Most colleges and universities today have fairly welcoming policies toward undergraduate transfer students, and have special counselors assigned to help transfer students. But what if you had to stop in the middle of a nursing master’s degree program and would now like to transfer the credits you earned to another nursing school?
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The good news is that many master’s and even doctoral programs in nursing do accept at least some transfer credits for previous coursework at another school. The bad news, however, is that you need to be ready to dig pretty hard to find out what the rules are for nursing programs that accept transfer students. Their websites often don’t make policies on graduate student transfer nearly as clear as those for bachelor degree students.
Chamberlain College of Nursing is one of the more widely-known schools for online nursing degrees. The rules on transferring credits into one of their graduate programs include:
- You must have received a grade of at least “B” for any previous course you want to transfer in.
- For most programs, you must have completed courses within the past 10 years for them to qualify for transfer toward a Chamberlain degree. But on certain master degree programs like Informatics and Family Nurse Practitioner, only coursework done in the past 5 years is eligible to be transferred in.
- Finally, credits for any graduate certificates you may have earned will not be accepted for transfer.
The last point on certificate credits is an unpredictable one. Policies on applying certificate credits to master’s degrees definitely vary from one school to another. Purdue University Global, for example, makes a point of noting on its website that credits earned in any of its nursing certificate programs may be eligible toward a graduate degree – at least toward one of Purdue’s own graduate programs.
Credit Transfer Limits
Limits on how many credits you can transfer in also vary from one nursing graduate school to another. Grand Canyon University, as an example, will accept up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements on master’s degrees, pending certain requirements. On the other hand, Western Governors University, which has some of friendliest policies toward adult students in the online degree world, simply does not accept any transfer credits at the master’s degree level. Among schools that do accept graduate transfer credits, it’s not unusual to find that 15 credits is the maximum accepted for previous learning. But there is no hard and fast rule. Ashford University accepts no more than 9 transfer credits on its Doctor of Nursing Practice grad degree, while Regis College will accept no more than 2 courses in transfer for grad school and famed Columbia University in New York accepts up to six credits or graduate or doctoral level courses from another school.
If you can determine that a school of interest to you accepts graduate credits in transfer for master’s degrees in nursing, you then need to go through the same steps you would to transfer credits into a bachelor program. Generally, you will need to provide a syllabus for any course you took to prove that it replaces a particular course at your new school, supply a transcript of your grades and demonstrate that you have completed any required clinical work.
For a fast alternative approach for early stage RNs, read about direct entry MSN programs and accelerated nursing master’s.
Hard Work That Pays Off
It’s harder work to find out about credit transfer at the graduate level, but it can be well worth the effort. Graduate degrees in nursing can be expensive, and getting credit for your previous work can save a great deal of time and money. It’s something you don’t want to overlook if you want to get to the next level in your nursing career quickly.