Master of Science in Nursing Curriculum

Xavier’s online MSN program provides you with the same quality of education and curriculum as our traditional in-person program, but with the added flexibility of a 100% online program. Here is what to expect from our online master’s in nursing curriculum:

The MSN curriculum requires a minimum of 36 credit hours, 10 of which are in elective courses. Students can enter the program in August, January, and May. Most courses are 8 weeks and practicums are 16 weeks. RN to MSN applicants will begin MSN coursework upon completion of 12 -18 hours of bridge courses with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Transfers and Transfer Requirements

Applicants’ transcripts will be evaluated to determine if previous academic course work satisfies the composition or statistics bridge course requirements (up to 6 hours of the bridge program courses can be transferred or waived).

Admission to the graduate courses is contingent upon completion of all prerequisite courses and a minimum 3.00 cumulative grade point average in courses completed at Xavier. If you have not completed an undergraduate statistics course with a minimum grade of ‘C’ you will be required to take this as a bridge course

RN to MSN Bridge Courses (12-18 Credit Hours)

It is expected that RN to MSN applicants will have already completed foundational courses in their basic training prior to entering the program. These courses include the following areas: anatomy and physiology, microbiology, chemistry, sociology, general psychology, developmental psychology, and health assessment skills.

Xavier’s online RN to MSN program begins with Bridge courses that include a mix of nursing (6 credit hours) and Xavier University core courses (12 credit hours). The Xavier core courses of statistics, English composition, and philosophy and theology are in accordance with Xavier’s mission.

Required Bridge Courses

  • ENGL 101 English Composition (3)
  • PHIL 100 Ethics as Introduction to Philosophy (3)
  • THEO 111 Theological Foundations (3)
  • NURS 442 The Community as Partner: A Transcultural Approach (3)
  • NURS 490 Analysis of Healthcare Information (3)
  • NURS 496 Professional Development II (3)

MSN Curriculum

The MSN core courses include theoretical and practical knowledge, which serve as the foundation for advanced nursing education in a variety of roles. Core courses focus on three major themes which are consistent with the philosophy for the graduate program:

  1. Critical systematic inquiry
  2. Professional and personal development
  3. Management of information and resources in a rapidly changing healthcare environment

Courses include:

Core (20 credit hours)

  • NURS 500 Health Care Ethics for Nursing Leaders (3)
  • NURS 501 Theoretical Bases for Nursing Practice (3)
  • NURS 502 Nursing Research (3)
  • NURS 505 Health Care Informatics (3)
  • NURS 690 Health Care Policy for Nursing Leaders (2)
  • NURS 754 Nursing Leadership & Management Concepts (3)
  • NURS 864 Epidemiologic Methods in Health Care (3)

Synthesis and Application (6 credit hours)

  • NURS 703 Graduate Nursing Practicum I (1 or 2)
  • NURS 705 Graduate Nursing Practicum II (2)
  • NURS 779 Applied Inter-professional Collaboration (1)
  • NURS 797 Scholarly Project (2)

Electives (10 Credit Hours)

Forensics Track are the online electives available at this time (RN to MSN students must complete a minimum of ten credit hours in elective courses).

  • NURS 648 Foundations of Forensic Nursing (4)
  • CJUS 620 Sociology of Crime & Delinquency (3)
  • NURS 642 Psych/Social/Legal Aspects-Forensics (2)
  • NURS 779 Applied Interprofessional Collaboration (1)

Forensics Track (10 Semester Hours)

According to the American Board of Forensic Nursing, forensic nursing is the application of science and the art of nursing to both criminal and civil investigations and legal matters. This track is intended to prepare nursing graduate students for further studies in various clinical roles such as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Forensic Psychiatric Nurse, Legal Nurse Consultant, Forensic Nursing Death Investigator and/or Nurse Coroner. In addition to interfacing with other healthcare disciplines and the criminal justice system, students in this track will be able to:

  • Apply forensic nursing principles to the promotion of health care and safety in the community
  • Promote early identification and prevent potential abuse of children, adults, and the elderly
  • Discuss trauma and death and the collection, preservation and documentation of related evidence
  • Apply expert witness skills and legal consultation in investigations related to violence and trauma


Course Number Course Name Description
NURS 648 Foundations of Forensic Nursing 4 credit hours. This course provides an evidenced-based practice (EBP) framework for nursing care of forensic population, their families as well as communities impacted by acts of violence and/or traumatic events. The EBP framework incorporates empirical and theoretical aspects from a multidisciplinary perspective in the planning and delivering nursing care. This course is intended to prepare nursing graduate students for further studies in various clinical roles such as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Forensic Psychiatric Nurse, Legal Nurse Consultant, Forensic Nursing Death Investigator and/or Nurse Coroner.
CJUS 620 Sociology of Crime & Delinquency 3 credit hours. Social foundations of the criminal justice system are examined, along with the social cause of crime and societal response. The understanding of crime within the social context is presented, along with in-depth exploration of cross-cultural, subcultural, and other demographic expositions.
NURS 642 Psych/Social/Legal Aspects of Forensics 2 credit hours. A comprehensive examination of the behavior, emotional responses, and cognitive decision-making of both victims and perpetrators of crime. Elements of victimology as well as the psychosocial ramifications of the criminal act on the person, the family, and the community will be explored. The expanded role of the psychiatric forensic nurse will be explored.
NURS 779 Interprofessional Collaboration 1 credit hour. Interprofessional care recognizes a culture of respect, concisely clear communication, interdependent care for client-centered outcomes, and integration of services through shared decision making. This course will provide students with an opportunity to practice across disciplines in teams to meet the needs of individuals, families and the community.