Admission Standards for Master of Science in Nursing

General Criteria

Admission will be granted to those applicants who satisfy the basic qualifications and show high promise of success in the graduate program of his or her choice. In general, the admission decision will be based on these qualifications:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum quality point average of 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Determination by the Admissions, Promotion, and Graduation (APG) Committee of the candidate’s potential to be effective and responsible in his or her chosen field.

In addition to the University’s general admission criteria to graduate programs, the following guidelines for admission to the Master of Science in Nursing degree include:

  1. Must have an active, unencumbered Registered Nurse license in the state of Ohio.
  2. Student must hold a current, unencumbered Registered Nurse license in each state in which they will do clinical practice during their academic program.
  3. FBI background check and physical exam form from primary care physician are also required.
  4. Undergraduate course work covering basic concepts in the following areas:
    1. Nursing research
    2. Ethical issues in health care
    3. Philosophical, theoretical, historical and conceptual aspects of the nursing profession
    4. Computer literacy that includes word processing, use of the internet, e-mail competency, and assessing library databases.
  5. Prospective students not admitted for failure to meet any of these above standards may present evidence, in writing, of their capability of success in the graduate nursing program. This evidence will be reviewed by the Admissions, Progression and Graduation Committee of the Department of Nursing for a determination of admittance to the program.
  6. An interview (by person or phone) may be required on a case-by-case basis.

The MSN program is a six semester program of course work that includes Fall, Spring and Summer terms. The student may enter the program at the beginning of any semester, however, some courses may require prerequisite courses, therefore, the length of time to complete the degree may be determined by the point of entry into the program. The courses run sequentially with only certain courses offered each semester, which follow an established pedagogy. The full time load for a MSN student is 9 credits. It is not recommended that a student take more than the proposed course work during any given term. Those students seeking their certificate must seek advice from the Department concerning the most appropriate time to enter the program.

Application Process

  1. Complete the graduate nursing application form—this may be completed on-line or via regular mail.
  2. College and University transcripts are sent directly to Office of Graduate Admissions.
  3. Two letters of recommendation from academic or professional individuals.
  4. Non-English speaking students are subject to the Department of Admission Policy relative to the TOEFL examination.

NOTE: the RN to MSN Student must complete the undergraduate application form. Upon successful completion of the BSN, admission to the MSN program is automatic at Franciscan University.

Criminal Background Check

Students admitted to the Master in Nursing program must submit to a criminal background check prior to registering for their first course (or show proof that the CBI/FBI check has been completed).  Students who do not comply with this requirement will not be permitted to remain in the program.  If a criminal background check precludes a student from clinical practice, the student will not be permitted to remain in the MSN nursing program.  If a criminal background check has previously been completed and is current, the student must submit proof of such to the MSN department.

Drug/Alcohol Testing

Students admitted to the Master of Science in Nursing program must submit to a drug/alcohol screening prior to beginning any clinical experience that requires such a screening. Students who do not comply with this facility requirement will not be permitted to remain in the MSN nursing program. If a drug/alcohol screening precludes a student from clinical practice, the student will not be permitted to remain in the nursing program.

Transfer Credit

Students requesting to transfer graduate course credit from other accredited institutions to Franciscan University’s Master of Science in Nursing Program may be permitted to do so, provided grades are at least a "B" in each course, and the course is not more than ten (10) years old.  These credits will not be accepted in lieu of nursing courses required for the Specialization Core Curriculum.  Courses considered for transfer to the MSN Program will be determined by the FNP Coordinator in consultation with the graduate nursing faculty and the Director of Academic Advising and Academic Operations.  Only courses taken before entry into the Master's program will be considered for transfer.  Requests for transfer of credit must be submitted to the FNP Coordinator no later than the end of the first semester of studies at Franciscan.  At the discretion of the FNP Coordinator, or an individual instructor, course descriptions, syllabi, or graded assignments from such course work may also be requested. 

Note:  Because of the scheduling of MSN courses, the transfer of credits into the MSN program should not be expected to shorten the length of time to complete program requirements.

Scheduling and Sequence of Courses

Full- and Part-Time Schedules*

Recognizing that the majority of graduate nursing students are employed full time and have family responsibilities, the University wants to allow as much flexibility within the MSN Program as possible. Projection schedules for program completion are made on an individual basis in order to accommodate the progression goals of all students. The basic full-time program schedule has been organized as a 7 to 9 credit evening program that can be completed in six 15-week semesters. It should be noted that the FNP Program will be full-time for the final two semesters, which include concentrated clinical components.

