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Nursing

Program Contacts

Susan Gatto, PhD: Director, School of Nursing
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. Students in the MSN program complete the Nurse Educator track. Post-master’s certificates and second master’s degrees are offered. Graduates 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: Nurse Educator

[2.1] Program Overview

The Master of Science in Nursing prepares students to meet the needs of an evolving healthcare environment by building on baccalaureate nursing education. The Nurse Educator track prepares students to meet the education needs of hospitals, health organizations, and colleges/universities. All MSN courses are offered online. New student orientation will be held at the beginning of the program.

[2.2] MSN Program Admission Requirements

Minimum requirements for application to the MSN are outlined here. Admission to the MSN program is selective and competitive. To apply, go to the UCA Graduate School application.

  1. A baccalaureate degree with an upper-division major in nursing from a nationally accredited nursing program (graduates of non-accredited nursing programs will be evaluated individually).
  2. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.70 on a 4.00 scale overall or 3.00 on the last 60 hours of earned credit.
  3. Completion of an undergraduate 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. 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. Cover letter
  7. Résumé
  8. Interview

Once the School of Nursing has received all required documentation, applications will be reviewed. Applicant’s cover letter and interview will be evaluated by graduate faculty, and the results for each applicant will be weighted with the applicant’s GPA.

[2.3] MSN Degree Post-Acceptance Requirements

Upon acceptance to the MSN program candidates must:

  1. Complete a criminal background check, as directed by the School of Nursing, with favorable results.
  2. Complete a drug screen, as directed by the School of Nursing, with negative results.
  3. Submit verification of specified health requirements (see School of Nursing Graduate Handbook for list of immunizations).
  4. Provide proof of health insurance coverage.

[2.4] MSN Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree requires 30 credit hours.

Required Courses

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
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 6249 Teaching Practicum for the Nurse Educator

[2.5] Program Retention Requirements

In order to graduate, students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Students who fall below the 3.0 GPA, will be placed on academic probation per the UCA Graduate School policy. MSN students can repeat any graduate level nursing course one time. Students who need to repeat a course will be given a revised plan of study.

To remain in good standing in the program, students must

  1. Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Make a grade of “B” or better in all nurse educator clinical courses {NURS 6345, 6340, 6348, 6249, 6350).
  3. Meet the policies and requirements of the School of Nursing Graduate Handbook.
  4. Meet all UCA Graduate School requirements for graduation.

[3] 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). Two PMCs are offered, the PMC in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and the PMC in Nurse Educator. 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.

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

Minimum requirements for application to the PMC and Second Master’s degree are outlined here. Admission to the program is selective and competitive. To apply, go to the UCA Graduate School application.

  1. Master’s degree in Nursing from a nationally accredited nursing program (graduates from non-accredited nursing programs will be evaluated individually).
  2. Current unencumbered license as a registered nurse in Arkansas (or state where clinical experiences will take place).
  3. Minimum cumulative graduate GPA at or higher than 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. Cover letter
  6. Résumé
  7. Interview

Once the School of Nursing has received all required documentation, applications will be reviewed. Applicant’s cover letter and interview will be evaluated by graduate faculty, and the results for each applicant will be weighted with the applicant’s GPA.

[3.2] 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 criminal background check, as directed by the School of Nursing, with favorable results.
  2. Complete a drug screen, as directed by the School of Nursing with negative results.
  3. Submit verification of specified health requirements (see School of Nursing Graduate Handbook for list of immunizations).
  4. Provide proof of health insurance coverage.

[3.3] 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 criminal background check, as directed by the School of Nursing, with favorable results.
  2. Complete a drug screen, as directed by the School of Nursing with negative results.
  3. Submit verification of specified health requirements (see School of Nursing Graduate Handbook for list of immunizations).
  4. Provide proof of health insurance coverage.

[3.4] PMC and Second MSN Degree Requirements

The amount and type of credit hours depend on the previous MSN. A Gap Analysis will be completed by the Graduate Program Coordinator to determine the appropriate plan of study.

[3.5] Program Retention Requirements

In order to graduate, students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Students who fall below the 3.0 GPA, will be placed on academic probation per the UCA Graduate School policy. PMC and Second MSN students can repeat any graduate level nursing course one time. Students who need to repeat a course will be given a revised plan of study.

To remain in good standing in the program, students must

  1. Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Make a grade of “B” or better in all nurse educator and nurse practitioner clinical courses.
  3. Meet the policies and requirements of the School of Nursing Graduate Handbook.
  4. Meet all UCA Graduate School requirements for graduation.

[4] DNP – Doctor of Nursing Practice

[4.1] 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 Post-Master’s DNP program are offered online. Courses in the BSN-to-DNP FNP track with clinical components require minimal (2–4) on-campus meetings per semester. Campus intensives may be required periodically throughout the program. New student orientation will be held at the beginning of the program.

