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Nursing professionals
Master of Science in
Nursing

Courses

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 a 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. Students in the Nurse Administrator option will select elective courses that suit their professional interests and background, in addition to the courses required for the option.
  • 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.)

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

MSN Core Courses (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Analysis and evaluation of the health care system with emphasis on health policy and economic issues affecting nursing practice.

  • 3
    credits

    Current conceptual and theoretical models in nursing, including relationship to practice and research in development of nursing science.

  • 3
    credits

    This course will provide foundational information regarding the concept of evidence-based research to achieve optimal patient care outcomes.

Nurse Administrator Option (21 credits)

Nurse Administrator Required Courses (15 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    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

    This course provides a foundation in information systems and technology for improvement of health care.

  • 3
    credits

    Concepts of health care economics and policy for nurse administrators.

  • 3
    credits

    Concepts and theories of leadership for nurse administrators.

  • 3
    credits

    Human resource management and workforce issues for nurse administrators.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 846

Nurse Administrator Elective Courses (select 6 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    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

    Strategic planning and resource management in higher education through institutional research.

  • 3
    credits

    Legal context of employment in the United States.

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides students with an overview of selected managerial behavior and career topics in modern organizations.

  • 3
    credits

    This course examines workplace diversity, gender, and race challenges facing employers and employees, and the skills for managing diversity.

  • 3
    credits

    Development of basic concepts and issues in public administration; administrative theory and public policy processes.

  • 3
    credits

    Nature, function, and technique of governmental budgeting viewed as mechanism for allocating resources among alternative public uses.

  • 3
    credits

    Concepts and approaches contributing to effective use of human resources in public and nonprofit organizations; legal issues and requirements.

  • 3
    credits

    The design, implementation, and purpose of computerized management information systems in public and nonprofit organizations.

  • 3
    credits

    Introduction to the analysis of public policy within its organizational and political contexts, including an emphasis on an economic perspective.

  • 3
    credits

    Examination of concepts of human behavior in formal organizations, systems analysis, conceptual models, and decision processes.

  • 3
    credits

    Theory of organizational change and development; case analysis of applications in actual situations.

    • Prerequisite

      HADM 510 or PADM 510

  • 3
    credits

    A survey of major human resource issues such as job stress, burnout, and the many forms of discrimination in organizations.

    • Prerequisite

      PADM 505 or HADM 510 or PADM 510

  • 3
    credits

    Theories and techniques of financial planning and control, with emphasis on their application in government and nonprofit agencies.

    • Prerequisite

      PADM 502

  • 3
    credits

    Study of the impact of a federal system of government on the administration of public functions. National-state-local dimensions.

  • 3
    credits

    Introduces students to the design of exposure assessment and health effect studies applicable to disasters and terrorism.

  • 3
    credits

    Investigates the impact that terrorist incidents may have on health care facilities or their ability to deliver health care services.

Nurse Educator Option (21 credits)

Nurse Educator Required Courses (21 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Advanced nursing assessment and diagnosis of physical, psychosocial, and developmental health for adults and families across the adult age spectrum.

  • 3
    credits

    Integration of advanced physiology, genetics, and pathophysiology as related to specific disease entities and alterations in functioning.

  • 3
    credits

    Pharmacologic therapies in advanced nursing practice.

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides a foundation in information systems and technology for improvement of health care.

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides a foundation in the role of the nurse educator and evidence-based strategies for nursing education. Students will explore various theoretical perspectives of teaching and learning, as well as practical application of strategies to meet the diverse needs of learners. The course is intended to prepare students to employ effective teaching strategies in classroom, clinical, and online educational settings. Discussion of managing various challenges related to nursing education will be included throughout the course.

  • 3
    credits

    Methods for assessment, measurement, and evaluation of student learning in academic and clinical settings.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 840

  • 3
    credits

    Curriculum design and evaluation, educational program development, and accreditation.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 840

Clinical Practicum (6 credits)

Choose one course based on option.
  • 6
    credits

    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

    Practicum in the application of the nurse administrator role in health care settings. (Includes 270 practicum hours.)

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 847

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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