- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Students who hold a bachelor's degree and are nationally certified as an RN are eligible to apply for the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
In response to emerging trends in the field of advance practice nursing, FNU revised the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) curriculum in 2014 to incorporate some of the DNP Essentials. This "new" FNU MSN degree was available to students beginning their studies in January 2014 and after and Bridge students who "Crossed the Bridge" into the MSN January 2014 and after.
FNU graduates who completed the MSN with incorporated the DNP Essentials are eligible to follow the FNU Companion DNP program of study, a shorter program of study than the Post-Master's DNP offered by FNU. FNU graduates who began the MSN prior to January 2014 and who did not complete an MSN that incorporated the DNP Essentials and are eligible to continue into the Post-Master's DNP program of study.
FNU MSN graduates may transition into the DNP one of three ways: 1) in a streamlined fashion immediately following the MSN degree without a break in their studies, 2) in a streamlined fashion after taking an allowable one term stop-out the term after the MSN is conferred, and 3) after a break of more than one term via the FNU Admissions process.
- ADN Bridge Entry Option to the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Students holding an associate’s degree in nursing as the highest degree earned are eligible to enter the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program via the ADN Bridge Entry Option without first earning a bachelor’s degree. Students complete a series of Bridge courses to prepare them for the rigors of graduate education before progressing into the MSN curriculum.
The focus of the Bridge year is to bridge the knowledge gap between the ADN and MSN educational requirements to satisfy The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice. The 24-credit program of study for the Bridge year is completed in one year (4 terms) with students progressing through the Bridge coursework as a cohort. Students are NOT awarded a bachelor’s degree at the end of the Bridge year.
- Post-Graduate Certificate (PGC)
Students who already have an MSN and are nationally certified as an APRN nurse-midwife or nurse practitioner are eligible to complete a Post-Graduate Certificate (PGC) in an alternate specialty. Completion of the PGC allows the student to sit for an additional certification exam.
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Students entering the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program must be registered nurses who have completed a master’s degree in nursing or a related field and are nationally certified as a nurse-midwife or nurse practitioner. FNU offers two curricular paths to earning the DNP: the POST-MASTER'S DNP and the COMPANION DNP. Each path has its own eligibility for entry, listed below.
Current FNU students may begin the DNP coursework via Direct Admission immediately after completing the MSN or PGC degree. Alternately, FNU students may take a term or more off before beginning the DNP coursework. FNU students who do not participate via Direct Admission will be required to apply for readmission via the Standard Admission procedures.
If you are not a current FNU student you will be required to apply for admission to FNU via Admissions. For further information about the DNP program, visit the Catalog. Details for admission to the DNP program can be found at FNU Admissions.
POST-MASTER'S DNP Entry into the Post-Master’s DNP is available to applicants who:
-completed the MSN program at FNU that did not include the DNP Essentials, entered prior to January 1, 2014.
-completed the PGC program of study at FNU that did not include the DNP Essentials, entered prior to January 1, 2014 or entered after January 1, 2017. Students who began the PGC at FNU between January 1, 2014 and January 1, 2017 completed a curriculum that included the DNP Essentials.
-completed a MSN somewhere other than FNU.
The Post-Master's DNP allows students to complete a DNP degree with 28 credits (4-6 terms).
COMPANION DNP Entry into the Companion DNP program is only available to FNU graduates who:
-completed the MSN program at FNU that included the DNP Essentials, entered after January 1, 2014.
-completed the PGC program of study at FNU that included the DNP Essentials, entered between January 1, 2014 and January 1, 2017. Applicants who completed the PGC at FNU will have their transcripts evaluated prior to admission to determine appropriate program of study.
The Companion DNP allows eligible FNU graduates to complete a DNP degree with 19 credits (3-6 terms).
- Refresher Programs for Nurse-Midwives and Women's Health NP's
FNU offers refresher programs for nurse-midwives and masters prepared women's health nurse practitioners who have been out of practice but hold current certification through the AMCB and NCC, respectively. Students will meet with the Associate Dean of Midwifery and Women's Health to discuss an individualized program of study based upon their experience, length of time out of practice, and intended scope of practice. At minimum, the program of study would include advanced didactic coursework focusing on the appropriate area of practice and clinical experiences with the same focus.
Program of Study and Degree Audit
Programs of study establish the required courses and recommended path for degree completion. There is a standard program of study for each degree and specialty track, but individualized plans may be established for students with special circumstances (e.g., transfer credit, course withdrawal). The program of study for each specialty track can be found on the Registrar Banyan Tree Portal page for "Programs of Study."
Regardless of the path a student takes within the program, their advisor will prepare and share a personalized degree audit using Google Drive. This audit is a record of the student's progress toward graduation, including past, present and future courses, course grades, and other pertinent information. The degree audit is updated each term and may be viewed at any time by the student, their RCF, and other members of the university with access to student records.
POS Pacing & Time to Degree
MSN and DNP students are presented with two timelines for completing the program of study. One timeline allows students to complete their chosen degree at a faster pace (approx. 50 hours of study/week) and the other is for students who wish to progress at a standard pace (approx. 30 hours of study/week). If desired, students are able to speed up and slow down their timeline during their MSN coursework, keeping in mind the need for pre-requisite courses.
Because the coursework consists only of the management and clinical curriculum, PGC students are presented with just one timeline for completion. However, students are able to make modifications to their own individual timeline if necessary.
The decision about which plan to follow should be determined by the amount of time you have available to devote to your studies, accounting for all personal and professional responsibilities currently in your life. It is important to understand there isn't a "best" program of study, the best plan is the one that fits your individual needs. Your academic advisor can help you decide what pace is best for you.
Deciding on the DNP
Students enrolled in the MSN or PGC program have the option to pursue the DNP via a DIrect Admission option upon completion of their degree. There are many benefits to pursuing the DNP immediately following the MSN, including expanded professional opportunities and enhanced ability to impact your community, as well as academic efficiency and cost effectiveness. If you are still questioning whether this option is for you, contact your Department Chair or academic advisor for additional information and resources.
Click here to view a video of a recorded DNP information session for more details.