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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Direct Master's Entry Into Nursing Program

Questions About the Application Process

Questions About the Program of Study

Questions About Clinical

General Questions



How many applications do you receive for this program?

We receive up to 300 applications annually for this program.

How many students do you accept each year?

We admit a class size of 45 students across all specialties.

How competitive is this program?

Our accelerated program is best suited for students who have outstanding academic abilities, self-direction and focus and who want to enter nursing as soon as possible.   Most of our admitted students (not all) have an average UG cumulative GPA of >3.2 and GRE’s >40% percentile.

What is the minimum GPA requirement to apply to the program?

Applicants need to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to apply to the program.

When will we hear decisions?

All applications that were complete on the online system by the November 15th deadline will be reviewed by our admissions committee.   Applicants will be notified of decisions by mid February – via email.  Please be sure to notify us if the email address you have on your application changes.

How long will we have to decide once we receive our notification of admission?

Due to the rigorous admission process and the large number of qualified applicants, there is a brief turnaround time for decisions – approximately 2-3 weeks.   If you need to come visit the campus or find out more about the program, please plan accordingly as deadline dates for deposits are firm.  

Will I receive a financial aid package with my admission letter?

No – at the graduate level, federal financial aid is handled completely separate from admissions.  It is your responsibility to get your applications into the student services department by the deadline dates posted on their website.  The date for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) award notifications may not necessarily coincide with the deposit due date received in admission letters.

What other financial support/scholarships are available?

At the graduate level, most of our students fund their studies via Federal and/or personal loans.  We strongly urge applicants to pursue outside scholarships from places such as HRSA and Johnson and Johnson

As a matriculated BC graduate student there may be some small ways to offset financial burden such as Teaching Assistant Position, Tuition Remission awards and small endowment scholarships that may become available.  That information is available in the graduate programs office should you matriculate into the program.


How long is the Direct Master’s Entry into Nursing (MSE) program?

23 months. 

How is this program completed in 23 months?  What allows the William F. Connell School to prepare its students in such a short period of time?

Effective Fall 2016 we will begin the program with a 3 week summer session in July as well as requiring online content to be completed in August.

Students are required to have all of the non-nursing, non-clinical courses completed prior to enrollment at BC (approx 25 credits worth).  This significantly shortens the “duration” of the program itself.  The program is very intensive.  Students complete 77 credits in 2 calendar years, including summer sessions.  The total number of credits may be similar to other programs, however, our schedule is more compact.  The first year, the pre-licensure year, is especially busy, particularly in the fall.  As evident on the plan of study, students take 18 credits in the first fall semester and attend clinical 2 days per week.  The large number of liberal arts requirements that are necessary to earn a baccalaureate degree at Boston College are waived because the MSE program does not award an interim baccalaureate degree. 

Are graduates of this MSE program prepared for Advanced Practice RN positions (APRN)?

The MSE students take the same master’s level courses as all of the other nurse practitioner students.   Although some of our incoming NP students enter as experienced RN’s, many have also just graduated from their BSN programs and may have little if any clinical experience.  The MSE program graduates are extremely successful – MSE program students do extremely well on the NCLEX –RN exam and nurse practitioner certification exams.

Do you have to complete the program full-time?

Some MSE students (not many) do choose to complete the program in 3 or even 4 years, rather than 2.  The first year (pre-RN licensure) must be completed full-time as shown on the sample curriculum.  Once that is completed and you have successfully passed the Massachusetts NCLEX exam, students may request to decelerate.  They sometimes work as RNs while they go to graduate school part time.   Choosing to decelerate will delay the program of study and graduation by a year or more if clinical placements are already full for the following year.  Any requests by our students to decelerate are accommodated on a space available basis.

What happens if I leave the program after the 1st year?

This is a very important point.  If a student decides that he/she does not want to complete the master’s degree for some reason, he/she will  need to complete some type of nursing degree elsewhere (e.g., RN-to-BSN completion program).  We cannot award an interim baccalaureate degree to MSE program students because they do not complete the liberal arts requirements.  Therefore while you may be licensed in the State of Massachusetts as an RN, should you leave the state and apply for reciprocity in another state you may not get licensure as you do not have a nursing degree.


How many clinical hours do you get in the program?

In the pre-licensure year, you complete Community and Med Surg in the Fall.  In the Spring you complete OB/GYN, Pedi and Psych.   Summer is Nursing Synthesis.  You have approximately 16 hrs of clinical per week for the Fall and Spring Semesters.  Nursing Synthesis required approximately 120 hours.   In the 2nd year of the program, your specialty year, the number of clinical hours varies depending on the specialty and coincides with the requirements set by the credentialing agencies.   Students must complete enough clinical hours to demonstrate clinical competency.   It can range from 500 – 650 clinical hours.   These clinical hours are completed throughout the Fall and Spring semesters of your final year in the program.

Are clinical placements arranged by the school or do I need to find my own?

We arrange all the clinical placements for our students.

Where will my clinical placements be?

In the pre-licensure year, the clinical rotations are done in some of the major Boston Hospitals such as Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s.

In the specialty year, placements may be anywhere in the greater Boston area depending on specialty and sites.  We have a dedicated clinical placement office and the process for placing students into clinical sites in the 2nd year is determined through collaboration between the clinical coordinator, the specialty track coordinator and the student. 

Do I need a car for clinical?

In the pre-licensure year, a car is not required as clinical sites can be accessed via public transportation.  However in the 2nd year of the program, a car is necessary to travel to the various clinical sites that are not accessible via public transportation.


Will I be taking classes with other students?

In the pre-licensure year, MSE students move through the program as a cohort of students.   There are a few courses in year 1 where you may be in with other MS students such as Patho and Evidenced Based Nursing Research.  In the 2nd year of the program, the specialty year, you will be taking all of your classes with other MS students as well as other MSE students.

What other expenses can I expect during this program?

Please visit the office of student services website under Tuition and Fees to find the fees associated with The Graduate School of Nursing and your particular program/courses.

Be advised that this is not an all-inclusive list of expenses for the program.  Below are some expenses you can expect to incur throughout the 23 months.

  • Lab Fees:  There are fees associated with a number of courses in this program:  NU403, NU406, NU411, NU430 – the approximate total cost is $980–updated information can be found at the above link:
  • Books:  estimated cost per student services is $1300/year
  • Student medical insurance fees, activity and registration fees can be found on the above link
  • Immunization Fees:  
  • Scrubs, stethoscope, lab coat, watch etc.
  • Public transportation or BC parking permit
  • CPR certification
  • NCLEX application fees:  approximately $450
  • Housing: varies

I’m new to Boston – where can I find an apartment to rent or share?

Boston’s diverse neighborhoods offer a wide array of housing options.  The Office of Off-Campus Housing maintains lists of available area rentals and people looking for roommates.