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M.S. in Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing

Program Description

The Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) degree program at IU South Bend prepares its graduates for leadership roles in advanced nursing practice as Family Nurse Practitioners. The goal of the M.S.N. is to develop nurses with the advanced practice nursing skills to increase the potential of our regional health care delivery system to improve the health of our communities. Program graduates will be eligible to seek certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).

The M.S.N. Family Nurse Practitioner Program is a 42 credit hour, postbaccalaureate graduate degree. Applicants to the program must hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from an accredited institution. The curriculum is roughly divided into two major sections: preclinical and clinical coursework. The preclinical courses provide the student with a core foundation for advanced practice. Clinical courses build upon that foundation, adding knowledge and its application in the direct clinical experience of advanced practice nursing. All degree requirements must be completed within six years of initial program enrollment.

The program is designed to meet the educational needs of working Registered Nurses, and is structured as a cohort-based, year-round, part-time study model. Degree requirements may be met through a combination of distance accessible and campus-based coursework. Clinical work is arranged in consultation and is undertaken under the guidance of a faculty member and a preceptor. Clinical placements are designed to meet individual goals as well as overall learning objectives.

Program Outcomes

The graduate of the M.S.N. degree program will be prepared to do the following:

  • Model excellence in nursing leadership to improve nursing practice within a complex health care system
  • Perform advanced nursing practice within ethical-legal guidelines, professional policies and regulations, and standards of practice associated with a specialty area of practice
  • Synthesize knowledge from nursing as well as biological, behavioral, social, administrative, educational, and communication sciences for application to a chosen domain of advanced practice nursing
  • Demonstrate scholarly inquiry and reflection that exemplifies critical, creative, and systems thinking to advance the practice of nursing
  • Frame problems, design interventions, specify outcomes and measure outcome achievement while balancing human, fiscal, and material resources to achieve quality health outcomes
  • Use information technology and knowledge-based resources to manage and transform data that informs clinical practice
  • Systematically apply knowledge from research findings and best evidence to answer clinical questions, solve clinical problems, and develop innovative nursing interventions and health policies for selected patient populations.
  • Demonstrate collaborative practice and interpret nursing science within an interdisciplinary context
  • Articulate the effects of culture, diversity, values, and globalization in the design, delivery, and evaluation of health services
  • Engage in life-long learning activities that contribute to professional development as well as the advancement of nursing

Program Admission

Admission to the IU South Bend School of Nursing M.S.N. Family Nurse Practitioner Program is selective, requiring faculty approval. Admission is based upon the applicant qualifications as evidenced by previous academic performance, statement of professional aspirations, and references. A personal interview may be requested. The following criteria must be met for unconditional admission:

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA requirement of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale from a National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited program or GRE within the past two years with results to the graduate council by April 1 for a GPA less than a 3.0.
  • Two years of full-time relevant clinical practice as an RN or equivalent in the past five years.
  • Official transcripts from all postsecondary coursework.
  • Copy of current Indiana Registered Nurse (R.N.) license :: A copy of the current Indiana license must be submitted at the time of application. Current unencumbered licensure as a R.N. in Indiana is requisite. Applicant must also complete a form attesting there is no action pending or have been taken against their licensure in Indiana or any other state they currently hold or have held a license to practice nursing or health care. International applicants not yet licensed in the United States will need to submit evidence of passing the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) examination before applying for an R.N. license in Indiana. 
  • 300-level course in statistics; 500-level course for 2016 admission :: Grade to be documented by transcript or current enrollment at IU South Bend. Applicants must attain a grade of B- or higher in a 3 credit hour, 300-level (or higher) class, taken within the last five years of the date of application. Applicants may request review of courses below the 300-level for acceptability. Such a request must be accompanied by course syllabi, not a course description. In 2016, the statistics requirement will be a 500-level or higher statistics course with a grade of B- or higher.
  • Essay (goal statement) :: A 250-word essay following the guidelines stated in the online admission form.
  • Interview :: Qualified applicants may be invited by the Graduate Faculty Council to engage in a professional interview.
  • Computer skills :: Verification of ability to use computer technologies including accessing, retrieving, receiving, and communicating information.
  • Evidence of proficiency in English as a foreign language :: Applicants whose native language is not English must take the Web-based version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which has a speaking portion. The applicant’s score must meet the requirements of the IU South Bend Office of Graduate Admissions.
  • Statement of essential abilities :: Applicants must attest that they meet the requisites of the essential abilities policy of the School of Nursing. The policy states that students must demonstrate the designated technical standards or essential abilities in a variety of areas (judgment, neurological function, emotional coping skills, intellectual/ conceptual skills, and other behavioral attributes) as well as meet all program progression criteria.
  • References :: Applicants need three professional references. Persons providing references must submit them via the online reference form.
  • Criminal background check :: Applicants must provide verification and results of a federal criminal background check within the past 12 months. IU South Bend School of Nursing has specific requirements for the criminal background check. Applicants are encouraged to review the procedure and specific requirements with the graduate program director prior to completion of application materials.
  • GRE :: The Graduate Record Examination is not required;  but may be taken as supplemental required admission materials if applicant does not have a 3.0 undergraduate AGPA.

