Graduate Catalog: 2021-22

Nursing MS

The Master of Science in Nursing Program prepares professional nurses to function in advanced roles in order to provide holistic, comprehensive nursing care to individuals, families, and communities, and to assume leadership responsibilities in a variety of settings. Graduate education builds upon knowledge and competencies gained in baccalaureate education. Students use critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving skills that require in-depth nursing knowledge and are prepared to coordinate health care programs within complex systems in an era of health care reform. The curriculum is based upon nursing and related theories and the application of research findings to clinical and administrative nursing issues. Students are also prepared for doctoral study in nursing and continued personal and professional development.
The MSN program is designed for part-time or full-time study. Part-time students typically take 2-3 classes each semester, completing their degree requirements in three to five years. Full-time students complete degree requirements in two years. All students must complete degree requirements in five years.

Classes are offered in a hybrid format, with a portion of each class online and a portion on campus. On campus classes occur on Tuesdays. Students and faculty negotiate clinical sites with experienced mentors. MSN Orientation is a required online experience for all new MSN students.

Graduate Nursing Student Learning Outcomes

The graduate faculty members have prepared student learning outcomes that flow from the Franciscan values, the University mission, and the Department of Nursing philosophy extending the baccalaureate concepts to an advanced level of nursing theory, research and practice.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) graduates will:

  • Provide the full spectrum of health care services to include health promotion, disease prevention, health protection, anticipatory guidance, counseling, disease management, palliative, and end-of-life care for individuals, families, and populations.
  • Synthesize knowledge from the humanities, sciences, and nursing into advanced registered nursing practice.
  • Demonstrate leadership and collaboration skills to influence advanced registered nursing practice and advocate for the  profession.
  • Optimize health outcomes through analysis of policy related to advanced registered nursing practice, determinates of health, organizations, and systems.
  • Integrate legal, ethical and Franciscan principles in decision making.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in use of technology and information to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision making.
  • Integrate best available evidence to provide quality care.


The Graduate Nursing curriculum is designed to facilitate the eligibility of the advanced practice nurse to take the certification exam in the chosen clinical field. Criteria for eligibility from professional credentialing organizations were used to design graduate nursing courses to assure that appropriate didactic and clinical experiences are provided.

After graduation from the FNP track, students are eligible to take the following certification exams: Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)

MSN Degree Requirements

The Family Nurse Practitioner track prepares graduates to function in an advanced practice capacity. Courses emphasize health promotion, health protection, and diagnosis and management of common acute and chronic illnesses of individuals, families, and the community. This track consists of 45 semester credits and 645 hours of clinical (sufficient for certification eligibility). The BSN applicant must complete 500 clinical hours within the past 5 years as a paid registered nurse prior to starting NURS 570/572 in the FNP track.

The RN-MSN Transition Sequence requires 10 credit hours of nursing courses, a three credit English course, and a 3 credit Statistics course. After completing the required courses in the RN-MSN Transition Sequence, the students follow the MSN FNP curriculum. The ASN/Diploma must complete 1000 clinical hours within the past 5 years as a paid registered nurse prior to starting NURS 570/572 in the FNP track. Students will not be awarded a BSN at the completion of the nursing courses, but will be eligible to begin MSN FNP coursework at USF.

Program of Studies

The MSN FNP curriculum is organized into two distinct groups of courses. The first group consists of core graduate courses which all graduate students complete.

MSN Core Curriculum required courses:

Course Credits
NURS 515 Frameworks & Models for Examining Nursing Practice 3 credits
NURS 530 Advanced Pharmacology 3 credits
NURS 524 Translational Science 3 credits
NURS 532 Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology 3 credits
NURS 535 Advanced Health Assessment 3 credits
NURS 537 Clinical Advanced Health Assessment 1 credit
NURS 569 Population Health 3 credits
Family Nurse Practitioner Track
NURS 570 Primary Care of Adults 3 credits
NURS 572 Clinical: Primary Care of Adults 2 credits
NURS 581 Primary Care of Adults and Aging 3 credits
NURS 582 Clinical: Primary Care of Adults and Aging 2 credits
NURS 555 Primary Care of Children 3 credits
NURS 556 Clinical: FNP – Primary Care of Children 2 credits
NURS 575 Primary Care of Women 2 credits
NURS 578 Clinical: FNP – Primary Care of Women 1 credit
NURS 510 Advanced Practice Roles and Issues 2 credits
NURS 595 Advanced Practice Residency and Synthesis 6 credits
Total Credits for Degree
Family Nurse Practitioner Track (645 Total Clinical Hours) 45 credits

RN-MSN Transition Sequence required courses:

  • Two general education courses:
    • NURS 509 Evidence Based Practice in Nursing with Applied Statistics (3 cr.)
  • Three nursing courses taught in an intensive block format:
    • NURS 502 Professional Communication (2 cr.)
    • NURS 500 Professional Nursing Concepts I (4 cr.)
    • NURS 503 Professional Nursing Concepts II (4 cr.)

