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Western Kentucky University

Graduate Nursing Program

Graduate nursing program

The Graduate Nursing program at WKU builds upon the first professional degree, the bachelor of science in nursing. The purpose of the program is to develop expertise in advance nursing practice, nursing education, or nursing administration. The program prepares the nurse for increased accountability, proficiency, and leadership roles in a variety of healthcare settings.


We have options to meet the needs of the growing demand for nurses with advanced levels of education.  Please note that our Graduate Program concentrations all require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), with the exception of Nurse Administrator and Nurse Educator concentrations as specified in the RN to MSN Bridge section below.

Family Nurse Practitioner - NO LONGER AVAILABLE AT THE MSN LEVEL; please visit the DNP website for additional information.

Nurse Educator: All courses in this concentration are offered online.

Nurse Administrator: Allows students to select, with guidance from an advisor, support courses from other disciplines, such as, the MBA program, Health Care Administration, Communication, Leadership Studies, and other related programs.

Application date for Nurse Administrator students for summer 2015 is April 1, 2015.  Contact or for additional information.

RN to MSN Bridge: For applicants with an associate degree in nursing and a baccalaureate degree in a related field.   Students entering this track may enter either the Nurse Educator or Nurse Administrator MSN specialty areas. In addition to the required courses in the MSN program,  RN to MSN students must complete the following  undegraduate pre-requisite courses:

  • NURS 408 Professional Issues for the RN
  • NURS 430 Public Health Nursing Theory

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner is prepared at the graduate level to diagnose, prescribe, and treat psychiatric illnesses and mental health conditions across the lifespan.  This concentration prepares the graduate to site for the certification as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the lifespan). Contact for additional information.

Special Admission Requirements: Documentation of at least one (1) year of experience working with people with psychiatric-mental health conditions.


For people who have an MSN and wish to add a second specialty area, we have 5 Post MSN Certificate options.

Special Admission Requirements: Documentation of at least one (1) year of experience working with people with psychiatric-mental health conditions.

APPLYING TO THE MSN PROGRAM (two-step process)

Admission Deadlines: April 1st for Summer/Fall Admission and October 1st for Spring Admission

Admission Criteria:

  • Completion of a CCNE or NLN accredited BSN program with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Graduates of non-accredited programs are considered on an individual basis. RN-MSN program applicants must be a graduate of a CCNE or NLN accredited associate degree in nursing program and have earned the related baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The GRE is not required for individuals who have a minimum of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) undergraduate cumulative GPA. See the Graduate Catalog at the Graduate School website for information on the required GRE scores at WKU.
  • Hold unencumbered or have applied for RN licensure in Kentucky or compact state.
  • One year of full-time nursing experience is required prior to enrolling (following acceptance) in clinical courses in the nurse practitioner options.

Step One - Graduate School Application Process & Procedures

  • Apply to the Graduate School ( by clicking Apply to WKU Graduate School.  You will be redirected to the Apply Now for Admission at WKU website.  On the right side of the page under Graduate Applications, please select Domestic and International Applicants to begin your WKU Admission Application within TopNet.
  • Send official copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts to the Graduate School. (WKU graduates – do not send transcripts).  Please refer to the Graduate School website ( for mailing address.
  • Note:
    • You will receive an admission letter from the Graduate School following submission of your application and transcripts. This does not indicate admission to the School of Nursing Graduate program.
    • You may only take classes beginning the semester you indicate on your application.
    • Acceptance of graduate transfer courses by the Graduate School does not mean that the courses fulfill course requirement in MSN courses. See the WKU Graduate Catalog for transfer policies.

Step Two - School of Nursing Graduate Program Application Process & Procedures

  • Submit the following to the School of Nursing Graduate Program to
    • 3 professional references on form provided to include nurse manager or nurse administrator and nursing faculty (if you have graduated from BSN program was in past 3 years).
    •  Professional resume or CV
    • A written goal statement
  • Do not submit official transcripts to the School of Nursing Graduate Program as this may delay your application process.  Official transcripts are to be submitted directly to the Graduate School; please refer to the Step One - Graduate School Application Process & Procedures section above for more information.

All program admission materials must be received prior to the due date noted on the program webpage. An interview may be offered following a review of admission materials. Completion of an interview and acceptance by the Graduate School does not assure acceptance into the MSN program. Admission is competitive.

Do not mail transcripts to the following address.  Only submission of the School of Nursing application materials should be mailed to:

Western Kentucky University School of Nursing
1906 College Heights Blvd., #11036
Attention: Graduate Nursing Program
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1036

For more information please call 270-745-3590.

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 Last Modified 10/2/15