Jul 15, 2024  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 

Master of Science in Nursing

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Specialization in Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
Specialization in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
Specialization in Family Nurse Practitioner
Specialization in Nursing Education

Check departmental information for any additional requirements.

A minimum of four semesters is required for completion of the M.S. in nursing program. Graduates are prepared for the nurse educator role or for an advanced practice role as either a nurse practitioner or a clinical nurse specialist in a selected field of specialization and are eligible to sit for national examinations for certification as a family nurse practitioner, an adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, or an adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist by completing the program with the appropriate specialization.

Current licensure with no encumbrance as a registered nurse in Illinois is prerequisite to enrollment in all nursing courses unless otherwise specified. Registered nurses who hold the baccalaureate in nursing may enroll in graduate nursing courses as students-at-large. With the approval of the student’s faculty adviser, a maximum of 9 semester hours of student-at-large credit may be applied to degree requirements. However, students-at-large who have not been admitted to a nursing program are not permitted to enroll in NURS 615 and NURS 618 and admitted students receive priority over students-at-large in registering for courses. (See “Admission” below.) Enrollment in the internship courses (NURS 677, NURS 678, NURS 679, NURS 643, and NURS 644) requires that planning be completed with appropriate faculty during the semester preceding each internship experience and that an intent to enroll form is completed one year prior to enrollment in the first internship.

To maintain enrollment in the graduate program, all clinical requirements are to be maintained throughout the nursing program as outlined in the Graduate Nursing Student Handbook.

All internship courses are permit courses. In order to receive a permit for the course a student must complete the appropriate prerequisite courses and submit documentation of compliance with clinical requirements to the College of Health and Human Sciences, Wirtz 227F. Clinical requirements include evidence of current registered nurse licensure, professional liability insurance, appropriate CPR certification, and required immunizations.

The graduate faculty may determine that a student not continue in the master’s program in nursing for failure to maintain professional standards.

Graduate students plan their program of study in consultation with an assigned adviser. With the advice and consent of the adviser, a student may elect a thesis option, which requires completion of an additional 3 semester hours. A maximum of 6 semester hours of credit may be transferred from another college or university.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.

Criminal Background Checks and Drug Screening

Students in nursing and the M.A.T. are required to undergo criminal background checks and drug screening. The nursing program and the M.A.T. with a specialization in health education may be unable to place students in a clinical or student teaching settings if they have a positive drug screen or if the student has a prior criminal record; therefore, the student may not be able to complete the program of required courses.


Admission to graduate study in nursing requires compliance with the following standards of the nursing program.

  • Current licensure with no encumbrance as a registered nurse in the U.S. (Prior to beginning course work, students must hold or have applied for licensure in Illinois.)
  • A baccalaureate degree from a school accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or the National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission, or from a program seeking initial accreditation which includes an upper-division major in nursing equivalent to the undergraduate nursing major at NIU. If the applicant is a graduate of a nongraded baccalaureate program in nursing, CCNE accreditation or National League of Nursing accreditation is required. The applicant must provide documentation of course work which is essentially equivalent to that required in the nursing major at NIU.
  • A minimum 3.00 GPA (based on a 4.00 system) for the last 60 hours of the baccalaureate program, or completion of 9 semester hours of graduate work in nursing at NIU with a GPA of 3.20 or better.
  • The nursing program Admissions Committee will review the Goal Statement submitted to the Graduate School as a writing sample. The statement should be one single-spaced, typewritten page. It should address the applicant’s overall career goals, desired field of study, and explanation of how a graduate degree in the desired specialization will fulfill career goals. This statement should also include a paragraph regarding clinical practice experience in the past three years and the area(s) of practice specialty.
  • Three professional letters of reference which provide evidence of the applicant’s professional qualifications. At least one reference should be from a professor or nursing colleague who can address the applicant’s potential for academic success. At least one reference must be from a current, professional nurse colleague (e.g., a supervisor or preceptor) who can address the applicant’s professional qualifications as a licensed professional registered nurse. References should be provided on the Graduate School reference form. Ratings and comments should be included. Family members and personal friends are not considered professional references.
  • The approval of the nursing program Graduate Admissions Committee. 

Applicants to the nursing education specialization must have completed a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice experience in a specialty area within the three years prior to admission. A “specialty” means clinical practice in one specific area such as medical-surgical, pediatrics, community health, psychiatric nursing, etc.

The GRE is not required for admission to nursing.

Admission decisions are usually made within two months from the deadline for receipt of the complete applications.

All students are admitted to the nursing graduate programs provisionally until they have provided proof of meeting the clinical requirements outlined in the Graduate Nursing Student Handbook and then they will be fully admitted. Full admission to the nursing program is required to enroll in nursing courses.


Non-Thesis Option

One of the following specializations (22-35)

Specialization as an Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (35)

Specialization as an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (35)

Thesis Option

Same requirements as non-thesis option, except 3 semester hours of NURS 699, Master’s Thesis, must be included.

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