Academic Standards and Progression

The student’s proficiency in graduate course work toward the MSN or post-master certificate is recorded in the following manner on a 4.0 quality point average (QPA) grading scale:

A = 4.0

A- = 3.7

B+ = 3.3

B = 3.0

B- = 2.7

C+ = 2.3

C = 2.0

C- = 1.7

D+ = 1.3

D = 1.0

D- = 0.7

Other grades recorded:

P = Passing-No quality points. Used for specific courses.

WP = Withdrew Passing – No quality points.

WF = Withdrew Failing – No quality points.

I = Incomplete – No quality points.

IP = In Progress. 

F = Failing.

Incomplete Grade

The grade of Incomplete, I, indicates that the work has not been completed because of factors outside of the control of the student. Students must complete the work 30 days after the beginning of the succeeding semester to remove the I grade. If it is not removed within this period, the grade becomes an F. The Master of Science in Nursing is a trimester program.

Academic Honesty

The graduate nursing program expects each student to adhere rigorously to Christian moral standards in the academic life. A student who cheats on any test or plagiarizes a paper shall fail the course and have a memorandum of action placed in his or her file. If the student repeats this action, dismissal will result, with the action so noted in the student’s permanent record.


Once admitted to the graduate program, graduate nursing students should maintain a 3.0 or B average in all graduate course work undertaken at Franciscan University of Steubenville. In order to progress in the program, students must:

  • Maintain a 3.0 or B average in the graduate nursing core curriculum.
  • Maintain a 3.0 or B average in the advanced practice nursing core curriculum.
  • Retake any graduate course in which they earn less than a C (2.0) one time only.
  • Maintain a 3.0 or B in each course in the specialty core curriculum. Students who achieve less than a B in a specialty course will have the opportunity to repeat the course one time. If the student fails to raise the grade to a B or better, the student is subject to dismissal. Only two courses in the specialization may be repeated.

Students who achieve less than a "B" in a specialty course will have the opportunity to repeat the course one time.  If the student fails to raise the grade to a "B" or better, the student is subject to dismissal.  Only two courses in the specialization may be repeated.

Authority of Instructors

No student will be permitted to enter upon the study of any subject if, in the opinion of the instructor and with the approval of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the preparation necessary to insure competent work is lacking.

Students must complete all course work competently as determined by the course faculty.  Assignments are due when specified by the instructor.  Instructors will periodically report to the Vice President of Academic Affairs the name of students whose attendance or work is unsatisfactory.

With the approval of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, instructors may, at any time, dismiss from a course any student who, in their judgment, has neglected the course work or violates the disciplinary policy. A student thus excluded will be recorded as having failed the course, unless the instructor determines otherwise.

Auditing Classes

Students must adhere to the University policy relating to auditing of classes.  Clinical courses cannot be audited.

Evaluation and Due Process

Graduate students are expected to maintain sufficient progress toward a degree. At midterm and at the end of each semester, the faculty reports academic or behavioral problems to the Department of Nursing’s Admissions, Progression, and Graduate Committee (APG). Faculty consults with other members of the graduate faculty and/or clinical/practicum preceptor about the academic, personal, and professional quality of performance of the student. Any student not showing progress toward completing the program and whose academic performance or professional performance does not meet requirements may be subject to probationary status or dismissal from the program.

Probationary Status

A student can be placed on probationary status as a result of one or more semesters in which he or she has done unsatisfactory work or has created disciplinary problems. The Director of the program and nursing faculty will set the conditions that have to be fulfilled by the student so as to have the probationary status removed.


Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary to dismiss a student from the MSN program. Reasons for dismissal include, but are not limited to:

  • Repetitive violation of nursing ethics as outlined in the ANA Code of Ethics
  • Failure to maintain an overall QPA of 3.0
  • Failure to obtain a 3.0 in specialization core curriculum courses
  • Inappropriate or disruptive behavior toward colleagues, faculty, as well as staff at school or at clinical placement settings
  • An inability to carry out one’s assignments in a clinical practicum
  • A breach of school or clinical placement policy
  • A hostile or resistant attitude toward learning or supervision
  • Plagiarism/cheating
  • Evidence of chemical dependency or illegal drug use while enrolled in the program
  • Conviction of a felony during the course study

It is the hope of the MSN program that problems will not develop to the point of dismissal. If a problem occurs that jeopardizes the standing of a student in the program, the Admissions, Progression, and Graduation Committee of the Department of Nursing will be informed and will evaluate the situation. In the case of dismissal, the University’s Academic Review Board will issue written dismissal status to the student. If a student feels he or she was treated unfairly during the dismissal, he or she has the right to have his or her situation reviewed through the grievance/ appeal process.

