Feb 21, 2024  
Catalog/Bulletin 2022-2023 
Catalog/Bulletin 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Science in Nursing

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Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

The faculty believes that graduate education degrees in nursing should be based on undergraduate general education and professional knowledge, attitudes and applied skills, which evolve from the concept that the individual is a holistic being. As nursing curricula progress from undergraduate to graduate education, the curricula affords students the opportunity to study, in-depth, knowledge in selected roles in nursing such as nurse educators and clinical nurse leaders. Graduate programs in nursing have the mission of educating qualified persons to improve nursing, health care, and education in order to advance the discipline of nursing.


The purpose of the Master of Science in Nursing curricula is to prepare a nurse with the advanced knowledge and skills necessary to function in an expanded role. The program prepares nurses with expertise in the areas of nursing education and clinical leadership. The Master of Science in Nursing degree also prepares graduates to function in interprofessional roles as providers and organizers serving patient-specific and population-based care across the continuum in various health care settings. Central to the curriculum are LSUHNO School of Nursing core values, theoretical concepts and complex decision-making and problem-solving skills necessary for the masters prepared registered nurse to impact health care delivery and patient outcomes. Core content includes advanced health assessment, advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology and experiences in providing direct patient care.

Curriculum Outcomes

The purpose of the expected outcomes are to define the content that forms the foundation of all Master’s nursing education irrespective of concentration and to offer the graduates a foundation for doctoral studies.

  1. Apply evidence-based knowledge and theories to stimulate research in the area of nursing education or nursing leadership.
  2. Advocate for and influence the development of nursing practice in the areas of health policy, organization and financing of healthcare.
  3. Utilize ethical principles and demonstrate accountability in the areas of nursing education or nursing leadership.
  4. Provide culturally competent individualized health to groups and populations.
  5. Incorporate health promotion and disease prevention theories and research in empowering patient/clients as individuals, families and communities, to optimize their health status across the life span.
  6. Provide leadership in patient care and the healthcare system in the role of nurse educator or clinical nurse leader.
  7. Apply critical thinking skills, self-awareness, interpersonal and leadership skills and the utilization of evidence-based practice to achieve a successful transition to the role of a masters prepared nurse.


Admission to graduate programs occurs three times per year. The deadline for submission of applications for Fall is July 1st, Spring is October 1st, and Summer is March 1st. Any exception to this admission schedule is directed to the Associate Dean or the Dean. Application to the Master of Science in Nursing program is through NursingCAS.

Types of Admission

Unconditional Admission: granted to applicants meeting all requirements for admission.

Probationary Admission: granted to applicants not meeting all admission criteria; the applicant shows promise for success based on the applicant’s merits.

Provisional Admission: granted to applicants unable to submit the required credentials by the deadline. Students granted provisional admission must submit credentials within 30 days of the first day of class.

Non-Degree Status: granted to applicants interested in enrolling in graduate courses but have not been admitted into a program of study. Non-degree seeking students are not allowed to enroll in more than 6 hours, unless an exception is provided by the Dean. Admission under this status is selective; may be limited depending on program resources; and is granted by the Dean.

Requirements for Non-Degree Status:

  1. Completed application
  2. Transcript indicating graduation from an approved program
  3. A current, unencumbered Louisiana nursing license, if applicable
  4. A current resume that documents at least one year of clinical experience
  5. Completed health records

Admission Requirements

Master of Science in Nursing - MSN

  1. Bachelor’s degree in nursing
  2. Official transcript from an accredited college or university documenting the award of a BSN or BSN equivalent. All previous undergraduate and graduate transcripts must be submitted. All nursing course credit earned must be from a specialized nursing accredited academic program. *A BSN equivalent does not meet admission requirement without the conferral of a Master’s degree.
  3. A GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale for all undergraduate and graduate course work reflected on transcript(s). If an applicant has attended a previous nursing program without degree conferral, a letter of academic good standing must be provided from school of nursing.
  4. Official scores for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) of 300 (or higher) when combining the verbal and quantitative scores on the 130-170 score scale are required from within the last five (5) years. Writing score must be a 3.0 or higher from within the last five (5) years. Input GRE scores within the NursingCAS application.
  5. Three references in support of graduate admission application. At least one recommendation must be from a peer ansd another from a current supervisor.
  6. A minimum score of 550 (paper-based) or 79 (internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for all applicants with English as a second language or are not graduates of programs in the United States.
  7. A current, unencumbered RN license to practice nursing in any state with eligibility for licensure in Louisiana is required.
  8. Successful completion of interview process.

