Nursing

Program Contacts

Susan Gatto, PhD: Department Chair
Telephone: (501) 450-3119 | Email: susang@uca.edu

Stacy Harris, DNP: Graduate Program Coordinator
Telephone: (501) 450-3119 | Email: stacyh@uca.edu

[1] Introduction

The School of Nursing is committed to educating students at the baccalaureate and graduate levels to address evolving health care needs and to advance the practice of nursing in an ever-changing society. Graduates of the baccalaureate program have the theoretical base in nursing and related disciplines and the skills, both interpersonal and technological, required for practice and have the foundation for graduate study.

The Master of Science in Nursing prepares students with a broad knowledge and practice expertise that builds and expands on baccalaureate nursing practice. Nurses with a master’s degree are prepared for a variety of roles and areas of practice. Graduates may pursue two specialty tracks: Nurse Educator with clinical specialty (NECS) and Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). Post-master’s certificates and second master’s degrees are offered. Graduates of each track are qualified for national certification examination.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice prepares students to specialize in practice-focused advanced nursing practice. Depending on the student’s academic preparation, they may pursue one of two DNP tracks: (1) BSN to DNP Nurse Practitioner track or (2) Post-Master’s DNP track. Graduates of the BSN-to-DNP Nurse Practitioner track are eligible for national certification examination.

Jump to … DNP Program

[2] MSN – Master of Science in Nursing

[2.1] Program Overview

All required MSN courses are offered online. Clinical courses with a laboratory component require minimal on campus meetings. MSN orientation will be held at the beginning of the first year. Dates and meeting times for campus experiences are scheduled in advance and posted on the School of Nursing web site.

[2.2] MSN Program Admission Requirements

Minimum admission requirements are outlined here. (See also https://uca.edu/nursing/master-of-science-in-nursing-admission-requirements/). Admission to the MSN program is selective and competitive.

  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. 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.
  6. Applicants for whom English is not the native language are required to score 83 or higher on the iBT TOEFL exam. 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.
  7. A completed application packet on central NursingCAS system.

[2.3] MSN Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree requires 31-32 hours depending on specialty track.

[2.3.1] Required Courses (16 hours)

NURS 6315 Advanced Health Assessment
NURS 6306 Research Methods for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 6360 Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 6420 Integrated Pathophysiology and Pharmacology for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7365 Population Health and Epidemiology for Advanced Nursing Practice

[2.3.2] Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Track (16 hours)

NURS 6327 Healthcare Quality and Leadership
NURS 6332 Health Policy for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 6470 Clinical Nurse Leader Practice
NURS 6371 Clinical Nurse Leader Immersion
NURS 7330 Healthcare Informatics for Advanced Nursing Practice

[2.3.3] Nurse Educator with a Clinical Specialty (NECS) Track (15 hours)

NURS 6345 Evaluation in Higher Education
NURS 6348 Instructional Design and Teaching Strategies
NURS 6350 Curriculum in Nursing and Health Professions
NURS 6340 Clinical Specialty for the Nurse Educator
NURS 6349 Teaching Practicum for the Nurse Educator

[2.4] Post-Master’s Certificates (PMCs) and Second Master’s Degrees

Master’s-prepared nurses seeking additional master’s preparation for national certification have the following options: (1) second master’s degree (minimum of 30 credit hours required) and (2) post-master’s certificate (minimum of 12 required hours). Those seeking first-time certification as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) must apply for the Post-Master’s DNP track. Applications to the post-master’s certificate (PMC) and second master’s degree are competitive. The number of applicants admitted is based on available openings.

[2.4.1] PMC and Second Master’s Degree Admission Requirements

  1. Master’s degree in Nursing from a nationally accredited program
  2. Current unencumbered RN license.
  3. Minimum Master’s in Nursing GPA at or higher than a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  4. Applicants for whom English is not the native language are required to score 83 or higher on the iBT TOEFL exam. 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.
  5. A completed application packet on centralized NursingCAS system:
    1. Printed verification from the State Board of Nursing website of current RN license or
    2. If APRN, (1) printed verification from the State Board of Nursing of current APRN license and (2) documentation of current national APRN certification.

