MS in Nursing

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Pursue Exceptional Patient Care with an Online Nursing Master's Degree

Few fields face so many challenges while touching so many lives. New therapies, futuristic technologies and complex medical treatments are introduced on a daily basis. Healthcare legislation and regulation are more stringent than ever before. And the public is taking a magnifying glass to patient care. To keep quality of care aligned with the country's expectations and demands, hospitals and doctors need highly trained nurses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of positions that require a master’s in nursing will skyrocket by more than 21 percent over the next seven years. Top treatment centers – including ANCC Magnet hospitals – are actively looking for nurses with advanced degrees to take their patient care to the next level.

Southern New Hampshire University's online nursing master's degree can prepare you for these advanced positions with critical thinking and leadership skills centered on patient care. This affordable, online nursing master's degree can also start you on the road to becoming an advance practice nurse.

The Future of Nursing

The nursing community will be instrumental in keeping the U.S. healthy in the coming years and advanced training will keep nurses on their game, according to leading authorities. The Institute of Medicine's (IOM) ''The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health'' report identifies a growing demand for qualified nurses who are prepared to meet the complex and changing needs of the 21st-century healthcare workforce. And the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice has recommended that at least two-thirds of the workforce hold baccalaureate or higher degrees in nursing.


The online nursing master's degree at SNHU prepares today’s nurses with the key competencies necessary for continuous improvement of the quality and safety of healthcare systems. You will receive an intense education focused on patient-centered care, teamwork and collaboration, and evidence-based practice. By combining these skills with methods for leadership and management, you will be able to bring continual process improvement within the nursing profession.

MSN Core

HIM-500: Healthcare Informatics
Students will learn the history and current state of healthcare and how the industry uses information systems. Throughout the course students will discuss types of information systems, such as the electronic medical record (EMR), laboratory and radiology systems and more. Students will also study trends in new practices, such as telemedicine and home healthcare, and how they function in various healthcare settings. Finally, students will explore how these and other industry trends, with the use of technology, can improve patient care.
IHP-501: Global Health and Diversity
Global Health and Diversity is a problem-based course designed to give students an overview of health promotion issues, explore selected current topics in health and health policy from a national and global perspective, and investigate the consequences these issues have for the health status of international populations and society. This course will provide the theoretical foundation to allow the practitioner to design interventions that promote health and behavior change in a target population. The concepts of health literacy, consumer advocacy, and their impact of health promotion will be explored.
IHP-504: Healthcare Policy and Financing
Developed for the health care administrator and providers, this course prepares students with a full understanding of financial planning, control measures and financial management to effectively examine and address the complex financial challenges within the healthcare sector. Analysis and identification of healthcare financial trends, finance sources and reimbursement models will be addressed.
Must be enrolled in MSN program
IHP-505: Leadership in Clinical Microsystems
This course covers clinical microsystem concepts, tools, techniques, and processes within the context of a clinical or supporting microsystem. This course will use current theories to approach issues related to the redesign of healthcare services to improve quality, add value, reduce variation and improve morale, by empowering frontline caregivers. This course builds upon the Dartmouth Hitchcock Microsystem Improvement Curriculum and the QSEN Graduate Nursing Competencies.
Must be enrolled in MSN or MSM program
NUR-500: Advanced Nursing Concepts
In this course students analyze historical and evaluate current nursing concepts and theories. Students will examine the linkages of empirical, aesthetic, ethical, personal, and sociopolitical patterns on knowing with the conceptual models and paradigms of nursing. Students will explore the components of conceptual-theoretical-empirical structures for theory-generating and theory-testing research.
NUR-506: Evidence-Based Practice
Graduate students will build upon previous learning of nursing research and evidence-based practice in order to become proficient in critiquing, generating, and translating research evidence into nursing practice. Emphasis will be placed on identifying researchable clinical questions, analysis of research findings for evidence-based practice, ethical issues in nursing research, and the selection of methods that may be used to generate research evidence for practice.
Take NUR-515 and HCM-525 or MBA-501
NUR-635: Teaching and Learning in Nursing
This course covers instructional frameworks, learning environments, and classroom and student management and motivation techniques. Learners explore theories associated with optimizing the teaching experience and student outcomes and gain an understanding of the teaching, learning, communication, and motivation strategies used for specific learning situations and student populations. Learners identify various learning barriers and formulate appropriate teaching strategies to address them, including acknowledging and using emotional intelligence. As part of this course, learners are required to teach in an online course room. Must be enrolled in MSN program.
Must be enrolled in MSN program
QSO-640: Project Management
This course includes the study of concepts, tools, and practices of project management. The course adopts a managerial process approach to Project Management, which consists of initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing the project. Major topics will include project scope, project time, project cost, project quality, project risk, project resources, project communications and how to be an effective project manager. Cases are utilized to integrate the learning in the course and provide decision- making experience for the student.

