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MSN in Public Health Nursing

Public Health Nursing Recorded Virtual Open House

As healthcare continues to evolve, there is an increased need for nurses trained in public health. Drexel University’s online MSN in Public Health Nursing aims to meet that need, training you to use a systems-thinking clinical approach to advocate for resources and policies to improve the health of all populations, locally and globally. This is an interdisciplinary degree that provides the opportunity to take online courses through Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions as well as the Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health. This blend of nursing education and public health foundational knowledge culminates in a capstone project, where you’ll take what you’ve learned throughout the MSN public health nursing program and apply it to a real-world public health issue.

MSN in Public Health Nursing Program At a Glance:

  • 45 quarter credits
  • 100% online
  • Courses taught by nursing and public health experienced faculty from Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Dornsife School of Public Health
  • The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits the master’s degree in nursing at Drexel University
  • The Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
  • Those who consistently take two courses per quarter will finish in two years, one class a quarter will take closer to four years
  • Consistently ranked among the Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs by U.S. News & World Report
  • A three-year tuition lock for those who complete the program within 3 years

What will I learn in the MSN in Public Health Nursing?

In Drexel’s online MSN in Public Health Nursing, you’ll learn to:

  • Practice within a legal and ethical framework of healthcare delivery
  • Deepen the role of advanced nursing practice in the healthcare system through scholarship, clinical experience, and political involvement
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and diagnostic reasoning skills in clinical decision-making
  • Integrate multiple technologies and relevant theories into the organization and synthesis of health data required to develop plans of care for patients, families, and communities
  • Integrate culturally sensitive health promotion activities that contribute to the health and wellness of the community into clinical practice
  • Demonstrate leadership in nursing and healthcare through involvement in the development of outcome-based standards of care and practice-based health policy issues
  • Evaluate and modify the quality and effectiveness of clinical practice based on current research findings, standards of care, and patient outcomes
  • Contribute to the advancement of nursing, healthcare, and humanity through communication, collaboration, and education

Program Level Outcomes:

What Does It Mean to Be a Public Health Nurse?

Qualities and Responsibilities of a Public Health Nurse
Public health nurses look to improve the health of all populations, both locally and globally, in a variety of practice settings. Drexel’s MSN in Public Health Nursing prepares you to improve population health through prevention efforts, attention to determinants of health, advocacy, policy development, and planning to address issues of social justice and health equity. You’ll use your clinical expertise and systems-level thinking to assess the challenges and opportunities faced on both an individual and population level, and translate this into action for public good.

How to Become a Public Health Nurse

As a public health nurse, you will be required to utilize clinical nursing skills and public health education to treat and improve health on a community, national, and global level. Rather than treating each patient individually, you will have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of patients on a much larger scale. This program will prepare you to care for populations of people. Additionally, after graduating from Drexel University with your MSN: Public Health Nursing, combined with 3 years of public health work experience, you will be eligible to sit for the National Board of Public Health Examiners Certificate in Public Health exam.


By starting or resuming an application to Drexel University, I accept that I may be contacted by phone, e-mail, direct mail and text message.

Admissions Criteria

  • BSN degrees must be from an institution accredited by CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education), ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing) or NLN CNEA (NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation).
    • Nurses with a non-nursing bachelor's may consider applying for the RN-BSN-MSN program to earn both a BSN and MSN concurrently, or apply to the RN to MSN Bridge Program
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 
    • If your GPA is lower, you're still encouraged to apply, but should ensure that relevant professional experience is included on your resume. You must also provide two professional letters of recommendation from either previous or immediate supervisors or former faculty members who can attest to your clinical knowledge, skill, and potential aptitude for graduate study.
  • A current, unrestricted United States RN license


August 26, 2024

Required Documents

With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our Completing Your Application Guide.

  • A completed application
  • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions (including trade schools) attended
  • Two professional letters of recommendation (waived with a GPA of a 3.0 or higher)
  • Personal statement (800 to 1,600 words) that will give the admissions committee a better understanding of:
    • Why you are choosing this particular track
    • How your current work experience will enhance your experience in this program, and
    • Your plans upon completing the degree
  • Resume including specific details of your responsibilities and job experiences
  • A copy of your United States RN license (License verification from your nursing license registry website is acceptable)
  • Additional requirements for International Students


This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two-semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.

Graduate students who utilize student loans (FAFSA) must maintain a minimum enrollment of 4.5 credits per term.

For Full List of courses, please visit Drexel Online.

