Online Master of Science in Nursing

  • Overview

    This online graduate nursing degree prepares practicing nurses and others in the health care community for leadership nursing roles in education or administration.

    Saint Joseph’s flexible, online Master of Science in Nursing can be combined for MSN/MHA or MSN/MBA dual degrees. 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.

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

    At a Glance

    • Courses blend content with your professional experience, allowing for immediate application in your work setting.
    • 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 and 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.
    • 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.

    State Authorization for Distance Education Nursing Programs

    The United States Department of Education (USDOE) published regulations in the Federal Register (Chapter 34, § 600.9(c)-October 29, 2010; page 116-117 that require all institutions of higher education to seek authorization in every state (and territory) in which they operate, physically or virtually, in order to maintain eligibility for federal financial aid.

    Saint Joseph's College and the Department of Nursing have been and continue to make a good faith effort in pursuing state Board of Nursing authorizations. Additional information will be posted to this web site as more information becomes available. Due to the complexity of rules and regulations of some state boards of nursing, Saint Joseph's College is unable to accept new applications for admission to most of our distance education programs from students residing in: Arizona, Delaware, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, West Virginia. We are actively seeking full approval in New York. However, in New York we are able to accept students to the RN/BSN, MSN/ADM, and the MSN/EDU programs only. Some state boards of nursing require individual application and approval for clinical placements within their state, and those states are: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Michigan, and Wyoming. We regret the lack of opportunity to provide individuals with nursing education in those states and it is therefore our primary goal to meet the rules and regulations necessary to obtain approval in the future. 

  • Curriculum

    Saint Joseph's College's 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 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.

    Program Specializations

    Administration Track—45 credits
    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. Course content in the administration specialization includes advanced administration, contemporary issues in nursing administration, strategic planning, financial management, and quality performance.

    Education Track—42 credits
    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. Course content in the education specialization includes curriculum development, didactic and clinical teaching methods, evaluation in nursing education, and population-focused care.

    Family Nurse Practitioner Track—46 credits
    Please note: The Masters of Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner track is currently not accepting new applications. If you wish to be notified when applications will be accepted, please email your full name, mailing address, and telephone number to , attention FNP Admissions.

    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 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. This program has a very competitive admissions process and successful applicants must meet all prescribed requirements.

  • Some of our faculty

    • Lynette A. Hamlin

      Associate Dean, Department of Nursing

      PhD, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

      MSN, Loyola University–Chicago

      BSN, Loyola University–Chicago

    • Kathleen Cross

      MSN, Saint Joseph's College

      BSN, Loyola College

    • Brian Higgerson

      DNSc, University of Tennessee Health Science Center

      FNP-BC, Mississippi University

      BSN, Union University

    Lynette A. Hamlin

    Associate Dean, Department of Nursing

    PhD, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

    MSN, Loyola University–Chicago

    BSN, Loyola University–Chicago

    Kathleen Cross

    MSN, Saint Joseph's College

    BSN, Loyola College

    Brian Higgerson

    DNSc, University of Tennessee Health Science Center

    FNP-BC, Mississippi University

    BSN, Union University

  • Student Stories

    • Kim Gourley

      “My education at Saint Joseph's College has been everything I hoped and more. Thank you!”

      Registered Nurse

      Ellsworth, Maine

    • Joshua Sheehan

      "Saint Joseph's College is changing my life!"

      Education Coordinator

      Phoenix, Arizona

    • Veronica Paolantonio

      It has not been easy going back to school, being a single Mom and helping my child with school. Everyone has been very understanding and they always work with me.

      Clinical Leader Orthopedics

      Wakefield, Rhode Island

  • Career Moves

    Registered nurses (RNs) constitute the largest healthcare occupation, with 2.6 million jobs. About 60 percent of RN jobs are in hospitals.

    Employment of RNs is expected to grow much faster than the average and, because the occupation is very large, 581,500 new jobs will result, among the largest number of new jobs for any occupation. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of job openings will result from the need to replace experienced nurses who leave the occupation. Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations.

    The MSN (regardless of track) is now the required degree for teaching in RN preparation programs. In some states, the MSN is required for staff development roles as well.