* The MBA 501 pre-requisite course is waived.

Capstone Courses

NUR-680: Nursing Capstone Seminar
Students critical analyze proposals for healthcare quality and safety plans, or clinical problems as developed by student participants. To be taken concurrently with NUR-681
Senior standing (30 credits or more)
NUR-681: Nursing Capstone Project
Students design and analyze a healthcare issue, proposal of policy options, recommendations for action or an evaluation strategy for a selected healthcare setting. Students are evaluated according to criteria, negotiated in advance, that demonstrate current industry best practices. To be taken concurrently with NUR-680.
Senior standing (30 credits or more)

General MSN Electives

Electives (Choose three courses from the following approved electives):

IHP-525: Biostatistics
This course provides students with a basic foundation of biostatistics and its role in public health and health sciences. The course covers the statistical principles that govern the analysis of data in public health and health sciences. Included in this course are exploratory data analysis, probability theory, confidence interval testing, hypotheses testing, power and sample size determination, and multivariable methods.
IHP-600: Social & Organizational Issues in Healthcare
Students will learn the social, ethical and organizational challenges healthcare workers at all levels face with the incorporation of technology into the healthcare setting. Students will study change management strategies, current in the Healthcare Industry, including the impact of introducing or enhancing clinical information systems, while providing quality care, and the effect of these systems on patients and on interdisciplinary teams within the healthcare setting.
IHP-605: Error Science, Risk Assess & Disclosures
This course focuses on error theory and systems thinking as well as methods for risk assessment and safety improvement, including high-risk contexts for error occurrence. Students will be introduced to what is currently known about effective methods for error disclosure. Students will develop proficiency with patient safety risk assessment and improvement methods, principles of safe system design, apology and related patient safety priorities. The course includes a discussion of the legal issues prevalent in the current health care environment.
IHP-610: Health Policy and Law
Students in this course examine the role of health law and policy in the healthcare system. Students explore concepts and principles of law, public health, health law, health policy, finance, legal control, and risk management, as well as their application to the healthcare environment through the lens of the professional discipline. Students evaluate the impact of health law and policy and multicultural, socioeconomic, and political factors on access disparities. Students examine ways to articulate the needs of individuals, communities, and vulnerable populations to consumers, health system officials, and government officials. Students also focus on the opportunities for key stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, to shape health laws and policies.
IHP-615: Independent Study
This course offers an individualized opportunity to study an issue or topic relevant to the theory and/or practice of a nursing and/or health care specialty. Students wishing to enroll in this course should present to faculty a well-defined topic for investigation. Plans for advanced study should be established during the semester previous to the one in which the student wishes to take the course. The course of study will be completed in consultation and collaboration with the student's faculty advisor and documented in a comprehensive, scholarly report at the end of the semester. The Associate Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences will grant the final approval on all students enrolled in this course.
Contact your advisor to register
NUR-601: Advanced Pathophysiology
This course in organ systems physiology is designed to teach the fundamentals of normal function that are essential to understanding clinical problems. It will integrate advanced concepts of health assessment, including anticipatory guidance, prevention, and detection of risk factors and disease. Students will continue to develop critical thinking skills to make effective, patient-centered, clinical decisions through case studies. Examples from pathophysiology are used to illustrate physiological concepts that will be analyzed, interpreted, and evaluated. This course includes all major organ systems. It assumes previous academic preparation in anatomy and physiology, an understanding of basic algebra and simple physiology, as well as experience in conducting a health history and physical assessment. Discussion sessions and problem-set case studies provide opportunities to synthesize content and discuss clinical problems.
NUR-602: Advanced Pharmacology Across the Life Span
Content focuses on current concepts in the pharmacologic therapies of common health care problems seen in primary and acute care health care. Basic pathophysiology, clinical pharmacology, modes of therapy, and monitoring parametrics are explored. Diagnosis and management of health care problems and their treatment regimens are discussed. Case studies are utilized to clarify, reinforce, and correlate therapeutics with specific health care problems.
NUR-603: Epidemiology
This course provides and in-depth exploration of the concepts and methods of epidemiological research. Students will critique the principles of epidemiology with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention research. Epidemiologic concepts, bio-statistical principles and research design strategies are emphasized. Students will critique current epidemiologic study designs and develop an epidemiologic proposal with implications for health promotion.
NUR-604: Healthcare Quality and Improvement
This course focuses on the knowledge, skills, attitudes needed to assure quality patient and family centered care provided through interdisciplinary collaborative care. Students will focus on strategies that contribute to building a culture of safety assuring accountability and reliability in care processes. Health policy issues access to care, and cost issues are addressed including pay for performance, quality outcomes, and nurse sensitive outcomes, with a special focus on healthcare reforms focus on quality.
NUR-606: Communications and Collaboration
This course introduces advanced communication strategies for patient safety success in the current healthcare environment. Course topics include: enhanced communication skills, individual and group design/presentation techniques, hand-off, chain of command, critical thinking strategies and skills, stress and time management, group process and group dynamics. This course challenges the students to use creative and critical thinking to become a creative patient safety/problem-solver and leader working within a complex healthcare environment.