[2.5] MSN, PMC, and Second Master’s degree Post-Acceptance Requirements

Upon acceptance to the MSN program, including PMC and Second Master’s degree, candidates must

  1. Complete a separate online application and pay an application fee directly to the UCA Graduate School.
  2. Complete a criminal background check, as directed by the School of Nursing, with favorable results.
  3. Complete a drug screen, as directed by the School of Nursing with negative results.
  4. Submit verification of specified health requirements (see School of Nursing Graduate Handbook for list of immunizations).
  5. Provide proof of health insurance coverage.

[3] DNP – Doctor of Nursing Practice

[3.1] Program Overview

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a practice-focused terminal degree that prepares graduates for the most advanced level of nursing. As practice leaders, the DNP-prepared scholar generates evidence through practice to guide improvements in the quality of health care, health outcomes, and health care systems. Graduates of the BSN-to-DNP track are qualified for national certification examination.

All courses in the DNP program are offered online. Courses with a clinical component may require minimal on campus meetings. Campus intensives may be required periodically throughout the program. Dates and meeting times for campus intensive experiences are scheduled in advance and communicated with students.

[3.2] Post-MSN DNP Admission Requirements

Admission to the Post-MSN DNP program is selective and competitive. Admission requirements include the following:

  1. An earned master’s degree in Nursing from a nationally accredited nursing program (CCNE, NLNAC, or ACEN) with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale).
  2. Current unencumbered RN license from the student’s state of residence and/or practice. Verification should be printed from your State Board of Nursing website.
  3. Transfer of no more than six (6) credit hours towards degree requirements.
  4. Documentation of the number of supervised clinical hours with a preceptor during your master’s program.
  5. Applicants for whom English is not the native language are required to score 83 or higher on the iBT TOEFL exam. 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.
  6. Personal Essay.
  7. Interview with DNP Admission Committee.

[3.3] Post-MSN Post-Acceptance Requirements

Upon acceptance to the Post-MSN DNP program, candidates must

  1. Complete a separate online application and pay an application fee directly to the UCA Graduate School.
  2. Complete a criminal background check, as directed by the School of Nursing, with favorable results.
  3. Complete a drug screen, as directed by the School of Nursing, with negative results.
  4. Submit verification of specified health requirements (see School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook for list of immunizations).
  5. Provide proof of health insurance coverage.

[3.4] Post-MSN DNP Degree Requirements

The Post-MSN Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree requires a minimum of 32 hours [Note 1] of planned sequential graduate nursing course work, including a DNP scholarly project in the last year of study. Students must also successfully complete meet all UCA Graduate School requirements for graduation.

[3.4.1] Required Courses

NURS 6390 Statistical Methods and Data Analysis for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 6332 Health Policy for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 6360 Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7120 DNP Project [total of two credit hours required]
NURS 7315 Healthcare Quality and Organizational Systems for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7320 Healthcare Economics and Finance for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7325 Ethics for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7330 Healthcare Informatics for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7340 Leadership Principles for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7350 Translational Research Methods for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7365 Population Health and Epidemiology for Advanced Nursing Practice

Note 1

All students must complete a minimum of 1,000 clinical practice hours post-BSN to complete the DNP. The curriculum provides 360 clinical practice hours embedded in course work. Students are given credit for clinical practice hours that were obtained in the MSN degree. Students that require more clinical practice hours to meet the 1,000 hour requirement may enroll in NURS 7V15 DNP Clinical Internship. The DNP Clinical Internship course is a variable-credit course that students can begin taking as early as their second semester of study (with permission from their project advisor). For each credit hour of DNP Clinical Internship, students spend 90 clock hours engaging in clinical practice activities that are aimed at meeting DNP Essential Competencies.

