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Nursing - M.S.N., and Ph.D. PDFDownload to print

College of Nursing

College of Nursing

Henderson Hall
Tel: 330-672-7911


The Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) degree comprises numerous concentrations as outlined below. The MSN degree meets the educational eligibility requirements for national certification in the respective concentration.  If the student’s career goals include doctoral education, formal admission into a doctoral program (i.e., DNP or PhD in Nursing) is made after the student has completed the MSN and meets admission criteria into the DNP or PhD program. 

  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner coursework provides a knowledge base in providing advanced nursing care to adults with complex, acute and chronic illnesses. Clinical practica occur in a variety of hospital settings such as specialty clinics, emergency departments, and acute, sub-acute, and intensive/critical care areas.
  • Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist concentration fosters acquisition of Clinical Nurse Specialist role competencies with patients spanning the entire adult-older adult age spectrum. Class and clinical experiences focus on providing advanced nursing care across the health continuum from wellness to acute care. Students develop competencies in direct care, consultation, systems leadership, collaboration, coaching, research, ethical decision-making, moral agency and advocacy.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner students acquire advanced practice nursing competencies to provide continuity of health care to persons across the life span and to maximize the effectiveness of community and health care system services through collaboration with other health professionals. Clinical experiences are offered in a variety of ambulatory care settings and specialty clinics in primary care offices including family practice, internal medicine, managed care offices, emergency departments, long-term care facilities, and academic and occupational health settings.
  • Nurse Educator students acquire advanced nursing knowledge in curriculum development, instruction, and evaluation for traditional and online learning in academic and staff development settings. Emphasis is placed on application of educational theories and principles in curriculum development and evaluation and acquisition of skills in role development as a nurse educator. Students engage in individualized practicum experiences with master educators to gain experience in their desired field of nursing education.  
  • Nursing Healthcare Management students integrate management and nursing knowledge and develop skills and competencies through courses and practica in management, health care leadership and advanced nursing.
  • The focus of the Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner concentration includes health promotion, illness prevention, risk identification and acute and chronic care of infants, children and adolescents.  Practicum experiences take place in outpatient primary care and specialty settings, and offer the opportunity for students to provide individualized and culturally competent advanced practice nursing care to children within the context of their families. 
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner students develop advanced practice nursing competencies in health promotion, risk detection, illness prevention, and management of acute and chronic illnesses in adults and older adults. Clinical experiences involve direct care in collaboration with other health professionals to maximize the effectiveness of community and health care system services. Clinical practica include primary care offices, such as internal medicine and family practice clinics, managed care offices, emergency departments, free clinics, and long-term care and occupational health settings.
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration builds on core advanced practice nursing knowledge and focuses on knowledge and skill development in mental health assessment and diagnostic reasoning, prescribing and medication management, and advanced therapeutic modalities such as individual, group, and family psychotherapy.
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner concentration prepares students to provide the highest level of primary nursing care for women involving health promotion and disease prevention. Students gain competency in advanced nursing management of common acute and chronic conditions.  Students practice in direct care and in collaboration with other health care professionals. Practicum experiences foster development of clinical judgment and primary care skills through faculty mentorship and clinical preceptors in a variety of ambulatory care settings and specialty clinics.

The dual degree with the Master of Business Administration is for experienced nurses whose career goals include assuming middle or executive management positions in health services agencies or in health-related companies, or who are interested in starting their own businesses. It combines the strengths of advanced nursing preparation with the practical management knowledge needed to develop significant leadership capabilities.

The PhD degree in Nursing is offered jointly between Kent State University and the University of Akron.  The PhD prepares nurse scientists to develop and advance nursing science using established and emerging methods to advance health, health care, and the profession of nursing. The PhD program prepares graduates to lead and promote innovative scholarly endeavors within and across disciplines, and to assume leadership roles in the profession.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the master's program must have:

  • An active, unrestricted RN license in the state in which clinical coursework will be completed
  • A baccalaureate and/or graduate degree from an accredited registered nursing program. An RN with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field will be considered based on review of a portfolio submitted with the application
  • A minimum overall 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point scale. Applicants with a lower GPA may be considered for conditional admission according to the University Graduate Admission Policy
  • Completion of an undergraduate level statistics course in the past 5 years with a grade of "C" or better.
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • Completion of a two to three page admission essay describing reasons for seeking the master's degree in the identified specialty and demonstrating clarity of professional goals.
  • Three letters of reference from a health care professional or academic faculty who can speak to the applicant's professional and academic abilities
  • International applicants must show evidence of one of the following:
    • a minimum internet TOEFL score of 83
    • a paper based TOEFL score of 560
    • a MELAB score of 78
    • a PTE minimum score of 55, or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 for admission

The MSN/MBA concentration requires applicants to complete the GMAT or GRE. Students selected for admission to the nursing program must meet the College of Nursing's Clinical Compliance Policy.

