Online Master's in Nursing Program Overview

The next step in your nursing career starts here. The fully online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) offered by the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs offers multiple tracks:

  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

You can play a critical role in reaching underserved populations and meeting primary care and behavioral health needs left by physician shortages. Nurse practitioners in all specialties improve patient outcomes and public health by building connections and offering holistic care. UCCS’s MSN graduates are creating positive change as nurse practitioners in clinical settings like family practices, internal medicine, senior clinics, mental health, and college health.

In the online MSN program, you’ll learn to: 

  • Provide holistic care to each patient using theories and scientific evidence 
  • Promote health and prevent disease for individuals, families, and communities 
  • Provide leadership that leads to high quality, safe patient care and optimal outcomes 
  • Evaluate emerging trends, policy issues and problems in healthcare 
  • Collaborate with other healthcare teams to provided patient-centered, culturally competent and ethical patient care  

MSN Program Specialty Tracks

Nurse Practitioner

Manage the unique needs of people as they age.

Primary Care Family
Nurse Practitioner

Care for people across their entire lifespan, including preventing and managing acute and chronic health conditions.

Psychiatric Mental Health
Nurse Practitioner

Help patients manage psychiatric disorders and substance abuse both in primary and acute care settings.

All three tracks prepare students to meet the requirements for national certification and prescriptive authority.

Program at a Glance

Degree Program:

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Offered By:

Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences


Cost Per Credit:


*Approximate tuition per credit hour based on the number of credits taken

Cost Per Credit:


*Approximate tuition per credit hour based on the number of credits taken

Credit Hours:




Master of Science in Nursing Program Details

The Master of Science in Nursing program is designed to help registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree from an ACEN or CCNE accredited institution earn an advanced degree that will prepare them to become a nurse practitioner.

The MSN program is offered fully online, plus 630 required clinical hours over the program. UCCS provides placement oversight and guidance; however, you will be responsible for identifying preceptors in your area. The MSN program offers both synchronous and asynchronous sessions, along with videos, group activities and discussions, online exams, case studies and simulation opportunities, which you can attend either in-person or remotely.

Choose your pace; this program can be taken either full-time or part-time, so you can find a rhythm and workload that aligns with your personal and professional needs. This program can be completed in 24 to 36 months, depending on the course load you choose.

Curriculum Overview

This online program is taught by faculty who also teach at the Colorado Springs campus. That means you are receiving the same high quality curriculum and instruction as students on campus.

The Adult-Gerontology and Primary Care tracks require 47 credits to graduate, whereas the Psychiatric Mental Health track requires 48 credits for completion. Courses during the fall and spring semesters are 16 weeks long, and summer courses last 8 to 11 weeks.

You will learn from doctorate-prepared faculty members who are knowledgeable, experienced, and attentive. Most of our graduate nurse practitioner faculty maintain active APRN practices, which means you are also building your network of professional connections while you study.

The MSN program concludes with a final evidence-based practice project where you will have the opportunity to put your knowledge and skills to work.

Example Courses

Provides knowledge of cellular mechanisms and the clinical application of therapeutic drugs by practitioners in primary and acute health care settings. Educates Advanced Practice Nursing students about common drug uses, drug categories, and integrative health therapies. 

Explores the foundation and techniques of advanced health assessment across the life span. This course requires 45 contact hours of precepted assessments.

Synthesis of pathophysiologic concepts for therapeutic assessment, diagnosis, management, and intervention fundamental to advanced practice nursing across the life span in various health care settings.

Our program faculty are proud to see high certification pass rates among graduates:


100% pass rate

Primary Care

> 90% pass rate

Psychiatric Mental Health

100% pass rate

MSN Degree Career Outlook

Graduates of the MSN program typically work in advance practice registered nurse roles as nurse practitioners in their specialty track. 

The median annual wage for nurse practitioners in the United States in 2022 was $125,900 or $60.53 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The outlook for this grouping of occupations—specifically advanced practice registered nurses like nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives—is good, projecting much faster than average growth from 2022 to 2032 at 38%.

After Earning Your MSN Degree

Once you earn your MSN, you will be prepared to take a national certification exam for your specialty and, after passing, apply for licensure in your state of permanent residence.

If you want to continue your education to a terminal degree, you can pursue a doctoral degree program in nursing. There are two paths: a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and a Ph.D. A DNP degree prepares you for clinical and hospital/organizational leadership roles, whereas the Ph.D. in Nursing is focused on preparation for teaching, academic, and research-related roles.  

