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Nursing - MSN

Help Transform the Future of Health Care with a Vanguard MSN Nursing Degree or Post-Master's Certificate

Prepare to further nursing practice, optimize care delivery and improve population outcomes—all while changing the trajectory of your personal and professional future.

At Vanguard University, our master’s and post-graduate certificate nursing programs are designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills to strengthen your leadership abilities. Our programs—which are rooted in faith-based principles—promote a culture of compassion. We offer degrees and certificates that strategically fit your professional journey, including:

  • MSN Program - Education and Leadership
  • RN to MSN Nurse Educator Program
  • Post-Master's Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate

No matter which of our MSN degree or certificate programs you choose, you’ll gain the expertise and understanding of care systems, interventions, and technologies to succeed in health care settings here in California and beyond.

What MSN Nursing Graduates are Saying

I really needed a program that was not only flexible, but really cared about me and my success. Vanguard is exactly that!"

Meghan Reahm
MSN Nursing '22
Charge Nurse Surgical Unit, Children's Hospital of Orange
Adjunct Pediatric Clinical Instructor, Vanguard University

MSN Program and Post-Master's Graduate Certificate Options

Prepare to further nursing practice, optimize care delivery and improve population outcomes—all while changing the trajectory of your personal and professional future. At Vanguard, one of the most established MSN programs in California, you'll benefit from a flexible program that offers most of its coursework in a synchronized online format. You'll take one course at a time and move your career forward in a way that works for you.

MSN progam

Designed to provide flexibility for working nurses, our CCNE-accredited graduate degree - which is know as one of the top MSN programs in California - offers a dual focus on both the development of theoretical knowledge and practical skills in nursing education and leadership.


RN to MSN nurse educator program

Built for registered nurses who do not have a bachelor's degree, our RN to MSN education program prepares you tot take on positions as a nurse educator, serve in advanced roles, and teach in academic settings.


Post-master's psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certificate

Gain advanced practice and preparation in providing care for individuals of all ages experiencing psychiatric and mental health disorders. In just 28 units and 750 clinical hours, you can gain licensure and certification to advance the health care needs of California's 39 million residents.


What Can You Do With a MSN Degree?

Did you know that we are currently experiencing a national shortage of nurse educators?

That's why the job out look for graduates of Vanguard's MSN programs in California and beyond is strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 800,000 new nurses and health care leaders will be needed over the next decade - with 110,000 positions along in the Golden State.

MSN nursing careers

What is an MSN degree at Vanguard? It's about preparing students to assume advanced leadership and management positions throughout health care, as well as educator positions in health care agencies and academic settings. Our recent graduates hold titles such as:

  • Nurse navigators
  • Simulation laboratory educators
  • Unit coordinators or directors
  • University professors/clinical instructors
  • Wound care specialists

Our RN to MSN and MSN Nursing alumni also go on to advanced studies to gain Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees or pursue advanced education for specialty roles through our post-master's psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certificate.

What You Will Study in MSN Education Program and Graduate Certificates

No matter which program or certificate you choose, at Vanguard, you'll take one class at a time. That means you can move through your advanced education in a more manageable way than many other certificate and MSN programs in California.

Throughout your coursework, you'll learn to develop a curricula and teaching plans; utilize emerging technologies and other hands-on learning opportunities to assess the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of patient populations; and become an advocate for health policy changes that enhance health and promote professional nursing practice.

Graduate students within our MSN nursing and certificate programs frequently say some of their most impactful courses are:

  • Diversity, Social and Global Issues in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Spirituality and Spiritual Care in Professional Nursing
  • Strategies of Simulation Learning and Instruction

And if you're a student enrolled in our MSN degree program, you will complete a practicum and develop a thesis project using research, critical thinking and evidence-based practice principles. Our MSN student thesis research projects are positively impacting nursing practice and potentially patient care outcomes.

Meet the MSN Education Program Director

Annette Callis, PhD, RN, CNS

As professor and MSN program director, Dr. Annette Callis, is a leader in nursing education who specializes in critical care and simulation education. Her primary teaching interest is helping graduate students pursue research projects that they're passionate about.

As thesis advisor for Vanguard MSN degree students, she mentors aspiring professionals who are investigating some of the most critical issues facing the nursing profession. Her current research focuses on the impact of moral injury on self-reported nursing work performance and care programs for nurses, such as Tea for the Soul.

Program Highlights

MSN Education Program and Certificate Highlights

Small cohort sizes

At Vanguard, our RN to MSN and MSN education/leadership programs feature classes as small as 8-12 students. You'll thrive in small cohorts while receiving guidance and mentorship from our faculty members.

Flexible courses

Designed for your busy schedule, our porgrams can be completed in 5-8 semesters. Complete one class at a time - with most courses meeting sychronously online.

Financial aid

Nearly 90% of our MSN nursing graduate students receive financial aid, and all MSN program applicants are eligible for a 10% professional colleague discount.


View all Vanguard Nursing program offerings:

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Quick Facts

Degree and certificate options:

  • Two master's degrees
  • One post-masters nurse practitioner certificate

Cost per unit: $685-$725*
Length of programs and certificates: 5-8 semesters
Start terms: Fall or Spring

*Tuition is based on the 2022/2023 academic year and is subject to change.


The baccalaureate degree program in nursing and master’s degree program in nursing at Vanguard University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.