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The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program prepares baccalaureate-prepared nurses for roles as nurse practitioners (family [FNP], adult-gerontology [AGNP]). 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 nursing education including Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Doctor of Education (EdD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs. Students choose one of two cognates as their substantive area of study: FNP or AGNP. 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. Students in the MSN FNP cognate are required to complete a minimum of 700 direct care clinical hours. Students in the MSN AGNP cognate are required to complete a minimum of 600 direct care clinical hours. Clinical rotations vary based on MSN cognate but may include academic settings, and inpatient, long-term care, community-based, and primary care clinical sites.

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 for Master of Science in Nursing in Family Nurse Practitioner

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner cognate is designed for students wishing to practice as primary care nurse practitioners with adult and older adult populations. Graduates of MSN programs are prepared with additional knowledge and clinical expertise that builds on baccalaureate nursing practice. The MSN program at Colorado Mesa University is based on the Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education and the Standards for Quality Nurse Practitioner Education.

Academic Requirements for Master of Science in Nursing in Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

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

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. Evaluate 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.

Graduate Nursing Program Accreditation

The baccalaureate, master, and doctoral degree programs in nursing at Colorado Mesa University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Graduate Nursing Program Students Licensure

Colorado Mesa University's MSN-FNP and AGNP programs' eligibility for licensure information can be found here: