Master of Science in Nursing

The Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) program prepares nurses for roles as family nurse practitioners (FNPs) and nurse educators (NE) in healthcare or academic settings. MSN graduates formulate clinical, administrative or policy decisions to promote health among patients, families or communities along the continuum of wellness and illness.

Graduates may advance to higher levels of education through doctoral programs. Students choose one of two cognates as their substantive area of study: NE or FNP. The courses are delivered via an online format, allowing students to reside in their home communities. However, students may be required to travel for completion of clinical hours or for GPSI sessions. 

The Advanced Nursing Practice cognate is being phased out and applications are no longer being accepted.

Academic Requirements

The family nurse practitioner program at the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) level is designed for students wishing to practice as advanced practice nurses in primary care across the lifespan. This cognate focuses on primary care across the lifespan, including the care of rural and vulnerable populations, and advanced nursing knowledge (eg. advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology and physical assessment). The program is an online format, providing flexibility for students to remain in their current work positions and home communities. Opportunities for personal interaction are included with faculty and peers in focused intensive sessions at selected points during the program. Graduates of the family nurse practitioner cognate are prepared for an advance practice role as a family nurse practitioner and will be able to demonstrate practice expertise, specialized knowledge, and expanded responsibility and accountability in the care and management of individuals and families. Students in the family nurse practitioner cognate are required to complete a minimum of 700 clinical hours.

Academic Requirements

The nurse educator cognate provides graduates with a foundation for practice as entry-level educators to teach in higher education, community and healthcare settings. This cognate focuses on teaching strategies, curriculum development and advanced nursing knowledge (eg. advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology and physical assessment). The program is offered in an online format, providing flexibility for students to remain in their current work positions and home communities. Opportunities for personal interaction are included with faculty and peers in focused intensive sessions at selected points throughout the program. Students in the nurse educator cognate are required to complete a minimum of 250 clinical hours in both direct and indirect care.

Academic Requirements

Nurse educators with a master's degree work in clinical, community and academic settings.

Family nurse practitioners work as primary care clinicians in outpatient, long-term care and community-based settings.

Program Mission

The mission of the MSN is to prepare nurses to provide expert leadership in the delivery of healthcare services and programs to individuals, families and communities across the lifespan in a variety of settings. Graduates are prepared to practice as advanced practice clinicians, nurse educators and leaders with the critical thinking skills and knowledge necessary to promote the profession of nursing through clinical practice, teaching, program development and implementation, and scholarship.

Program Goals

The goals of the MSN program are to prepare graduates as:

  • Leaders and educators in healthcare systems or academic settings.
  • Seekers of new knowledge by means of critical thinking, creative reasoning and scientific investigation in relation to nursing theory, science and practice.
  • Disseminators of nursing knowledge and research to consumers and other healthcare professionals.
  • Leaders capable of determining effective strategies to promote change within the profession and leading to a more effective management of the healthcare delivery system.
  • Decision-makers who consider ethical principles in serving the needs of diverse individuals, populations, and society.
  • Learners who possess the foundation for doctoral education.

Expected Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the MSN program, students are able to:

  1. Discover leadership skills and behaviors for interprofessional collaboration.

  2.  Analyze quality improvement initiatives to improve the practice environment.

  3. Utilize information technology for interprofessional collaboration, learning and practice.

  4. Distinguish legal, ethical and regulatory processes for the impact on professional nursing practice.

  5. Create culturally relevant health policy strategies for individual and aggregate populations.

  6. Synthesize nursing and related sciences for applied learning across diverse populations.