For more information about graduate admission, please visit the Graduate Studies website.

Applicants to the PhD program must have:

  • Proof of an active unrestricted Ohio RN license, or for international students, proof of legal ability to practice as a RN in country of origin
  • Official transcripts that indicate a baccalaureate and a master's in nursing or a doctorate of nursing practice from an accredited program. A baccalaureate degree in a closely related health field may be considered if the applicant has a master's in nursing or doctorate of nursing practice from an accredited program. A master's degree in a closely related field may be considered if the applicant has a baccalaureate in nursing from an accredited program.
  • A minimum cumulative 3.0 graduate GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • Documentation of GRE results that are less than 5 years old at the time of application
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of reference from a health care professional or academic faculty member who can speak to the applicant's professional and academic abilities. It is preferred that two of the three references are from doctoral prepared individuals.
  • A 2-page, single-spaced admission essay addressing the following questions:
    • Why do you want to pursue a PhD in nursing?
    • What are your professional goals?
    • How have you been involved in research, publications, and professional presentations?
    • How have you been involved in professional organizations?
    • What are your research interests?
    • Why are you interested in these research areas?
    • How could research, and specifically your research, in these areas advance science?
  • A sample of written work
  • An interview
  • International applicants must show evidence of one of the following:
    • minimum internet TOEFL score of 79;
    • a paper based TOEFL of 550;
    • a MELAB score of 78;
    • a PTE minimum score of 55, or;
    • a minimum IEL TS score of 6.5
  • International applicants that do not meet the above TOEFL, MELAB, PTE, or IELTS scores may be considered for a conditional admission.

For more information about graduate admission, please visit the Graduate Studies website.

Graduation Requirements

M.S.N.: The program requirements vary by concentration and by the dual-degree programs; however, all concentrations are four to five semesters (two full-time academic years) and typically require between 33-56 semester credit hours and 500-700 clinical hours. In most of the curriculum designs, 12-24 semester credits of courses are related to the area of clinical concentration, 9 semester credit hours to advanced nursing practice courses, and 12 credits to core courses related to theory development, research, informatics and health policy. The university mandates a six year time limit in obtaining a master’s degree. Under selected circumstances and upon the consent of the advisor, petitions for extensions of an additional one year to completion may be submitted to the Concentration Director. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.

Grade Point Requirement
The college of Nursing complies with the University standard for Grade Point Average. Please refer to the University Catalog section on Academic Standing - Graduate Studies.

Ph.D.: The Ph.D. program in nursing is a post-master’s degree requiring 72 semester credit hours including the dissertation. It consists of five components: (1) Nursing Knowledge Component (9 credit hours), (2) Research Methods, Designs and Statistics (24 credit hours), (3) Cognates (6 credit hours), (4) Health Care Policy (3 credit hours), and (5) Dissertation (30 credit hours). Students must earn a course grade of B (3.000) or higher. Prior to retaking the course, the student cannot take other courses requiring it (i.e., course that will be taken again) as a prerequisite. If the student retakes the course and does not earn a B (3.000) grade, he/she may be dismissed from the PhD program. At the conclusion of coursework, students sit for the candidacy examination. The examination provides the basis for evaluation of the student’s readiness for completing the dissertation. Students must successfully pass candidacy and a proposal defense before beginning dissertation work. Successful defense of the dissertation is required for graduation.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates from the M.S.N. program will be able to:

  1. Acquire educational eligibility to meet standards for advanced practice certification or other advanced professional distinction.
  2. Acquire competencies based on professional standards to assume advanced roles in nursing and for leadership and career advancement, including doctoral study.
  3. Communicate, integrate and apply advanced nursing knowledge and skills to provide evidence-based, culturally sensitive nursing care and promote quality outcomes in nursing and health care.

Graduates from the Ph.D. program will be able to:

  1. Generate new knowledge that contributes to the advancement of health, health care and nursing science.
  2. Disseminate advances in scientific knowledge.
  3. Use collaborative, interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to knowledge generation.
  4. Assume leadership roles in health care and education as researchers, educators and advanced clinicians.
  5. Serve as stewards of the body of knowledge for the discipline of nursing.
Thesis/ Dissertation

M.S.N.: The thesis is optional.

Ph.D.: A dissertation is required.


The College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education