Graduate Nursing Bridge Programs You Should Consider (Plus 10 Schools That Offer Them)

If you have an undergraduate nursing degree, graduate nursing bridge programs may help you earn an enhanced degree as you pursue new career skills. But what kinds of nursing bridge programs are out there? We’ve put together a list of graduate schools that offer MSN bridge programs (and even DNP bridge programs) that are worth checking out. Or, keep reading to learn about various types of bridge programs that might be perfect for you.

written by Shannon Fandler

List of Graduate Nursing Bridge Programs (Apply Today!)

These ten graduate schools offer unique educational paths for nurses, such as RN to MSN bridge programs, NP bridge programs, and more. Click to learn more about each of the sponsored listings below!

1. Grand Canyon University


Grand Canyon University is a private, Christian university based in Phoenix, Arizona. They focus on fostering service and leadership, as well as offering an accessible education to students of diverse backgrounds. GCU offers offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in career-focused fields, such as nursing and healthcare, business, education, and more.

The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions at GCU has been helping students prepare for healthcare career goals for 35 years. They are home to several graduate nursing programs designed to help current RNs pursue an enhanced education in nursing. The college offers both in-class and online learning, potentially perfect for working healthcare professionals.

2. Nova Southeastern University


Nova Southeastern University is a private research university based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Home to undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in areas like healthcare, business, law, education, and beyond, the university’s mission is to offer high-quality academic paths, both in a traditional, on-campus format and via innovative online programming designed for students who seek life-long learning.

The Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing at NSU serves over 1,300 students across multiple programs. Their R.N. to M.S.N. program is designed for RNs who wish to potentially save time and money by earning a Master of Science in Nursing with an included B.S.N. This bridge program offers several paths and concentrations, potentially perfect for RNs with diverse interests and goals.

3. Grantham University


Grantham University is a 100%-online university based out of Lenexa, Kansas. Established by WWII Veteran Donald Grantham in 1951, the university was designed to serve nontraditional students, including veterans. Grantham is institutionally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), and the university offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Grantham University’s College of Nursing and Allied Health is home to several nursing programs, including an RN to MSN bridge program. This completely online program is intended for RNs with an associate degree in Nursing (ADN/ASN/AAS). Candidates earn 25 credits in undergraduate coursework, before going on to pursue one of Grantham’s Master of Science in Nursing specialization tracks.

4. Capella University


  • RN-to-MSN Nursing Leadership and Administration
  • RN-to-MSN Diabetes Nursing

Capella University is an online institution of higher education offering bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs. They serve over 38,000 learners from around the world in flexible, competency-based programs. About 20% of Capella students pursue degree programs from the university’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Capella offers several paths to earning an MSN, including RN-to-MSN and RN-to-BSN/MSN Combined Option programs. The RN-MSN program is available in several specializations, such as Care Coordination, Diabetes Nursing, Nursing Leadership & Administration, and more. Students may also be able to choose the self-paced FlexPath option, which offers the chance to pursue your MSN in an accelerated format.

5. Purdue University Global


Purdue University Global is an accredited online university, part of the Purdue University system. They are home to over 180 online programs designed to meet the educational needs of working adults. Purdue Global is committed to making online learning user-friendly, interactive, and personal.

The nursing school at Purdue Global features flexible, online programs taught by experienced practitioners. They offer a variety of paths to enhancing your preparation for a nursing career, including various MSN and DNP programs for nurses at various stages of their educations.

6. Sacred Heart University


Sacred Heart University is a private, Catholic university based in Fairfield, Connecticut. SHU serves well over 8,000 students in more than 70 academic programs. The university’s mission is to offer a modern Catholic education, while fostering students’ inquiry, reflection, and pursuit of knowledge both in and out of the classroom.

The College of Nursing at SHU offers traditional and online nursing programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as certificate programs. They also offer nursing bridge programs, such as the RN-BSN-MSN program. This unique learning path allows candidates to earn both the BSN and MSN in the same program, while pursuing a career-focused specialization.

7. Indiana Wesleyan University


Indiana Wesleyan University is an evangelical Christian university affiliated with the Wesleyan Church. The university is based in Marion, Indiana, but programs may also take place at education centers in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, as well as online. One of IWU’s most recent additions is the Ott Hall of Sciences and Nursing, a 111,250 square foot health sciences building offering innovative teaching and research labs.

