CSUDH Bannercsudh_banner index Page Search Page CSUDH Home Page

MSN Role Option

The MSN program prepares leaders for advanced practice in the roles of nurse educator, nurse administrator, clinical nurse specialist and family nurse practitioner. Courses are based on advanced knowledge and the critique and application of theory and research as a scientific base for nursing.

The Master’s Entry- Level to Professional Nursing (MEPN) program prepares students in the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) role option for licensure as registered nurses in clinical practice as advanced generalists. The CNL role option is only open to qualified students who are seeking to become registered nurses (see Admission criteria for CNL role option). Coursework includes MSN core and advanced science courses and pre-licensure nursing courses taught at the graduate level. Check the SON website for more detailed information about the MEPN/CNL program at www.csudh.edu/cps/son/msn/mepn.htm

A. Program Objectives

  • Upon completion of the M.S. degree program in Nursing, graduates will be able to:
  • Integrate knowledge, theory, research and skills in the delivery of comprehensive care and services for individuals, families and populations.
  • Design culturally sensitive programs and systems of care and services that meet the needs of diverse and vulnerable populations.
  • Provide evidence-based, clinically proficient care and services using critical thinking skills in advanced nursing roles.
  • Apply oral, written and technological communication skills in clinical, educational, and professional contexts and systems.
  • Integrate ethical principles into theories, research and practice in advanced nursing roles.
  • Advocate for healthcare policies and financing that promote, preserve and restore public health.
  • Provide leadership in collaborative efforts with other disciplines to influence improvement in healthcare systems.
  • Demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning for continued professional growth.

B. MSN Program

The program consists of 30-75 semester units of approved graduate study. The curriculum consists of 15 units of core courses; prerequisite courses; role theory courses; role performance courses; and a culminating experience, the Comprehensive Examination.

  • All prerequisites, MSN coursework, and Comprehensive Examination must be completed within the 5 year time period designated by program policy. Grade averages are calculated each semester by University Admissions and Records. To maintain acceptable standing in the MSN program, a "3.0" average and a minimum of "B" grade in each course are required.
  • Satisfaction of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) prior to entry into the program or by the completion of 9 graduate units.
  • All core courses are non-sequenced except for MSN 502 which must be taken prior to or concurrent with first core course.
  • Satisfaction of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) prior to entry into the program or by the completion of 9 graduate units.

C. Program Structure

The MSN program consists of 15 units of core courses, plus role emphasis courses. The total number of units varies according to the role option:

  • Nurse Administrator (30 units)
  • Nurse Educator (36 units) *
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (40 units)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (48 units)
  • Clinical Nurse Leader (75 units)

Courses should be completed in the suggested sequence as noted in the MSN curriculum charts and handbooks. Students wishing to accelerate their study or pursue full time study should seek advice and approval from the Graduate Coordinator.

All students conclude their 30-75 units of master’s preparation with a culminating activity (See MSN Degree Requirements)

  • Nurse educators develop expertise in a nursing clinical practice area by selecting a three-unit elective in an advanced clinical focus related to parent-child or gerontology nursing. The course should be taken prior to entry into role-emphasis courses.

D. Role Options

The MSN Role Options consist of the choices below. Students must declare a role option on the application or by the end of the first semester of graduate coursework. All graduate coursework is available online. Periodic on-campus attendance is required for select courses (see below) and for the Comprehensive Examination Workshop and Examination. Student must download and review the Clinical Handbook and complete Role Option eligibility packet the semester prior to role option courses.
The MSN curriculum allows RN students to choose from one of five nursing role options: Nurse Administrator, Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist, Parent –Child, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Gerontology. Those seeking to become RNs may only choose the Clinical Nurse Leader role option (MEPN program). The CNL option has a fixed curriculum pattern which must be followed as sequenced. Each student must select one of the role options upon application to the university.
Admissions Criteria for the Clinical Nurse Leader Role Option in the MEPN program

Admissions Qualifications: (see also more detailed information about the MEPN/CNL program at http://www.csudh.edu/cps/son/msn/mepn.htm

