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Graduate School » Health Sciences » Nursing (MS)

Master of Science in Nursing

The Master of Science in Nursing is a hybrid program that prepares you for advanced practice — at your convenience. The Family Nurse Practitioner curriculum prepares you to function in advanced practice roles in primary care in order to provide holistic, comprehensive nursing care. Your courses will emphasize health promotion, health protection, and diagnosis. This track consists of 39-45 semester credits and 645 hours of clinical. Classes are offered in a hybrid format, giving you the flexibility to continue working while you earn your degree.  You attend class on selected Tuesdays at the Fort Wayne campus and the rest of your coursework is completed online. 

Full Time /Part Time Curriculum Plan

Post MSN Curriculum Plan

Program Outline

All courses are three credit hours, unless stated otherwise.  The program includes 45 credit hours and 645 total clinic hours.

  • NURS 501 Theoretical Bases of Nursing
    • Examines advanced knowledge of nursing and non-nursing models, concepts, and theories as the supporting framework for advanced nursing practice. Interrelationships among theory, research, and practice are explored with an emphasis on the process of scientific theory development, systematic evaluation of selected theories, development of a personal philosophical view of nursing, and implementation of theory-based practice. (offered summer session only)
  • NURS 530 Advanced Pharmacology
    • Explores knowledge of the principles of pharmacodynamics, pharmacotherapeutics, pharmacokinetics, diagnostic test interferences, drug interactions, incompatibilities, pathophysiologic impact, client issues and nursing implications relevant to the complex decisions to be made in the pharmacologic management of common acute and chronic illnesses. Students learn how to write prescriptions for prototype drugs that are used to manage common acute and chronic conditions treated in the primary care setting.
  • NURS 528 Advanced Nursing Science and Inquiry
    • Comparison and contrast of quantitative and qualitative methods of nursing research. Examines numerous examples of actual clinical nursing research and analyzes the research process including design, sampling, data collection, interpretation, analysis and reporting of findings. Focuses on preparing students to conduct comprehensive literature searches and critically evaluate published research literature in order to become research consumers and participants in an evidence-based practice environment. Introduces ethical considerations and Institutional Review Board policies and procedures.
  • NURS 532 Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology
    • Begins with an in-depth study of cell structure and function as a foundation to understanding physiologic as well as pathophysiologic processes. A systems perspective is used to examine normal human physiology followed by the pathophysiology of common diseases, including the incidence, etiology, manifestation, and prognosis. The physiologic basis for selected complementary/alternative therapeutic interventions is addressed. Throughout the course, great emphasis is placed on students’ ability to analyze and articulate the changes in normal physiologic function that occur with disease as a basis for advanced practice assessment and intervention in primary health care settings. Application is stressed through use of critical thinking questions and case studies.
  • NURS 535 Advanced Health Assessment
    • Builds on existing skills in interviewing and assessment, using a variety of independent and faculty-directed activities. Stresses health assessment, history taking, interviewing, and advanced nursing practice physical assessment skills, and provides the basis for decision making and management of care.
  • NURS 537 Clinical: Advanced Health Assessment (I Credit)
    • Provides a simulated experience in the nursing laboratory for students to learn and develop competency of physical assessment skills. Physical assessment demonstrations are done using a systems perspective that follows the theory format from NURS 535.
  • NURS 562 Communities, Populations and Systems: Theoretical Perspectives
    • Provides students with a framework for advanced practice in community health. Emphasis is on application of public and community health theory and research in providing healthcare for aggregate populations at risk and the community as a whole. Principles of epidemiology, population demographics, and culture care are integrated into the design and evaluation of community-focused healthcare delivery models to improve health status of the population. Explores in-depth sociocultural, ecological and systems of care delivery factors that contribute to health disparities. Health promotion, disease prevention and risk reduction are emphasized in order to identify population needs, community resources, and programmatic interventions. Prerequisite: NURS 501, NURS 528
  • NURS 570 Primary Care of Adults
    • Provides an in-depth study of the healthcare management of adults within the framework of advanced nursing practice. Focus is placed on wellness, and the pathophysiology and epidemiology underlying acute and chronic adult health problems in primary healthcare settings. Emphasis is placed on development of diagnostic reasoning and decision making/critical thinking in primary adult healthcare. Proposed case management will focus on principles of health promotion, maintenance, restoration and disease prevention. Prerequisite: NURS 530, NURS 535/537; Co-requisite: NURS 532, NURS 572
  • NURS 572 Clinical: Primary Care of Adults (2 Credits)
