Registered Nurse to
Master of Science in Nursing

Turn your RN into an MSN with this accelerated program that also allows you to earn a bachelor’s degree on the way to your master’s. Designed to help you excel in evidence-based decision making, informatics, global perspectives and innovative thinking, this program prepares graduates to serve in educational or administrative roles in nursing.

Total cost at ACE


(tuition + fees)

Applications due August 17 for August 20, 2018 Term

Learn more about our inaugural scholarship opportunity for students starting in August.

View Tuition Details

Key Features

  1. Relevant Coursework: Our program consists of coursework designed to align to nursing professional standards while including simulations and interactive technology in order to teach you how to lead in complex healthcare environments.

  2. Customizable: Make this program fit your career goals by choosing between two Focus of Study areas—Nursing Education and Nursing Administration.

  3. Tailored Practicum: Our courses are designed to prepare you for an engaging practicum where you’ll apply the theoretical knowledge you’ve learned to the role of nurse educator or nurse leader. You will work closely with faculty and a qualified preceptor in your local area to complete a unique practice experience that allows you to meet your individual learning goals and program outcomes.

  4. Flexible: Study on your schedule. We use technology and online simulation to enhance your learning experience, whenever and wherever you choose.

Focus of Study Details

Nurse Administrator

This focus of study will prepare you to model leadership skills that enable ethical and critical decision making, collaborative inter-professional relationships, responsible fiscal stewardship, and principles of quality improvement. You will also be able to impact health policy at the micro and macro systems levels.
(200 Hour Practicum Experience Required)

Nurse Educator

This focus of study will prepare you to be a nurse educator that implements quality improvement and changes in academic and clinical education practice settings. You will be prepared to design, implement, and evaluate teaching strategies appropriate to the learner, setting, and achievement of desired outcomes.
(200 Hour Practicum Experience Required)

Go to School On Us

If you start your MSN program during the August 2018 term,* you may be eligible for a full tuition scholarship.

Learn More
*If the number of applicants exceeds the enrollment capacity of the RN to MSN program for any term, applicants will be admitted for that term in the order that applicants receive full or provisional admissions status. For this reason, it's very important applicants submit all admissions materials as soon as possible. Applicants who meet admissions requirements and are admitted after the term capacity has been reached will be admitted into the next available term.

Nursing Department

We have highly-qualified and experienced staff and faculty to support our nursing program. An assistant provost of health care professions, department chair, curriculum director, and several faculty members oversee the department. The mission of the ACE Department of Nursing is to educate and inspire nursing students to become exceptional healthcare providers, educators, and leaders who use forward thinking, evidence-based innovation, and collaboration to transform health outcomes, organizations, and systems within a global society.

A Degree You Can Count On

We are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission—a federally-recognized accrediting agency. Regional accreditation ensures that an institution’s academic program meets or exceeds acceptable levels of quality and is the most recognized accreditation status for higher education.



Total Tuition

55 semester credits x $275 per credit



$50 Application Fee

$3,850 Technology & Library Fee ($70 per credit)

$200 Program Conferral Fee

$200 Program Conferral Fee (BSN)

$200 Program Conferral Fee (MSN)

$400 Capstone Fee (BSN)

$400 Capstone Fee (MSN)


Total Program Cost*


*This is an estimate value of the cost for tuition and fees. Amounts may vary depending on the program selected, state of residence, number of transfer credits applied to the selected program hours, the pace and satisfactory completion of the selected program credit hours, receipt of scholarship and/or grant amounts, and adjustments to tuition or fees as described in the Catalog Right to Modify Tuition section.

For California residents only - State of California Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF)

It is a state of California requirement that a student who pays his or her tuition is required to pay a state-imposed assessment for the Student Tuition Recovery Fund. For more information and to see if you must pay the state-imposed assessment for Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) click here.

Inaugural Scholarship

Select students that fully meet our scholarship eligibility requirements will receive a scholarship covering full tuition for the duration of the program.* As long as you continue to meet the scholarship terms, stay continuously enrolled in the program, and maintain good academic standing, you will only be responsible for program fees.

Eligibility Requirements:

In order to meet the scholarship eligibility requirements, all applicants must:

  • Meet all ACE admissions requirements.
  • Submit a 250-500-word essay explaining why you want to earn a master’s in nursing.
  • Submit one professional letter of recommendation (should be from a manager, faculty member, program director, etc).
  • Apply by August 17, 2018. After you submit your application, you will receive instructions on how to apply fo the scholarship.

