The master of science in nursing (MSN) program is designed to prepare students in adult-gerontologic or family health nursing to assume leadership roles in advanced professional nursing. Students are prepared for roles in nursing education. The graduate program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Students pursuing the nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist or administration role preparations need to apply to the post-baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN-to-DNP) degree option in keeping with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) decision to transition advanced practice nursing preparation to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree level.
Goals and purposes
The purposes of the MSN program are to help students achieve expertise in the following areas:
• Analyze, synthesize and apply knowledge
from nursing science and other
disciplines related to the health of adults,
older adults, and families.
• Synthesize, critique, evaluate and utilize
theory to guide advanced nursing roles.
• Synthesize, evaluate, and utilize research
to improve client outcomes for adults,
older adults and families.
• Demonstrate expertise in ethically based,
advanced clinical decision-making of
human responses in diverse populations.
• Integrate leadership and management
theories into advanced nursing roles.
• Analyze and synthesize current nursing
and health care issues and policies
within the context of advanced nursing
policy, organizations and health care
financing as a basis for the provision of
quality, cost-effective care.
• Assume beginning advanced nursing
roles across health care settings
demonstrating effective advocacy for
• Engage in lifelong learning and
scholarship for the advancement of
After admission to the program, the student must compete approximately 40 - 41 graduate credits to prepare for the educator role. Completion of the program usually requires four semesters and a summer session. For full time students, the first year of courses generally are on Mondays and the second year of courses are on Tuesdays, on campus. The summer course tends to be online with an immersion (on-campus) day. Students choose an adult-gerontologic or family health nursing population focus in addition to the education role preparation.
Preparation requires specific nursing courses that build on a core of nursing knowledge. The course work includes a scholarly project and/or thesis with a public presentation.
Together, students and their advisers select cognate courses to augment the student’s core knowledge, population focus, and functional role preparation. Post master’s degree options also are available.
Graduate students must earn a grade of C or better in course work ad practicum to successfully complete a course.
The second year educator role preparation courses tend to be offered on an alternate year basis, e.g., 2014 - 2015, 2016 - 2017. Please note, changes may be occurring in the MSN program in response to AACN requirements.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
UW-Eau Claire offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree option for individuals pursuing education in advanced practice nursing. The DNP is a clinical doctorate designed to prepare nurses to assume leadership roles in the areas of advanced practice nursing (nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist) or nursing administration. Both MSN-to-DNP and BSN-to-DNP options are offered.
Seven credits of clinical (approximately 525 hours) are in the population focus area (adult-gerontologic or family health), and part of the educator role preparation courses. These clinical experiences are accomplished under the guidance of a faculty member and a preceptor.
- Conceptual and Theoretical Foundations, 2 cr.
- Nursing Research: Methods, 4 cr.
- Nursing Research: Application, 2 cr.
- Leadership and Health Policy in Nursing, 3 cr.
- Scholarly Project or Thesis, 2 - 3 cr.
Population focus (choose one)
- Human Responses; and Advanced theory & Practice of
Adults/Older Adults 1 & 11, 8 cr.
- Individual/Family and Community Responses; and Advanced Theory & Practice of Family Health, 8 cr.
Functional role preparation
- Nursing Education I and II, 13 cr.
- Advanced Physiological and Pathophysiological, 3 cr.
- Advanced Clinical Concepts for Nurse Educators, 3 cr.
Application requirementsTo apply to the MSN program, an applicant must contact Dr. Mary Zwygart-Stauffacher and submit the following documents by January 15 for consideration for the following summer term:
- A complete application for graduate admission to the University along with the application fees.
- Official transcripts from post-secondary institutions.
- An undergraduate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited (CCNE or NLN) nursing program, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Evidence of course work in statistics at the undergraduate level.
- Three references from individuals who are knowledgeable of the applicant’s clinical ability and/or potential for graduate study.
- An essay.
- A complete Demographic Data Form.
- Wisconsin Registered Nurse licensure.
To apply for a graduate assistantship, fellowship, or the Advanced Opportunity Program (AOP), please also complete the online Graduate Assistantship/Fellowship/AOP Application. Applications completed by March 1 will receive priority consideration for assistantships, fellowships, and AOP grants; however, applications completed thereafter will continue to be considered on a rolling basis.
Practice experience, choice of population and role preparation, and residency in an underserved area also may be considered in admission decisions.
For information contact:Dr. Mary Zwygart-Stauffacher
Assistant Dean: post licensure programs