Tuition and Fees

At UCCS Online, we strive to keep our tuition costs affordable so that you can get a world-class education that fits your budget. When you earn a degree, you’re not simply getting a diploma — you are making a lifelong investment in yourself and empowering your future career. We know affordability is an important factor, and that’s why we’re here to help you explore all the options available to fund your education.

We are here to answer your questions about tuition and financial aid, help you take care of the paperwork, and make sure you can focus on reaching your goals. From financial aid and scholarships to corporate tuition assistance programs, we will work with you to find the best way to finance your degree.

You can find cost per credit estimates at the top of this page. This program has a small $60 application fee required upon submission of your application. Please contact an Enrollment Navigatorcontact an Enrollment Navigator for more information about any costs associated with your application and to help estimate your total tuition costs.

You may be eligible to pursue scholarships. Each year, UCCS awards $100 million in financial aid, and you can explore options through the UCCS Financial Aid Office

Admissions Information

The MSN program has a rolling admissions process, which means applications are reviewed as they are received. There are three MSN starts per year in the spring, summer, and fall semesters.

To be considered for this program, you must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited institution with an upper division major in nursing and a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0
  • A current unrestricted registered nurse license from the state where you practice during practicum rotations
  • A passing score in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if your native language is not English
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A curriculum vitae or résumé
  • A completed application submitted by the posted deadlines below plus a small application fee of $60

Application Deadlines

Spring Semester

January 5

Summer Semester

May 5

Fall Semester

August 5

Due to individual state regulations, UCCS is only accepting students from the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • California
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma 
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

Completion Time

We know going back to school as a working nurse can be challenging, but online learning at UCCS offers the benefit of flexibility, with the option of taking a course load that meets your needs. This program can be completed in as little as 24 months if you take a full course load, but most students complete the program in approximately three years (36 months). Students can take up to three courses per semester.


The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, the master’s degree program in nursing, the post-graduate APRN certificate program, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791. 

Colorado Commission of Higher Education (CCHE) 
1600 Broadway 
Suite 2200 
Denver, CO 80202 

Colorado State Board of Nursing 
Department of Regulatory Agencies 
1560 Broadway, Suite 110 
Denver, CO 80202 

Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
A landscape image of the UCCS campus with the iconic clock tower in the foreground and Pike's Peak mountain in the background, with a dark overlay for text contrast.

Ready to get started?

Connect with our Enrollment Advisors to learn more about this in-demand online program and start your admissions process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you are looking for more autonomy in your career or advanced roles in nursing, you will need the credentials employers are seeking, especially licensure as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). While it does require a considerable time and monetary commitment, your master’s degree can increase your earning potential and open doors to greater professional fulfillment in the years ahead. This MSN program prepares you for the national certification exam to become a nurse practitioner.  

UCCS also offers a Post Master’s Nurse Practitioner Certificate program. It is designed to expand your knowledge and prepare for clinical roles as a nurse practitioner in family nurse practitioner (FNP), adult-gerontological nurse practitioner, or the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) track. The post master’s certificate requires 34 credit hours for FNP and AGNP tracks and 35 credit hours for the PMHNP track. Each track is offered fully online with no on-campus requirements; however you must complete 630 hours of preceptor practice to be successful.

During fall and spring terms, courses are typically 16 weeks long. During the summer term, classes range from 8-11 weeks long.

The student-to-faculty ratio for the MSN program is 24:1. For clinical oversight, six students are assigned to one faculty member.  

It typically takes two weeks following receipt of your completed application for the committee to make an admissions decision and notify you. Because this is a rolling admissions process, applications are reviewed as soon as they are received, so the sooner you apply, the sooner you will receive a notification about your admissions.

No, our MSN and Post-Master’s programs are focused on primary care nurse practitioner roles. They are not intended to prepare you for emergency room or urgent care settings, so you will need to seek an acute care nurse practitioner program for those career goals. 

Online learning will offer you the flexibility to study at the best place and time for you. You can choose a sustainable pace for your lifestyle, which can help you consider your current career, family, and other commitments outside of school. 

Additionally, at UCCS Online, our online programs are taught by the same faculty who teach on campus, which means you are earning the same high quality degree as traditional students, and your diploma will not mention that your degree was earned online.