Nurse checking the heart rate of a young child

Nursing (MSN) - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Track

Xavier University prepares baccalaureate and masters prepared RN’s in the nurse practitioner role with the population focus of family/individual health sciences across lifespan.

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Xavier University prepares baccalaureate and masters prepared registered nurses in the nurse practitioner role with the population focus of family/individual health sciences across lifespan.

The family nurse practitioner (FNP) will apply family-centered primary care including preventive care, diagnosis and treatment, as well as health maintenance and management of chronic illness to individuals across the life span in predominantly ambulatory primary care settings. The family nurse practitioner program follows an integration of the master’s of science in nursing degree program and nurse practitioner core courses and practicum experiences specific to the preparation of a family nurse practitioner.

The master’s of science in nursing – family nurse practitioner program requires 47 credit hours comprising the 19-semester hour MSN core, synthesis and application, and the 28 semester hour / 600 clinical hour nurse practitioner FNP core.

MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Objectives

  1. The master’s degree program allows students to apply advanced practice skills, abilities and knowledge to provide holistic family-centered primary health care to populations across the lifespan in a variety of ambulatory care settings as an advanced practice nurse specializing in family nursing.

  2. Provides culturally competent, population-based preventive, management and maintenance care for acute and chronic conditions for the family unit, however, the family chooses to define itself.

  3. Demonstrate primary care knowledge, skills and abilities to sit for the FNP Certification Examination in order to apply for a state certificate of authority in advanced and evidence-based practice, as well as the authority to prescribe as an FNP-BC (board certified).

MSN-Forensic Track Objectives:

  • Once admitted into the program, students may start online classes in August, January or May (fall, spring or summer semesters).
  • Applications for this program are accepted throughout the year.
  • Applicants are encouraged to submit completed applications in a timely manner to allow for review and processing.
  • Admission is competitive and applications are processed immediately upon receiving all required materials.
  • The admission committee considers all information contained in the admission application, including prior grades, test scores and evidence for potential for success in graduate study.
  • Applicants are notified of the admission decision as soon as possible.
  • No admission tests (i.e. GRE) are required for applying to this graduate nursing program.

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Why Xavier Online?

You’ll get more from your online education, from the personal attention of faculty to rigorous courses taught in the Jesuit Catholic tradition.

Personalized Experience

You’ll get the personal attention and flexibility needed to reach your goals at your pace. Our invested professors and small class sizes will set you up for success.

Jesuit Values

Our Jesuit Catholic values are based on a vision of a world changed for the better, emphasizing service and community engagement in addition to academics.


We offer exceptional online programs at an affordable cost. Numerous financial aid resources are available for our online students, making education more affordable.


Online Nursing (MSN) - FNP Course Requirements

47 credits

The MSN FNP program requires 47 credit hours comprised of the 19-semester hour MSN core, synthesis and application and the 28-semester hour / 600 clinical hour nurse practitioner FNP core.

MSN Core/Synthesis/Application variations for FNP: NURS 754, NURS 703 and NURS 705 are not required.

Online MSN Core Courses 17 credits

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: Critical systematic inquiry, professional and personal development and management of information and resources in a rapidly changing healthcare environment. Courses include:

This course examines ethical frameworks, such as theories of justice, rights-based ethics and virtue ethics and their significance to the delivery of health care. Analysis of ethical dilemmas focuses on differentiating what is called traditional and modern ethical frameworks for decision-making. Application will be made within the parameters of nursing’s metaparadigm (person, nursing, caring, healing, health, environment) using personal and professional processes of valuing, unconditional acceptance and deciding in the preservation of wholeness and dignity.

Introduction to the role of theory in knowledge development and its relationship to nursing research, practice, and administration. Critical analysis of selected theoretical models within the discipline of nursing and of theories and concepts from other disciplines as used in nursing. Concepts related to the application of the theoretical concepts in providing holistic care are explored. Examination of the application models, theories and concepts in nursing practice, administration and research.