    • Guided preceptorship in the clinical role of the advanced family nurse practitioner in primary adult care. Synthesis of previous learning from the natural/behavioral sciences and from nursing science as a foundation for managing physical and emotional health and illness states. Emphasis is on development of diagnostic reasoning in primary healthcare. Strategies such as health promotion, risk analysis and reduction, non-traditional therapies, lifestyle change, disease detection and prevention and health restoration are incorporated into aspects of advanced therapeutic nursing practice. Prerequisite: NURS 530, NURS 535/537; Co-requisite: NURS 570
  • NURS 581 Primary Care of Adults and Aging
    • Continuation of Primary Care of Adults with an emphasis on elder care within the framework of advanced nursing practice. Evaluation and synthesis of advanced pathophysiology concepts applied to nursing and health-related theories and research is fostered in the diagnosis, management, monitoring and evaluation of common acute, emergent health conditions with an emphasis on chronic health conditions and diseases affecting the elderly. Prerequisite: NURS 570/572; Co-requisite: NURS 582; Prerequisite or Co-requisite: NURS 528
  • NURS 582 Clinical: Primary Care of Adults and Aging (2 Credits)
    • Guided preceptorship in the clinical role of the advanced family nurse practitioner focusing on management of chronic conditions and conditions affecting the elder adult. This course assists students to develop and broaden clinical judgment and skills in the care of adult clients. Focus is on the differential diagnosis, clinical decision making and management, as well as patient and family education within the context of primary care. Prerequisite: NURS 570/572; Co-requisite: NURS 581; Prerequisite or Co-requisite: NURS 528
  • NURS 555 Primary Care of Children
    • Provides the knowledge and skill base necessary for the advanced practice nurse to deliver services to the pediatric population. History taking and physical exam skills tailored to the pediatric client are taught. Developmental frameworks of Erikson, Piaget and Kohlberg are utilized with emphasis on normal growth and development including the influences of temperament and environment with this population. Both well-child management, with emphasis on anticipatory guidance, as well as management of common acute and chronic health problems in the pediatric ambulatory setting are studied. Prerequisite: NURS 528, NURS 570/572; Co-requisite: NURS 556
  • NURS 556 Clinical: FNP- Primary Care of Children (2 Credits)
    • Guided preceptorship in the clinical role of the advanced family nurse practitioner with emphasis on the pediatric population. The student develops a knowledge base that focuses on health assessment, health promotion and disease prevention, and the diagnosis and advanced management of congenital, acute and stable chronic conditions in the pediatric population. Prerequisite: NURS 528, NURS 570/572; Co-requiste: NURS 555
  • NURS 575 Primary Care of Women (2 Credits)
    • Focus is on the advanced health assessment, health promotion and disease prevention from a holistic perspective covering menarche through menopause. Course content covers physical and environmental assessment, non-traditional therapies, risk analysis and reduction, and health restoration in the diagnosis and management of acute and chronic health conditions specific to women. Emphasizes the reproductive, genitourinary and endocrine systems as a basis for the comprehensive assessment, diagnosis, and advanced management of women in the primary care setting. Family, nursing and developmental theories and evidence-based practice are incorporated to promote effective patient-centered care. Prerequisite: NURS 581/582; Co-requisite: NURS 578
  • NURS 578 Clinical: FNP- Primary Care of Women (1 Credit)
    • Guided preceptorship in the clinical role of the advanced family nurse practitioner with emphasis on the primary care of women. Application of comprehensive assessment, diagnosis, and advanced management of women during the childbearing years is incorporated into the primary care setting. The student develops a knowledge base for clinical decision making in the advanced health assessment, health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment of acute and stable chronic illnesses of women from menarche through menopause. Prerequisite: NURS 581/582; Co-requisite: NURS 575
  • NURS 510 Advanced Practice Roles and Issues (2 Credits)
    • This course facilitates transition from the registered nurse role to the advanced practice nursing role. Students develop a portfolio to validate attainment of program outcomes and to serve as a model of continued professional growth. Role development of the professional advanced practice nurse is emphasized, including integration of evidence-based practice and the implications of legal, ethical, and social issues on the professional role. Current issues related to healthcare delivery, policy formation, informatics and healthcare economics related to optimal care and improved patient outcomes are discussed.
  • NURS 595 Advanced Practice Residency and Synthesis (6 Credits)
    • Capstone clinical course in which students demonstrate competency in their professional roles as beginning Family Nurse Practitioners. Students provide advanced therapeutic nursing interventions to clients through the synthesis of nursing theory, application of nursing research and commitment to community and global service. The student demonstrates skills in comprehensive assessment, management, and evaluation of health and illness states. Students utilize effective collaboration and communication with health team members, individual clients, families and communities in order to provide assistance with health promotion, maintenance and restoration. Self-actualization principles guide this clinical course as students assimilate the FNP role, use research to validate and improve the delivery of holistic nursing care, and integrate nursing theory into their advanced practice.
      NOTE: In the final semester of NURS 595, students must plan clinical hours with their clinical instructor. It is important that the majority of clinical hours be spent in a primary care setting, to help prepare for the FNP certification exam.