Grievance Procedure

Since disputes between instructors and students are inevitable in matters of grading, accusations of cheating, and professional behavior/responsibility; the decision of the faculty is binding unless immediately and properly challenged.  The following procedures are to be adhered to in the resolution of such conflicts:

At the first level, any student with a complaint of this nature should consult directly and personally with the faculty in question.  If no settlement is forthcoming at this stage, the student may then appeal to the Department Chairperson/Director, in the presence and only in the presence of the Chairperson and the faculty in question.  If no settlement is reached at this stage, a student may request, in writing, a meeting with the Department A.P.G. Committee.*  If no settlement is reached at this stage, a final appeal may be made to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, who will make the final decision in the dispute, after simultaneous consultation with the student, instructor and Department Chairperson/Director.

It must be noted that:

  1. *This will be the second step if the faculty is the Department Chairperson.
  2. The student and the instructor have the right to introduce witnesses and to be present at any meeting.
  3. Should a student violate the sequence herein outlined, her/his complaint shall be considered void.

General Student Responsibilities

The student must assume responsibility for knowing University and his or her graduate department regulations and for complying with all applicable procedures. In no case will a requirement be waived or an exception granted because a student pleads ignorance or claims that his or her advisor or other authority did not inform the student of the requirement. While advisors and personnel of the graduate department will assist in any way possible, the student has the responsibility for meeting the requirements stated herein.

Each student must fulfill all requirements of the program and abide by all academic regulations in order to earn a degree at Franciscan University. It is the student’s responsibility to learn the requirements, policies, and procedures governing the program, and to follow them.

Health Requirements

Students admitted to the graduate nursing program are required to have a health examination and submit the completed form upon admission. Subsequent yearly health examinations or health requirements are contingent on those set by clinical practicum placements.

Liability Insurance

Franciscan University of Steubenville’s policy is that all students in the MSN Program are required to carry the liability insurance provided by FUS for professional/medical purposes. The insurance will be effective during the policy year (from September to the following September) and the charges will be added to the student’s account.

The graduate student must be aware that the University liability does not cover a nurse in any other registered nurse employment role. The University insurance only covers those situations in which the graduate student is practicing in a designated clinical practicum.

Dress Code at Preceptor Sites

Graduate students at preceptor sites represent the advanced professional role of the registered nurse and are representatives of Franciscan University of Steubenville. Therefore proper professional appearance is imperative and an identification badge are imperative.

  • The graduate student must adhere to the required dress code in agreement with the assigned clinical placement.
  • A student identification badge, which states that the student is a Franciscan University of Steubenville graduate student, with his or her name and title in full view, must be worn.  These badges are to be obtained from the Registrar's Office at a minimal charge to the student's account.

Picture Identification Tags:

All students entering the nursing major at either the undergraduate or graduate level must obtain a picture identification tag prior to clinical practice and must be worn by the student at all times during clinical practice or clinical visits. This picture identification tag may be obtained at the Office of the Registrar at the student’s cost.

Class Attendance

A major assumption of adult education is that students assume responsibility for their own learning through class discussion and active participation. Therefore, it is the expectation of nursing faculty that students attend all classes.

Transportation Requirements

Students are responsible for providing their own transportation to clinical sites.


Graduate students are responsible for payment of tuition and fees. No student will be permitted to attend classes unless payment for tuition and fees, less financial aid, is received in the Business Office prior to the first day of class. Full payment is due by the first day of each term. Registration is not complete until the full payment is made.

The current tuition for the Master’s in Nursing Program is listed on the University's web page.  There is also a clinical fee attached to each clinical course.  Additional details and/or changes may be seen on the University's web page

A yearly fee for Advanced Practice Liability Insurance is charged to the student.


The Master of Science in Nursing degree will be granted by Franciscan University of Steubenville to candidates who have been recommended for the degree by the faculty of the Department of Nursing and who have completed the following:

  • Fulfills the program requirements.
  • Earns the required credits and clinical hours as required for the FNP specialty track
  • Paid all indebtedness to Franciscan University of Steubenville.
  • Completed a graduation application.

Record Retention

Currently enrolled students:

Department of Nursing:

  • Letter of Admission to MSN Program
  • Unofficial transcripts as needed
  • Academic advising form or course projection plan
  • Required Preceptor Forms and Letters of Agreement
  • RN License verification
  • Health record in separate file
  • Criminal Background Check in a separate file

Office of the Registrar:

  • Official academic file or currently enrolled students

Graduates of the Program:

Department of Nursing:

  • Unofficial academic file--maintained in Department for 5 years
  • Health record--will be destroyed within 2 weeks post graduation
  • Students written work and projects may be maintained in the Department for assessment purposes with the student's permission.

Office of the Registrar:

  • Maintains, in perpetuity, the completed official transcript indicating the credential or degree granted and date of program completion.