Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
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About the University
Mission and History of the College of Nursing
Admission to the College of Nursing
Student Life and Services
Academic Policies and Procedures
Bachelor of Science Program
Master of Science Program
Program Description
Core Courses
Science Courses
Clinical Concentration Courses*
Post-Master's Certificate Program
Graduate School Nurse Certificate Program
Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) Program
Doctoral (Ph.D.) Program
Administration and Faculty
Divisions of the University
Camden Newark New Brunswick/Piscataway
  College of Nursing 2010–2012 Master of Science Program Program Description  

Program Description


The master of science program prepares advanced practice nurses in the areas of primary care of the adult and aged, family nurse practitioner, acute care nurse practitioner, advanced practice: pediatric nursing, advanced practice: women's health, community health nursing, and psychiatric/mental health nursing. An oncology track is also offered when there is a sufficient cohort of students. The graduates are qualified to take relevant national certification examinations and to become certified for prescriptive privileges in New Jersey and other states. Students in the B.S./M.S. to Ph.D. programs are prepared to become nurse scientists.

The master's graduate will be prepared to:

1.  integrate knowledge from nursing and related disciplines as the basis for advanced nursing practice with diverse populations;

2.  manage independently and collaboratively the health care problems of clients in a variety of settings;

3.  apply ethical analyses and clinical reasoning in advanced nursing care to diverse populations;

4.  use research findings to provide high quality health care, initiate change, and improve nursing practice;

5.  design and provide quality, safe, cost-effective care for clinical or community-based populations and the health care system;

6.  provide culturally competent care;

7.  participate in regulatory, legislative, and professional policies to promote health communities;

8.  synthesize knowledge from information sciences and health communication to provide advance practice care to culturally diverse populations;

9.  evaluate the standards of practice and consensus or evidence-based practice guidelines applicable to a particular population or area of practice;

10.  employ educational strategies (using instructional theories/research) with clients, families, staff members, and others;

11.  use theories from organizational sciences to optimize health system functioning; and

12.  pursue doctoral study.

Program of Study

The master's program offers specialized study that takes students from the baccalaureate-prepared generalist to the advanced nurse practitioner. The curriculum is structured to include general core courses, a scientific core, and specialty courses; the latter are specific to the students' areas of specialization and practice. In the general and science core courses, advanced nursing knowledge needed by all students is presented. The knowledge transmitted in the specialized courses builds on and extends that of the core courses.

Degree Requirements

The master's program in nursing may be completed in full- or part-time study. Some courses are offered in sequence and are not offered every semester. Students in most tracks of the master's program must complete 42 credits of coursework. The exceptions are the family nurse practitioner track, which requires completion of 48 credits; the psychiatric/mental-health track, which requires 39 credits; the nursing oncology track, which requires 48 credits; the acute care nursing track, which requires 43 credits; and the nursing research track (B.S./M.S. to Ph.D.), which requires 30 credits. Additional requirements are determined by the catalog in effect when the student is admitted or readmitted.

Students also are encouraged to enroll in various elective courses, which are available in other major academic units of the university. Courses may be taken in the Rutgers Business School, the School of Law-Newark, the School of Criminal Justice, the School of Social Work, the School of Public Affairs and Administration, and other graduate programs offered by the Graduate School–Newark.

Time Limit. Requirements for the master of science degree with a major in nursing must be completed within five consecutive years from the date of matriculation. Matriculation continued status is included in matriculation time.

Additional Master's Level Options

Post-Master's Certificate Program

Post-master's certificates can be obtained in the following advanced practice specializations: acute care, community health nursing, family, pediatrics, primary care of the adult and aged, psychiatric/mental health, oncology, and women's health nursing. A post-master's certificate can also be obtained in nursing education. These programs are for the graduate of a nursing master's program.

Minor in Nursing Education

A minor in nursing education can be obtained along with any of the advanced practice specializations. To complete either the minor or the post-master's certificate program, four nursing and one education course must be completed.

B.S./M.S. to Ph.D. Program

The B.S./M.S. to Ph.D. program is available for exceptional students desiring a career in research. Students may be admitted prior to beginning their bachelor's program or master's program. The master's program is designed for a role in research. It is not an advanced practice nursing specialization. The student is expected to maintain a 3.5 cumulative grade-point average throughout the program.

School Nurse Certificate Program

A school nurse certificate program is offered at the graduate level. The certificate program is designed for professional registered nurses who wish to be certified in school nursing in the State of New Jersey. The courses are offered online and may be transferred to other schools that offer a master's degree in school nursing.