Criminal Background Check and Drug Screening Policy

The purpose of obtaining the background check and urine drug screen is to protect the public. Students are responsible for the background check and urine drug screen fees. Background checks and urine drug screens are ordered through CastleBranch.

Additional types of background screening and urine drug tests may also be required depending upon the policies of the clinical agencies where students are assigned to provide patient care.  Students are responsible for the background check and urine drug screen fees.

The School of Nursing conducts random drug screenings. Students are responsible for any/all random drug screening fees.


Students must comply with the general Health Sciences Center provisions governing registration as specified in the general information section of this publication. Continuous registration for each academic semester is required to maintain student status in the graduate nursing program of study.

Full Time Study

The minimum requirements for full time enrollment in graduate study is nine semester hours during a regular academic semester and six semester hours during a summer session. Permission to register for more than fifteen credit hours in any one semester may be granted by the Associate Dean or the Dean upon the recommendation of the student’s faculty advisor.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of scholarships may be available to graduate students registered for full time study. For information regarding stipend assistance, contact the Associate Dean for Nursing Research, Scholarship, and Science or Coordinator of Grants and Development.

Transfer of Credits

Graduate students may petition to transfer credits from other accredited universities for application to LSUHSC degree programs. The maximum transfer allowed is twelve semester hours when studying at the master’s level. Graduate course work may be transferred provided each course:

  1. Fulfills the requirements specified in the student’s graduate degree plan.
  2. Achieved a grade of “B” or better in course(s).
  3. Was not counted toward another degree..
  4. Was completed within the eight year time limit for the degree.
  5. Transfer credit for each course may be requested and applied to a graduate degree only one time.

Students will not receive credit for any course taken outside LSUHSC when it is offered the same semester at LSUHSC or the LSU System. Petitions must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor and the Associate Dean for the perspective program or the Dean.

*In the graduate programs, the 3 P courses must be recent, no older than 5 years.

No courses may be transferred for credit in the last thirty (30) hours of the curriculum.

Registration for Degree Candidates

Candidates for degrees are required to register for graduate study during the semester they have been confirmed to receive a degree.

Residency or Foreign Language Requirements

There are no residency or foreign language requirements for the master’s program of study.

Re-Entry Graduate Programs

Students who have been accepted for graduate study and who have not maintained continuous registration, i.e. have been absent for two semesters or more, must submit a petition for re-entry at least one semester prior to the semester in which they wish to reenter. Supplementary transcripts must be submitted for course work taken at another institution during the interim.

Academic Standards

Student Responsibility for Degree Requirements

In matters concerning courses and curricula, the School of Nursing prescribes certain standards, which are enforced. These may be regarded as minimum requirements.

  • Graduate students are responsible for acquainting themselves with the general regulations and specific requirements, which are applicable to their particular program of study. All students are required to meet with their academic advisors each semester for approval of the semester course plan prior to registration.

Graduate Grading System

The graduate degree program of study employs a letter grade and quality point system where A = 4 quality points, indicates superior work, and is equivalent to 90 - 100 numerical points. A grade of B = 3 quality points, indicates satisfactory work, and is equivalent to 80-89 numerical points. A grade of C is below expected academic performance, yields 2 quality points, and the numerical equivalent is 70-79. A grade of D = 1 quality point is an unsatisfactory grade and represents 60 - 69 numerical points. The grade of F carries no quality points, is an unsatisfactory grade, and numerically represents a score of < 60.

There are three interim grades used in the graduate degree program of study. These are “I, “S,” and “U.” The “I” grade indicates satisfactory performance by the student who, due to unavoidable circumstances, cannot complete course requirements before the close of the semester. The student may obtain permission for the “I” grade by petitioning the course coordinator, and the Associate Dean or the Dean of the School for extended time to complete the required work. A grade of “I” will be converted to an “F” unless it is removed prior to the deadline for adding courses for the next semester as published in the calendar. If removal of the “I” is not finished in a timely manner and reported to the Office of Student Affairs, the “I” grade will automatically be converted to the grade of “F.” The student should refer to the academic calendar for dates of deadlines for removal of incomplete grades.

The grade of “S” is awarded for satisfactory work in thesis and dissertation courses. Upon completion of all requirements, the “S” is converted to “P” for the thesis or dissertation. A grade of “U” is awarded for unsatisfactory thesis or dissertation work. Students who earn a “U” have two semesters (one calendar year) to complete the thesis or dissertation.

