5 Best RN-to-MSN Programs in Tennessee – 2024

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

It’s not too late to earn your Master’s of Science in Nursing degree in Tennessee, even if you don’t have a BSN. Enrolling in one of the Volunteer State’s RN-to-MSN programs can give you the knowledge, skills, and credibility you need to take your nursing career to the next level. Graduates of RN-to-MSN programs in Tennessee average $96,290 a year and are in high demand in medical centers, hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, physicians’ practices, community agencies, and other practice settings throughout the state. RN-to-MSN programs take far less time than earning your BSN and MSN degrees separately. Keep reading to learn all there is to know about the 5 best RN-to-MSN programs in Tennessee for 2024.


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

1. The University of Memphis - Memphis

Specialties Offered: Nursing Education, Executive Leadership, and Family Nurse Practitioner

Program Details: Are you seeking a career advancement in your nursing career? If so, the University of Memphis’s RN to MSN program can be an excellent stepping stone to a thriving career, either in nursing education, nursing leadership, and family health.

Among the best online RN-to-MSN programs in Tennessee, the program allows working nurses to continue with their full-time employment while pursuing their master's in nursing degree.

If you choose the nursing education program, you require completing 31 credits, whereas the RN to MSN in nursing leadership is a 37-credit curriculum. On the other hand, the family health specialization comprises a total of 46 credits.

The nursing education program prepares students for leadership roles in nursing education, whereas the leadership specialization grooms registered nurses for leadership and management positions in healthcare. If you choose to become a family nurse practitioner, you’ll master the skills and knowledge in providing evidence-based care to patients across the lifespan. Upon completing this RN-to-MSN program in Tennessee, you’ll obtain an MSN and you’ll be prepared to take the certification exam within your chosen specialty.

Admission Requirements: To be considered for the University of Memphis RN-to-MSN program, foremost, you must have an ADN with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Further, you must have an active and unencumbered RN license in the U.S. In addition, the program requires the completion of pre-requisite courses in statistics, nutrition, and Algebra.

Must-Know Highlights For Potential The University of Memphis RN-to-MSN Students

• The University of Memphis RN-to-MSN program is ranked among the best online programs in the nation as per the U.S. News & World Report.
• The University of Memphis RN-to-MSN program boasts an excellent employment rate, having almost all graduates find jobs soon after graduation.
• The University of Memphis RN-to-MSN program reports a high graduation rate, indicating most students are satisfied with the education they are receiving.

2. East Tennessee State University - Johnson City

Specialties Offered: Nursing Administration, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education, and Family Nurse Practitioner

Program Details: East Tennessee State University offers one of the best RN-to-MSN programs in Tennessee, preparing registered nurses with the professional skillset to excel in their chosen field of advanced practice nursing. The program is offered completely online, requiring students to fulfill the clinical requirement on-site.

This RN-to-MSN program in Tennessee offers specialization options, including nursing administration, psychiatric mental health, nursing education, and family health. The bridge program, regardless of the specialization, starts with 12 credits of bridge courses in health promotion & research, leadership & professional practice, population, and community & public health nursing. Although you are completing BSN-equivalent courses, you will not be awarded a BSN. After completing the bridge courses, you’ll complete the MSN core and specialty-related courses.

Admission Requirements: To apply for East Tennessee State University RN-to-MSN program, you must have an associate degree in nursing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, your RN license must be valid and unencumbered in the U.S. The program also requires applicants to have completed pre-requisite courses before applying.

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

• East Tennessee State University RN-to-MSN graduates report an excellent pass rate on the national certification exam.
• East Tennessee State University RN-to-MSN students are prepared for working in a variety of healthcare settings. This is because the program is grounded in interprofessional education, providing plenty of interprofessional experiences.
• East Tennessee State University RN-to-MSN program emphasizes rural healthcare, providing students with clinical experiences in rural healthcare settings.

3. Union University - Jackson

Specialties Offered: Nursing Administration, Nursing Education, and Nurse Practitioner (Family Nurse Practitioner Track & Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track)

Program Details: If you are seeking to enroll in one of the Christ-focused RN-to-MSN programs in Tennessee, then Union University’s RN-to-MSN is a befitting choice. A Christ-centered environment that offers future-directed and excellence-driven graduate nursing education, the program produces some of the state’s top nursing professionals. Here, based on where you find your calling, the program prepares you for careers in nursing administration, nursing education, or direct patient care. The patient care tracks train you for in-demand advanced practice fields of family health and psychiatric mental health.

