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MSN Coursework


During the admission process for the Master of Science in Nursing program, a review of academic transcripts is performed to assess whether or not the applicant has completed the prerequisite courses listed below. Students must complete the following prerequisite courses as part of their MSN before continuing to advanced practice courses (e.g., take undergraduate health assessment before advanced health assessment; take applied statistics and a nursing research course before the advanced practice research course).

Prerequisite Courses for MSN24 units
UNRS 220
Health Assessment
UNRS 367
UNRS 425
Nursing Research
GNRS 546
Theory and Practice in Health Care Systems in the Community
GNRS 547
Nursing Leadership in Acute Care Settings
PSYC 299
Applied Statistics

Note: Please click on the course numbers above for descriptions of these undergraduate courses listed. All prerequisite requirements must be completed before enrolling in graduate courses.

MSN Course Requirements

Students enrolling in one of the CNS specialties will need to first complete the MSN core courses below before they may begin the CNS specialty course requirements. Nurses who already have an MSN from APU or another institution may enroll in a Post-Master’s Credential program to obtain their CNS specialty.

Academic Core Courses10 units
GNRS 504
Bioethics and Health Policy
GNRS 506
Spiritual Care
Research and Theory in Advanced Practice Nursing
Advanced Practice Core Courses12 units
GNRS 512
Advanced Health Assessment and Health Promotion
4 (3/1)
- or -
GNRS 511
Advanced Pediatric Health Assessment and Health Promotion
4 (3/1)
GNRS 513
Advanced Nursing Practice Role
GNRS 515
Advanced Pathophysiology
GNRS 594
Pharmacology in Advanced Practice Nursing
Advanced Practice Specialty Courses 9-34 units
In addition to the academic core and advanced practice core courses, students select their clinical focus in one of the advanced practice clinical specialties: Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Parent-Child Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), School Nurse Services Credential (SNSC), Combined Adult CNS and ANP, Combined Parent-Child CNS and PNP, Combined SNSC and FNP, and Combined SNSC and PNP. In addition, Parish Nursing (PN) equips students in spiritual aspects of patient care. Students work closely with faculty and clinical preceptors to learn theory and practical skills essential for their advanced practice roles.
Concluding Courses1–3 units
GNRS 597
Comprehensive Examination Directed Study*
- or -
GNRS 598
GNRS 514
Research Proposal Writing
(required for thesis)

*Students must choose either the thesis or comprehensive exam option for 1 unit of credit to complete the program. For students choosing the thesis, the 2-unit course GNRS 514 is a prerequisite to proposing a thesis.

Elective Courses

Students may select additional elective courses to support their programs of study as directed by faculty. In addition, if desired, students may elect a secondary speciality in administration or education. To read more about the electives available, see the online course descriptions listing.

Combined Programs

The School of Nursing also offers these unique CNS combined programs for students who also want a Nurse Practitioner specialty:

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a semester?
15 weeks (12 in the summer)

How many evenings per week do I attend classes?
Students generally attend class one to two nights per week, depending on the number of classes in which they are enrolled.

How soon can I finish this program?
Most students complete the program in two to three years depending on how many courses are taken each semester and which specialty is selected.

How are clinicals arranged?
The School of Nursing faculty and staff arrange clinical settings with some student input as needed.

What kind of clinical settings are available?
The School of Nursing identifies appropriate clinical settings based on the student’s specialty. Settings may include hospitals, primary care clinics, churches, and schools, to name a few.

How do I figure out my schedule?
Knowledgeable faculty advisors assist students with a comprehensive course planner to ensure course continuity throughout the program.

How soon can I start?
The MSN program admits students three times per year in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Please submit your application by May 15 for consideration for the fall semester, September 15 for the spring semester, or January 15 for the summer semester.

Note: This information is current for the 2013-14 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.