Murray State University Nursing School Review

Murray State University (MSU) is a large public university with over 10,600 students. It is a four-year university and Kentucky’s only public university to receive recognition as a top school for over 20 years. The university also has other campuses located in Paducah, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, and Henderson that offer upper level and graduate courses. Murray State University was founded in 1922 and began as a Normal School for teacher training.

Today there are over 150 student organizations that have something to offer all of the university’s students. Sports are also a popular option for students who can play handball, basketball, or swim for exercise and good health. Sororities and fraternities are also present on campus for students who want to be involved in them. The city of Murray is a small friendly town with some activities that students can enjoy after academics are finished. The university offers undergraduate and graduate nursing programs for students who want a career in nursing.

Nursing Programs

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

This four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program prepares students to work as profession Registered Nurses (RNs) after completing the program. A graduate must also take the NCLEX-RN national exam for licensure as a Registered Nurse. Admission to the program is limited, and it is based on the grade point average of high school classes and previous college work that has been completed as well as TEAS scores. Students must first be admitted to Murray State University and have completed 30 credit hours with a minimum grade point average of 2.5. They must also have CPR certification and the required immunizations. The nursing program requires students to take developmental math, English, and reading courses if they do not have minimum scores on the ACT exam. For math, the ACT score must be at least 20, and English and Reading scores must be at least 18 to opt out of developmental courses. Those who need to take developmental courses may need to spend an additional semester working on their BSN.

Students must be admitted to the university before applying to the nursing program, and admission requirements are different. Freshmen who are coming straight from high school must take developmental courses if their ACT score in English is 18 or below, 19 or below in math, or 20 or below in reading. SAT verbal scores of 450 or below and math scores of 460 or below also require developmental courses. Once a student is accepted into the BSN program, all of the general education requirements of the university must be met in addition to nursing courses and clinical experience. RNs with a BSN are in high demand in Kentucky and across the nation, so as soon as the graduate passes the NCLEX-RN, he or she may begin working as a professional nurse.


A Registered Nurse (RN) who wants to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) may apply to this program that is designed for students who have an associate degree in nursing or a diploma in nursing. The university offers courses at extended campuses in Kentucky. These are at Paducah, Hopkinsville, Henderson, Madisonville, and Ft. Campbell, and they enable students who are working and not able to go to the main campus are able to complete their BSNs. RNs who have their BSN are in great demand, and a bachelor’s degree is required for many jobs that require leadership skills in nursing. The program allows RNs to receive credit for their previous nursing studies by transferring those credits into the BSN program. Through an accelerated timeframe, the BSN is then completed in around one year as the student completes between 41 and 46 credits in liberal arts and sciences and upper level nursing courses. A total of 125 credits are needed for graduation.

Admission requirements are that the applicant must have current licensure as an RN. Applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in another field are treated as transfer students and must meet the same admission requirements as associate degree nurses entering the program except that they will take nursing courses in an accelerated program. Students must maintain at least a grade point average of 2.5 and must have the required immunizations. They must also have proof of completing a CPR course for health care providers, have malpractice insurance, and applicants must have completed all prerequisite courses.

Master of Science in Nursing

Murray State University is not currently accepting application for their Master of Science in Nursing program. The Master of Science in Nursing program is being phased out as a new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program replaces it. A Baccalaureate to DNP and Post-master’s DNP specialties program is now accepting applications. Advanced nursing specialties are Clinical Nurse Specialist, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Anesthesia specialty programs.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program offers Clinical Nurse Specialist, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Anesthetist. The full-time program requires three years of study to complete 79 credits. Another program is currently being developed, which is a post-master’s DNP program. This is a part-time program that can be completed in two years as students complete 38 credits. A certificate is awarded at the completion of the program. Each of the DNP specialties requires core courses and advanced nursing courses that are required for the specialty. A substantial number of clinical hours and residency may also be requirements of these programs. Each specialty is discussed below.

Family Nurse Practitioner

RNs with a BSN who are interested in this program must have a 3.0 grade point average in their undergraduate studies. They must also have Current Basic Life Support or CPR certification. One year’s experience as an RN is required before beginning this program. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required with a minimum score of 500 on the Verbal and Quantitative portions preferred. Applicants must be currently licensed as an RN in the state where they will complete their clinical experience for the program and must submit three professional references. A goal statement is also necessary, as is an interview with DNP faculty. Before enrolling in clinical nursing courses, students must have proof of liability insurance for advanced practice nursing as well as the required immunizations. This program prepares students to provide primary healthcare to patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly.

Nurse Anesthetist

RNs with a BSN who are interested in becoming a Nurse Anesthetist may apply to this program that requires 79 credits plus 1,000 or more of clinical hours. After the completion of the program, the student takes the national exam to become a Licensed Nurse Anesthetist. Applicants must have at least one year of experience in critical care before meeting with the DNP faculty for a mandatory interview. Other requirements include GRE results with at least a score of 500 on the Verbal portion and 500 on the Quantitative portion of the exam. Applicants must submit three professional references and a goal statement with their application. Applicants must also have an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0. Current Basic Life Support or CPR certification is required as well. Students in the program must have liability insurance for advanced practice nurses as well as required immunizations.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

This program is also available for RNs with a BSN who want to advance in their careers or pursue a career in one of the advanced nursing specialties. Applicants must have a BSN with at least a 3.0 grade point average, and they must also have completed a CPR course. The GRE is required with at least a score of 500 on both the Verbal and Quantitative portions of the exam. Three professional references are required plus a goal statement written by the applicant. An interview with the DNP faculty is also required. Students must have liability insurance coverage for advanced practice nurses and the required immunizations.

Post-Master’s Certificate Programs

RNs with master’s degrees in nursing that are already advanced practice RNs may enter the DNP programs to earn a certificate in one of the nursing specialty areas. The program for them will be much shorter than the BSN to DNP program since these nurses have already completed bachelor’s and master’s level courses.

Murray State University
102 Curris Center,
Murray, KY 42071
(800) 272-4678

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