Master's in Nursing Outcomes

An online nursing master's degree can expand your nursing career employment and leadership opportunities and prepares you to serve as a clinical nurse leader, clinical nursing faculty member and a nursing administrator.

Outcomes of the MSN program:

  • Synthesize and apply theories and conceptual models from nursing and other related disciplines to facilitate clinical practice decision-making.
  • Integrate the use of communication skills, information systems and standardized language in relation to clinical outcomes and continuous performance measures.
  • Develop collaborative interdisciplinary relationships and partnerships to improve the health care of the cohort population.
  • Interpret and apply evidenced-based data to assess cohort risk, implement interventional strategies, and evaluate outcomes as part of an interdisciplinary health care team.
  • Design, implement and evaluate innovative, population-based programs of care to achieve quality outcomes.
  • Pursue continuous quality improvement through the clinical nurse leader role.
  • Serve as an advanced practice generalist for a cohort population within the selected health care subsystem.
  • Create a capstone research project for oral and written presentation on a nursing practice topic.


  • Earn a degree from a trusted, private, nonprofit university.
  • Benefit from the convenience and flexibility of online delivery from a pioneer in the distance education field.
  • Learn from expert faculty with strong academic credentials and applicable real-world experience.
  • Complete your MSN degree in 15 months.
  • Opt for a seamless pathway from RN to MS in Nursing.
  • Have 24/7 access to SNHU's virtual campus.

Admission Requirements

Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our five graduate terms. You can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials. To apply, simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options.  Your counselor can also walk you through the application process, which involves completing a graduate application ($40 fee) and providing undergraduate transcripts.

MSN students must have:

  • An active unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse.
  • An earned bachelor's degree from an accredited nursing program and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • Daily access to the Internet.

Students with a GPA below 3.0 but higher than 2.67 are eligible for provisional acceptance. These students must achieve a grade of B+ or better in their first graduate nursing course to be fully accepted into the MSN program.

CCNE Accredited Nursing Program


The Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Nursing programs at Southern New Hampshire University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).