The RN to MSN can be completed part-time or full-time based on your convenience. Besides, regardless of the RN to MSN specialty, you will complete the program online or in the blended format. On a full-time basis, you can complete this program within four semesters, whereas if you opt for part-time, you will graduate within seven semesters.

To start with, this RN-to-MSN program in Tennessee requires you to complete bridge courses. The bridge courses form a foundation to build your graduate-level MSN core and specialization-specific courses on. Some of the topics covered in the core MSN courses include advanced health assessment, advanced pathophysiology, advanced nursing statistics, and theory & ethics for advanced nursing practice.

Admission Requirements: Union University’s RN-to-MSN program offers rolling admissions, so it is preferred that you apply early. The program admits once a year in the fall semester. To qualify, you must have an active RN license and an ADN from an accredited college. To complete your application, you must submit all documents, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

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

• Union University RN-to-MSN students progress through the program as part of a cohort, sharing the same academic goals and challenges as their counterparts.
• Union University RN-to-MSN program reports an excellent employment rate, having all graduates find suitable placements after graduating.
• Union University is ranked among the nation’s top Christian universities according to the U.S News & World Report. Therefore, RN to MSN students can expect a transformative educational experience at this nursing school.

4. Southern Adventist University - Collegedale

Specialties Offered: Acute Care-Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Primary Care-Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care-Family Nurse Practitioner, and Primary Care-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Program Details: If you are looking at accelerated growth in your nursing career, then completing your master's in nursing from Southern Adventist University is a great idea. The school provides registered nurses with a fast-paced RN to MSN path, leading to careers in adult gerontology, nursing education, primary care, and mental health care. One of the well-known RN-to-MSN programs in Tennessee, Southern Adventist’s program builds on your RN education and expands your skills and knowledge in advanced practice nursing.

If you choose any of the RN to MSN-NP tracks, you’ll be prepared to provide evidence-based care to your chosen specialization option. Whereas the nursing education track is perfect for nurses aspiring to play teaching roles in nursing education. Regardless of the specialization, you’ll first complete undergraduate nursing courses, followed by MSN core and courses in your chosen specialization. In addition to didactic courses, all tracks require the completion of clinical experiences within your geographical location. Also, based on your preference, you can complete this program full-time or part-time.

Admission Requirements: Southern Adventist University’s RN to MSN admission process requires you to foremost have an RN license along with an accredited ADN or nursing diploma. This RN-to-MSN program in Tennessee also requires applicants to possess an active and unencumbered RN license. To complete the admission requirements, you must submit your recommendations, transcripts, a personal statement, and your resume.

Must-Know Highlights For Potential Southern Adventist University RN-to-MSN Students

• Southern Adventist University’s RN-to-MSN being grounded in Christian values, prepares graduates for compassionate and competent patient care.
• Southern Adventist University RN-to-MSN students study in small-sized classes where they receive personalized attention.
• Southern Adventist University ranks among the best in the nation according to the U.S. News & World Report.

5. South College - Knoxville

Specialties Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner

Program Details: South College offers a supportive learning environment to registered nurses who want to take the next step in their nursing careers. The program enhances critical thinking and evidence-based knowledge to make you a leader in healthcare. This RN-to-MSN program in Tennessee leads to certification as a family nurse practitioner.

The RN to MSN program is designed for working professionals who prefer the convenience of flexible classes. The program includes didactic online courses and clinical experiences that can be completed within a student’s geographical location. The curriculum includes RN to BSN courses, followed by graduate-level courses. The coursework covers topics such as advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, pharmacology, healthcare policy, and evidence-based practice. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to take the FNP certification exam. Graduates will be prepared to provide high-quality holistic care to individuals & families across the lifespan.

Admission Requirements: To be considered for admission, South College’s RN-to-MSN program requires students to have an associate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. The program also requires applicants to have at least one year of work experience as a registered nurse. Further, to complete the admission requirements, applicants must be prepared to submit their transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and a resume.

Must-Know Highlights For Potential South College RN-to-MSN Students

• South College RN-to-MSN students are mentored by excellent faculty members who are committed to helping them achieve personal and professional success.
• South College’s RN-to-MSN program is more affordable than most other RN-to-MSN programs in Tennessee.
• South College’s RN-to-MSN students study in small-sized classes that allow one-on-interaction and make the online learning experience more engaging. Also, students can make meaningful connections with faculty and peers.


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