[4.2] Post-MSN DNP

[4.2.1] Post-MSN DNP Admission Requirements

Minimum requirements for application to the Post-Master’s DNP are outlined here. Admission to the Post-MSN DNP program is selective and competitive. To apply, go to the UCA Graduate School application.

  1. An earned master’s degree in Nursing from a nationally accredited nursing program (graduates from non-accredited nursing programs will be evaluated individually).
  2. Current unencumbered registered nurse license in Arkansas (or state where clinical experiences will take place).
  3. Minimum cumulative GPA at or higher than 3.00 on a 4.00 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. Documentation of a minimum of 280 supervised clinical hours with a preceptor during the master’s nursing program.
  6. Cover letter
  7. Résumé
  8. Interview

Once the School of Nursing has received all required documentation, applications will be reviewed. Applicant’s cover letter and interview will be evaluated by graduate faculty, and the results for each applicant will be weighted with the applicant’s GPA.

[4.2.2] Post-MSN DNP Post-Acceptance Requirements

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

  1. Complete a criminal background check, as directed by the School of Nursing, with favorable results.
  2. Complete a drug screen, as directed by the School of Nursing, with negative results.
  3. Submit verification of specified health requirements (see School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook for list of immunizations).
  4. Provide proof of health insurance coverage.

[4.2.3] Post-MSN DNP Degree Requirements

The Post-MSN 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.

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 7V15 DNP Clinical Internship [Note 1]
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 fieldwork clinical practice hours embedded in course work. Students are given credit for clinical practice hours that were obtained in the MSN degree. Students who 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. 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. Also, students with accepted transfer course credit for courses that have fieldwork hours will need to complete the designated fieldwork hours by enrolling in one credit hour of NURS 7Vl5 DNP Internship.

[4.2.4] Program Retention Requirements

In order to graduate, students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Students who fall below the 3.0 GPA will be placed on academic probation per the UCA Graduate School policy. Post-Master’s DNP students can repeat any graduate level nursing course one time. Students who need to repeat a course will be given a revised plan of study.

To remain in good standing in the program, students must

  1. Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Make a grade of “B” or better in course NURS 7350 Translational Research.
  3. Meet the policies and requirements of the School of Nursing Graduate Handbook.
  4. Meet all UCA Graduate School requirements for graduation.

[4.3] BSN-to-DNP Nurse Practitioner

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

Minimum requirements for application to the BSN-to-DNP Nurse Practitioner track are outlined here. Admission to the BSN-to-DNP Nurse Practitioner track is selective and competitive. To apply, go to the UCA Graduate School application.

  1. A baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited nursing program (graduates of non-accredited nursing programs will be evaluated individually).
  2. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.70 on a 4.00 scale or 3.00 on the 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. Cover letter
  6. Résumé
  7. Interview
  8. Undergraduate Nursing students preparing to graduate should obtain a letter from the Dean or Director of Nursing School stating expected graduation date verifying current enrollment.

Once the School of Nursing has received all required documentation, applications will be reviewed. Applicant’s cover letter and interview will be evaluated by graduate faculty, and the results for each applicant will be weighted with the applicant’s GPA.

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

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

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

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

The BSN-to-DNP Nurse Practitioner degree requires 73 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.

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 [Note 2] (course is taken a total of 2 semesters and may be repeated as needed)
NURS 7V15 DNP Internship [Note 3] (**as needed to obtain DNP fieldwork hours due to transfer credit)

Note 2

All students must obtain a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical practice hours, including a minimum of 810 supervised, direct patient-care hours and 360 clinical practice hours to meet the DNP Essential competencies.

Note 3

Students with accepted transfer course credit for courses that have fieldwork hours will need to complete the designated fieldwork hours by enrolling in one credit hour of NURS 7V15 DNP Internship.

[4.3.4] Program Retention Requirements

In order to graduate, students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Students who fall below the 3.0 GPA will be placed on academic probation per the UCA Graduate School policy. BSN-to-DNP students can repeat any graduate-level nursing course one time. Students who need to repeat a course will be given a revised plan of study.

To remain in good standing in the program, students must

  1. Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Make a grade of “B” or better in the NURS 6315 Advance Health Assessment, NURS 6320 Advance Pathophysiology, and NURS 6325 Advanced Pharmacology.
  3. Make a grade of “B” or better in all Nurse Practitioner clinical courses (NURS 6511, 6512, 7513, 7514, 7230, 7235, 7V20)
  4. Make a grade of “B” or better in course NURS 7350 Translational Research.
  5. Meet the policies and requirements of the School of Nursing Graduate Handbook.
  6. Meet all UCA Graduate School requirements for graduation.

[5] 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.

[6] 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, https://www.aacnnursing.org/ and https://www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE.

[7] Graduate Courses in Nursing

Follow this link for NURS course descriptions: course link.