5 Best RN-to-MSN Programs in North Carolina – 2024

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

Scared your lack of a BSN will prevent you from pursuing an MSN degree in North Carolina? Don’t be! RN-to-MSN programs in North Carolina enable you to get your MSN without getting a BSN first. With an MSN, you’ll have career opportunities that aren’t available to ADN-educated RNs, and you’ll make around $110,950 a year. Quite a few RN-to-MSN programs in the Tar Heel State offer hybrid or online curricula that make it easy to return to school even if you’re holding a job. The list below of the 5 best RN-to-MSN programs in North Carolina for 2024 will fill you in on the pertinent details.


(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 5 Best RN-to-MSN Programs in North Carolina (Online & Campus).)

1. Duke University - Durham

Specialties Offered: Adult Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gero Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, Health Informatics, Nursing & Healthcare Leadership, and Nursing Education

Program Details: If you are exploring the best online RN-to-MSN programs in North Carolina, then you should check out Duke University’s RN-to-MSN program. A well-known nursing school, here you will be able to choose from a range of options, including several NP specialties, health informatics, nursing & healthcare leadership, and nursing education.

Each RN to MSN track includes MSN core courses and courses related to your chosen specialty. The credit requirements range from 36 to 48, depending on the specialty you choose. While the NP tracks comprise a larger number of credits, if you choose any of the non-clinical tracks, you’ll require completing fewer credits.

This RN to MSN program comprises common core courses that cover topics such as evidence-based practice, population health, clinical pharmacology, advanced physiology, pathophysiology, and advanced health assessment. After completing the core courses, you must continue with the program to finish the specialty-related coursework.

Admission Requirements: The school reviews applications holistically, taking into account every aspect of your application. To qualify, you must have an associate degree in nursing along with a non-bachelor's degree, and a GPA of at least 3.0. Also, your RN license must be valid and unencumbered in your state of practice. Other admission requirements include the submission of transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.

Must-Know Highlights For Potential Duke University RN-to-MSN Students

• Out of all the RN-to-MSN programs in North Carolina, Duke University’s RN-to-MSN program stands out for offering the widest range of clinical experiences. This is because the school enjoys partnerships with more than 2000 clinical affiliates across the nation.
• Duke University has more than 20 years of experience in online education and its online RN to MSN program is built on this teaching expertise.
• Duke University is strongly committed to your success in the RN to BSN program. In addition to rigorous didactic courses, the school includes high-fidelity simulation experiences to ensure you graduate with the utmost professional preparedness.

2. Appalachian State University - Boone

Specialties Offered: Nursing Education

Program Details: If an educational environment seems like your perfect workplace, then Appalachian State University’s RN to MSN program prepares you for an empowering role in nursing academia. Counted among the best online RN-to-MSN programs in North Carolina, the program allows you to complete your studies from the comfort of your home. Also, the program blends in two field experiences where you’ll apply the newly acquired knowledge and teaching methods in a nursing educational setting.

Leading to certification as a Nurse Educator, upon completion of the 36-credit coursework, you’ll be able to explore positions as a nurse educator, health educator, or clinical nurse educator. The 39-credit coursework is offered on a part-time basis to allow you to continue with your full-time employment.

This RN-to-MSN program in North Carolina starts with courses in contemporary nursing issues, advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, nursing research, advanced pharmacology, and nursing program development. In addition, the specialty-specific courses teach you about educational theories for nursing, instructional strategies & informatics, and evaluation, and assessment in nursing. The program ends with either a thesis or a research project.

Admission Requirements: To qualify for admission, you must have a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.5. You can also enter this program with an associate in nursing and a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Further, you require to possess an active RN license in NC. To complete your application, you must submit a resume, your official transcripts, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.

Must-Know Highlights For Potential Appalachian State University RN-to-MSN Students

• Appalachian State University’s online graduate nursing education ranks among the best in the nation as per the U.S. News & World Report.
• Appalachian State University maintains a small student-to-faculty ratio, allowing RN to MSN students to build close connections with faculty and peers.
• Appalachian State University nursing school’s faculty mainly comprises doctorally prepared practitioners who are experts in their field of nursing practice.

3. Queens University of Charlotte - Charlotte

Specialties Offered: Nurse Educator, Nurse Administrator, Clinical Nurse Leader, and Nursing Informatics

Program Details: By enrolling in the RN to MSN program offered by the Queens University of Charlotte, you can move in nursing leadership rather swiftly, and that too without leaving your current job. The fast-track path to nursing leadership comes with four specializations in indirect patient care. Based on your interests and goals, you can choose to complete your RN to MSN education either in nursing education, nursing administration, clinical nursing leadership, or nursing informatics.