Exploration of modes of inquiry for systematic study of the application, use and evaluation of nursing innovations in clinical practice. Emphasis is placed on the identification and solution of clinical problems through scientific inquiry. Research is examined for evidence-based practices which include a critical review of research studies, nurse’s expertise and patient/family preferences. Discussion entails the importance of dissemination of research findings.

This course provides an overview of health care policy, including formulating and analyzing policy at the institutional, local, state, federal and global levels. Issues regarding the nursing work environment as well as social determinants and healthcare delivery/ regulation will be discussed. The influence of socio-cultural, economic, political, ethical, legal and historical context on nursing and health care policy will be explored. The role of the master’s prepared holistic nurse in health policy decisions in the public and private sectors will be explicated.

Principles and biostatistical methods used in the study of the distribution and determinants of injury and disease through the interaction of environment and genetics in human populations (HP2020) are presented for use in the holistic development, implementation, and evaluation of primary, secondary and tertiary preventive and acute health care services in a variety of settings. Resources for epidemiological investigations within organizations and communities are introduced. Opportunities are provided to use the epidemiological and biostatistical methods of reasoning for determining causal inferences about the distribution and determinants of injury and disease (HP2020). Evidence-based innovative and evaluative health care delivery plans for clinical prevention and population health are developed using epidemiological and biostatistical data.
Prerequisites: NURS 502

FNP Track Courses 30 credits

  • NURS 658 – Advanced Clinical Pharmacology………… 3cr.
  • NURS 680 – Advanced Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan………… 3cr.
  • NURS 756 – Advanced Health Assessment for RNs………… 3cr.
  • NURS 797: Scholarly Project………… 2cr.
  • NURS 770 – Primary Care FNP Role………… 3cr.
  • NURS 771 – Woman’s Health & Family Care Practicum………… 1cr.* (120 Clinical Hours)
  • NURS 772 – Woman’s Health & Family Care………… 3cr.
  • NURS 773 – Pediatric and Adolescent Family Care Practicum ………… 1cr.* (120 Clinical Hours)
  • NURS 774 – Pediatric and Adolescent Family Care………… 3cr.
  • NURS 775 – Adult and Geriatric Family Care Practicum………… 1cr.* (120 Clinical Hours)
  • NURS 776 – Adult and Geriatric Family Care………… 3cr.
  • NURS 787 – FNP in Practice Practicum………… 1cr.* (120 Clinical Hours)
  • NURS 789- FNP in Practice Practicum………… 1cr.* (120 Clinical Hours)
  • NURS 532 – Leadership for Advanced Practice Nurses………… 2cr.

We also offer a Post Master's Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate

Experienced registered nurses with an MSN from a regionally-accredited college or university and CCNE or ACEN (formerly NLNAC) accreditation are eligible to apply for the post-master’s certificate program.


Our Admission Process is Easy, on Your Phone or Computer!

  • Once admitted into the program, students may start online classes in August (fall semester starts only).
  • Applications for this program are accepted throughout the year. Applicants are notified of the admission decision as soon as possible.
  • Applicants are encouraged to submit completed applications in a timely manner to allow for review and processing. Applications are processed immediately upon receiving all required materials.
  • The admission committee considers all information contained in the admission application, including prior grades, test scores and evidence for potential for success in graduate study.
  • No admission tests (i.e. GRE) are required for applying to this graduate nursing program.

Applicant Requirements

  • Applicants must be a registered nurse with an unencumbered RN license in the state where practicum experiences are to be completed. A minimum of 1 year of nursing experience is required, a strong candidate will have a minimum of 2 years of nursing experience.
  • Hold a BSN and be a graduate of a regionally accredited college or university’s nursing program with CCNE or ACEN (formerly NLNAC) accreditation (College of Nursing will verify).
  • An undergraduate statistics course with a grade of C or better is required for admission.
  • Applicants who do not have a BSN (BS in Nursing) cannot be accepted into the online MSN programs but should consider the MSN direct entry as a second degree – MIDAS Program.
  • A strong applicant will have a 3.0 GPA.

