Associate Degree to Masters (ADN to MSN)

Flexible Web-based Programs Designed for Busy Nursing Professionals

The Western University Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is designed for nurses who wish to continue working in their profession, keep family commitments, and live in the same community while pursuing a graduate education. This benefit is especially convenient for students living in rural areas, small communities, or on active military duty. This program consists of three integrated elements:

  • Web-based curriculum
  • Weekend sessions at the Pomona, California campus twice per semester
  • Clinical training in your own community under supervision of an approved preceptor

About the Program

Your Associate Degree brought you into the profession of nursing. Now, earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) without the extra step of going back to school for a BSN.

Our ADN to MSN program is for the Associate Degree Nurse who has their RN license and wishes to advance their professional career with an MSN that embraces an administrative or clinical focus with either the Health Systems Leadership – Administrative Nurse Leader (MSN-ANL), Health Systems Leadership – Clinical Nurse Leader (MSN-CNL) or Ambulatory Care (MSN-AMB)  track:

Health Systems Leadership-Administrative Nurse Leader (MSN-ANL)
This program prepares you with the latest knowledge and applied skills to be an effective administrative leader advancing better care, better health, and lower costs. Today’s health care systems require nurse leaders who can integrate experience, knowledge, research and technology to effectively lead at the unit, clinic or departmental level.

Health Systems Leadership-Clinical Nurse Leader (MSN-CNL)
This program prepares you as an advanced generalist at the point of care. The CNL is prepared to lead patient safety and quality improvement, evidence-based practice, risk reduction, and care coordination. The CNL works with interprofessional teams caring for a variety of patient populations in all practice settings.

Ambulatory Care Nursing (MSN-AMB)
This program prepares you in obtaining advanced clinical and leadership skills in primary ambulatory care or out-patient health care settings. The Ambulatory Care Nurse (AMB) coordinates care for a distinctive group of patients as well as actively engaging indirect patient care including telephonic triage. The AMB evaluates patient outcomes, assesses risk, and provides patient and staff education.
Our full-time web-based program will allow our AMB students to achieve their MSN in two to three years and increase their career trajectory and earning potential. This program combines the flexibility of web-based learning with seminar weekends to facilitate graduate education for the professional nurse.

The Curriculum

Below is a list of the three areas of emphasis. Please note that the total semester units listed for each program emphasis includes the pre-program course CGN 5000: Communication and Information Management (1 unit). CGN 5000 is Mandatory and offered through the College of Graduate Nursing during the summer prior to the start of the program in the fall.  Please note that CGN 5000 is not covered under financial aid because it is a pre-program course and not part of the core curriculum. Please click on the links to view the curriculum (course number/title and unit value by semester). The curriculum for all three areas of emphasis are offered in full-time and extended track options. Each course listed under each semester is taken concurrently and NOT one course at a time

ADN to MSN with an emphasis in Health Systems Leadership – Administrative Nurse Leader Track

The MSN-ANL curriculum consists of 49 semester units including the pre-program course CGN 5000 (1 unit):

ADN to MSN – Administrative Nurse Leader (MSN-ANL) Curriculum (p. 83, CGN catalog)

ADN to MSN with an emphasis in Health Systems Leadership – Clinical Nurse Leader Track

The MSN-CNL curriculum consists of 56 semester units including the pre-program course CGN 5000 (1 unit):

ADN to MSN – Clinical Nurse Leader (MSN-CNL) Curriculum (p. 85, CGN catalog)

ADN to MSN with an emphasis in Ambulatory Care Nursing Track

The MSN-AMB curriculum consists of 50 semester units including the pre-program course CGN 5000 (1 unit):

ADN to MSN – Ambulatory Care Nursing (MSN-AMB) Curriculum  (p. 81, CGN catalog)


An extended track option is available to students that choose to take one additional year to complete the program. Students may choose the extended track option if they feel more time is needed to complete their education in order to meet career, family, and other outside commitments/obligations. The extended track is also a viable option for students who feel that the additional year will allow them to complete the program at a pace that better suits their learning goals. Students who choose the extended track option will still be eligible for financial aid.

You can also access the curriculum grids by visiting the first page of the College of Graduate Nursing Student Catalog and scrolling to the respective page within the catalog or by clicking on the respective section in the Table of Contents.

Please visit the Course Descriptions section within the College of Graduate Nursing Student Catalog to obtain course description information.

For more information regarding the ADN to MSN curriculum, please contact:

Dawn Stone, PhD, MN, RN, ANP-BC, COHN-S
Associate Professor
Director, MSN Program and Ambulatory Care Track 

Post-Masters Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Option

ADN to MSN students who wish to enter the FNP program will first receive their MSN degree and will be required to submit their Post-Masters FNP application. Students wishing to enter the FNP program immediately following completion of the MSN will be given a modified “in-house” application and will not be required to re-submit transcripts. Any student who chooses to re-apply at a later date will be expected to follow the same application process as listed on the Post-Masters FNP Requirements web page. MSN graduates will be required to have completed 2080 hours (1 year, full time) RN work experience prior to acceptance into the FNP program. All WesternU College of Graduate Nursing graduates will be given first consideration in the FNP program

Admissions Information

For information regarding prerequisite coursework and application requirements, please review the ADN to MSN admissions information, or if you are ready you may submit an online application. If you have any questions regarding the application requirements, please contact the Admissions Office at (909) 469-5335.

Self-Directed Learning Activities

The World Wide Web provides a unique opportunity to offer students individualized learning experiences that would be impossible through other media. Online education provides an environment to facilitate critical thinking and interactive learning. Learning activities include discussion forums, group projects, presentations, and scholarly papers.

Clinical Experiences

Students will be required to complete clinical experience hours. The number of hours and types of clinical experiences will depend on the area of emphasis or track (Administrative Nurse Leader, Clinical Nurse Leader, or Ambulatory Care Nursing). For more information, please visit the Clinical Experiences web page.

Weekend Seminars

Twice during each semester, students are required to convene on campus for an intensive weekend of instruction. The weekend seminars provide an opportunity for faculty-student interaction, didactic instruction and demonstrations, student presentations, and group project work. To view Weekend Seminars and other important college-specific dates, please view the Academic Calendar.

Student Assessment

Student performance in each course is assessed through a combination of seminar participation, written and oral presentations, and objective examination.