Curriculum Overview

Degree Types

  • 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.

      For further information about the MSN program, visit the Catalog. Details for admission to the MSN program can be found at FNU Admissions.

  • 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.

      For further information about the ADN Bridge Entry Option, visit the Catalog. Details for admission to the ADN Bridge Entry Option can be found at FNU Admissions.

  • 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.

      For further information about the Post-Graduate Certificate program, visit the Catalog. Details for admission to the PGC program can be found at FNU Admissions.

  • 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 streamlined admission immediately after completing the MSN or PGC degree. Alternately, FNU students may take an allowable one term (1 term) stop-out after the term in which the MSN or PGC is conferred before beginning the DNP coursework. FNU students who stop-out for more than one term will be required to apply for readmission to FNU.

      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).

  • Women's Health Post-Graduate Certificate for CNEP Graduates
    • FNU CNEP graduates are eligible to pursue a Women's Health Post-Graduate Certificate by completing an additional four credit hour clinical course in women's health and primary care. This is an excellent opportunity to expand your knowledge and enhance your opportunities in the women's health field, leading to board certification in two areas of practice.

      Current FNU students interested in completing this option immediately following the MSN or PGC degree should begin the application for admission and credentialing process at least one term prior to completing the degree.

      More information about the Women's Health Post-Graduate Certificate for CNEP Graduates can be found on the How Do I...? page and in the Catalog. Details for admission to the Women's Health Post-Graduate Certificate for CNEP graduates can be found at FNU Admissions.

  • 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.

      For further information about either of these refresher programs, visit the Catalog. Details for admission can be found at FNU Admissions.

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 portal page for "Programs of Study."  

Regardless of the path a student takes within the program, his/her 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, his/her RCF, and other members of the university with access to student records.  

 

POS Pacing & Time to Degree

MSN 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. 

Recognizing that the nature of the DNP coursework differs significantly from the MSN and PGC, DNP students have a third timeline option. 

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 in a streamlined fashion, with or without a one-term stop-out, 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 Associate Dean or academic advisor for additional information and resources.

Click here to view a video of a recorded DNP information session for more details.

Complete this form to express your interest in the Companion DNP. The interest form can be completed at any point in time in advance of beginning the DNP.