Master of Science in Nursing Program Page

Master of Science in
Nursing (MSN), Family
Nurse Practitioner

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230K+ Alumni Worldwide


The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is designed for baccalaureate-prepared nurses (BSN), and is currently accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). In keeping with graduate education standards for advanced practice nursing delineated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in the Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nurses, the curriculum and instruction prepare you to assume a leadership role in your particular specialization. You’ll learn and exercise advanced practice nursing skills with the goal of providing and organizing better healthcare delivery.

The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialization prepares advanced practice nurses to manage the care of individuals and families across a lifespan. The program develops your ability to think critically; make differential diagnoses; use evidence-based findings to improve healthcare outcomes; and provide diverse individuals and families with healthcare that includes health promotion, disease prevention, management of acute and chronic health conditions, and primary care. Graduates are eligible to sit for the FNP national certification examinations offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

Admission Requirements

The following candidates are eligible for admission into the MSN program:

  • Those who hold a BSN degree from a nursing program that meets one of these criteria: 1) A nationally accredited nursing program

2) A regionally accredited university/school that meets NU requirements for graduate study listed in the general catalog under “Academic Information for Graduate Degrees and Credentials”

  • Those currently enrolled in the final course of their RN-BSN program and meet NU requirements for graduate study listed in the general catalog under “Academic Information for Graduate Degrees and Credentials,” including “Admission in the Term Prior to Bachelor’s Degree Completion”

All MSN candidates must:

  • Provide proof of current, active, and unencumbered RN license in their state of employment and/or residence.
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Candidates with a GPA of 2.5 to 2.99 will be considered by the MSN admission committee on a case-by-case basis
  • Complete the NU graduate admission application.
  • Submit the MSN application packet.

Candidates who graduated from a BSN program other than NU must:

  • Provide an official transcript from each college or university attended to the registrar’s office.
  • Provide two professional recommendations on approved forms, preferably from individuals who hold graduate or doctoral degrees.

Prior to starting specialization courses, all candidates must:

  • Provide evidence of current, active professional liability and malpractice insurance coverage throughout the program.
  • Provide evidence of specified immunizations, a recent physical examination report, a clear drug screen and background check, and current BLS certification.

Additional Program Information

  1. Candidates are required to meet with an admission advisor to review the process for applying to and acceptance into the Nursing program. Topics for review include: program of study, schedule of courses, and requirements for progression in the program. Note: prospective students should review the MSN and post-graduate certificate packet before submitting an application.
  1. Students should be proficient in operating a personal computer, including: demonstrated competency in standard computer operating systems and electronic filing systems, basic keyboarding skills, organizing and sorting electronic documents, demonstrated knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, and other standard computer applications, and familiarity with internet browsers and standard email systems.
  1. The MSN program is an online course of study with a mandatory onsite component. All accepted applicants must attend a virtual online program orientation. In addition, students in the FNP and PMHNP specializations are required to attend three or four one-day objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) either virtually or at an NU campus. FNP and PMHNP practicum courses are offered as immersion experiences conducted in person at faculty-approved, instructor-led clinical settings. FNP and PMHNP specializations carry additional fees. See the “Tuition and Fees” section of the general catalog for course fees.
  1. Students who request a change in specialization after having been admitted to a prior specialization must resubmit an application packet that includes a new goal statement and a completed recommendation form addressing the new specialization area. A new resume is not required. All prerequisites must be met prior to admissions into the new specialization. The new application will be resubmitted via the graduate Nursing e-form application in SOAR by the admission counselor.
  1. Students who withdraw from the program or withdraw their application prior to beginning the program will not need to reapply if the date of initial application occurred within one year of reapplication. Students requesting to be readmitted after one year of initial application for admissions will need to resubmit a new application packet that includes proof of drug screening, background check, immunizations, and a physical examination. Reapplication does not guarantee acceptance to the program or provide an advantage relative to other applicants.

This program is not available in all 50 States. Please see licensure website or consult an enrollment advisor for up-to date information.

Course Details

Foundation Courses

For the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization, you must complete six foundation courses, three specialization preparation courses, and nine specialization courses.

Course Name

This course explores the role of the Advanced Practice Nurse within a changing health care environment, focusing on role theory and role development related to advanced practice. Leadership skills are developed for independent practice and collaboration within multidisciplinary professional and organizational frameworks.

This course develops critical thinking skills to support advancement of nursing knowledge through theory development, analysis, and application of advanced nursing practice in diverse settings. Students explore the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of nursing practice and develop skill in analysis of nursing and related theories.

This course explores fundamental concepts and methods of statistics as applied to health related fields. The topics of this course include: introduction to basic concepts of descriptive and inferential statistics as they apply to health research; basic and intermediate concepts for testing, statistical hypotheses, construction and interpretation of confidence intervals; applying selected parametric and nonparametric techniques; regression and multiple regression; analysis of covariance, multivariate ANOVA, and related multivariate analyses. Computer software will be used to illustrate statistical procedures.

Addresses the acquisition of knowledge and skills to promote health, help shape the health delivery system, and advance values through policy processes and advocacy. The intricacies of the organization and financing of healthcare delivery systems and the effect of health policies on healthcare delivery are the foci.

