The RN to MSN (Second Degree) option is an alternate pathway into the existing Master’s in Nursing (MSN) degree for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing, who are currently licensed registered nurses, and who seek MSN preparation.

The RN to MSN option is available to ADN graduates, and is specifically designed for RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing and declare their intention to obtain an MSN degree. The RN-MSN curriculum prepares nurses for advanced nursing practice and generalist practice.

MSN graduates are prepared to practice in a variety of roles in a health care system requiring advanced knowledge of patient/client care delivery and a high level of critical thinking. In addition, MSN graduates have a foundation for future doctoral study in nursing.

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gockle"I went to undergrad here, and I know there are a lot of neat opportunities for students. It’s easy for students to get involved in different things…"
Erin Gockel, BSN, RN,
BSN 2012
MSN Student, Graduate Nursing Education Primary Care Scholars

Read more about why Erin chose the UAB School of Nurising

Flexible Scheduling


Students are admitted into the RN-MSN program in the fall and summer terms. Students follow a part-time program of study. Students desiring full-time study must be admitted in the fall. Students follow a prescribed program of study that prepares the ADN prepared nurse for success in the MSN program. All courses and selected specialty courses are offered via distance education.

Clinical Schedule


Clinical experiences for the MSN student are designed on an individual basis. The student contracts to work with a clinical preceptor who is a certified registered nurse practitioner, a registered nurse, or a physician. The total number of clinical hours required varies depending on the option that is selected. Students must have a current RN license in the state where they do their clinical practica prior to enrolling in the advanced practice courses.

About the MSN program


The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program features more than 17 specialty tracks, including a variety of nurse practitioner options, clinical nurse leader, nurse anesthesia, nursing education, nursing informatics, and nursing and health systems administration.

US News & World Report, in its survey of the Best Nursing Schools for 2016, has ranked the UAB School of Nursing 13th in the nation. This represents a significant leap for the School, which was listed 21st in the 2012 rankings, the last time Schools of Nursing were included in the Best Graduate Schools edition.

Additionally, three of the School's MSN Specialty Tracks were ranked on reputation -- Nursing Health Systems Administration is listed 9th, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner 12th and Family Nurse Practitioner 14th.

Located in one of the world’s largest academic health centers, the MSN program at UAB prepares nurses for advanced specialty practice in advanced nursing roles and offers countless opportunities to develop advanced practice innovations both locally and globally.

The MSN program also prepares graduates for entry into doctoral studies in nursing, in either the School’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, a practice-focused terminal degree that prepares graduates to practice at the highest level in specialty practice or to assume leadership positions in health care or nursing education; or in the School’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Nursing program.

The PhD in Nursing at UAB is the only such program in the state of Alabama that prepares nurses as researchers, scholars and leaders who make substantive contributions to the science of nursing.

Graduates employ abilities and skills learned in the MSN Program to form collaborative partnerships; assume leadership roles in clinical practice, nursing administration, nursing education and nursing informatics; interpret clinical and management-related research; and make data-driven decisions to enhance the utilization of resources. 

Review the MSN specialty track options to determine the best fit for your future. It is also possible to obtain a second master’s degree in an area of your choice. Definitions, functions, and career opportunities for each of the focal areas and specialty tracks are listed on those individual pages.

The Master's Degree Program in Nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (