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Master of Science in Nursing

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M.S. Degree Requirements

The Master of Science degree in nursing requires completion of an approved curriculum with a grade-point average of B or above, a written thesis or project, and a general oral examination. The program enlarges the focus of nursing, using as its foundation the basic baccalaureate nursing program. The program’s goals are directed toward educating the clinical nurse specialist, the nurse practitioner, the nurse-midwife, and the nurse leader.

Nursing Majors

Advanced Practice Nursing

The advanced-practice nursing major prepares the nurse for clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, or nurse-midwife positions.

  • The clinical nurse specialist specialization includes adult/gerontological nursing. It prepares nurses to perform in the expanded role of caring for a particular kind of patient/client or to function in a particular kind of setting.
  • The nurse practitioner specialization prepares nurses to provide primary health care to clients and families across the life span. Family nurse practitioner, adult/gerontological nurse practitioner, and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner options are available. The nurse practitioner is prepared to provide primary health care in a variety of settings.
  • The nurse-midwife specialization focuses on the care and management of well-women’s primary and reproductive health care needs throughout the life span.


The leadership major includes specializations in organizational leadership, public health nursing, clinical research management, and nursing informatics.

  • The organizational leadership specialization prepares nurses to assume leadership positions in hospitals and other health agencies.
  • The public health specialization prepares nurses to develop advanced community-based interventions and determine outcomes with emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention strategies for a targeted population.
  • The clinical research management specialization prepares the nurse to plan and implement clinical research trials.
  • The nursing informatics specialization prepares the nurse with skills in analysis, design, implementation, and evaluation of information systems that support a full range of clinical and patient care functions.

Joint Degrees

Students in the leadership major may choose 1 of 2 joint degree options. Students may combine the Master of Science in nursing (organizational leadership) with the Master of Health Services Administration or the Master of Science in nursing (public health nursing) with the Master of Public Health. By combining some course work, the 2 degrees may be completed in fewer hours than if pursued independently.

Program Components

All majors present a theoretical base, part of which is a common core that is included in courses completed by all master’s students. The theoretical base specific to each specialization is included in the specialization courses and accompanied by clinical or practical experience that allows the student to apply the theory in a health care setting.

The M.S. in nursing curriculum has 4 major components. These are the common core, advanced-practice or leadership core, nursing research, and specialty core. 45 credit hours are required for the clinical nurse specialist specialization, 45 to 48 hours for the nurse practitioner specialization, 46 for the nurse-midwife specialization, and 37 hours for each specialization in the leadership major.

Common Core

Common core nursing courses provide the core knowledge and skills essential to the nurse practicing in any advanced area of nursing. Courses in this area are NRSG 748, NRSG 754, and NRSG 755.

Advanced-Practice Core

Advanced-practice core courses provide the basis for expert clinical patient care. Courses in this category are NRSG 731, NRSG 806, NRSG 809, NRSG 810, NRSG 812, and NRSG 813. Nurse-midwifery does not require NRSG 809.

Leadership Core

Courses provide the theoretical basis for the organizational leadership specialization, the public health nursing specialization, the clinical research management specialization, and the nursing informatics specialization. Courses in this category are NRSG 808, NRSG 820, NRSG 826, NRSG 880, and NRSG 885.

Nursing Research

Nursing research courses focus on the ability of the nurse to use research and participate in the development of new knowledge in nursing and health care. Courses in this category are NRSG 754 and NRSG 898 or NRSG 899.

Specialty Core

Courses in this category provide the information necessary for practice at an appropriate level. The student may choose the advanced-practice major (clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, or nurse-midwife specializations) or the leadership major (organizational leadership, public health nursing, clinical research management, or nursing informatics specializations).

Advanced-Practice Nursing Core Specializations

Courses for the clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, and nurse-midwife specializations can be identified by their titles.

Leadership Specializations

Thesis/Project Option

The student may choose to complete a thesis for 6 credit hours (NRSG 899) or to complete a project for 2 credit hours (NRSG 898). The project involves applying aspects of the research process to the student’s area of nursing practice. A number of options are available for the project. Both thesis and project involve a formal paper and an oral examination covering the area of study.

Flexible Scheduling

The majority of students in the M.S. program are part-time students. Most of these students are employed full time. Therefore, many courses are offered online. In addition, most on-campus classes are scheduled to accommodate employed students. These flexible schedules allow students to combine graduate study with work responsibilities. In addition, selected students who are registered nurses can pursue the baccalaureate degree and the master’s degree in nursing by taking some courses concurrently in the undergraduate and graduate programs.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.