Qualification Requirements:

  • Scholarship recipients are required to attend an information session during the first week of classes.
  • Scholarship recipients must remain continuously enrolled in the program. If a scholarship recipient should withdraw, or be dismissed from the program or college for any reason and later return, the student will no longer be eligible to qualify for the scholarship.
  • Scholarship recipients are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress, which is defined as a 3.0 in the program. If a scholarship recipient’s GPA should fall below a 3.0 GPA, the student will have one term to raise their GPA to meet the 3.0 standard. If the student fails to raise his/her GPA, the student will no longer qualify for the scholarship.

Other Considerations:

  • Scholarship recipients are asked to attend infrequent meetings to provide feedback to ACE faculty and staff about their experience in the program.
  • Scholarship recipients understand that their names, pictures, and testimonials can be used in ACE marketing materials, including digital and printed materials.

*Scholarships are applied only to program tuition costs and will cover full tuition for the duration of the program as long as the eligible student continues to meet the qualification requirements listed above. Scholarship recipients will be responsible for paying all fees and any additional costs associated with the program. Scholarship recipients are ineligible to apply for any additional grant or scholarship program offered by the College.

ACE General Admission Requirements

  • Complete and submit all application components including the admission application, including the enrollment agreement, and payment agreement.
  • Submit the nonrefundable application fee.*
  • Provide official transcripts from an institution that is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education indicating successful completion of the level of education required for entry to the program.**

*The application fee is valid for one year from date of submission.
**Additional evidence may be required to fulfill state requirements, including but not limited to verification of professional experience, test scores, or an interview.

Program Admission Requirements


  • Associate degree or 90 undergraduate semester credits
  • Minimum Grade Point Average cumulative 3.0 on a 4.0 Scale for full admission
  • ​Minimum Grade Point Average cumulative 2.75 on a 4.0 Scale for provisional admission
    • ​Applicants whose overall GPA, or GPA in the last 60 credits is below 2.75 will not be admitted to the program.
  • Applicants for the above program must provide documentation of active unencumbered RN license.
  • ​Additional evidence may be required to fulfill state requirements.
  • Proof of current employment as a RN or access to a practice environment. 
  • Required general education and pre-nursing courses (unles​s designated as a prerequisite course) can be completed concurrently with BSN requirements; all general education courses must be completed prior to awarding of bachelor's degree and matriculation to graduate portion of the program. 

International Transcript Requirements

All applicants must submit to the Admissions Office official, sealed college transcripts from each institution attended.

  • Transcripts that are international and/or not in English must be evaluated through an NACES-recommended agency.
  • Texas applicants may only submit evaluations from agencies approved by the Texas Education Agency.
  • International applicants must request the course-by-course evaluation. The evaluation report must show that the non-U.S. education is equivalent to the education/accreditation level required for the program.

English as a Second Language Applicants

All applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate competence in the English language as demonstrated in one of three ways:

  1. Submission of an official transcript showing a degree from a United States secondary school or regionally accredited college/university.

  2. Submission of a transcript from a secondary school or college/university whose country uses English as a primary means of instruction, including, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand.

  3. Submission of an official minimum score on the paper-based or internet-based TOEFL exam.
    • The minimum TOEFL score required for the paper-based Test (PBT) is 550, and for the internet-based (iBT) Test is 80.

    • Applicants to the Texas M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program must submit scores from the internet-based (iBT) TOEFL An overall score of 80, and a score of 26 on the speaking section is required.

    • The testing agency must send test scores directly to American College of Education.

Admissions Appeal Process

Applicants have the right to appeal admissions decisions. Begin the process by filling out the admissions appeal here.


The following courses are required for this program, but may not represent our complete list of requirements. For detailed courses and descriptions, see the College Catalog.

This course develops knowledge related to the profession of nursing, current issues in nursing, and the role of nursing in transforming health outcomes. The ethical and scientific basis for nursing practice are discussed. Nursing’s paradigm is defined. Students explore key nursing theories and theories from other disciplines as a foundation for care. Students utilize the concepts from theories, Professional Nursing Standards (ANA), Code of Ethics, Institute of Medicine Report (IOM), Competencies from the Quality, Safety, and Education in Nursing (QSEN) to analyze their practice and to clarify their role as a member of a profession.

