Jul 21, 2024  
2021-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Science in Nursing (Nursing Education-on hold)

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MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Holistic Nursing, Nursing Education

Statement of Purpose

The curriculum of the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is based on the philosophy of the University and the School of Nursing. The purpose of the master’s degree program is to prepare nurses for advanced clinical practice and for nursing leadership and teaching positions in both university and alternative/complimentary clinical health care settings. The MSN curriculum is organized to support students’ progressive learning of advanced nursing knowledge and skills. The major concepts of the curriculum cover advanced practice nursing roles, holistic health care, theory, evidence-based practice, ethical, legal, and policy health care issues, and nursing education theory and practice.

The program is designed to ensure students are knowledgeable in these areas:

  1. Nursing theory and research concepts and their application to practice;
  2. Advanced clinical practice; and
  3. Role competence.

The program provides for a range of electives that complement the area of concentration. The master’s program provides the foundation for doctoral study.

Students can transfer in up to six (6) hours of previous graduate level courses or choose two elective courses that support their individual educational goals based on concentration of study.  There is also the opportunity to carry out independent research (thesis) or to complete a guided Scholarly project.  The master’s program provides the foundation for doctoral study.

The MSN Program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), The ACEN may be contacted at 3343 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326, 404-975-5000, www.acenursing.org. The program also holds full approval status by the Tennessee Board of Nursing, which can be reached at 665 Mainstream Drive, 2nd Floor Nashville, TN 37243, 615-532-5166.

Program Outcomes

The MSN Program will:

  1. Facilitate successful student completion of the selected program of study.
  2. Prepare graduates for successful certification at the national level.
  3. Achieve alumni satisfaction with the program in preparing the graduate for selected roles.
  4. Achieve employer satisfaction with graduate preparation for entry-level positions.
  5. Facilitate graduate employment as related to the role preparation provided.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the MSN Program, the student will be able to:

  1. Conduct comprehensive and systematic assessments as a foundation for decision- making.
  2. Transfer and apply knowledge of illness and disease management for the provision of safe evidence-based care to diverse populations.
  3. Synthesize epidemiological, social, and environmental data in drawing inferences regarding the health status of various populations and interventions to promote and preserve health and healthy lifestyles.
  4. Operationalize knowledge and skills in education, economics, business principles, and systems in the evaluation of interventions.

Graduate Role Specific Competencies

Upon completion of the selected concentration within MSN Program, the student will be able to:

Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration:
  1. Utilize clinical guidelines to improve the delivery of evidence-based quality care across the lifespan.

  2. Demonstrate effective care to populations across the lifespan for the individual and family.

  3. Safely prescribe medications with knowledge of altered pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics with special populations such as infants, children, pregnant and lactating women, adults and older adults.

Holistic Nursing Concentration:
  1. Recognize the totality of the human being and how this influences healing, patient care, and patient self-care.
  2. Integrate self-care, self-responsibility, spirituality, and reflection in their lives allowing a greater awareness of the interconnectedness and its relationship to the healing process.
  3. Provides leadership in holism for health care providers and system.
Nursing Education Concentration: (Currently On Hold)
  1. Demonstrate effective development of curriculum which integrates sound educational principles, theory, and research.
  2. Effectively apply a variety of evidence-based teaching strategies appropriate to learner needs, desired learner outcomes, content, and context.
  3. Implement evidence-based assessment and evaluation strategies that are appropriate to the learner and to learning outcomes inclusive of cognitive, psycho motor, and affective domains.


Students in the graduate nursing program must meet the university admission, candidacy, and graduation requirements as listed in the Graduate Catalog, as well as admission requirements to the MSN Program. Students should review the Graduate Catalog for university requirements and policies. Admission to the program occurs each summer, fall, and spring semester.

Applicants who have completed graduate level nursing courses at another institution need to have earned at least a grade of “B” in each course to be eligible for admission. Individuals who have previously earned grades of less than “B” in any graduate nursing course at another institution are not eligible for admission to the TSU MSN program.

Transfer of Graduate Level Nursing Courses

Students transferring from another graduate nursing program must submit a transcript and a letter of good standing from the dean/director of the previous nursing program. Graduate level nursing courses completed at other institutions, with grades of at least “B” will be evaluated on an individual basis. A maximum of twelve (12) hours may be transferred with approval but must have been taken within six (6) years of the anticipated graduation date from Tennessee State University.

Application Materials

The application process for the Tennessee State University (TSU) MSN program must be completed through the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS). Applicants should submit all the required application materials by April 1st for summer admission, August 1st for fall admission, and December 1st for spring admission.

Required materials include:

  1. Completed Graduate School Application with fee.
  2. Three letters of professional reference. References should be from faculty members, professional colleagues, or work supervisors who can evaluate your potential for success in a graduate program.
  3. Official transcripts from ALL previous colleges.
  4. Resume that includes documentation of community service, continuing education (CEUs), and professional organization memberships.
  5. Photocopy of current RN license.
  6. AHA BLS health provider certification.
  7. A written statement of professional goals, upon completion of the MSN degree, maximum of one (1) page, double spaced and typed. This section must specifically include the specialty you wish to pursue (FNP, Nursing Education, or Holistic Nursing).
  8. Personal record of health immunizations.
  9. A criminal background check and drug screen, and student professional practice liability insurance, are required before starting clinical courses.

Plan of Study Appointment

An appointment with the student’s designated faculty advisor is required (by phone, email, or in person) prior to enrollment in the first class and each semester thereafter in order to create and review a plan of study for each student.

Requirements for Unconditional Admission to the MSN Program

Admission to the program will be based on space availability through competitive selection from the pool of applicants who are.

  1. Admitted to Tennessee State University as a MSN degree seeking student.
  2. Graduates from an NLNAC, ACEN, or CCNE accredited baccalaureate nursing program, with an overall GPA minimum of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) is required.
  3. A current unencumbered R.N. license (the state in which clinical will be completed).
  4. Applicants that have submitted ALL materials required within the MSN Program application to the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS).
Requirements for Unconditional Admission to the Post MSN Certificate Program
  1. Admission to Tennessee State University.
  2. Graduation from an NLNAC, ACEN, or CCNE accredited master’s or doctoral program in nursing.
  3. An overall graduate level GPA minimum of 3.0 or higher on a 4point scale is required for admission for a post master’s certificate.
  4. A current unencumbered Tennessee R.N. license (or the state in which clinical will be completed).
  5. Submission of ALL materials required within the MSN Program application packet to the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS).
Requirements for Conditional Admission to the MSN Program

Students who do not meet the unconditional admission requirements may be considered for conditional admission pending space availability if they can demonstrate graduate potential by other means.

  1. Admission to Tennessee State University as a MSN degree seeking student.
  2. Graduation from an NLNAC, ACEN, or CCNE accredited baccalaureate nursing program with an overall GPA minimum of 2.5 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) is required.
  3. A current unencumbered Tennessee R.N. license (or the state in which clinical will be completed).
  4. Submission of ALL materials required within the MSN Program application packet to the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS)..
Students who are admitted conditionally must meet the following requirements to be considered for unconditional admission status: A grade of B or above on 9 hours of graduate coursework. If they received a grade of C on any of these hours they were not admitted to candidacy.

Process for Change of Status from Conditional to Unconditional Admission

Students must meet all the requirements for transition from conditional to unconditional admission before taking courses beyond nine hours in the major. Students who have completed this requirement are reviewed by the Admission Committee to be approved for change of status.

Special Requirements

Special requirements before entering the MSN clinical courses include record of health immunization, current Health Care Provider-BLS certification, student liability insurance, and personal health insurance. An agency approved criminal background check and drug screening are required before starting clinical courses. In addition the clinical site must be approved by faculty and a fully executed clinical affiliation agreement with the university is required. 

Criminal Background Checks and Drug Screening

A criminal background check and drug screening are required. Based on the results of these checks a clinical site may determine not to allow a student at their facility. This could result in the inability to successfully complete program requirements. Additionally, a criminal background may preclude licensure, certification, or employment. Students are expected to cooperate fully with the process and pay all associated costs. Tennessee State University and the School of Nursing are not liable if the results of a criminal background check or a drug screening indicates that a student is unable to complete the requirements of the program or if such results preclude one from obtaining licensure or employment.