Academic Advisement

When a student is fully or conditionally accepted into the graduate program, the senior program coordinator, Office of Student Services, consults with the associate dean for graduate education and assigns a member of the graduate faculty as the student's academic adviser. Students are notified of their advisers' names during new student orientation.

A student's adviser will be changed if a faculty member leaves the College of Nursing, if the adviser or student indicates that a change would be beneficial, or if the faculty member's workload needs to be readjusted. The change may be initiated by the adviser or student in a written request to the associate dean for graduate education, and/or the senior program coordinator, Office of Student Services. The request is assessed and the student may be reassigned to another adviser.

Academic Policies

1.  A full-time course load is defined as 9 or more credits, and a course load of 18 credits or more requires the approval of the associate dean for graduate education. 

2.  A student registered for 8 or fewer credits has part-time status.

3.  Students must be registered every semester to continue matriculation. Those students who interrupt their studies may register, with the approval of the associate dean for graduate education, for matriculation continued.

4.  When a student applies for admission, the requirements for the degree at that time become the student's program of study. Any courses taken as a nonmatriculated student are applied toward the degree only if the courses are required at the time of admission and were taken within the five-year time frame for earning the degree.

5.  As many as 12 credits of graduate coursework taken at other fully accredited institutions before enrollment in this program may be considered for replacing courses within the student's program. The courses must have been taken within the five-year time limit for the degree and all must meet the stipulations outlined in this catalog. To petition for approval of substitute courses, students should complete Form T-1 or T-2, which is available at the Office of Student Services. Transfer of credits does not occur until a student has completed at least 12 credits in the graduate program.

6.  No more than 9 credits with a grade of C or C+ may be used in meeting the requirements for a master's degree.

7.  Students are expected to earn grades of B or better in their coursework. An overall B average is required for graduation.

8.  The grade of incomplete, IN, can be granted when a student has not completed the assigned work in a course because of illness or other reasons satisfactory to the instructor. The grade of IN is issued at the discretion of the instructor. The IN grade must be converted to a letter grade by the end of the drop/add period in the next semester if the course with the incomplete grade is a prerequisite for a current course the student is taking. Any student failing to complete the assigned work to remove the IN grade is required to drop the subsequent course. University regulations require the removal of incompletes within a calendar year. If not removed, the IN remains on the transcript. In unusual and compelling situations, an extension may be recommended by the associate dean for graduate education. A specific plan for completion is required for an extension to be approved. The Request for Incomplete Status form may be obtained from the College of Nursing Office of Student Services.

9.  All requirements for the master's degree must be completed within five consecutive years from the date of matriculation. Should extenuating circumstances necessitate prolonging the time limit, the student's record is reviewed. Extensions are granted only to those students who have a history of satisfactory performance and can document a timetable and plan to complete the requirements within a reasonable period of time. A written request for such an extension is made to the academic adviser, who makes a recommendation on the matter to the associate dean for graduate education who makes the final decision.

Clinical Placements

Clinical placements for graduate students are arranged collaboratively with the student, the professor responsible for the course, and a preceptor. The terms of the placement are formalized in a letter of agreement filed with the agency and in the Office of Student Affairs. Preceptors serve as role models and guide the clinical experience. The professor maintains contact with the preceptor, provides overall supervision, and assigns the final grade. Refer to Clinical/Practicum Requirements under Academic Policies and Procedures in this catalog for further information.

Nondegree Students

Students who wish to take courses without enrolling in a degree program are given nondegree status. The following policies and procedures apply to nondegree students:

1.  Applications for nondegree graduate nursing courses may be obtained from the internet by visiting

2.  All students must be advised before registering for courses. 

3.  No more than 12 credits may be earned as nondegree credits. This includes prerequisite courses for the graduate program in nursing.

4.  Credit for nondegree courses may be applied to the graduate degree if the student applies and is admitted to the graduate program within five years. However, satisfactory completion of these courses does not guarantee admission to the graduate degree program. In addition, a student receives credit for these courses only if the courses were required at the time of admission.

Online and Web-Enhanced Courses

A number of the master's nursing courses are provided either entirely online or partially online accompanied by a number of face-to-face meetings. Courses that are entirely online are indicated as such in the specific schedule of courses. Students are expected to be computer literate and have convenient access to a computer with the appropriate hardware and software. These computer system requirements are provided on the College of Nursing website.

* Accepted physical assessment courses are offered through Rutgers' College of Nursing Center for Professional Development.

For additional information, contact RU-info at 732-445-info (4636) or
Comments and corrections to: Campus Information Services.

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