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Masters of Science in Nursing, Online MSN

Online MSN, Time to Shine: Your career as a nurse can take you many places, including into management, leadership, and even higher education. Saint Francis University has designed this fully accredited MSN to make the most of your experience, to prepare you for your next set of professional achievements, and to help you shine, as a nurse, as a manager, nurse educator, and as a leader in the profession.

    • Online Master of Science in Nursing student Rachel Dieterich
    • MSN Educator
    • MSN Grad Banner

      This fully accredited MSN program tailors educational experiences to advance graduates' career development plans.

    • This fully accredited MSN program tailors educational experiences to advance graduates' career development plans.

  • An Online MSN, While You Work

    The online MSN program at Saint Francis University prepares registered nurses for advanced roles that require increased accountability, expertise, and leadership.  Graduates of Saint Francis University’s MSN program are prepared to assume roles as administrators and nursing educators.  The MSN curriculum is founded on the Franciscan mission, values, and goals.  The small cohorts of students, dedicated professors, and strategically planned sequence of courses prepares graduates to lead through educating others.

  • This program is being offered through the highly respected Department of Nursing at Saint Francis University. The Department prides itself for graduating caring, ethical nurses who consistently excel in their chosen profession.

    • Program Accreditation
    • About the MSN Leadership/Education Program
    • Overall Degree Plan
    • Admissions
    • Costs & Financial Aid
    • Career Path
    • Goals and Obectives
    Program Accreditation

    The masters degree program in nursing (MSN L/E)  at Saint Francis University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

    Information on CCNE can be obtained from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

    About the MSN Leadership/Education Program

    This is an online program, with the exception of the clinical/practicum components and residency requirements.  The unique aspect of our program is personal attention.  The small classes enable faculty to provide individualized   guidance to students as they complete the coursework.    

    All students are required to attend two campus residencies in Loretto, Pennsylvania.  Each residency lasts 1 day.  The first residency provides an orientation to the program, the University, and student resources.  The second residency occurs during the last semester of the program, when students showcase their accomplishments to the faculty and the University.

    Overall Degree Plan

    The Leadership/Education track of the MSN program can be completed in 26 months. Courses vary in length from 7 to 15 weeks and are offered online. Most MSN students will take approximately 6-7 credits per semester (including summers).

    Two residencies are required. Each residency is one day in length and takes place on the Saint Francis University campus in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Each residency has a specific purpose, including networking, project presentations, and collaborative learning. Residencies take place prior to beginning the program (orientation) and during the last practicum course. 

    Three major clusters of courses comprise the MSN curriculum:

    Core Courses (16 credits)

    • Advanced Nursing Practice: Emergence, Theory, and Leadership, MSN 500, 3 credits
    • Research for Evidence-Based Practice, MSN 501, 3 credits
    • Leadership for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, MSN 502, 2 credits
    • Ethical Issues in Practice, MSN/MHS 505, 2 credits
    • Inter-professional Communication & Collaboration, MSN 510, 3 credits
    • Strategies in Health Policy, MSN/MHS 518, 3 credits

    Leadership & Education Specialization (14 credits)

    • Advanced Core Concepts in Health & Illness for Leadership/Education, MLE 509, 3 credits
    • Leadership in Measurement & Outcomes Evaluation, MLE 619, 3 credits
    • Economics & Fiscal Management for Nurse Leaders, MLE 520, 2 credits
    • Leadership for Excellence in Professional Development: Adult Development & Learning in Theory and Practice, MLE 626, 2 credits

    Immersive Courses for Nurse Leaders & Educators (7 credits)

    • Leading Quality Initiatives in Service & Education (2S/2C), MLE 630, 4 credits
    • Leadership Practicum (over 14 weeks max), MLE 640, 3 credits

    Course Catalog Major Requirements



    MSN Program Admission Criteria

    1. Unencumbered current license as a Registered Nurse in the United States within the home state of residency 
    2. Official transcripts verifying the conferral of a baccalaureate (bachelor's) degree in nursing from an ACEN, CCNE, or CNEA accredited program
    3. A BSN GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
    4. Evidence of qualification and capacity for graduate study as reflected in the following:
      a) Application essay
      b) Two professional references 
      c) Minimum grade-point average (GPA) 3.0
      d) Professional activity (e.g., community, organizational, and volunteer service, and creative professional accomplishments
    5. A minimum of one year of full-time work experience as a registered nurse is required prior to registration in clinical or specialty courses
    6. Interview with program faculty (in person, online, or by phone)
    7. Willingness to attend the on-campus residencies
    8. Students must meet the Technical Standards for Admission
    9. Proficiency in English 
      a) All applicants whose first language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL, 
      b) The minimum overall TOEFL score is 84 (Internet-based test); 24 is the minimum score in the speaking section, and 24 is the writing section minimum score
    10.  Applicants must meet the following prerequisites: 
      • Completion of an introductory college-level course in statistics (200 level preferred)
      • Completion of an undergraduate physical assessment course 
      • Demonstrated computer literacy (including the ability to send and download attachments) or completed courses in word processing, spreadsheet, database management, and presentation graphics

    Required Orientation

    Before beginning course work, new MSN students are required to attend a one-day on-campus orientation (first residency day).

    Advanced Standing

    A maximum of six (6) graduate-level credits from a regionally accredited university and approved program may be transferred toward completion of the requirements for the Master of Science in nursing (MSN) degree. Transfer credit will only be accepted for courses in which a grade of “B” (GPA = 3.0 on 4.0 scale) or its equivalent has been received. These credits cannot have been applied to a previous degree. Courses taken over five years prior to admission will not be accepted. Official transcripts certifying graduate-level courses completed at another institution prior to admission to St. Francis University are to be submitted at the time of application and will be evaluated for transfer of credits.

    Procedure for Requesting Transfer Credits

    Contact MSN Program Director for transfer credit evaluation.


    Readmission Policy

    After voluntary withdrawal, students may request readmission by submitting a letter to the MSN Program Director stating the reason for the request and the anticipated date for readmission. Previous program enrollment and a request for readmission do not guarantee acceptance for re-admission to the program. If readmission is granted, current MSN Program policies will apply (not those of the first admission to the program).

    Costs & Financial Aid


    • 33 credits of MSN course work @ $600/credit (subject to change)
    • One time graduation fee

    Total tuition and fees for MSN program in 2017-2018: $19,800 credits + $195 graduation fee = $19,995

    Currently there are no other fees associated with admission as a student in the MSN program, although students will be required to purchase their own malpractice insurance for courses with a clinical component (MLE 630 & 640).

    Financial Aid

    Please contact Financial Aid for student loan options at or (814) 472-3010.

    Career Path

    The Saint Francis MSN in Leadership and Education is specifically designed to prepare graduates to use their leadership and educational skills in teaching students or managing the administration of health care.  

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median annual wage for medical and health services managers was $98,350 in 2017.  The BLS also noted that employment for medical and health services managers is expected to grow by 20% percent from 2016 to 2026—faster than the average for other occupations.

    The most recent BLS report stated that the 2013 median annual wage for nurse educators was $65,940.  It also reported that the employment for nurse educators was projected to increase 35% between 2012 and 2022.

    Goals and Obectives

    The MSN Program is designed to meet the current and future need for nurses in roles of administration and education.  This includes preparing MSN graduates to plan, initiate, and evaluate change in health care and nursing education.  Students learn to lead by educating others. 

    Program Goals

    The Master of Science program in nursing is designed to achieve the following goals:

    1. Augment the potential of bachelor’s prepared professional nurses to strengthen and improve health care by providing graduate level educational opportunities in advanced practice, education, and leadership.
    2. Elevate the educational levels of nurses in the healthcare workforce by offering preparation for advanced practice roles in nursing.
    3. Prepare nurses for doctoral level study.

    MSN Student Learning Objectives

    Graduates of the MSN Program will be prepared to:

    1. Exercise a selected advanced practice nursing role to ensure the delivery of high quality direct patient care and/or to foster an organizational climate in health care and nursing educational settings that serve to promote high quality patient care.
    2. Exercise leadership in interdisciplinary collaboration to develop and/or refine organizational structures and processes through which high quality, evidence-based, and cost-effective care, and the improvement of patient outcomes are assured. 
    3. Participate in political processes at a variety of levels to influence health care policy that benefits patients, the profession, and the interdisciplinary community of health care providers.
    4. Make critical, constructive, and effective use of scientific evidence in the implementation, evaluation, and revision of health care services to better serve the health needs of individuals in the context of their families and communities.
    5. Exercise leadership to cultivate a highly ethical, culturally competent, and caring health care culture through the promotion of self-awareness, effective communication, effective group dynamics, values-based realism, courage, and principled action.
    6. Employ administrative and clinical information technology to access and leverage knowledge effectively, ethically, and legally in the interest of safe, effective, patient care in a variety of settings.
  • Request for Additional Program Information

    To learn more about our online Master of Nursing (Leadership/Education) program, fill out the fields below and an Admissions Representative will contact you.  You can also call (814) 472-3027 to speak to someone in our Nursing Department.       * - required fields  

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