News Releases

UWF to add Entry into Practice Master of Science in Nursing this fall

The University of West Florida Usha Kundu, MD College of Health will launch an Entry into Practice (Direct Entry) Master of Science in Nursing program in Fall 2023. The five-semester, in-person graduate program, which will be offered on UWF’s Pensacola campus and Emerald Coast location, is a direct pathway to the nursing profession for those who have already earned a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.

“We are working to meet the needs of the state, as the shortage of nurses is expected to continue, and expanding our programs in UWF’s School of Nursing is an important step towards meeting that need,” said Dr. Gary Liguori, provost and senior vice president.

The registered nursing shortage in Florida is projected to increase from 11,500 to 37,400 registered nurses by 2035 based on data from the Florida Physician and Nursing Workforce 2021 report commissioned by the Florida Hospital Association and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida. Registered nurses can find employment opportunities with a mean annual wage of $89,010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The curriculum provides foundational nursing knowledge and practice expertise enhanced with master’s coursework in areas such as leadership, evidence-based practice, population health and health promotion. Students will have many opportunities to combine classroom knowledge with experiential learning, completing over 600 clinical hours in clinical specialties such as labor and delivery, surgical, pediatrics, population/public health and mental health.

“We are delighted to offer this unique nursing program and expand our reach to the Emerald Coast community,” said Dr. Crystal Bennett, director of UWF’s School of Nursing.

Upon passing the National Licensure Exam Examination-Registered Nurses, graduates of the program will enter the nursing profession as a master’s credentialed registered nurse prepared to meet the demands of an evolving healthcare system and advance into a leadership role. 

For more information about the Usha Kundu, MD College of Health, visit