Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Chair or Program Director: 

Sherill N. Cronin, Ph.D., RN, BC, Chair of Graduate Nursing Studies
Miles Hall 203, Phone 502.272.8149,


TBD, Associate Director, Family Nurse Practitioner Program

Victoria Burns, Ph.D., APRN; Linda B. Cain, Ph.D., RN; Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Ed.D., APRN, CS; Lynette M. Galloway, DNP, APRN, PNP-BC; Kathy Hager, DNP, APRN; F. Barbara Jackson, Ph.D., RN; Joan C. Masters, Ed.D., APRN; Mary Pike, Ph.D., APRN, ACNS-BC; Britt Schloemer MSN, APRN, CPNP; Ta'Neka Vaden, DNP, APRN, WHANP-BC; Nancy L. York, Ph.D., RN, CNE

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Program Accreditation
The Master of Science in Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle NW #530, Washington, DC 20036, tel. 202.887.6791.

Program Overview
The purpose of the Master of Science in Nursing is to prepare nurses to improve nursing practice through the advancement of theories of nursing and research. The graduate of this program is prepared in nursing education, nursing administration, or advanced practice nursing. Consistent with Bellarmine’s goal to prepare leaders for our society, graduate students in nursing will be able to effect change within health care.

The graduate program leading to the Master of Science in Nursing builds on the baccalaureate degree. The curriculum is designed to meet the individual needs of students, while maintaining a sound academic program in nursing. Each student formulates his or her educational goals with a faculty advisor and maintains a close liaison with the advisor throughout the program of studies. The family nurse practitioner (FNP) track is designed for full-time or part-time study, while the administration and education tracks may be pursued on a part-time basis.

Program Outcomes
Graduates of the MSN program will be able to:

  • Synthesize advanced theoretical, empirical, and ethical knowledge to influence nursing practice.
  • Demonstrate competence in a professional role in administration, education, or clinical practice.
  • Use research skills to identify practice and system problems, initiate change, and improve outcomes.
  • Assume leadership roles that contribute to social, cultural, economic, and political changes to improve health care delivery, health promotion and disease prevention, and to advance professional nursing.

Areas of Concentration

Nursing Administration
The nursing administration track prepares professional nurses to function in management positions in a variety of health care settings. Students focus on financial and economic aspects of health care, human and resource management, and organizational leadership. Selected clinical, administrative, and research experiences provide the student with the opportunity to function as a nurse administrator. Practica must be completed in nursing administration.

Nursing Education
The nursing education track prepares professional nurses to function as beginning nurse educators. This may be in the area of staff development, health education, or preparation of nursing students. Selected teaching and research experiences in clinical and classroom settings provide the student with the opportunity to function as a nurse educator. Practica must be completed in nursing education.

MSN/MBA Program
The MSN/MBA program offers professional nurses a unique opportunity to prepare for leadership, management, and health policy roles in health care organizations. Students complete requirements of both the MSN nursing administration track and the MBA program. Eight hours from the MBA are applied to the MSN requirements of NURS 625, NURS 640, and an elective.

Family Nurse Practitioner
The family nurse practitioner track prepares professional nurses to provide a wide range of preventive and acute healthcare services to individuals of all ages. NPs take health histories and provide complete physical examinations; diagnose and treat many common acute and chronic problems; interpret laboratory results and X-rays; prescribe and manage medications and other therapies; provide health teaching and supportive counseling with an emphasis on prevention of illness and health maintenance; and refer patients to other health professionals as needed. Students will complete selected clinical practica as part of this curriculum.

Admission to the MSN Program

Admission to the master’s program requires approval by the Graduate Nursing Admission, Progression, and Graduation Committee. Admission of applicants is based upon the following criteria:

  • BSN from a CCNE or NLNAC accredited nursing program
  • Official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate course work. (Transcripts must be mailed directly from previous institution(s) to the Admission Office.)
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 required
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (if required). The GRE is waived for applicants with a GPA of 3.28 or higher.
  • If your undergraduate degree is from an international institution, you were born outside the United States, or English is your second language, you will be required to submit an official TOEFLiBT (internet-based test) score and receive a total score of 83 or higher and a 26 or higher on the speaking test. We will also consider an equivalent score on the IELTS or MELAB tests. The Nursing Admission, Progression and Graduation Committee reserves the right to require a TOEFL score from any applicant.
  • Three professional references (on form provided)
  • Goal statement
  • Resume describing relevant work, professional, and volunteer experiences
  • Proof of active, unrestricted license to practice nursing in Kentucky and/or compact states
  • An interview with graduate faculty members may also be required of applicants to the FNP track.
  • Because enrollment is limited in the FNP track, meeting the minimum requirements may not assure admission to that track.
  • Additional information is required from international applicants; see the MSN admission application form for more information

Direct questions or requests for applications to:
Julie Armstrong-Binnix, Graduate Admission Officer, 502.272.8364, 1.800.274.4723 x 8364, or

Technical Standards

Each student must be able to meet the basic technical standards of performance necessary for the practice of nursing (provided at the time of application) for admission and progression in the program of study.

The master’s degree program curriculum is designed to provide the education necessary for the advanced practice of nursing. Students build on the fundamental principles of nursing, acquire skills of critical judgment based on education and experience, and develop an ability to use principles and skills wisely in decision-making and problem solving pertaining to their roles as nurse educators or nurse administrators or advanced nurse practitioners. Students in the Master of Science programs are expected to fulfill the following technical standards:

  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences in the basic and applied sciences, including but not limited to information conveyed through lecture, group seminar, small group activities and physical demonstrations.
  • Acquire information from written documents and computer-information systems (including literature searches and data retrieval), and identify information presented in images from paper, video, transparencies and slides.
  • Use and interpret information from diagnostic maneuvers (e.g., sphygmomanometer, otoscope, ophthalmoscope, etc.), and other diagnostic representations of physiological phenomena during the course of conducting a comprehensive physical assessment of a client.
  • Accurately elicit information, including a medical history and other information required to adequately and effectively evaluate a client’s condition.
  • Synthesize information, problem solve and think critically to judge which theory and/or strategy of assessment and intervention is most appropriate.
  • Use intellectual ability, exercise proper judgment, timely and accurately complete responsibilities attendant to the advanced practice role.
  • Maintain effective, mature, and sensitive relationships with clients, students, faculty, staff and other professionals under all circumstances.
  • Communicate effectively and efficiently with faculty, colleagues, preceptors and all members of the health care team during practicum and other learning experiences.
  • Possess emotional stability to function effectively under stress and adapt to changing environments inherent in the classroom and practice setting.

Upon admission, a candidate in any nursing program who discloses a disability and requests accommodation will be referred to Disability Services (Bellarmine Office Building, 502/272-8480). The University will provide reasonable accommodations, but is not required to make modifications that would substantially alter the nature or requirements of a program or provide auxiliary aids that present an undue burden to the University. To matriculate or continue in the curriculum, the candidate must be able to perform all the essential functions outlined in the Technical Standards either with or without accommodation.

Degree Requirements

Course Listing