As one of the preferred online RN-to-MSN programs in North Carolina, designed keeping the working nurse in mind, the program seamlessly takes your ADN to the MSN level without ever having you step onto the campus. The program, regardless of the specialization, comprises 37 credits in core MSN and specialty-specific courses. Most students complete this program within as little as two years.

All the RN to MSN tracks at Queen’s comprise core courses, nurse leadership courses, and courses related to your chosen specialty. The core courses cover topics such as health policy, healthcare informatics, data interpretations, research methods, and integrative clinical concepts. On the other hand, the nurse leadership courses teach you leadership principles & practices, management of clinical outcomes, and the management of the healthcare environment.

Further, the specialization-specific courses make you proficient in your chosen nursing leadership role of either a nurse educator, nurse administrator, clinical nurse leader, or nursing informatics.

Admission Requirements: To enroll in this RN-to-MSN program in North Carolina, you must have at least an associate degree and an active RN license. Also, you are required to submit your official transcripts and a copy of your RN license.

Must-Know Highlights For Potential Queens University of Charlotte RN-to-MSN Students

• Queens University of Charlotte’s RN-to-MSN program is not only flexible but also quite affordable. What’s more, here, you’ll be able to apply without paying any application fee.
• Queens University of Charlotte’s RN-to-MSN program maintains small-sized classes to provide you with an engaging online learning experience.
• The Queens University of Charlotte is ranked as one of the top universities in the South region, according to the U.S. News & World Report.
• As an RN to MSN graduate of Queens University, you’ll be part of a huge alumni network. The school’s alumni network, comprising leaders, can be rather beneficial in building a professional network.

4. University of North Carolina-Pembroke - Pembroke

Program Details: If you are eager to obtain your graduate nursing degree, then the RN to MSN program offered by the University of North Carolina-Pembroke can be a befitting choice. The accelerated format of the program builds on your previous nursing education, requiring you to complete only around 39 credits in graduate courses. Well, the exact credit requirements will depend on the specialization you choose post completing the RN to MSN courses.

This RN-to-MSN program in North Carolina provides a solid grounding in nursing theory, nursing research, and nursing leadership. The specialized coursework that follows the core MSN courses prepare you for leadership roles in nursing education, nursing research, nursing informatics, and nursing administration.

Admission Requirements: To qualify for this RN to MSN program, you must have an associate degree with an unencumbered RN license in NC. Also, it is preferred that you have at least one year of nursing experience. Besides, you must have a GPA that must be at least 3.0. To complete the admission requirements, you must submit three recommendation letters, a resume, a statement of purpose, and all your official transcripts.

Must-Know Highlights For Potential University of North Carolina-Pembroke RN-to-MSN Students

• The University of North Carolina-Pembroke maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio, allowing you to make the most of the personalized attention under the expert mentorship of its faculty members.
• University of North Carolina-Pembroke’s RN-to-MSN program is not only high-quality but also one of the most affordable RN-to-MSN programs in North Carolina.
• The University of North Carolina-Pembroke, being a military-friendly school offers RN to MSN students coming from the defense background a host of benefits in terms of funding and academic support.

5. Gardner-Webb University - Boiling Springs

Program Details: Gardner-Webb University’s RN to MSN program can prepare you to play impactful roles in the transformation of healthcare. Tailored for working nurses, the program is offered online. Because this RN-to-MSN program in North Carolina allows you to replace two BSN courses with graduate nursing courses, you’ll have to take six credits lesser in this RN-to-MSN program as against completing the BSN and MSN programs separately.

The program can be taken either full-time or part-time, based on your convenience. The coursework, comprising around 36 credits can be completed within two to three years. The core MSN courses strengthen your knowledge in theoretical basis for advanced practice, nursing & healthcare systems & issues, methods of advanced research, and human flourishing and health promotion. In addition to the didactic courses, your training also includes clinical experiences at a variety of clinical sites.

Admission Requirements: To gain admission into this RN-to-MSN program in North Carolina, you must have an ADN from an accredited school. In addition, your GPA must be at least 3.0. The school also requires you to possess an active RN license in NC or your current state of practice. Further, you are required to submit your transcripts, a resume, a personal goal statement, and letters of recommendation to complete your application.

Must-Know Highlights For Potential Gardner-Webb University RN-to-MSN Students

• Gardner-Webb University’s RN-to-MSN program is grounded in Christian values. Therefore, your training emphasizes holistic care, taking into account the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of patient care management.
• At Gardner-Webb University RN to MSN, students can continue with their education to complete a certificate either in nursing education or nursing administration.
• Gardner-Webb University’s RN to MSN program is affordable and comes with several funding options to further bring down the cost of your education.


RN to MSN Programs in Other States