[1] Objectives

Graduates of the Master of Science in Nursing degree program are prepared for advanced professional practice as a clinical nurse leader (CNL), nurse educator with a clinical specialty (NECS), or nurse practitioner (NP), have the foundation for doctoral study, and are prepared for life-long learning and continued professional development.

Students in the CNL track develop a nursing specialty based on their current or desired practice setting. Students in the NECS track select a role preparation in (1) higher education, (2) staff education, or (3) patient education with a clinical specialty in Community/Family; Geriatrics; Maternal/Newborn/Women’s Health; Adult; Pediatrics; and Psychiatric/Mental Health. The NP track focuses on primary health care; students select a specialty area in Adult/Gerontology or Family/Individual Across the Lifespan. Graduates of each track are academically qualified to take the appropriate national certification examination. Full-time and part-time schedules are available for all tracks.

[2] Accreditation/Approval

The UCA MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing.

[3] MSN Outreach

Helping BSN nurses in regions of the state under-served by MSN programs to obtain advanced nursing preparation, the UCA Department of Nursing offers all MSN required courses online.

[4] Post-Master’s Nurse Practitioner Options

Master’s-prepared nurses seeking preparation in any MSN track have two options to obtain academic requirements for national certification: (1) second master’s degree option and (2) post-master’s certificate option. These options provide a planned course of study for preparation in the desired track. Thirty credit hours are required for the second MSN degree. A minimum of twelve credit hours are required for the post-master’s certificate. Completion of the option is clearly noted on the student’s transcript. Contact the UCA Department of Nursing for more information regarding these options.

[5] RNP to MSN Option

This option allows baccalaureate prepared Advance Practice Nurse Practitioner (APN-NPs) and Registered Nurse Practitioners (RNPs) to receive course credit-by-challenge for up to 15 graduate hours of the Family Nurse Practitioner track. Credit-by-challenge is awarded based on the student’s credentials and through portfolio review or comprehensive exam. Students must complete a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours for the degree. For more information, contact the department.

[6] RN to MSN Option

Based on the Arkansas Nursing Education Articulation Model, the department offers an RN-to-BSN/MSN option for registered nurses with a diploma or associate degree. This track reduces the time required to complete the BSN and the MSN degrees. Contact the department for more information.

[7] MSN Program Admission Requirements

1.   A baccalaureate degree with an upper-division major in nursing from an NLNAC or CCNE accredited nursing program (graduates of non-accredited schools will be evaluated individually).

2.   A minimum GPA of 2.70 (4.00 scale) overall or 3.00 on last 60 hours of earned credit.

3.   Successful completion of a course in basic statistics, with a grade of C or above.

4.   Current unencumbered license as a registered nurse in Arkansas (or state where clinical experiences will take place).

5.   Submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

6.   At least one year of direct patient care clinical experience within the last three years as an RN prior to enrollment in the clinical courses. Based on the applicant’s recent clinical experience, the applicant might be required to take an independent clinical practicum course prior to enrollment in the clinical courses.

7.   A completed application packet which includes a resume/vita, written essay, three references, verification of clinical practice, and copy of RN license.

8.   An interview with Program Coordinator or designee.

9.   An acceptable (“clean”) criminal background check.

10. Applicants not born in the United States or in a country where English is the official language must document their English proficiency.  An official score of 83 or higher on the iBT TOEFL exam is required.  The exam must have been taken within the last two (2) calendar years.  Only iBT TOEFL scores received directly from ETS or the UCA Testing Center will be accepted as valid.

Note: Admission is competitive. Applicants are ranked based on the above admission requirements.

[8] Post-Admission Requirements

Upon acceptance to the MSN program, evidence of the following is required prior to the first nursing course: completion of demographic information form and completion of a Department of Nursing plagiarism assignment, and a “clean” acceptable urine drug screening. Prior to initial clinical or practicum course evidence of the following must be submitted: record of specified immunizations or signed declination statement(s), current health insurance, professional liability insurance, unencumbered RN license, CPR certification, and TB skin test or state health department verification of  freedom from tuberculosis infection.

[9] MSN Degree Requirements

The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) and Nurse Educator with a Clinical Specialty (NECS) tracks require 39 hours of planned sequential graduate nursing course work. The Nurse Practitioner (NP) tracks require 39-44 hours of planned sequential graduate nursing course work. Students must also successfully complete a comprehensive examination or portfolio in the last semester of course work and meet all UCA Graduate School requirements for graduation.

[10] Candidacy

Admission to candidacy for the Master of Science in Nursing degree must be completed when the student has completed 9 – 18 credit hours of nursing coursework. It requires the following:

1.  Removal of any undergraduate course deficiencies or grade provisions.

2.  Completion of between 9 and 18 graduate hours of nursing coursework at UCA with a minimum GPA of 3.00.

3.  Completion of two of the five MSN foundation courses (6301, 6304, 6322, 6332, 6347) with a minimum GPA of 3.00.

[11] Course Requirements

[11.1] Foundation Courses for All Tracks 

[11.1.1] MSN Foundation Courses (15 hours)

NURS 6301, 6304, 6322, 6332, and 6347

[11.1.2] Advanced Practice Foundation Courses (9 – 12 hours)

NURS 6315, 6320, 6322, and NURS 6325

[11.2] Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Track

[11.2.1] Clinical Support Courses (3 hours)

NURS 6305

[11.2.2] CNL Focus Courses (6 hours)

NURS 6327 and 6329

[11.2.3] CNL Clinical Specialty Courses (6 hours)

NURS 6370 and 6371

[11.3] Courses for the Nurse Educator with a Clinical Specialty (NECS) Track

[11.3.1] NECS Focus courses (9 hours)

NURS 6345, 6348, and 6350

[11.3.2] NECS Clinical Courses (6 hours)

NURS 6340 and 6349

[11.4] Clinical Specialty Courses for the Nurse Practitioner (NP) Tracks

[11.4.1] Clinical Support Courses (3 hours)

NURS 6305

[11.4.2] NP Clinical Courses – Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Specialty (FNP) (17 hours)

NURS 6520, 6521, 6526, and 6164/6264 (2 hours required)

[11.4.3] NP Clinical Courses – Adult/Gerontology Specialty (ANP) (12 hours)

NURS 6521, 6526, and 6160/6260 (2 hours required)

[12]  Graduate Courses in Nursing 

Follow this link for NURS course descriptions: course link.