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Nursing professionals
Master of Science in


Penn State's 36-credit online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program can help you build on your existing nursing experience with the additional knowledge and skills you need to lead change in the dynamic health care environment.

Your curriculum will include:

  • Core courses — All students enrolled in the MSN program will take the same three core courses to build your foundation of learning.
  • Option-specific courses — You will choose either the Nurse Administrator option or the Nurse Educator option and take the courses related to those options.
  • Elective courses — As a student in the Nurse Administrator option, you will select elective courses that suit your professional interests and background.
  • Clinical practicum — You will be required to complete 270 hours of a clinical practicum after finishing your option-specific courses. This can be completed in a convenient location based on your current work schedule. (Criminal background checks and other compliances will be required, with the cost being incurred by the individual student.)

Course List - Master of Science in Nursing

To earn Penn State's online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), you will need to successfully complete a minimum of 36 credits, including a set of core courses as well as option-specific courses, depending on whether you choose to follow the Nurse Administrator or Nurse Educator option. Along the way, you can further refine your studies by taking elective courses based on your interest and background. You will round out your credit requirements with a clinical practicum.

The curriculum is offered in both part-time and full-time academic plans. The part-time schedule consists of two courses per semester in fall and spring, with additional courses offered during the summer semester. With the full-time schedule, you would take three courses per semester in each fall and spring, with additional courses available during the summer semester.

  1. 9 credits of MSN core courses
  2. Option-specific courses:
    15 credits for the Nurse Administrator option
    21 credits for the Nurse Educator option
  3. Elective courses: 6 credits of administration electives for the Nurse Administrator option
  4. 6 credits of a clinical practicum
MSN Required Courses (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Issues in Nursing and Health Care NURS 501 Analysis and evaluation of the health care system with emphasis on health policy and economic issues affecting nursing practice. 3 credits
Theoretical Foundations of Nursing NURS 510 Current conceptual and theoretical models in nursing, including relationship to practice and research in development of nursing science. 3 credits
Evidenced-Based Practice I: Theory and Research Methods NURS 830 This course will provide foundational information regarding the concept of evidence-based research to achieve optimal patient care outcomes. 3 credits
Nurse Administrator Option Courses (15 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Population Health Perspectives NURS 808 This course explores population health concepts, measurement, and application in practice, research, and policy. This course explores population health as a framework for improving health in society. Multiple determinants will be examined in relation to health status measurement, health and disease trends, and health disparities at a community, national, and global perspective. 3 credits
Health Care Informatics NURS 836 This course provides a foundation in information systems and technology for improvement of health care. 3 credits
Health Care Economics and Policy for Nurse Administrators NURS 845 Concepts of health care economics and policy for nurse administrators. 3 credits
Leadership Concepts and Theories for Nurse Administrators NURS 846 Concepts and theories of leadership for nurse administrators. 3 credits
Human Resource and Workforce Issues for Nurse Administrators NURS 847 Human resource management and workforce issues for nurse administrators.

Prerequisite: NURS 846
3 credits
Nurse Educator Option Courses (21 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Physical Assessment Through the Lifespan NURS 802B Advanced nursing assessment and diagnosis of physical, psychosocial, and developmental health for adults and families across the adult age spectrum. 3 credits
Pathophysiology NURS 803 Integration of advanced physiology, genetics, and pathophysiology as related to specific disease entities and alterations in functioning. 3 credits
Pharmacologic Therapy NURS 804
Pharmacologic therapies in advanced nursing practice.
3 credits
Health Care Informatics NURS 836 This course provides a foundation in information systems and technology for improvement of health care. 3 credits
Nursing Education Theories and Strategies NURS 840 Theoretical foundation and evidence-based strategies for nursing education. 3 credits
Assessment and Evaluation in Nursing Education NURS 841 Methods for assessment, measurement, and evaluation of student learning in academic and clinical settings.

Prerequisite: NURS 840
3 credits
Curriculum and Program Development in Nursing Education NURS 842 Curriculum design and evaluation, educational program development, and accreditation.

Prerequisite: NURS 840
3 credits
Electives (Select 6 credits for Nurse Administrator Option)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Administration in Higher Education HI ED 552 Philosophy of administration; principles of scientific management and their application in colleges and universities; case studies of administrative problems.

Prerequisite: Courses or experience in higher education.
3 credits
Planning and Resource Management in Higher Education HI ED 810 Strategic planning and resource management in higher education through institutional research. 3 credits
Labor and Employment Law HRER 501 Legal context of employment in the United States. 3 credits
Human Behavior and Organizational Performance HRER 802 This course helps students understand individual and team behavior in organizations and its impact on individual, team, and organizational effectiveness. 3 credits
Diversity in the Workplace HRER 836 This course examines workplace diversity, gender and race challenges facing employers and employees, and the skills for managing diversity. 3 credits
Public Organization and Management P ADM 500 Development of basic concepts and issues in public administration; administrative theory and public policy processes.

3 credits

Governmental Fiscal Decision-Making P ADM 502 Nature, function, and technique of governmental budgeting viewed as mechanism for allocating resources among alternative public uses.

3 credits

Human Resources in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors P ADM 505 Concepts and approaches contributing to effective use of human resources in public and nonprofit organizations; legal issues and requirements. 3 credits
Management Information Systems for Public and Health Administration P ADM 506 The design, implementation, and purpose of computerized management information systems in public and nonprofit organizations. 3 credits
Introduction to Public Policy Analysis P ADM 507 Introduction to the analysis of public policy within its organizational and political contexts, including an emphasis on an economic perspective. 3 credits
Organizational Behavior P ADM 510 Examination of concepts of human behavior in formal organizations, systems analysis, conceptual models, and decision processes. 3 credits
Organizational Change and Development P ADM 511 Theory of organizational change and development; case analysis of applications in actual situations.

Prerequisite: H ADM 510 or P ADM 510
3 credits
Issues in Human Resources P ADM 512 A survey of major human resource issues such as job stress, burnout, and the many forms of discrimination in organizations.

Prerequisite: P ADM 505 or H ADM 510 or P ADM 510
3 credits
Government Financial Management P ADM 522 Theories and techniques of financial planning and control, with emphasis on their application in government and nonprofit agencies.

Prerequisite: P ADM 502
3 credits
Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations P ADM 557 Study of the impact of a federal system of government on the administration of public functions. National-state-local dimensions. 3 credits
Public Health Evaluation of Disasters and Bioterrorism PHP 527 Introduces students to the design of exposure assessment and health effect studies applicable to disasters and terrorism. 3 credits
Critical Infrastructure Protection of Health Care Delivery Systems PHP 530 Investigates the impact that terrorist incidents may have on health care facilities or their ability to deliver health care services. 3 credits
Clinical Practicum (6 credits — Choose one course based on option)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Synthesis and Application of the Nurse Educator Role NURS 843 Practicum in the application of the nurse educator role in academic and health care settings. (Includes 270 practicum hours.)

Prerequisite: NURS 841; NURS 842
6 credits
Synthesis and Application of the Nurse Administrator Role NURS 848 Practicum in the application of the nurse administrator role in health care settings. (Includes 270 practicum hours.)

Prerequisite: NURS 847
6 credits

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

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