Building upon the student’s previous health assessment knowledge, this course develops the advanced knowledge, skills and attitude (KSA) needed to provide safe, competent, and comprehensive health assessments of individuals and families throughout the lifespan to include physical, psychosocial, cultural, and spiritual health assessments; risk assessments, functional assessments, health history and genetic issues. Students will learn to use advanced communication and physical assessment skills to identify changes in health patterns from acute to chronic problems found in diverse populations.

This course focuses on health promotion, disease, and injury prevention across the lifespan. Health of communities, vulnerable populations and principles of social justice and health policy are discussed within a global context. Students learn to incorporate epidemiological, biostatistical data through knowledge of healthcare informatics to assess factors related to community health. Genetic considerations, culture, health disparities, factors that are determinates of population health, and equity in patient care are explored. Practice experience is part of this course.

This course is an introduction to scholarship which includes identification of practice issues; appraisal and integration of evidence; and evaluation of outcomes. The focus is on the identification of research designs within the hierarchy of evidence and accurate interpretation of evidence from individual studies. Students will apply principles of evidence-based practice, identify appropriate researchable questions, and review research-based evidence to improve practice.

Knowledge and skills in leadership, quality improvement, and patient safety are necessary to provide high quality healthcare. In this course, learners explore leadership and change theory and strategies necessary to lead in evolving, contemporary healthcare systems. Students will be prepared to contribute to safety initiatives, quality improvement, policy development, resource management, and strategic planning. An emphasis is placed on professionalism, principles of ethics, decision-making, communication, collaboration, and working within interprofessional teams to facilitate quality care and promote health outcomes.

Health and wellness promotion continues to become more of the primary emphasis in healthcare as compared to previous years. This course introduces students to dimensions of wellness, focusing on a holistic approach to patient care, clinical prevention and population focused care. Culture, socioeconomic factors, and health promotion across diverse populations are discussed. Use of technology and nursing principles are applied to help guide life choices. The practice of integrative medicine is explored.

Knowledge and skills in information management and patient care technology are the focus of this course. Throughout the course, learners explore the roles, theories, and standards of nursing informatics. Informatics-based health applications that support communication, care coordination, quality improvement, and data- based decision making across healthcare systems are examined.

he Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout the professional nursing program.

In this course, the student examines multiple theories from nursing and related fields to explore value and application to research and evidence based practice. Specifically, the course explores the use of theory in the design of research and development of nursing knowledge.

Knowledge and skills to critique quantitative research studies are developed. Emphasis is placed on applying four criteria for critique: construct validity, internal validity, statistical conclusion validity, and external validity. Students focus on principles of evidence-based practice and synthesize the evidence from studies and arrive at a conclusion.

This course focuses on qualitative research traditions and the critique of qualitative studies for trustworthiness. Criteria for evaluating qualitative research include credibility, dependability, confirmability, and transferability. The purposes for qualitative research approaches, to include theory development, are explored. Students are introduced to the interpretation and critique of mixed-methods research as well as systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Students integrate evidence from both quantitative and qualitative studies for evidence-based practice and developing patient- centered care guidelines. The relationships between evidence, quality, and outcomes are analyzed. The impact of health policy is explored.

Focusing on leadership and management theory, students prepare to lead organizations from a systems perspective. Systems of care and organizational behavior are examined. Students learn to base practice on evidence to ensure the safety, high quality, and cost effectiveness of patient care. Students analyze leadership to effectively apply ethical and critical decision- making skills to lead healthcare teams.

Students will explore practice issue or concern and plan for intervention. Practice experience is part of this course 50 hours required.

The focus of this course includes information, skills and processes required to improve quality and patient safety utilizing the Graduate QSEN competencies. Students learn to use health informatics and to base practice on research and evidence to ensure the safety, high quality, and cost effectiveness of patient care. Students acquire the skills to select the methods, tools, performance measures, and standards related to quality and apply quality principles within an organization to improve outcomes.

This course focuses on knowledge, skills and behaviors needed to design, implement, and evaluate patient- centered, culturally appropriate care for individuals or populations. Students analyze the multiple dimensions of patient-centered care to include patient/family/community preferences, values, culture, communication, and health literacy. Students are prepared to intervene at the systems level through policy development and advocacy to influence healthcare. Additionally, students will evaluate use of information systems and technology in nursing practice.

Focus of Study

Students will choose a Focus of Study consisting of 16 semester credits. See the College Catalog for a list of courses offered inside each Focus of Study and specific credit hour requirements for degree conferral.