Post MSN Certificate

The Post-MSN Family Nurse Practitioner curriculum contains 39 credits and 645 hours of clinical. A Gap Analysis is performed upon admission to determine transfer credit of previous coursework.

Admission Requirements

  • Meet general admission standards for graduate education at the University of Saint Francis.
  • Hold an associate or baccalaureate degree in nursing.
    • Associate degree graduates apply for the RN-MSN track
    • Baccalaureate degree graduates apply to the MSN program
  • Hold a current license as a registered nurse.
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.
  • GRE is required if GPA is less than 3.0.
    The following minimum scores must be achieved:
    • 400 (old format) or 150 (new format) on the verbal,
    • 400 (old format) or 150 (new format) on the quantitative, and
    • 4.0 on the analytical writing
  • Satisfactorily complete a graduate or undergraduate statistics course within the last five years or complete MATH 302 during the transition sequence.
  • Submit a résumé or curriculum vitae.
  • Submit three (3) letters of reference.
  • Complete and submit the USF MSN Essay
  • Complete admission interview (Personal Interview). Interviews are conducted on a rolling basis.

Prospective students who do not meet all of the above criteria may be admitted “provisionally”, at the discretion of the Program Director. No probationary periods are allowed while on provisional status. Students who do not meet the stipulations of their provisional status will be dismissed from the graduate nursing program.

Progression Requirements

Failure to maintain the academic standards for progression will result in academic probation or dismissal as described below. Students will be notified by letter from the Graduate Dean and/or MSN Program Director.

  • Academic probation for failure to earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 or failure to meet progression criteria in a nursing course.
    1. Graduate nursing students will be placed on academic probation if their cumulative grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.2 or they fail to earn a minimum grade of “B-” in a nursing theory course and a “P” in a nursing clinical course.
    2. The probation period will be one semester in length or a minimum of 6 credit hours.
    3. The student who has failed to meet the minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 or has failed to earn a minimum grade of “B-”in a nursing theory course and a “P” in a nursing clinical course may be placed on academic probation only once. A second probation period will result in dismissal from the nursing major.
    4. A student may repeat only one nursing course one time. When repeating a nursing course a student who receives less than a “B-” in a theory course or an “F” in a clinical course will be dismissed from the nursing major.
    5. If a nursing course must be repeated for either clinical failure or for a theory grade below “B-“, both the theory course and the concurrent clinical course must be repeated at the same time.
    6. If the cumulative GPA has not reached the minimum requirement of 3.2 by the end of the probation period, the student will be dismissed from the nursing major.
    7. Students may be dismissed at any time during the semester if theory course and/or clinical course conduct justifies this action.
  • Credit Limits
    When a nursing graduate student is placed on Nursing Academic Probation for a cumulative GPA that drops below 3.2, the student may take a maximum number of 8 credit hours during the semester of probation.
  • Dismissal for Unsafe Practice
    Unsafe practice in a nursing clinical or violation of the University Standards of Conduct will result in dismissal from the Nursing Program.
  • Withdrawal from a course
    The graduate nursing program follows the withdrawal policy as outlined in the COAL Catalog.
  • Reapplication to the Nursing Graduate Program
    • Students who have been dismissed from the Nursing Graduate Program must wait a minimum of one year before reapplying to the program. Readmission is not guaranteed.
    • Students who have been dismissed for unsafe practice will not be considered for readmission to the Nursing Graduate Program.

Graduation Requirements

To complete the Master of Science in Nursing Degree, students must meet the following criteria.

  • Completion of all required courses and clinical hours. (See Graduate Catalog for general Graduate School Policies)
  • Meet the requirements for academic standards
  • Apply for the degree in the academic year in which he/she intends to graduate. The Application for Graduation is available from the Graduate School and must be filed by January 1st for May completion.
  • Complete requirements of graduation within 5 years of starting course work.