  • BA or BS degree in any field but Nursing from an accredited institution
  • Overall GPA of 3.0, preferably higher, in the last 60 semester units
  • Grades of B or better in all science Pre-requisites required (Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Pathophysiology)
  • Grades of B or better strongly recommended in all other Pre-requisites
  • Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (score greater or equal to 8) (See Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement in the University Catalog.)
  • Portfolio validating prior learning and work experience
  • Three letters of recommendation (at least 1 from faculty and 1 from recent employer)
  • Personal Interview

Students will also be required to complete a certified nursing assistant (CNA) course prior to beginning the program and submit certification.

E. Five Role Options:

  • Parent-Child Clinical Nurse Specialist Option (40 units)
  • Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Option (40 units)
  • Nurse Education Option (36 units)
  • Nurse Administrator Option (30 units)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (48 units)

Note: the unit totals above include the 15 units of required core courses, elective (educator and administrator), and prerequisite courses if applicable.

Nurse Educator

> Click here for Curriculum chart

Graduates of the nurse educator role option will be competent to provide beginning nursing education to community college nursing students, agency staff, or clients. To achieve this objective, students will complete a minimum of 288 hours over two semesters in a clinical setting (community colleges, staff development, or client education) under the auspices of a Masters prepared nurse educator preceptor. The nurse educator preceptor is experienced in teaching methods and strategies, demonstrates expertise in an appropriate clinical area, and can facilitate the student's application of theoretical knowledge to teaching/learning situations. Nurse educator students develop expertise in an advanced clinical focus area by selecting a three-unit "elective" in parent-child or gerontological nursing. The course must be taken prior to role theory/performance courses. Nurse educator student's clinical expertise is also supported with advanced pathophysiology and assessment courses. Role theory and role performance courses are offered in the Spring and Fall terms (MSN 529, 559, 539, and 569).
Note: Advanced Assessment requires two, 2-day sessions for teaching and testing of assessment skills (held on campus).


Nurse Administrator

> Click here for Curriculum Chart

Graduates of the nurse administrator role option will be competent in the advanced theory and skills necessary to function in administration of organized nursing services at the institutional, staff, and patient/client care levels. To achieve this objective, students will complete a minimum of 288 hours over two semesters in a clinical setting under the auspices of a Masters prepared nurse administrator. The ideal preceptor is a nurse administrator with a Masters degree in nursing, a history of demonstrated leadership within an organization, experience as an administrator, and one who can provide access to learning experiences. An approved "elective" for administration students must be completed prior to role performance. Role theory and role performance courses are offered in the Spring and Fall terms (MSN 532, 560, 538, and 570).


Clinical Nurse Specialist

> Click here for CNS Parent-Child Curriculum Chart
> Click here for CNS Gerontology Curriculum Chart

Graduates of the CNS role options in gerontology or parent-child will be competent to function as a clinician, case manager, researcher, educator, and consultant. A CNS is responsible for planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of programs for special populations. The CNS student must complete a minimum of 500 hours in a clinical setting under the auspices of a Masters prepared CNS in gerontology or parent-child nursing. Role theory and role performance courses are offered in the Spring and Fall term (MSN 547, 548, 549).
Note: Advanced Assessment requires two, 2-day sessions for teaching and testing of assessment skills (held on campus).

Family Nurse Practitioner

The FNP program, as part of the Graduate Nursing Program at CSUDH, is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate N sing Education (CCNE). The University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This program meets the requirements of the California Board of Registered Nursing and is a BRN approved program. Graduates of this program are eligible to be certified as nurse practitioners in the State of California. Eligibility to be certified as a nurse practitioner in other states requires the successful completion of a national certification examination. Role theory and role performance courses are offered in the Spring and Fall term  567, 568, 578, 588(see this link for more detailed information http://csudh.edu/cps/son/msn/fnphandbook.pdf ).

Students who successfully complete this program are qualified to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center and/or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners' certification examinations as Family Nurse Practitioners.