Provisional admission may be granted to applicants not meeting all admission criteria in some selective situations. Provisional admission is granted upon recommendation and endorsement of the IU South Bend Graduate Faculty Council. Students admitted with provisional admission status will be placed on academic probation and must meet the stated terms of their probationary status to progress in the program.

Admission is valid only for the enrollment period designated in the admission letter. Deferred admission may be granted upon written request of the applicant; deferred admission may be subject to changes in admission policies or requirements of the later enrollment period. Reapplication is required if a written request for deferred admission is not made at the time of initial application.

Admission Process

Applicants to the M.S.N. degree program should visit and follow the directives that are posted for program-specific online admission. International students must apply through the IU South Bend Office of International Student Services.

Curriculum Sequence

All courses are 3 credit hours, unless otherwise designated.

The proposed curricular sequence for the M.S.N. Family Nurse Practitioner Program is as follows. The faculty and administration reserve the right to change the curricular sequence as needed to maintain program integrity.

Semester One
  • NURS-N 504 Leadership for Advanced Nursing Practice
  • NURS-Y 515 Pathophysiology (4 cr.
Semester Two
  • NURS-N 502 Theory I
  • NURS-Y 612 Pharmacology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners
Semester Three
  • NURS-F 570 Assessment of Individuals, Families, and Communities
  • NURS-Y 535 Dynamics of Family Health Care
Semester Four
  • NURS-R 500 Nursing Research Methods I
  • NURS-F 574 Primary Health Care Nursing-Adults (75 clinical hours)
Semester Five
  • NURS-F 572 Primary Health Care Nursing-Children
  • NURS-Y 620 Advanced Primary Care and Office Management Procedures
Semester Six
  • NURS-F 576 Primary Health Care Nursing-Women
  • NURS-R 590 Scholarly Project
Semester Seven
  • NURS-F Primary Health Care Nursing-Families (6 cr.) (375 clinical hours)

Academic Standing
Good Standing

A student is in good academic standing when his or her cumulative grade point average is 3.0 or higher.

Disciplinary Probation

Disciplinary probation is administered under the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. The faculty reserves the right to request the withdrawal of a student when problems related to personal integrity, health, maturity, or safety in the practice of nursing demonstrate the student’s unfitness to continue preparation for professional nursing.

Academic Probation

A student is placed on academic probation when the cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 or if he or she earns a C+ or lower in a required course. Students who are placed on academic probation for two semesters will be dismissed from the program.

Clinical Placements

Students are responsible for finding their own primary care clinical placements. No student is to have a clinical placement in a specialty area during the “Adults, Pediatrics, or Women’s Health” rotation other than what is specified in the course. Students may have 25% of their time in the Families course in a specialty area as long as that specialty is related to primary care. The student must be delivering hands on patient care. In-hospital or observation situations are not acceptable. The specialty area must be cleared with the course faculty.

Student Contracts

If a student receives a one or two in any area on the clinical evaluation form by the preceptor, faculty or student, the Graduate Program Director will be informed and an emergency Graduate Faculty Council meeting will be held to determine the course of action for the student. If the student is required to have extra clinical time, the student is to pay the clinical faculty $35 per hour for each additional visit (including transportation to and from the facility) that faculty must make. If a student receives an average of a B- or below at any time during any course taken during the program, the issue will come before the Graduate Program Director and possibly the Graduate Faculty Council for further course of action for the student.

