Master of Science in Nursing

Online Master of Science in Nursing Degree

This online graduate nursing degree prepares practicing nurses and others in the health care community for leadership nursing roles in education or administration, which can be combined for MSN/MHA or MSN/MBA dual degrees, and as a Family Nurse Practitioner in Primary Care. There are also graduate or post graduate certificates offered in education, administration, post MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner, and for an interdisciplinary Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study.

Program Specializations

MSN-Administration Track

MSN-Administration track is designed for the Chief Nursing Officer Role and anyone performing supervision. This can be combined with the MHA or the leadership MBA as a dual degree. Graduates qualify to sit for the national Nurse Administration certification Exam.

MSN-Education Track

MSN-Education track is designed for RNs to perform a staff development role or to begin a role in nursing education (clinical, simulation, didactic, or online with students of all ages). Graduates can sit for the NLN nurse educator exam.

MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner Track

MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner track is designed to prepare those RNs with an undergraduate degree in nursing, or those who have successfully completed the equivalent undergraduate foundation in nursing, for a career as a Family Nurse Practitioner. This program prepares the graduate to sit for the National FNP certification exam to allow for employment in all states.

Course Catalog Quick Links

MSN Program Summary

Specializations include: Nursing Administration, Nursing Education, and Family Nurse Practitioner.

Required Credits: 42 for Nursing Education
Required Credits: 45 for Nursing Administration
Required Credits: 46 for Family Nurse Practitioner

This online MSN curriculum includes core courses in informatics, leadership, ethics, theory, public policy, and research which each support the specialty tracks in which you will acquire in-depth knowledge and advanced skills. The specializations currently offered include Nursing Administration, Nursing Education and the Family Nurse Practitioner.

Mastery of critical thinking skills will prepare you for leadership roles within a patient-centered health care delivery setting or educational setting. Upon completing this online graduate nursing program, you will have the knowledge and skills in leadership and management to influence nursing practice and health care policy.

Candidates for graduation must satisfactorily complete 42-48 credits, with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher for Saint Joseph's College courses. The 42-48 credits include six core curriculum courses, additional courses within the specialty, and two practica within the specialty.

The baccalaureate and master's program at Saint Joseph's College is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791. The nursing programs are also approved by the Maine State Board of Nursing.

MSN Curriculum & Course Descriptions


  • Course content in the administration specialization includes advanced administration, contemporary issues in nursing administration, strategic planning, financial management and quality performance.
  • Course content in the education specialization includes curriculum development, didactic and clinical teaching methods, evaluation in nursing education, and population-focused care.
  • Course content in the Family Nurse Practitioner specialization includes advanced nursing practice role, clinical decision making, population focused health promotion framework for primary care setting, plus the management of conditions from minor acute to complex/chronic based on a foundation of advanced physical health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology.
  • Courses blend content with your professional experience, allowing for immediate application in your work setting.
  • The FNP program clinical hours are done in student's own city/town with pre-approved NP, MD, DO or PA preceptors.
  • No on-campus residency is required.
  • Faculty with current knowledge and experience in the field of nursing will work one-on-one with you to ensure your success.
  • Program fits nurses with a BSN degree or RNs with other baccalaureate degrees. RN to MSN option is available to nurses who have completed 300-level nursing courses.
  • Optional MSN/MHA and MSN/MBA dual degrees available for the registered nurse who holds a bachelor's degree who wishes to earn both the MHA and the MSN (administrative track) or the Leadership MBA/MSN (administration track) in a total of only 60 credits rather than the usual 42 credit for each degree earned separately.

Admission Requirements

You may apply to this program at any time of the year, but applications will only be reviewed four times per year.

Applicants must be graduates of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, accredited at the time of graduation by CCNE or ACEN with a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants are required to hold an active, unrestricted RN license. RNs are to provide their license number to SJC for verification, at no cost to the college. Note: Applicants who have had license sanctions must be without restrictions during the two years prior to SJC application. (Consideration will also be given to applicants with a regionally accredited baccalaureate degree in another field who are graduates of diploma or associate degree programs in nursing.)

Upon application, you must hold: A current unencumbered registered nurse license, and official transcripts from all undergraduate program(s) and applicable master's degree transcripts. Non-BSN applicants must provide a resume.

All international students must be graduates of nursing programs equivalent to ACEN- or CCNE accredited baccalaureate nursing programs in the United States or meet the same requirements as non-BSN baccalaureate prepared applicants. Foreign nurses who plan to complete practica in the U.S. must meet licensing requirements of the state in which the student will have the practicum and must meet all health requirements of the facility where the practicum will take place.

Course Terms

Courses are 12-week cohort classes offered online four terms each year in January, April, July and October. Students must enroll in courses 30 days prior to the start of the course.