Retention and Progression

A grade of B or higher denotes successful completion of a course within the MSN Program. Within the MSN Program, a student may receive a grade of C one time within their program of study and be allowed to repeat the course one time to achieve a B or higher. The receipt of a second grade of C in the repeated or any other nursing course, or any single grade of D or F within a nursing course will result in the student being ineligible to progress or remain in the program. In addition to the MSN Program Retention and Progression Policy, each student is required to comply with the Graduate School Retention Policy.

To graduate, students must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average overall and in the program of study. When the cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0, the graduate student will be placed on academic probation. If the student does not achieve a 3.0 cumulative grade point average at the conclusion of one probationary semester, the Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies and appropriate college/department/program officials will determine whether the student should be dismissed from the graduate school or be allowed to continue on probation. No student will be allowed more than two probationary semesters, whether consecutive or cumulative. At the end of a second probationary semester a student whose cumulative grade point average is still below 3.0 will be dismissed from the graduate school and subsequent program of study. A student will be removed from probationary status upon attaining a cumulative 3.0 grade point average.

Academic disqualification from the graduate nursing major will also occur when the student:
  • Willfully misrepresents preceptor evaluations; patient data; patient or preceptor data, or any record related to clinical practice
  • Engages in clinical activity prior to faculty approval of the preceptor or a fully executed clinical affiliation agreement is completed and the student notified
  • Places any patient or individual in the clinical setting in physical or emotional jeopardy
  • Is placed on probation by their State Board of Nursing
  • Fails to disclose a felony conviction
  • Fails to disclose disciplinary action or diversion by the State Board of Nursing
  • Fails to complete all degree requirements within six (6) years of entering graduate nursing coursework


Readmission applies to those students who have not been in continuous enrollment in the Graduate School. For example, students who did not enroll in courses during fall or spring semester of a given academic year must reapply for admission to the Graduate School and complete the form in its entirety. If you attended another college or university during the time not enrolled at Tennessee State University and took courses for credit, then you must request the Registrar at each college or university attended to send your transcript(s) to gradschooltranscripts@tnstate.edu using the Subject: [Your Name] Official Transcript.

If reapplication is not within a year of the initial entry semester or offer of admission, then consideration requires completion of all application components in the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS).  

Candidacy and Graduation

Students must meet all the University Graduate School and School of Nursing requirements for candidacy and graduation. Students must complete and file the ‘Candidacy’ form following the first nine hours of completed coursework. Additionally students must complete and file the Intent to Graduate form with the Graduate School the semester prior to the semester of degree completion.

MSN Comprehensive Examination Requirements for All Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Holistic Nursing, and Nursing Education

All students must successfully complete a comprehensive examination as required by the Graduate School. The examination will consist of a proctored examination for each concentration area.

  1. The required comprehensive examination shall be administered during the semester of graduation.
  2. The Comprehensive Examination will be administered in the format decided upon by the school. The Office of Disability Student Services must approve requests for special accommodations.
  3. Grades for the examinations will be filed in the School Office and in the Graduate School Office
  4. In the event that a student fails to pass the first examination, it may be recommended that the candidate be permitted to prepare for re-examination. In this event, the student and the advisor will plan a program of study, including independent study, further course work, or both. Thus, the credit hours may be extended to accommodate the recommendation of the Advisor/Department Head.  
  5. A second failure by a candidate will require further prescribed study before re-examination is permitted.  
  6. A third failure will result in the student’s program of study being extended. The student will be required to take a course that promotes preparation for a fourth and final comprehensive examination attempt.
  7. In the event the student fails the fourth and final attempt, the student will be dismissed from the MSN program in the School of Nursing.

Financial Assistance

Upon acceptance into the graduate program, students may apply for available stipends or financial aid. Full-time students (taking 9 hours each semester) may apply for graduate assistantships.

Curriculum Requirements

All coursework within a required concentration must be completed in the prescribed sequence as indicated by pre-requisites and co-requisites. Students are required to meet with their faculty advisor before registering for courses each semester. The goal of the master’s program is to prepare individuals to educate others and to prepare professional nurses with knowledge, skills, and values to provide advanced, holistic comprehensive clinical nursing care to individuals and families with complex health care problems in primary health care settings.

The FNP curriculum provides a core of specialized nursing and general knowledge as a foundation for advanced family health nursing practice.

The Holistic Nursing concentration provides in depth study of self-care, complementary and alternative therapies, healing practices, and holistic specialization.