Maintaining Status
  • Students who do not register for a period of three consecutive semesters will be dismissed from the program.
  • Students admitted on probation who fail to remove the conditions of admission within one semester will be dismissed from the program.
  • Students attaining an unsatisfactory grade (below B-) in any course may repeat the course only once. If a course must be repeated, the department may specify additional conditions relating to progression in the program until the course is successfully completed. Evidence of lack of progress toward the degree is described as failure to successfully attain a B- or higher in a course in which an unsatisfactory grade has been previously received. This means that a student will be dismissed from the MSN program if the student fails to achieve a minimum grade of B- or S (Satisfactory) in any one nursing course (didactic or practicum/clinical) by the second attempt, or any two nursing courses (didactic or practicum/clinical) on the first attempt. Students who do not complete all degree requirements within six years following initial registration will be dismissed. Students may appeal their dismissal to the Graduate Faculty Council. A dismissal can be appealed one time.

Grading Scale

All courses in the IU South Bend School of Nursing M.S.N. degree program utilize the following grading scale in all nursing courses. An attainment of at least a B–, or 80 percent, is required to successfully pass a course. Failure to receive a final grade of B– will require the student to retake the course.

The official grade code of Indiana University includes quality points for the purpose of determining the cumulative grade point average. See page 31 for the grading code scale.

Health Requirements

Students must meet the same immunization and health requirements as stated for undergraduate nursing students.

Statement of Essential Abilities

Graduate students must meet the same essential abilities as stated for undergraduate nursing students.

Professional Nursing Requirements

Students must maintain active health care provider level CPR status and Indiana R.N. licensure. Two years of relevant full-time clinical practice, or its equivalent, as an R.N. in the past five years are required. Application may be made during the cycle when the two years of experience as an R.N. will be reached.

Criminal Background Check

Criminal history background checks are required of all graduate nursing students in compliance with state and federal (House Bill 1633) regulations for individuals in clinical settings and working with patients and individuals who are vulnerable or minors. Licensure is also contingent upon the absence of most felony and some misdemeanor charges. An updated check for an enrolled student might have a bearing on the clinical site in which the student will be placed. Students will be asked to complete a criminal disclosure form each year in the fall.

A past criminal history may become a significant barrier to clinical practicum rotation placements. In addition, current Indiana law states that individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes may not be employed by or operate a home health facility or work in the Indiana public school system. While a conviction of a crime does not automatically disqualify a student from participation in community-based clinical, a criminal history may be grounds for denying progression depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding each individual case.

Other Policies

In addition to policies described under the general statement of the School of Nursing, the following policies govern master’s study in particular.

Credit Transfers

Students must obtain the consent of the graduate program director before credit earned at other institutions may be added to the official transcript. A maximum of 6 credit hours with a minimum grade of B in courses that fulfill the curriculum requirements may be transferred from an accredited college or university with the consent of the graduate program director. Credit hours used to meet requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing may not be used toward the Master of Science in Nursing. Students wishing to take graduate-level courses at another university to transfer to IU South Bend are highly encouraged to seek advising regarding credit transferability. Requests to transfer courses are reviewed on an individual basis. Specific information regarding transfer of credit hours can be obtained from the graduate program director.

Graduate Faculty Council

The Graduate Faculty Council is a group of nursing faculty and administration who have the primary function of overseeing the development, delivery and assessment of the curriculum and program. The Graduate Faculty Council is responsible for the development and enactment of nursing graduate studies policies and procedures pertaining to student issues, including admission, progression and graduation.


The baccalaureate and master’s programs at IU South Bend are accredited by the

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education :: One Dupont Circle, NW :: Suite 530 :: Washington, DC, 20036 :: (202) 887-6791.

We are very proud that the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, a national agency for the accreditation of baccalaureate and graduate-degree nursing education programs, accredited the Master’s in Nursing Program, Indiana University South Bend, School of Nursing through 2015.

Academic Bulletins

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