NSG 607 EBP for Advanced NSG Practice (4.50)

Exploration of types and quality of evidence used to support nursing practice. Study of research designs, measurement tools, and other methods for the safe application of evidence to development of improved care and care systems are emphasized. Identification of an evidence-based scholarly question pertinent to advanced practice nursing.

Centers on identifying and developing the skills needed by leaders in today’s healthcare arena. Students will employ the concept of leadership in the four key domains of advanced practice: clinical practice environments, the nursing profession, at the systems level, and in the health policy arena.

Preparation Courses for the FNP Specialization

In preparation for the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialization, you must complete the following three courses.

Course Name

Presents information expanding the student’s knowledge base related to current health patterns across the lifespan. Faculty will facilitate the students’ acquisition of advanced skills in collecting subjective data and performing an adult physical and mental status examination. Students interpret data acquired through assessment and results of diagnostic studies.

This course develops critical thinking skills to support advancement of nursing knowledge through theory development, analysis, and application of advanced nursing practice in diverse settings. Students explore the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of nursing practice and develop skill in analysis of nursing and related theories.

Provides pathophysiological principles and concepts essential for performing advanced clinical assessments, differential diagnoses, and therapeutic decision-making. Describes disordered physiology and clinical consequences of common disease processes. Analyses of the biophysical rationale are used during seminar, problem-solving exercises and case studies to recognize the pathophysiologic bases of clinical findings.

* Preparation courses for the FNP specialization may be taken concurrently with the six MSN foundation courses.

Specialization Courses

All preparation courses for the FNP specialization must be completed with a passing grade before beginning any specialization courses.

Course Name

Provides a knowledge base for applying, analyzing and evaluating the culturally competent provision of patient-centered care. Diversity in the global healthcare delivery systems is addressed. Allows the graduate nursing students to explore various models and theories which guide the development of culturally competent nursing practice.

Second course of a two course series. Within each class of therapeutic drugs, the course examines clinical application, drug actions, interactions, reactions, and contraindications. The course will also include principles of prescribing and patient compliance.

Corequisite: FNP 683C

Development of clinical decision-making skills. Focus is the delivery of comprehensive health care, including health promotion, health maintenance, and the diagnosis and treatment of common acute and chronic illnesses. Assigned readings, lectures, class discussion, and case studies are used as well as supervised practicum in multicultural practice settings. FNP 683A and FNP 683C must be taken concurrently and both completed satisfactorily to progress.

CorequisiteFNP 683A

Application of theoretical knowledge in supervised clinical settings in the practice of caring for the adult and aged. The role of the family nurse practitioner in health promotion and disease prevention is emphasized. Required 180 preceptored/field experience clinical hours. FNP 683A and FNP 683C must be taken concurrently. Grading is S/U only.

CorequisiteFNP 684C

Focus on methods of health promotion/disease prevention, and assessment and management of common health problems in infants, toddlers, school age children, adolescents, and women from menarche through to the climacteric. FNP 684A and FNP 684C must be taken concurrently and both completed satisfactorily to progress.

CorequisiteFNP 684A

Application of theoretical knowledge in supervised clinical settings in the practice of caring for women and children. The role of the Family Nurse Practitioner in health promotion and disease prevention is emphasized. Required 180 preceptored/field experience clinical hours. FNP 684A and FNP 684C must be taken concurrently. Grading is S/U only.

CorequisiteFNP 685C

Prepare students to perform the advanced practice roles of manager, clinician, educator, researcher and consultant in the provision of primary care services across the lifespan to under-served populations. FNP 685A and FNP 685C must be taken concurrently and both completed satisfactorily to progress.

CorequisiteFNP 685A

Concentrated residency experience in which the student will critically and accurately assess, plan intervene and evaluate nursing experiences related to the care of individuals, aggregates, and nursing systems. Required 240 preceptored/field experience clinical hours. FNP 685A and FNP 685C must be taken concurrently. Grading is S/U only.

Students demonstrate integration of knowledge from the core, core clinical, and clinical coursework in the MSN-FNP Program. The compilation and interpretation of information from previous courses is demonstrated in a scholarly paper and successfully passing an exam which mirrors the national board certification examination for Family Nurse Practitioners.

Learning Outcomes

Students earning the Master of Science in Nursing degree with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization will learn to:

  • Synthesize theoretical and empirical knowledge derived from the physical and behavioral sciences and humanities as a basis for advanced clinical nursing practice.
  • Devise evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention strategies at the patient, family, organizational, community, and population levels for the purpose of improving healthcare outcomes.
  • Utilize current technologies to deliver, enhance, and document care across multiple settings to achieve optimal outcomes.
  • Advocate for culturally sensitive healthcare systems and policies that meet ethical and legal standards as a means to improve outcomes and reduce disparity.
  • Model collaboration with interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary teams in healthcare systems delivering care to complex, multi-need patients, families, and communities.
  • Analyze the impact of national and global health policies on the cost, quality, and access to care in diverse patient populations.
Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.