Master of Science in Nursing, MSN

Dr. Valerie Miller, Graduate Program Chair

Through the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, Hardin-Simmons University offers the Master of Science in Nursing degree. The Master of Science in Nursing Education is a fully online degree to provide students the needed flexibility in completing course work. The Master of Science in Family Nurse Practitioner is offered in a hybrid, low-resident format with classes meeting once a week.


Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing develops nurses and other healthcare providers through education enlightened by Christian principles to lead, serve, and influence the holistic needs of a complex global society.


The purpose of the Master of Science in Nursing Program is to prepare nurses to assume leadership roles in advanced positions as family nurse practitioners, educators, or managers of patient care services within a variety of institutions or health care agencies. In addition, students are guided to incorporate theory and the research process in a variety of roles and practical settings.

The graduate program of PHSSN functions within an educational consortium of two Christian universities. We accept the underlying philosophy and objectives of the consortium universities that individuals be educationally prepared in a manner that promotes the development of intellectual, cultural, moral and Christian values.

The graduate nursing programs build upon a baccalaureate nursing education. Faculty believe that nursing is a profession that is responsive to the changing health care needs of individuals and is supported by an expanding body of knowledge. Faculty expect graduate students to expand their understanding of health, environment, person, and nursing roles.

Faculty believe that development of critical thinking, communication, clinical skills, clinical judgment, and self-direction are essential elements in graduate nursing education. Faculty seek to promote awareness of social, cultural, and ethnic diversity believing it enriches professional growth and development. Faculty believe collaborative education promotes progressive mastery and increased learner maturity. Faculty promote accountability for lifelong learning, professional growth, competent practice, and effective leadership.

Program Outcomes

  1. Practice advanced nursing roles using the nursing process to deliver holistic and comprehensive care to individuals and families throughout the life cycle in a variety of settings within a specific population focus i.e. nursing education, advanced clinical practice.
  2. Implement validated strategies that incorporate the use of scientific inquiry and theoretical concepts from nursing and related fields to influence healthcare outcomes for individuals, populations, and healthcare systems.
  3. Analyze spiritual, cultural, social, legal, ethical, economic, and healthcare policy perspectives that influence health care or educational systems.
  4. Participate in interprofessional collaborative teams in developing evidence-based strategies within various health care systems to foster quality improvement and safety.
  5. Integrate the use of information systems and patient care technologies in the development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based practices to support clinical judgment for improving health and patient care delivery to a diverse global society.
  6. Demonstrate the highest level of accountability for professional practice, service, and life-long learning.
  7. Engage in leadership through advocacy for evidence-based health policy development to improve local, national, and global health population outcomes.
  8. Prepare to complete a nationally recognized board certification exam. 

Admission Criteria

In addition to the general graduate study admission requirements, applicants for the Master of Science in Nursing degree must hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from a regionally accredited school or university whose nursing program is NLN or CCNE accredited.

Full admission to graduate study in nursing requires meeting the academic standards as listed below and receiving the endorsement of the program director.

Academic Standards

  1. Overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
  2. GPA of 3.00 in all undergraduate course work in nursing.

Departmental Endorsement

Admission to the MS in Nursing requires the following to be submitted to or conducted by the School of Nursing:

  1. Unencumbered licensure to practice as an RN in Texas and in good standing with the Texas Board of Nursing.
  2. Minimum of one year of clinical nursing practice preferred.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. Recommendations should be obtained from supervisors having knowledge of your clinical skills, work ethic and style, and/or professors attesting to your academic achievements and potential success in a graduate nursing program.
  4. Completion of PHSSN application. (
  5. Interview with program director and or faculty.
  6. A completed PHSSN health form and proof of current immunization status.
  7. ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support Certification) is required for Family Nurse Practitioner students prior to beginning clinical courses.

Provisional Admission

Provisional admission to graduate study in nursing requires meeting one of the two GPA academic standards listed above and obtaining Departmental Endorsement. Students granted provisional admission must maintain a 3.0 GPA during their first nine hours of graduate study to be eligible to receive full admission and continue in graduate study.

Academic Standards Once Admitted

Students must maintain a B average (minimum GPA of 3.0). In all clinical courses, students must make a B or better for progression in clinical courses in the curriculum. A grade of “D” or “F” does not meet criteria for progression in the program and results in academic probation and/or suspension. All students not receiving a B or above in a course must retake the course before progression in clinical courses is granted. Failure of the same course twice results in permanent dismissal from the program. If a student earns Cs in any two courses, this will result in immediate and permanent dismissal from the program.

Functional Tracks Available with MSN

Education (33 Semester Hours)

Family Nurse Practitioner (44 Semester Hours)

Functional Tracks Available with Post-Masters Certificate

Post-Master’s FNP Certificate (23 Semester Hours)

MSN Core Curriculum

Complete the following:


NURS 6330Policies & Strategies for Health Care Delivery


NURS 5430Advanced Pathophysiology


NURS 6441Pharmacotherapeutics for Nurses in Advanced Practice


NURS 6442Advanced Health Assessment


NURS 6443Nursing Theories and Research for Advanced Health Care Delivery


Total Credit Hours:19

Specialty Focus Courses


NURS 6350Education I-Curriculum Design


NURS 6449Education II-Instructional Methods, Testing, and Measurement


NURS 6352Education III-Role of the Nurse, Educator


NURS 6450Education IV-Practicum


Total Credit Hours:14

NURS 6450: 200 Clinical Hours

Note: Student must meet any prerequisites for approved hours.

Family Nurse Practitioner Track

NURS 6340Role Development for Advanced Practice


NURS 6434Skills for Advanced Practice Nurses


NURS 6451Family Nurse Practitioner I


NURS 6452Family Nurse Practitioner II


NURS 6453Family Nurse Practitioner III


Total Credit Hours:19

NURS 6451: 235 Clinical Hours

NURS 6452: 255 Clinical Hours

NURS 6453: 170 Clinical Hours

University Support Courses (Electives 6 hrs. required)


Nursing Elective (3 Credits)

NURS 6343Epidemiology in Nursing Practice


NURS 6445Human Anatomy


Total Credit Hours:7

Graduation Requirements

A student is eligible for graduation from the MSN program when the following criteria have been met:

1.  Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).

2. Successful completion of all course work required for the chosen degree within four years.

3. Fulfillment of all financial obligations to the University.

4. Payment of graduation fees.

Time Limit

Students must complete all requirements for the degree within four years of the initial semester of enrollment. All course work must be completed to be able to participate in the graduate commencement.

National Certification Exam/Licensure

Graduates of the Education and Family Nurse Practitioner MSN tracks and the Post-Masters FNP Certificate track are eligible to sit for national certification in their respective disciplines. Graduates of the Family Nurse Practitioner MSN and Post-Masters Certificate tracks are also eligible to apply for licensure as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse.