Master of Science in Nursing Science

Graduate studies at the master’s level place primary emphasis upon advanced professional nursing practice, theory, research and health care delivery systems. Students may develop a specialized practice focus in nursing leadership (NLDR) with a concentration in nursing education (NLDR-educ) or administration (NLDR-admin), as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) or psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMH-NP). Master’s level studies provide the student with a basis for further study at the doctoral level. The master’s program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), formerly known as the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission, 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326, (404) 975-5000. Graduates of the FNP option are eligible to write the national certification examination for advanced professional practice as a family nurse practitioner offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Graduates of the PMH-NP option are eligible to write the national certification exam for advanced professional practice as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (across the lifespan) offered by ANCC. This examination is given nationwide throughout the year. Graduates of the NLDR-education option are eligible to take the National League of Nursing (NLN) Certified Nurse Educator Examination. Graduates of the NLDR-admin option, with two years of executive nursing experience, are eligible to take the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) exam for certification in Executive Nursing Practice.

Part-Time/Full-Time Study

This Master's program is designed to be completed in six to eight trimesters of part-time study. Students with a BSN who are not formally admitted to the program will be allowed to register for some core courses on a space-available basis and with instructor permission. Enrollment in any specialty course requires formal admission to the specialty track.

Scheduling of Courses

The NLDR option is completely online, with class time being synchronous (entire class participating at the same time) or asynchronous. The FNP and PMH-NP options are hybrid. Core courses and some specialty courses are completely online, with synchronous and asynchronous delivery. The FNP and PMH-NP clinical courses and physical assessment are in a hybrid format with some short face-to-face intensives required (usually 1-2 campus visits/semester). Additional course work is held throughout the semester at scheduled times, with distance students participating live via software programs such as Skype or Collaborate. All PMH-NP and FNP clinical must be completed in the state of Alaska and in most instances clinical is done in the students' own community. Decisions for clinical sites are based on there being adequate experiences and preceptors locally that allow the student to meet the course and program outcomes. Thus, it is possible for students who reside outside of Anchorage to take advantage of the opportunity to pursue graduate study at UAA. In addition, all students have the opportunity to take advantage of clinical learning opportunities throughout the state, including both urban and rural settings.

Admission Requirements

Satisfy the Admission Requirements for Graduate Degrees.

The following Graduate School application submission deadlines are recommended to ensure full processing of application and transcripts:

  • June 15 for October 1 applicants
  • November 1 for March 1 applicants

School of Nursing Admission Requirements

The following School of Nursing (SON) application submission deadlines are required to ensure full processing of application:

  • December 1 for admission to one of the specialties: family nurse practitioner (FNP), nursing leadership (NLDR) or psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMH-NP).
  • Applicants may request admission to graduate study once their graduate study admission application is completed. This status allows students to take more than 9 credits while waiting to be considered for admission to a specialty track.

The SON application must be submitted directly to the SON. Additional information and the application forms are on the SON website.

Graduate Study Admission Application

To be considered for graduate status, MS in Nursing Science applicants must:

  1. Submit the SON application form.
  2. Turn in resume (specific directions can be found in the application packet and should be followed carefully).
  3. Submit documentation of the following requirements:
    • Bachelor’s or graduate degree in nursing from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), formerly known as the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC).
    • A student who does not have a 3.00 undergraduate GPA may substitute their graduate GPA (based on completion of three graduate core courses and earning a 3.00 or higher in each course).
    • Minimum grade of 2.00 (C) in an undergraduate research methods course and a statistics course that covers descriptive and inferential statistics.
    • Active unencumbered registered professional nurse license in the state of Alaska. License must remain active and unencumbered while in the SON graduate program. There are different reasons for a license to be encumbered and some may not preclude admission to the program. Students with encumbered licenses should meet with the graduate chair to determine program eligibility.
    • Minimum of one year of half-time clinical experience as a registered nurse.
  4. Provide three letters of professional recommendation (see form in application packet). Letters must be submitted directly to the SON from the person writing the reference. References may be contacted by a member of the admissions committee.
Specialty Track Admission Application
  1. Complete all requirements for admission to graduate study (above). Note: If students have already been admitted to graduate study, they should update their resumè and transcripts, and submit a new application. Letters of recommendation submitted for graduate study consideration may be used in the specialty track application packet.
  2. Complete interview and proctored writing. Once the application is complete and there is documentation that the minimum requirements for admission are met, candidates will be invited to schedule the proctored writing and interview. The dates and times will be set by the SON for the first week of March. Accommodations will be made for remote candidates to participate using distance technology.

Applicants are considered for program admission on a competitive basis. Meeting all admission criteria does not guarantee admission. Nor does prior acceptance into graduate study status guarantee admission into the clinical specialty tracks. Special consideration may be given to candidates with clinical expertise, proficiency in other languages, knowledge of other cultures, and a proven record of professional contributions. This information should be put in the resume as part of the SON application. To the extent that there are limited seats available in the program, preference may be given to residents of the state of Alaska as defined by the university’s policy on residency for tuition purposes.

Additional School of Nursing Requirements

All students enrolled in UAA nursing programs must provide*:

  • Documentation of continuous current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for adults, infants and children.
  • Evidence of satisfactory health status, including immunity to chicken pox, rubella, rubeola, and hepatitis A and B (by titer); documentation of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) immunization within the past 10 years; annual PPD skin test or health examination indicating freedom from active tuberculosis; documentation of an annual HIV test (results not required); and
  • Results of the SON-sanctioned national-level criminal background check.