[3.5] BSN-to-DNP Nurse Practitioner Application and Admission Requirements

Admission to the BSN-to-DNP Nurse Practitioner track is selective and competitive. Application and admission requirements include the following:

  1. An earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited nursing program.
  2. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.70 (4.00 scale) or 3.00 on last 60 hours of earned credit.
  3. A current unencumbered license as a registered nurse in Arkansas (or state where clinical experiences will take place).
  4. Applicants for whom English is not the native language are required to score 83 or higher on the iBT TOEFL exam. 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.
  5. A completed application.

Admission to the BSN-to-DNP Nurse Practitioner track will be based on the following:

  1. GPA
  2. Personal Interview with DNP Admission Committee
  3. Scholarly Writing Sample
  4. Personal Statement

[3.6] BSN-to-DNP Nurse Practitioner Post-Acceptance Requirements

Upon acceptance to the BSN to DNP Nurse Practitioner track, candidates must

  1. Complete a separate online application and pay an application fee directly to the UCA Graduate School.
  2. Complete a criminal background check, as directed by the School of Nursing, with favorable results.
  3. Complete a drug screen, as directed by the School of Nursing, with negative results.
  4. Submit verification of specified health requirements (see School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook for list of immunizations).
  5. Provide proof of health insurance coverage.
  6. Submit a “Signed Hours Agreement” form acknowledging their understanding that they must provide verification of a minimum of 2,000 work hours as a registered nurse (RN) in order to be eligible to be licensed as an Advanced Practice Nurse – Nurse Practitioner in the state of Arkansas.

[3.7] BSN-to-DNP Nurse Practitioner Degree Requirements

The BSN-to-Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Nurse Practitioner degree requires 73 or more hours of planned sequential graduate nursing course work. Students must also successfully complete a DNP Scholarly Project in the last year of study and meet all UCA Graduate School requirements for graduation.

[3.7.1] Required Courses

NURS 6306 Research Methods for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 6315 Advanced Health Assessment
NURS 6320 Advanced Pathophysiology
NURS 6325 Advanced Pharmacology
NURS 6332 Health Policy for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 6360 Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 6390 Statistical Methods and Data Analysis for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 6511 Introduction to Primary Care for Nurse Practitioners
NURS 6512 Care of Adults Across the Lifespan I
NURS 7110 DNP Project Planning (*course is taken a total of 3 semesters)
NURS 7120 DNP Project (*course is taken a total of 2 semesters and may be repeated as needed)
NURS 7230 Advanced Clinical Decision Making I
NURS 7235 Advanced Clinical Decision Making II
NURS 7315 Healthcare Quality and Organizational Systems for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7320 Healthcare Economics and Finance for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7325 Ethics for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7330 Healthcare Informatics for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7340 Leadership Principles for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7350 Translational Research Methods for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7365 Population Health and Epidemiology for Advanced Nursing Practice
NURS 7513 Care of Adults Across the Lifespan II
NURS 7514 Care of Children for Family Nurse Practitioners
NURS 7V20 Residency for Doctor of Nursing Practice (*course is taken a total of 2 semesters and may be repeated as needed)

All students must obtain a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical practice hours, including a minimum of 810 supervised, direct patient-care hours.The number of residency hours (NURS 7V20) will be determined based on individual student needs.

[4] School of Nursing Policies

The current editions of the UCA Student Handbook and the School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook specify the rules, regulations, and policies that apply to all UCA graduate nursing students. It is the responsibility of the student to know and follow the most recent policies and procedures.

[5] Accreditation Status

The baccalaureate and master’s degree programs are approved by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. The DNP program is approved by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and is designed to meet professional standards for the practice doctorate developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The baccalaureate, master’s, post-master’s nurse practitioner certificate, and DNP programs in nursing at UCA are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, (202) 887-6791, www.aacnnursing.org and http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation.

[6] Graduate Courses in Nursing

Follow this link for NURS course descriptions: course link.