To be considered for admission, students must submit the following:

Get Started on Xavier University’s free online application. You can begin the process in just a few clicks. 


One official transcript directly from all colleges or universities that you have attended for any undergraduate and graduate course work. Applicants must have a degree from a regionally accredited university. A strong candidate will have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Send transcripts to:

Xavier University
ATTN: Admission Processing Center
3800 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45207-5131

For electronic transcripts, send to:

Current résumé or curriculum vitae outlining nursing experience. 

A 3-page goal statement that addresses the following points:

A 3-page goal statement that addresses the following points:

  • Why are you applying to Xavier University?
  • What MSN track are you applying for and why? How do you plan to use the degree and specialty?
  • What experiences have prepared you for graduate study? (or have influenced your desire to pursue graduate studies)
  • Graduate school is challenging and a large time commitment, especially with working, family, other responsibilities. What are your plans and strategies for being successful in your graduate program?
  • We also consider the writing quality of this essay. If writing is a challenge for you, also address strategies to help you in this area.

Three professional recommendations, (Please provide contact information for recommenders in the online application. An electronic form will be sent via email.)

A strong candidate will provide:

  • At least reference from a direct manager or supervisor who evaluates their clinical work.
  • Two references will be from someone with a masters or doctoral degree

A personal or phone interview may be required for the MSN- FNP program.

State Authorization

View the complete list of approved states on the State Authorization page.


Get More from Your Education with a Graduate Degree from Xavier

At Xavier, we understand that no two degree programs and no two students are alike. Therefore, we structure every online degree program to address the unique needs of individual students and have created unique fee structures for each degree program, as well.

Per Credit Hour


Total Estimated Tuition

The amounts listed are for the 2023-2024 academic year, and include classes from Summer 2023 through Spring 2024. Tuition cost is per credit hour unless otherwise stated. For the full, official listing, please visit
Xavier University reserves the right to correct any computational or clerical errors.

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Students enrolled in Xavier’s online FNP program take classes with the same world-class faculty as our traditional students.

Dr. Kimberly Toole joined Xavier University in 2011 after retiring as the director of nursing for the Cincinnati Health Department, where she worked for over three decades as a pediatric nurse practitioner in public health nursing and as a pediatric nurse practitioner. She was instrumental in developing Xavier’s FNP program and has continually worked to ensure the program meets the mission and goals of the College of Nursing and the University, the criteria for accreditation and certification, as well as meeting expected student learning outcomes. Dr. Toole believes students need to prepare for a world that is “increasingly diverse, complex, interdependent and able to care for the whole person,” which aligns with holistic nursing practices. Under her leadership, FNP graduates have achieved excellent certification board pass rates—with several years being at 100%—and high employment rates, reflecting her high standards of teaching. She continually strives toward Xavier’s vision of being a person of “learning and reflection, integrity and achievement, in solidarity for and with others,” and Xavier’s mission to “educate each student intellectually, morally, and spiritually.”

Contact Dr. Kimberly Toole at

Dr. Catherine Frank currently works part-time as a family nurse practitioner in one of Cincinnati’s busiest emergency departments. Her passion for patient safety and quality improvement comes from over 23+ years of nursing in various patient care settings: long-term care, skilled nursing units, public health nursing, medical-surgical and critical care (intensive care unit and emergency departments). Dr. Frank received her BSN and MSN in Occupational Health from the University of Cincinnati, then returned to obtain an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner post-master’s certificate and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree. She also has a post-master’s certificate in family practice nursing from Xavier University.

Jonathan Ruedisueli, a professor in the Family Nurse Practitioner program, received his MSN from the University of Cincinnati in 2012. He has 9 years of experience as a practitioner and manager in retail health clinics. His current research and practice interests include antibiotic stewardship, overcoming vaccine hesitancy, and the promotion of safe bicycling and other active transportation for community health and wellness.


Yes. This online MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the premier accrediting agency for baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs.

This program is approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN).