Program Outcomes

  • Practices within a legal and ethical framework of health care delivery.
  • Advances the role of advanced nursing practice in the health care system through scholarship, clinical experience and political involvement.
  • Demonstrates critical thinking and diagnostic reasoning skills in clinical decision-making.
  • Integrates multiple technologies and relevant theories into the organization and synthesis of health data required to develop plans of care for patients, families and communities.
  • Integrates culturally sensitive health promotion activities that contribute to the health and wellness of the community into clinical practice.
  • Demonstrates leadership in nursing and health care through involvement in the development of outcome-based standards of care and practice-based health policy issues.
  • Evaluates and modify the quality and effectiveness of clinical practice based on current research findings, standards of care and patient outcomes.
  • Contributes to the advancement of nursing, health care and humanity through communication, collaboration and education.

What Can You Do with an MSN in Public Health?

Public Health Nursing Careers
The MSN in Public Health Nursing is designed to prepare you for a career as a nurse leader in local, state, federal, and global agencies, schools, home health agencies, and wellness centers. However, you can apply this degree to a number of different positions within the healthcare field. Some common job titles this degree prepares you for are:

  • Public Health Nurse
  • Public Health Information Officer
  • Public Health Educator
  • Health and Wellness Manager/Director
  • Health Services Manager/Director
  • Health Program Coordinator
  • Surveillance and Population Health Specialist
  • Public Health Analyst
  • Public Health Advisor
  • Research Science Officer

How Much Do Public Health Nurses Make?

MSN Public Health Nurse Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a registered nurse (RN) is $71,730. The job outlook for RNs is expected to grow faster than average, with a projected 12% increase between 2018 and 2028. advises that the average hourly pay for a public health nurse is $28.57 for an annual median salary of $59,180. Exact salaries will vary, however, depending on your exact title, location and years of experience.


Nursing Program Mission and Values

The Nursing program faculty and staff are committed to educating nurses to embrace both the art and science of nursing, to integrate caring into practice, to think critically and practice competently, compassionately and safely in complex rapidly changing practice environments. The Nursing program supports administrators, faculty, staff and students in developing holistic evidence-based programs, which create healing and caring environments at all levels that reflect innovative education, interdisciplinary practice and research.

The highest goals of the program include demonstrating efficacy, quality and cost-effectiveness of evidence-based nursing interventions in promoting health, preventing disease, preserving human dignity, reducing health disparities and caring for the sick and injured.

All efforts in the Nursing program are designed to build nursing knowledge, enhance nursing practice, foster professional integrity, promote innovation, engage in interdisciplinary collaboration and ultimately improve the health outcomes of patients and families from diverse communities across the continuum of care.

The Nursing program is committed to excellence in nursing education through educational programs that are:

  • Authentic: We value a deep connection to others, appreciation of diverse opinions and respect for the other’s frame of reference. We value going beyond objective assessment to understand the context of the other, creative use of self and engagement in the artistry of the caring-healing process—the essence of Nursing.
  • Complex: We value complexity science by recognizing that our Nursing program is a complex, dynamic, unpredictable, emerging, self-organizing and adaptive system that cannot be reduced to the sum of its members. As such, we seek that administrators, faculty, staff and students develop skills to improvise, build on the innovations of others, develop positive interpersonal interactions, appreciate the reciprocity that our actions have on the larger system and ourselves and embrace surprise as an opportunity to learn, make sense of our dynamic reality and make a positive impact on the health of our clients.
  • Rigorous: We continuously review and redesign programs, courses, technology-infused learning systems and educational products for depth and quality with the learner's experience and background in mind.
  • Relevant: We continuously examine changing market forces, the progression of nursing knowledge and the best practices in health care and education to redesign educational programs. There is a strong commitment to population-focused care practice in diverse communities; therefore, we strive to ensure clinically relevant education and simulation experiences. Our faculty serves as excellent role models for developing clinicians.
  • State of the Art: We value the use of technological innovation and patient simulation scenarios which foster advanced and evidence-based interdisciplinary communication and teamwork, multiple patient management and crisis resource management skills, provision of culturally relevant care, decreased prevalence of errors and adverse events and a higher intellectual standard in both undergraduate and graduate nursing education.
  • Learner-Friendly: In consideration of the demanding, fast-paced lives of our students and nurse consumers, we offer high-quality educational programs in convenient and contemporary formats, including access to academic online courses with attention to user-friendly interfaces as well as resources to enhance academic success. In addition, the College of Nursing and Health Professions is committed to being a challenging and rewarding work environment for faculty, staff and administrators. Information and data on all aspects of the college’s operations are widely shared with faculty, staff and students and all are encouraged to participate in its decisions and activities.