Admissions Requirements

To be admitted as a student into the Master of Science in Nursing program, you must meet the following requirements.

  • Hold an ASN, BSN or MSN degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States
    • If you have an associate’s degree, apply for the RN-MSN track.
    • If you have a bachelor’s degree, apply for the MSN degree program.
    • If you have a master's degree in nursing, apply for the Post-MSN track
  • Hold a current license as a registered nurse
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale
    • If you have less than a 3.0, you will be required to submit GRE scores of at least 400 (old format) or 150 (new format) on the verbal and quantitative sections and 4.0 on the analytic writing section.
  • Completed a graduate or undergraduate statistics course within the last five years
    • If you do not meet this requirement, you will need to take MATH 302 before starting your graduate coursework.

If you do not meet all of the above criteria, you may still be admitted "provisionally." If you are admitted provisionally, you must earn a GPA of 3.20 in the first six hours of graduate nursing courses at USF before you are fully admitted to the program.  Until you are fully admitted to the program, you are not eligible to receive a graduate assistantship or graduate scholarship.

If you are not granted admission into the program, you must wait two academic years before reapplying. You will also be required to complete the GRE, with a score of 150 on both the verbal and quantitative areas.

Steps to Apply

To complete the application process, please submit the following. Electronic files can be submitted to gradschool@sf.edu.

  • Completed application form (plus $20 fee if submitting the paper application)
  • Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended
    • Must be sent directly from Registrar of institution(s) attended
  • DD214 form (United States veterans only)
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of reference, using our departmental form
  • Complete and submit the USF MSN essay, which should be typed, one to two pages in length, double-spaced, APA format and address the following question: How have you contributed to the profession of nursing?  Please include presentations, publications, mentoring, evidence-based practice, leadership roles, committee participation, and role in professional organizations. 
  • Complete the admissions interview (Nursing Interview Dates).

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Contact Us

If you have questions about getting started in our Master of Science in Nursing degree program, please let us know. You are welcome to contact the nursing program director or your personal graduate counselor.