How Long Will It Take to Finish A Nursing Degree?

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Wondering how long it will take to complete a nursing degree program?

While there is no “one size fits all” answer, determining when you will finish a bachelor's or master's degree depends on the pace you set for yourself. To do that, there are a few factors to consider before you begin a bachelor's or master's program. 

 

Getting Started

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program requires a total of 120 credits; most graduates complete a BSN in about 28 months. To determine how long it will take you to complete the BSN program at Thomas Edison State University, review our potential RN-to-BSN Degree timeline and then ask yourself these three key questions:

  • How many transfer credits can I apply to the program?
  • How many courses am I comfortable with taking in a single term?
  • How much time can I commit to my course work?

Figuring out the answers ahead of time can help you plan your courses and better prepare for the commitment needed to complete your degree. 

  

Transferring Credit

The average nurse transfers anywhere between 60-80 credits into the program. The number of transfer credits that apply toward your degree depends on your academic background and the courses you have already successfully completed.

If you earned an RN license through a diploma program, you may be able to transfer and apply approximately 60 credits to the University's RN-to-BSN program. This will leave you with about 60 credits to complete, which includes 28 credits in upper-division nursing courses and 32 credits split between general education and electives courses.

If you earned an RN license through an associate degree program, you may be able to transfer approximately 80 credits into the University's RN-to-BSN program. This will leave you with approximately 40 credits to complete, which includes 28 credits in upper-division nursing courses and 12 credits in general education and electives courses.

 

Taking Courses

The University offers nursing courses four times during the year: January, April, July and October. Nonnursing undergraduate courses are offered 12 months each year. Since each term is 12 weeks long, many nursing students take one general education course along with one nursing course.

Many students also satisfy some undergraduate general education requirements by taking a credit-by-exam program, which enables them to earn credit by taking a test instead of a course. Whether you decide to take the College-Level Exam Program (CLEP®) or the University’s exam program, TECEP®, it’s best to find a subject in which you already have some knowledge or experience.

 

Making It Count

Our Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree is a 36-credit program that usually takes 36 months to complete. Like other programs, you can set your own pace, based on your work schedule and your personal responsibilities. Many of the courses in the MSN program are at the 600- and 700-level, so most students prefer to take one course per term, or around four courses per year. Check out a potential MSN Degree timeline to estimate how long it will take you to earn a master's degree in nursing. 

Graduates of the University’s undergraduate nursing program can earn nine graduate credits that apply directly to the MSN. In fact, many RNs who intend to earn both a BSN and MSN enroll in the RN-to-BSN/MSN program and only need 27 remaining graduate credits to complete an MSN degree. 

Keep in mind that you aren’t alone when developing a program plan. Your nursing advisor will help you understand your credits and map out how you will complete your degree.

Topics: Nursing