“W” is the grade issued to all students who enroll and subsequently withdraw from a course after attending up to 20 percent of actual class time. A grade of F is awarded to any student who attends 80 percent or more of actual class time and who withdraws before completion of the course.

Thesis Advisement

Students writing a thesis are required to register for advisement before receiving assistance from the committee chairperson or any committee member. After completion of course work, continuous registration in thesis is required. Failure of students to continuously register for and satisfactorily (S grade) complete NURS 6390  each semester may result in termination from the master’s program.

Policies and Procedures


Students may petition for a change or alteration in curriculum requirements for the following reasons:

  1. Substitution of one course for another course where sufficient evidence is present that the course being substituted meets the intent of the required course
  2. Alteration in admission, progression or graduation requirements
  3. Request for challenge exam, or transfer credit

The completed petition is returned to the Office of Student Affairs after being reviewed and signed by the student’s advisor. The Admissions, Progression, and Graduation Committee will act on the petition, and send a written response to the student. All petitions must be submitted no later than one month prior to registration in order for the action of the Committee to be effective at registration time.

Time Limit for Degrees

Graduate students have eight years from the first time of registration to complete all conditions for the master’s degree.

Academic Progression Graduate Programs

Eligibility to continue registration in the graduate degree programs of study is dependent upon satisfactory removal of all provisional or probationary conditions imposed at admission, achievement of a “B” or better for each nursing course completed, and maintenance of a 3.0 grade point average for all course work completed while enrolled in the graduate program of study. A grade below B in a graduate course in nursing is considered unsatisfactory performance. The student will be permitted to continue in graduate study until the course is repeated at the next time it is offered and a grade of B or better has been achieved, provided that a 3.0 GPA and good academic standing is maintained. A course may be repeated once with the approval of the faculty advisor or course instructor. 

The student must successfully complete the course the second enrollment.

Limitation on Faculty Seeking Graduate Degrees through School of Nursing

Faculty of the School of Nursing holding the rank of Assistant Professor or higher may not earn a graduate degree in nursing at the LSUHSC School of Nursing. Faculty holding the rank of Instructor may register for a maximum of six semester hours per semester in the graduate program.

Graduation Requirements: Master of Science in Nursing Degree

Students must meet the following program specific degree requirements:

  1. Satisfactory completion of 37 to 40 semester hours as specified by the curriculum. Fulfillment of all clinical practice hours as specified by the curriculum.
  2. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on all college coursework attempted at LSUHNO SON with no grade lower than a B in courses. 
  3. Recommendation of the Faculty, and approval by the Admissions, Progression and Graduation Committee.
  4. Attendance at rehearsal, pre-commencement and Commencement unless specifically excused by the Dean.
  5. Completion of end of course evaluations, exit survey, and all components of compliance training.
  6. Verification that all materials belonging to the Health Sciences Center and cooperating agencies have been returned through the proper procedures. These materials would include such items as library books, equipment, keys, furniture or related items. 
  7. Satisfactory status concerning all financial obligations to the LSU System.       

Procedure for Obtaining Master of Science in Nursing Degree

A candidate must contact the Office of Student Affairs to have academic records evaluated for compliance with degree requirements. This request should be accomplished at the beginning of the semester prior to the semester in which the degree is to be awarded. After the degree compliance form has been signed by the Dean (or an authorized representative), it should be presented in the Office of the Registrar. Each candidate must make an application for degree during the final semester in residence, stating the exact name, which, is to appear on the diploma.

Curriculum - Master of Science in Nursing

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) are specialized professional degrees similar to others offered in the LSU System. The total number of credits for the degree is between 37 to 40 semester hours.  Students may attend full or part time. A curriculum plan is designed by the student and faculty advisor in accordance with the student’s educational goals and interests. Core courses are required of students regardless of selected role and concentration. The structure and content of the curriculum are based on the rationale that theory provides the conceptual basis for nursing practice. Courses are arranged so that theory and practice are presented concurrently.





Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Concentration

This program prepares a Clinical Nurse Leader at the master’s level as a generalist that cultivates quality improvement and care coordination. The CNL implements evidence -based practice, collects and evaluates patient outcomes, assesses cohort risks and guides plans for care as indicated.

Nurse Educator Concentration

This program prepares a Nurse Educator at the master’s level who has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to utilize adult learning theory, education theory, curriculum development, critical thinking, evidence-based practice, and leadership in academic, practice, and service settings

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