These online programs are endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC). Only seventeen schools in the nation currently have this endorsement, and this endorsement permits graduates to sit for the Holistic Nurse Certification (HNC) examination. The MSN Education Track program (and the PM certificate program in Nursing Education) prepares graduates to sit for the NCC Certified Nurse Educator exam. The MSN FNP program (and the PM Certificate Program) prepares graduates for FNP certification through either ANCC or AANP certification boards.

No. The MSN degree is from Xavier University and is awarded on meeting coursework standards that are independent of course delivery mode. Participants will earn an MSN degree.

Yes! Xavier University and the College of Nursing have been consistently recognized at the national level for having one of the best online MSN programs for primary care nursing education. See a list of all of our awards by program on our Rankings page.

The tuition rate for the online MSN program is $687 per credit hour. The total cost of the degree program will vary, depending upon transfer credits awarded, additional fees and the cost of textbooks/materials. See the Tuition page for more information.

No, online courses charge the same rate as all other in-person courses that students complete.

Students may find that they can get to know their professor/instructor and other students better in an online course than in a traditional face-to-face course. There are many options for interacting with your instructors and classmates in your online program, including discussion boards, video or audio files from your instructor, email and video conferencing. There may be additional opportunities for interaction available based on the course and instructor.

Part-time FNP students usually take 1-2 classes per semester.

Participation expectations vary by professor. Courses will be asynchronous with no set meeting times; however, practicum and scholarly project courses may include an online synchronous session (at the discretion of the instructor) at the end of the semester for student sharing/collaboration purposes. Nursing administration and faculty in this program are very sensitive to the need for flexibility of working professionals.

Online MSN courses include components such as readings, activities, video lectures, discussion boards and other peer interaction, tests/quizzes and group projects. Most courses do not include mandatory synchronous meeting times; however, they are synchronously paced – students progress through the course together according to the scheduled course content and activities. Xavier prides itself on upholding the value of “cura personalis,” or “care of the whole person,” in its classes. MSN Faculty maintain those values in our online courses by constructing activities that build a sense of community among participants and by making themselves available for questions and instructional support.

Registered nurses (RN) hold a nursing diploma or associate degree in nursing and have met the licensing requirements mandated by their state board. It is possible for registered nurses to earn an MSN degree through an online school bridge program. Currently, Xavier does not offer such a program. However, Xavier does offer a full-time on campus 20-month MSN Direct Entry (MIDAS) program. This program is designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline but wish to be a licensed registered nurse (RN). Upon successful completion of the program, the student is awarded the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and is eligible to sit for the National Council Licensing Exam-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN).

The other option – the ‘online school bridge’ programs allow a registered nurse (RN) to earn a master’s degree in nursing without having a bachelor’s degree. Essentially it is a master’s program that fills the gap with the knowledge you would have received when earning a bachelor of science in nursing. People who normally study for the MSN degree are working as registered nurses with years of experience who hope to expand their career into a specialization such as a nurse practitioner, midwife, nurse anesthetist or clinical nurse specialist. MSN Programs on this timeline may take up to 30 months depending on the individual student and programs curriculum.

APRNs are nurses who have met advanced educational and clinical practice requirements. The four types of Advanced Practice Registered Nursing roles include:

  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Having a master’s degree in nursing practice opens the door for many different career opportunities. Some potential career paths in the nursing practice for a nurse holding a Master’s of Science in Nursing degree may include:

  • Family nurse practitioner: Family nurse practitioners are APN’s who provide family-focused care. A nurse in this MSN family nurse practitioner role is able to develop treatment plans for acute and chronic illnesses, educate patients on disease prevention, conduct exams, perform diagnostics and screening evaluations, prescribe medications, and emphasize preventative care.
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner: A pediatric nurse practitioner may work independently or with a healthcare organization to provide services such as well-child exams, childhood immunizations, routine developmental screenings, diagnostic and treatment of childhood illnesses, provide counseling to families on health-related issues and interrupt lab results.
  • Nursing informatics specialist: Nurses working as an informatics specialist use their collegiate nursing education combined with information technology advanced practice nursing skills and apply them to patient care.
  • Geriatric nurse practitioner: Gerontological nurse practitioners focus on serving the aging population. They often diagnose and treat age-related impairments such as blindness, hearing loss, dementia, and malnutrition. Gerontological nurse practitioners are able to order diagnostic tests, interrupt results, design, coordinate and manage patient care, prescribe medications and counsel patients and their families.
  • Clinical nurse researcher: Clinical nurse researchers are vital to pharmaceutical and medical research. Using their clinical nurse education, they write proposals for grants, evaluate data and analyze large amounts of information.
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioner: Psychiatric nurse practitioners treat patients with organic and functional psychiatric disorders. Working alongside other mental health professionals, psychiatric nurse practitioners use their leadership qualities and nursing education to treat disorders ranging from depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In order to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you must have a minimum of two years of nursing experience, 2,000 hours of clinical practice in a mental health setting and along with the clinical practice, you will be required to complete 30 hours of continuing nursing education in mental health every three years.
  • Forensic nurse consultant: Forensic nursing merges the healthcare profession with the justice system. Forensic nurses perform a variety of roles including evaluating and caring for victims of assault and abuse, neglect and sexual crimes. While they treat the victims, forensic nurses collect the evidence and information needed for court. Forensic nurses may be asked to provide medical testimony in court. Forensic nurses can work in a variety of areas. While typically found in hospitals, they may also be available to work with non-profit organizations, be on call for law enforcement, teach community education classes or work in correctional facilities.
  • Nurse ethicist: Solving ethical issues that arise in the science of nursing is an art in itself. Nurses in the career path weigh in on tough ethical issues such as quality of life decisions and capital punishment. Using their nursing education, nurse ethicists work on interdisciplinary teams to solve ethical issues that require careful conversation and research.
  • Nurse educator: Nurse educators shape the next generation of nurses. Educators develop lesson plans, supervise students’ clinical practice, and serve as mentors to students. Many educators are able to teach nursing education classes and work in a career path, caring for patients.
  • Legal nurse consultant: Nurses who specialize in law, either as a consultant or lawyer understand the ins and outs of many legal cases. A legal nurse consultant helps provide insight on evidence and medical records to law professionals.

Choosing the right online program for your MSN degree is important. When evaluating different master’s programs, keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure the master’s programs are accredited.
    • Graduating from an accredited college masters program ensures that you received the best education possible for your degree.
  • Research the state licensing requirements of where you want to practice
    • Make sure to research the state you plan to practice in. Knowing the state licensing requirements and if they will accept the MSN degree program you completed is critical to being able to use your degree once it’s completed. 
  • Determine the tuition cost and financial aid options
    • Each school MSN program varies in overall tuition cost. Research the best option for you and speak with a financial aid officer about any grants, scholarships, or other ways to receive assistance with the tuition cost of the master’s program. 
  • Ask about in person requirements
    • Most accredited master’s programs require students to attend clinical and practicum parts of the program. See what the requirements are for the program you are interested in and think about how far you are willing to travel in order to complete these. 
  • Take inventory of your technology
    • Make sure to take inventory of your technology equipment to ensure you have the right hardware and software needed to learn online.

Accreditation is very important for an online nursing program. Employers often want to verify the legitimacy of an online nursing degree, and agencies such as the CCNE are reliable authorities on legitimate nursing programs. CCNE works to ensure that schools maintain quality nursing education and curriculum in their bachelor’s and master’s programs. In order for schools to be CCNE accredited, they must have a nursing program established for a minimum of one year. Next, the school program’s mission, goals, and expected outcomes are evaluated. Once the BSN and master’s programs have met the standards of CCNE, an onsite visit is conducted by accreditation professionals who then send a report to the council. The council will then inform the schools if they are accredited for the BSN and master of nursing programs.

None of the MSN programs or Post Master’s certificate programs here (Education, FNP, Forensics) provide nursing licensure in any state. Nursing licensure is a pre-requisite for admission to these programs. 

If you would like to continue your collegiate nursing education beyond a master’s degree, Xavier also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Population Health Leadership (DNP) program.