Master’s Curriculum Requirements

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Length of Program

The program of study varies from 35 to 49 credits of academic coursework including clinical practice, an oral comprehensive examination, and a master’s paper (or in some cases, a thesis). Students may pursue the M.S.N. degree on a full-time or part-time basis.

The Curriculum

The curriculum consists of four components: the professional core, the research core, the clinical core, and the advanced nursing practice core courses. The professional core courses (NURS 646, NURS 815) and research core courses (NURS 778, NURS 779, NURS 992 or 993) are required of most MSN students. The clinical core courses and advanced practice area courses focus on the student’s selected area of specialization and role preparation.

The advanced nursing foci offered by the program reflect a combination of current practice trends as well as available faculty resources. Content in specialty areas and the types of areas of specialization offered are adjusted based on these factors. In some advanced practice specialty areas, electives in nursing or other disciplines or courses to support a focus area are required. Each student is admitted to a specific advanced practice area and a faculty advisor helps design a program of study that is appropriate to the student’s educational and career goals. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to sit for national certification examinations appropriate to their advanced area of preparation.


In general, prerequisites for required nursing courses are to be met in order to progress. Refer to the University Record for a complete listing of courses and their prerequisites. Any student enrolled in a nursing course for which prerequisites have not been met will be subject to administrative withdrawal from the course.

Requirements for Graduation

The Advanced Practice Coordinator in the student’s specialty area will provide information regarding academic requirements at the time of matriculation into the program to each student.

If a student has withdrawn from the program for a significant length of time or has interrupted the clinical sequence in their advanced practice area, the student may be required to repeat coursework to prepare them for returning to the appropriate advanced practice standing. Standing in the specialty area upon return to the program will be determined by the Advanced Practice Coordinator and graduate faculty in the student’s specialty area (see Readmission).

Updated July 2016