The Nursing Education concentration (currently on-hold) is designed to provide students the opportunity to obtain the theory skill and experience to teach within the college or university setting or within the education department of a clinical facility.

Students identify and work towards achieving their individual career goals. Clinical preceptors and specialized courses assist the student to focus on the knowledge and skills needed for their area of advanced nursing practice. Graduates of the FNP program concentration are educationally eligible to become certified as family nurse practitioners. Graduates of the Holistic Concentration are educationally prepared to become certified as Advanced Holistic Nurses. Graduates of the Nursing Education concentration are educationally prepared to become certified as nurse educators.

Content is organized and sequenced to assist students to move from a general knowledge base to one that is more complex and specialized. The program requires:

  • 45 credit hours for the Nursing Education concentration,
  • 45 credit hours for the Holistic Nursing concentration, and
  • 49 credit hours for the Family Nurse Practitioner concentration.

A clinical or education practicum, field study, development of a scholarly or research-based paper and completion of a comprehensive examination are requirements of each concentration.

All students take the foundational courses first which provide advanced knowledge, experiences, and competencies in nursing research, current and emerging theories, roles, ethical decision making and management of health care information. Nursing theory and research are placed before the clinical courses for students to integrate knowledge and evidence into their teaching and or advanced clinical practice. Each credit hour of didactic teaching equals one 55-minute class period per week.

The allocation of course credits to theory and clinical is based on course content and objectives, and required learning activities. Clinical hours are specific to selected specialty courses and are scheduled across the designated semester(s). Students have the option of full time or part time study.

Scholarly Project

Each student in the MSN program must complete a scholarly or research-based paper as a partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of the degree. This paper is completed through the requirements within the Project Writing or Thesis Writing courses. The initial step is the selection of a faculty approved topic on which to prepare a state of the science paper.

  • Students selecting project writing must enroll in NURS 5220 I and II  sequentially over two consecutive terms for three (3) credit hours each semester and a total of six (6) credit hours.
  • Students selecting thesis writing must enroll in NURS 5200  for two consecutive terms at three (3) credit hours each semester and a total of six (6) credit hours.

On-campus Requirements: All students will be required to report to campus for a maximum of three times during their course of study. This includes a Research Day presentation (spring semester), a Project Writing presentation (semester enrolled in final Project Writing course) and comprehensive examination (taken final semester of study).


Program of Study

Degree: Masters of Science
Major: Nursing
Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Holistic Nursing, Nursing Education (on hold)

The master’s program offered by the School of Nursing includes three concentrations: Nursing Education, Holistic Nursing, and Family Nurse Practitioner. These programs are designed to prepare advanced practice nurses for education and practice. Prior graduate work and the individual student’s interest and career goals will be considered in planning the program of study for each candidate.

Certificate: Nursing Education

Nurses who hold a Master of Science in Nursing degree from a nationally accredited program and are interested in continuing study in Nursing Education may be eligible to enter postgraduate studies. The three pre-requisite courses required for advanced practice nursing - Advanced Health Assessment/Advanced Health Assessment Clinical (4 hours), Advanced Pathophysiology (3 hours), and Advanced Pharmacology (3 hours) - will need to be completed before beginning the Nursing Education concentration and may be transferred from the previous graduate degree if completed no more than five (5) years prior to TSU enrollment. If the MSN program from which the applicant graduated did not include all three courses, the three advanced courses may be taken through Tennessee State University before beginning the Nursing Education coursework.  

Graduation with a post-graduate certificate will require the completion of 20 credit hours and all associated clinical hours. Students who are completing a certificate in Nursing Education are required to take NURS 5230 , NURS 5250 , NURS 5270 , and two of the clinical option courses that allow specialization in either Adult Health Nursing (NURS 5320  and NURS 5340 ), or Psychiatric Nursing (NURS 5290  and NURS 5300 ), or Women’s Health/Pediatric Nursing (NURS 5360  and NURS 5380 ).

Additional Requirements


Six hours of elective course work is required for the FNP concentration and 3 hours for the Holistic concentration. No elective course is required for the Education concentration. Students may select graduate courses they determine will meet their educational goals and complement the required course offerings. Approval by the nursing advisor is required.

Concentration Required Credits

Total of 49 credits for Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
Total of 45 credits for Holistic Nursing
Total of 45 credits for Nursing Education (currently on hold)

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