ranging from public health, education, and integrative health to business leadership and trauma-informed care, your program will foster the development of niche skills that are increasingly vital in today's complex healthcare.

Courses are offered with participating faculty from the Department of Nursing, Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Science, Larner College of Medicine, College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, College of Education and Social Sciences, and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Fall (11 credits)

  • GRNS 6300: Advanced Concepts in Health Assessment, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology - 5 credits
  • STAT 5000: Biostatistics - 3 credits
  • GRNS 6210: Professional Role Development - 3 credits

Spring (6 credits)

  • GRNS 6301: Research, Quality Improvement Methods & Evidenced Based Practice - 3 credits
  • GRNS 6302: Quality and Informatics in Healthcare - 3 credits

Summer (5-7 credits)

  • GRNS 6240: Nursing Theory - 2 credits
  • GRNS 6303: Compassionate Care for Nurses [if not taken in PL year] - 2 credits
  • mCGS/Intensive cognate - 3 credits

Fall (7-10 credits)

  • GRNS 6590: Master's Project and Thesis Seminar - 1 credit
  • GRNS 6304: Planetary Health for the Health Care Provider - 3 credits
  • GRNS 6391: Master's Thesis Research - 3 credits
  • mCGS/Intensive cognate - 3 credits
  • Comprehensive Exam

Spring ( 9 credits)

  • GRNS 6391: Master's Thesis Research - 3 credits OR GRNS 6392: Master's Project - 3 credits
  • GRNS 6305: Transformational Leadership in Nursing - 3 credits
  • mCGS/Intensive cognate - 3 credits

Total: 38-41 credits

Clinical Placements

The first year of the direct entry M.S. in Nursing program is completed in person at UVM in Burlington, Vermont. There are opportunities for clinical placements within the University of Vermont Health Network in Burlington and across the state.


The application deadline is May 31, 2024.


This program is designed for non-nursing majors who hold a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field and wish to become highly skilled and compassionate nurses with advance nursing knowledge.

Students applying to the program must have completed undergraduate-level coursework, with a minimum GPA of 3.0, in Anatomy and Physiology I/II, Microbiology, Nutrition, and Statistics.

If you need prerequisites, please visit UVM Professional and Continuing Education and explore the Pre-MEPN track for courses and additional information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN)?

Yes. The accelerated program to receive your M.S. in Nursing is commonly known as a Master's Entry Program in Nursing, or MEPN.

Is this an online direct entry M.S.N program?

The program is a hybrid of in person and online learning. You’ll need to commit to the first year in person and after that can complete your master’s degree online. The degree you’ll receive is a Master of Science (M.S.) in Nursing which is comparable and prepares students at the same level of competency as an M.S.N, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Is this program for me if I already have a nursing degree and want to gain a master’s degree?

This master’s degree is also designed for registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree looking to gain an advanced specialization in a particular area.  It also provides a seamless transition into the Doctor of Nursing Practice program for students wanting to progress to their terminal degree in nursing practice. Reach out to our program advisors to learn more about whether this program is a fit for you.

How does this program compare to other direct entry M.S. in nursing or M.S.N. programs for non-nursing majors?

Other schools in the region, including John Hopkins School of Nursing and Columbia University, provide the opportunity for individuals with bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field to become nurses, but few provide the opportunity to receive an advanced nursing degree with specialization through micro-credentialing. UVM’s M.S. in Nursing program is also more affordable than most programs in the Northeast.

Though many schools offer a Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N), UVM’s program degree is a Master of Science (M.S.) in Nursing to keep with university degree naming policy. An M.S.N. and an M.S. in Nursing are comparable and prepare students at the same level of competency, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Information Sessions

Attend an information session to learn more. 

Next session:

  • Wednesday, April 24 at 5 PM

Email cnhsgrad@med.uvm.edu to register.

"I had never heard of a direct entry program, but I liked the idea of being able to work as an RN while continuing my education as a provider. Gaining nursing skills along the way will make me a well-rounded provider who has formidable diagnostic skills but also takes patients’ mental, emotional, and spiritual health into consideration." - Shane

Ready to Get Started?

Request Information 

Submit this form to receive additional program information.


Type of Degree

Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN)

School or College

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Area of Study


Program Format


Credit Hours to Graduate

72.5 to 75.25

Length of Program

2 to 3 years

Next Start Date

Fall 2024

For tuition information, visit the UVM Student Financial Services website.