Jun 19, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 

Master of Science in Nursing

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

Check departmental information for any additional requirements.

A minimum of five semesters is required for completion of the M.S. in nursing program. Study in the M.S. program may be full or part time. 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 population-focused area. Students in the advanced practice specializations are qualified to take 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 for the specialization to which admitted.

Current licensure with no encumbrance as a registered nurse in Illinois is prerequisite to enrollment in all nursing courses unless otherwise specified. Enrollment in the internship courses (NURS 603, NURS 623, NURS 633, NURS 653, NURS 663, and NURS 673) 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. All internship courses are permit courses. To obtain a permit for the course, the internship procedures and course pre- and co-requisites must be followed.

All clinical requirements must be maintained as outlined in the Graduate Nursing Student Handbook.

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 finalize their plan of study in consultation with an assigned adviser. 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 the M.S. program in nursing is limited and competitive. Application materials must be submitted to the Graduate School by the published deadline dates on the Graduate School website. Prospective students may be admitted to begin in the fall or spring semester. Admission decisions are usually made within two months of the application deadline.

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required for admission to the M.S. degree in nursing program.

Eligibility to Apply

Current licensure with no encumbrances as a professional 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 an accrediting agency officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education, such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), 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 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.

Transcript Evaluation: Applicants who completed their nursing education at a non-U.S. school are required to submit non-U.S. transcripts to the Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE; www.ece.org) or the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS; http://www.cgfns.org/) or World Education Services (WES; www.wes.org) for evaluation of credentials.  The evaluation report must show that the non-U.S. education is equivalent to a U.S. bachelors’ degree in nursing to be considered for admission.

Prefer one year experience as a professional Registered Nurse in clinical practice.

Application Components

Online completion of the application to the NIU Graduate School.

A two-page, double-spaced Goal Statement/Writing Sample to address: Professional goals, desired advanced practice or nursing education specialization in the M.S. degree program, and how a graduate degree in the desired specialization will promote goal achievement. 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 graduate level-prepared 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 and indicate the credentials and professional title of the person providing the reference. 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 after review of the application. 


One of the following specializations (15-25)

Specialization as an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (18)

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