IWU is home to multiple nursing programs, including an online ASN-MSN bridge program designed to help nursing students build on their prior educational achievements while preparing for new goals. ASN-MSN students may choose between the Nursing Administration major and the Nursing Education major.

8. Spring Arbor University


Established in 1873, Spring Arbor University is a Christian institution of higher education based in Spring Arbor, Michigan. The university is home to over 97 majors and programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and adult accelerated degree completion programs. They emphasize both academic and spiritual preparation, as students prepare for new goals.

Spring Arbor offers an RN-MSN bridge program with three potential areas of concentration: RN-MSN/MBA, RN-MSN/Ed, and Nurse Practitioner. The MBA track helps students prepare for nursing administration and management, while the Ed program focuses on nurse education. The Nurse Practitioner path offers two additional tracks: RN-MSN/FNP (Family Nurse Practitioners) and RN-MSN/AGPCNP (Adult-gerontology Nurse Practitioner).

9. Walden University


Walden University is an accredited institution of higher education designed to serve the unique needs of adult learners. The university offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, as well as certificate programs, in career-focused disciplines like nursing, health sciences, counseling, education, and beyond. They serve students from more than 150 countries around the world. 

Of potential interest to those seeking a bridge program is Walden’s RN to MSN Track: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Family Nurse Practitioner program. This program is designed for RNs who hold a hospital diploma, associate degree in nursing, or bachelor’s degree other than a BSN. The course of study features foundational, core, and specialization courses intended to help nurses bridge gaps in their knowledge and prepare for new goals.

10. Bradley University


Bradley University is a private university founded in 1897. As a mid-sized university, Bradley serves over 5,000 students in over 185 academic programs. The university is located in Peoria, Illinois, but they also offer online programs in nursing and counseling.

Bradley is home to several nursing programs, including DNP programs that may help students boost their preparation for new career goals. The DNP-FNP program is designed for those who have earned a BSN, but not an MSN. In addition to coursework, candidates complete 1,000 hours of practicum experience.

Did You Know?

As of 2018, 25% of Informatics Nurse Specialists said they needed to earn a master’s degree. [i]

3 Types of Nursing Bridge Programs RNs Should Know About

For certain nursing career paths, earning a master’s degree may be a desirable goal. But what if you haven’t yet earned a BSN degree, which is often required for graduate studies in nursing? Graduate nursing bridge programs were designed to fill the gap, potentially allowing current nurses to pursue BSN-level coursework on the way to earning an MSN. RN to MSN online bridge programs may be particularly attractive to busy, working nurses who don’t want to take time off from their vocation to pursue a more traditional graduate program.

There are several kinds of nursing bridge programs, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. For current RNs hoping to earn an MSN, here are three prospective paths you may encounter as you research programs:

1. RN to MSN Bridge Programs 

These bridge programs may be ideal for registered nurses who hold an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing and wish to pursue an MSN without first earning a separate BSN. Some of these learning paths may be known as ADN to MSN bridge programs. Many RN to MSN bridge programs offer concentrations, like Nursing Administration or Nurse Education, that may help you refine your professional focus.

2. NP Bridge Programs

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), such as Nurse Practitioners (NPs), must earn at least a master’s degree in their area of practice. Alternatively, some may choose to earn a Doctor or Nursing Practice (DNP) or even a PhD. Bridge programs designed for RNs who want to pursue an NP career track typically feature a curriculum centered around advanced practice and primary care.

3. Bridge Programs for Those with a non-BSN Bachelor’s 

Earned your bachelor’s degree in an area other than nursing? Not to worry – you may still be able to prepare for a nursing career path and pursue an MSN degree. Some bridge programs are designed to help bachelor’s degree holders build the foundations they need for MSN-level coursework – in other words, what you might have learned in a BSN program.

Search for Graduate Schools That May Offer Nursing Bridge Programs

Click our sponsored listings for more info on graduate nursing bridge programs that may be an ideal fit for you. Or, fill out the form on this page to get matched!



  • Other programs available: Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, Nursing Leadership
  • Online degrees in business, counseling, education, health administration, human services, information technology, nursing, public health, psychology and social work.
  • 97% of alumni agree FlexPath provided the flexibility they needed to pursue their degree (Alumni Outcomes Survey 2017)
Find Schools