     The above requirements may change based on the demands of clinical facilities. Please check with the SON for the most recent list of requirements.

Students are required to provide their own transportation to clinical sites. They are also responsible for their portion of the cost of audio-conferencing. Students must have access to a personal computer and reasonable Internet connectivity. All students are expected to have graduate level writing and American Psychological Association (APA) referencing skills, as well as basic computer and typing skills prior to entry into the nursing program, for example:

  • Word processing,
  • Sending and receiving e-mail with attachments,
  • Accessing and navigating the Internet/World Wide Web,
  • Basic understanding of hardware, software and operating systems.

Academic Requirements

Students enrolled in the master’s degree program must remain in good standing with the SON. A detailed schematic of the SON good standing policy can be found in the SON Graduate Handbook. Noncompliance with the good standing policy and academic progress expectations will result in probation and possible dismissal from the program. In order to remain in good standing students must:

  • Maintain professional and academic standards at all times.
  • Earn a minimum 3.00 (B) in all required coursework.
  • Complete the scholarly project no later than three sequential semesters after completion of their final clinical course.

In addition, students in the FNP or the PMH-NP programs must complete additional clinical hours (2 credits) if they have not completed degree requirements within three sequential semesters after finishing their last clinical course. For each additional year that passes without completing degree requirements, the student will need to complete an additional 2 credits of clinical. More information on this policy can be found in the SON Graduate Handbook.

Graduation Requirements

  • Satisfy the General University Requirements for Graduate Degrees.
  • Complete the program requirements below for one of the following options: family nurse practitioner, psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, or nursing leadership with a focus on education or administration.

Program Requirements

Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Options

Core Courses *
NS A618Role Development in Advanced Nursing2
NS A619Nursing Health Policy2
NS A620Evidence-Based Advanced Nursing Practice4
NS A621Knowledge Development for Advanced Nursing Practice3
NS/HS A625Biostatistics for Health Professionals3
NS A696Scholarly Project (2 credits/semester)4
Total Credits18

Students seeking a second master’s degree may petition to have core courses waived based on evaluation of prior graduate degree.

Complete one of the following options:
Family Nurse Practitioner Option
ND A660Family Nurse Practitioner I4
ND A661Family Nurse Practitioner II5
ND A662Family Nurse Practitioner III5
ND A663Family Nurse Practitioner IV6
NS A601Advanced Pathophysiology3
NS A602Advanced Health Assessment in Primary Care3
NS A610Pharmacology for Primary Care3
Advisor-approved elective3
Total Credits32
Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Option
ND A670Advanced Practice Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing I5
ND A671Advanced Practice Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing II5
ND A672Advanced Practice Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing III5
ND A673Advanced Practice Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing IV5
NS A601Advanced Pathophysiology3
NS A602Advanced Health Assessment in Primary Care3
NS A610Pharmacology for Primary Care3
NS A611Psychopharmacology3
Total Credits32
Scholarly Project

A total of 4 credits of NS A696 taken over two semesters is required for the degree. Students who are unable to complete the scholarly project after two semesters will be required to register for 2 credits of NS A696 every semester thereafter and demonstrate continuing progress until the project is satisfactorily completed. Students are expected to complete their scholarly project within three sequential semesters of finishing the last clinical course. In the event a student does not complete their scholarly project during this time frame, additional coursework may be required or they may be dismissed from the program for non-progression.

A total of 50 credits is required for the degree.

Nursing Leadership Option

All NLDR students complete the core courses and then select one of two options: nursing education or administration.

Core Courses *
ND A618AAdvanced Nursing Leadership2
NS A619Nursing Health Policy2
NS A620Evidence-Based Advanced Nursing Practice4
NS A621Knowledge Development for Advanced Nursing Practice3
NS/HS A625Biostatistics for Health Professionals3
NS A647Evidence-Based Practicum for Nursing3
Total Credits17

Students seeking a second master’s degree may petition to have core courses waived based on evaluation of prior graduate degree.

Complete one of the following options:
Leadership in Education
NS A640Teaching and Learning in the Professional Context3
NS A641Developing Curriculum for Nursing and Other Professions3
NS A643Course and Curriculum Evaluation for Professionals4
NS A644Technology for Learning and Collaboration2
Advisor-approved elective3
Total Credits15
Leadership in Administration
ND A613Advanced Practice Informatics2
ND A615Health Services Organization and Finance4
Select two courses from the following list6
Health Services Administration
Program Evaluation
Introduction to Public Administration
Management Analysis
Public and Non-Profit Organizational Behavior
Human Resources Administration and Labor Relations
Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement
Advisor-approved elective3
Total Credits15

A minimum of 32 credits is required for the degree. 

Program Student Learning Outcomes

The graduate is prepared to:

  1. Engage in scholarly inquiry, including evaluation and application of evidence-based research to advanced nursing practice or leadership.
  2. Practice in a manner that incorporates ethical, legal, and professional standards for advanced nursing practice or nursing leadership.
  3. Collaborate across disciplines and in partnership with communities, groups, families and individuals through culturally sensitive practice.
  4. Demonstrate competence and caring in the professional nurse role to serve as a provider, leader, and educator in the health care system.
  5. Articulate a plan for self-directed, lifelong learning and professional development.