Master of Science in Nursing

Mount Mercy University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program recognizes the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy in meeting the needs of others. The MSN program is dedicated to preparing graduates to lead the nursing profession while meeting the challenges of an ever-changing, complex healthcare system.

MSN students embrace the culture of the nursing profession while engaging in experiences that promote personal and professional development.  MSN students engage in analysis and synthesis of research, policy, systems and practice using critical inquiry allowing them to implement appropriate evidence based nursing interventions.Whether employed in the community or an acute care setting, nurses will acquire the knowledge and skills related to health promotion, disease prevention, population based nursing practice, education, management and leadership to lead, teach, advocate and practice at an advanced level with individuals, families and communities. 

The MSN program has three tracks: Health Advocacy, Nursing Education, and Nursing Administration.

Students in the MSN program to take one class at a time and have the option to develop additional knowledge and skills in specific areas of interest. A full-time student may complete the MSN program in approximately 18 months. This non-thesis program includes a professional practicum experience with a clinical project integrating track competencies.


Core courses
NU 500Nursing Theory and Research3
NU 501Health Care Systems: Leadership, Organizations and Technology3
NU 503Health Promotion/Disease Prevention3
NU 504Professional Role and Skill Development3
NU 660Professional Practicum3
Track (see below)12
Advanced Pathophysiology and Pharmacology
Environmental Health
Global/International Health
In Their Footsteps: Examining the History of Nursing
Principles of Project Management
System Theory & Organizational Design Methodology
Medical Family Therapy
Methods of Quality Management 1
Organizational Effectiveness 1
Technology in Health Care Systems
Any track course other than the primary can be used as an elective.
Total Hours36
Nursing Education Track12
Nurse Educator: Roles and Responsibilities
Nurse Educator: Curriculum & Instructional Design
Nurse Educator: Teaching/Learning Strategies
Nurse Educator: Assessment and Evaluation
Health Advocacy Track12
Health Advocate: Multicultural Populations
Health Advocate: Assessment, Policy Development & Assurance
Health Advocate: Community Program Planning and Design
Health Advocate: Leadership and Management
Nursing Administration Track12
Nurse Administrator: Leadership & Management in Nursing and Health Care
Nurse Administrator: Financial & Human Resource Management in Nursing and Health Care
Methods of Quality Management
Organizational Effectiveness

 Course required in Nursing Administration Track.

Post-Master Emphasis

The Mount Mercy University post-master emphasis assists post-graduate nurses seeking to enhance their expertise and gain competency in an area of nursing not previously studied. The post-master emphasis programs also strengthen the capability of master or doctoral prepared nurses who are planning on, or are already involved in, a role expansion or change. Graduate students currently enrolled in the Mount Mercy University MSN program who seek to expand their areas of expertise beyond their first track may also obtain an emphasis in an additional track.

Post-graduate nursing emphasis are available in:

  • Health Advocacy
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Administration

Admission Requirements For MMU Post-Graduate Emphasis

  • Master or doctoral (PhD or DNP) degree in nursing from a program accredited by the Collegiate Commission on Nursing Education (CCNE) or National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC)
  • Complete online application (includes the following)
  1. Resume with evidence of relevant professional experience
  2. Personal statement
  3. Current RN license (not restricted in Iowa, nationally, or internationally)
  4. Official transcripts from all schools previously attended (transcript must include documentation of coursework in statistics)
  5. Two recommendations from professional supervisors, instructors, peers, or colleagues qualified to assess candidate's strengths
  • Criminal background check (prior to the initiation of the professional practicum experience)
  • Additional admission requirements related to international students are listed below

*Do not need to be repeated for current MMU MSN students or within one year of graduation from MMU.

Awarding of Emphasis

Students must complete all courses required for the emphasis they are seeking with a B- or above. Post-graduate emphasis programs may be completed in less than 7 months, but must be completed within 6 years. Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred.

Transfer of Graduate Courses

Students may transfer in a maximum of 3 graduate credit hours with the approval of the Program Director and MSN Committee.  Credit allowance for graduate courses is considered on an individual basis, however, students must have earned a “B” or higher for the course to be considered.

Course description, syllabi, college catalog, and /or a sample of previous course work may be requested for consideration of a class. While enrolled in the post-graduate emphasis program at Mount Mercy, students should not enroll for academic credit at other institutions without the permission of the Associate Provost. Approval, via a petition, must be granted prior to a course being taken at another institution and will only be granted for extenuating circumstances.

Post-Master's Emphasis in Nursing Education

NU 621Nurse Educator: Roles and Responsibilities3
NU 622Nurse Educator: Curriculum & Instructional Design3
NU 623Nurse Educator: Teaching/Learning Strategies3
NU 624Nurse Educator: Assessment and Evaluation3
NU 660Professional Practicum3
Total Hours15

Post Master's Emphasis in Health Advocacy

NU 503Health Promotion/Disease Prevention3
NU 512Epidemiology 13
NU 631Health Advocate: Multicultural Populations3
NU 632Health Advocate: Assessment, Policy Development & Assurance3
NU 633Health Advocate: Community Program Planning and Design3
NU 634Health Advocate: Leadership and Management3
NU 660Professional Practicum3
Total Hours21

 NU 512 - Epidemiology is highly recommended but not required.

 Post-Master's Emphasis in Nursing Administration

NU 641Nurse Administrator: Leadership & Management in Nursing and Health Care3
NU 642Nurse Administrator: Financial & Human Resource Management in Nursing and Health Care3
NU 643Methods of Quality Management3
NU 644Organizational Effectiveness3
NU 660Professional Practicum3
Total Hours15


NU 500 Nursing Theory and Research: 3 semester hours

This course will examine the theoretical and scientific foundations of nursing. A thorough understanding of these foundations will be the basis for further development of knowledge in evidence-based practice and research. The processes for evaluation, translating and utilizing research will be emphasized.

NU 501 Health Care Systems: Leadership, Organizations and Technology: 3 semester hours

In preparation for nursing leadership in rapidly changing, complex health care delivery systems, students will examine concepts that define organizations, influence policy, measure effectiveness of care and evaluate technology. A comparison of health care systems throughout the world will consider financial, technological and global issues.

NU 503 Health Promotion/Disease Prevention: 3 semester hours

This course establishes the foundation for the unique focus on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in the master's degree curriculum. Students will focus on the concepts of health promotion and disease prevention that minimize the need for restoration of health. Through an understanding of clinical prevention and population health, students will examine the issues and interventions that promote health in individuals, families and communities.

NU 504 Professional Role and Skill Development: 3 semester hours

This course will examine the development of the professional role of the master's degree prepared nurse in a variety of practice settings focusing on ethical, evidence-based decision making; population health improvement; quality improvement and safety management; expert clinical practice; and intra-and inter-professional teamwork. Knowledge and skill development will include health assessment, ethical decision-making, evidence-based decision-making, population health management, quality and safety improvement, and teamwork.

NU 510 Advanced Pathophysiology and Pharmacology: 3 semester hours

A systematic process for exploring and defining the most current, evidence-based, collaborative prevention and condition management therapies (pharmacotherapy, procedural therapy, and self-management) of specific high-cost, high volume, pathophysiologies and health conditions to ensure safe, effective, qualitiy patient-centered care will be described and applied. Health advocacy and nurse administration track students will utilize best-evidence pathophysiology/condition management information to improve/develop patient self-managment materials, while nurse educator students will develop methods to integrate best evidence pathophysiology/condition management information to improve the quality of didactic, clinical, and laboratory courses/staff development offerings.

NU 512 Epidemiology: 3 semester hours

This course will introduce the student to the basic concepts of epidemiology including the historical development of the study of disease in populations. The course will include the concepts and processes of epidemiology with attention to the biostatistics essential to the study and analysis of disease occurrences. Integration of the evidence-base of epidemiology will be essential to the learning experience.

NU 513 Environmental Health: 3 semester hours

This course will offer students the opportunity to study the influence of environmental forces on the health of individuals, populations and communities. Students will explore the impact of governmental controlling agencies, community services and individual responses to the environment on a local, national and international level. Specific environmental factors will be examined for their impact on specific diseases and conditions. The research evidence-base for studying the environment will be emphasized.

NU 514 Global/International Health: 3 semester hours

This course will examine the concepts and context of global/international health. An exploration of the historical development of international health will be included as will opportunities for students to study the problems that exist and the forces that influence healthcare in the international community. The collaboration of governmental and non-governmental organizations and populations will be studied as students examine specific health problems, systems and solutions.

NU 515 In Their Footsteps: Examining the History of Nursing: 3 semester hours

In this course students will examine the origins of nursing as a profession, will explore the early development of nursing education and critically analyze the development of the current image of nursing. Students will study the lives and influences of past and present leaders in the nursing profession as they define their own paths as "history makers" in nursing.

NU 611 Principles of Project Management: 3 semester hours

Effective management of a project is a skill many (if not all) MSN students will need to have at some time during their professional career. The goal of this course is to give students the effective tools and knowledge to accomplish this successfully. Students will learn how projects get started, how to successfully manage a project and its resources, and how organizations select the "right" project to work on. Cross-listed with BN 620.

NU 612 System Theory & Organizational Design Methodology: 3 semester hours

This course provides an introduction to social systems theory and its application to organizational leadership and practice. Emphasis is placed on the role of the manager/leader as designer, steward, teacher and participant in building and sustaining effective organizations. Cross-listed with BN 640.

NU 613 Medical Family Therapy: 3 semester hours

This course will introduce students to the basic theoretical and practical dimensions of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) in acute and chronic medical settings. Acute and chronic medical situations present high levels of stress for families and the medical professionals who are working with them. These larger system phenomena provide opportunities for which MFTs are uniquely trained and situated to be helpful. As health care seeks to become more holistic and integrative the need for individuals adept at systems thinking and the development of holistic views such as MFTs will become crucial. Cross-listed with MF 678.

NU 621 Nurse Educator: Roles and Responsibilities: 3 semester hours

This course assists the student to develop and use the skills and knowledge of the nurse educator. Focus will be on role development with attention to self development and role responsibilities to oneself, the students, the institution, and the profession. The role of regulatory bodies and accreditation will be examined.

NU 622 Nurse Educator: Curriculum & Instructional Design: 3 semester hours

A variety of learning theories and conceptual frameworks relating to curriculum and instructional design will be explored. Students will investigate the process of curriculum development, program evaluation, regulatory and accreditation standards, and trends at the professional and community level.

NU 623 Nurse Educator: Teaching/Learning Strategies: 3 semester hours

This course assists student to develop strategies for teaching nursing in the classroom and clinical settings. In addition to learning to assess students' learning styles, content will include classroom assessment, planning, organizing, presenting and evaluating teaching/learning experiences. The focus is on best practices and evidence-based strategies to promote various learning styles and create an active learning environment for diverse student populations. Strategies will address basic and continuing nursing education.

NU 624 Nurse Educator: Assessment and Evaluation: 3 semester hours

Recognizing that assessment and evaluation are essential to understanding the value and worth of teaching/learning in nursing education, faculty must be familiar with the foundations of evaluation. Evaluation of nursing education programs, courses and individual learner requires knowledge of the focus, design, tools and dissemination of outcome data. This course will examine the effectiveness of evaluation methods. Attention will be given to the systematic evaluation processes that lead to on-going program improvement.

NU 631 Health Advocate: Multicultural Populations: 3 semester hours

This course will focus on developing competence in working with multicultural population in society. The overview of culturally diverse communities will give the student the foundation needed to develop health promotion program for specific populations. The influence of social, economic and political inequalities related to healthcare will be examined. An emphasis on community-based, participatory research methods will be included in this course.

NU 632 Health Advocate: Assessment, Policy Development & Assurance: 3 semester hours

The core functions of public health will be the focus of this course as students develop competencies in assessment, policy development and assurance. Student will further examine inter-professional collaborations, regulations and program assessment and effectiveness.

NU 633 Health Advocate: Community Program Planning and Design: 3 semester hours

The focus of this course is to explore the foundation of different frameworks for public health programs and designs. The four major functions of public health programming will address assessment, development, implementation and evaluation. Students will learn strategies for promoting social change through various methods including marketing techniques and health literacy. Students will develop plans for navigating the healthcare system for themselves as professionals and for clients, families and groups.

NU 634 Health Advocate: Leadership and Management: 3 semester hours

In this course students will examine current and emerging leadership and management issues in the role of an advocate for health care, and study strategies to communicate and collaborate with stakeholders in the health care arena. Recognizing that health care is a multifaceted, constantly-changing system, students will explore the role of the health advocacy leader in managing the development, implementation and evaluation of programs that assist populations and clients to promote health and prevent disease.

NU 641 Nurse Administrator: Leadership & Management in Nursing and Health Care: 3 semester hours

This course assists the student to develop and use the skills and knowledge of the nurse to lead and manage the care of patient populations. Focus is on role development necessary to meet responsibilities to patients, nursing staff and other healthcare personnel, the organization, and the profession. The transformation of data into information and evidence-based decision-making to develop and change processes to achieve quality patient care outcomes, organizational goals, and regulatory and accreditation standards will be stressed.

NU 642 Nurse Administrator: Financial & Human Resource Management in Nursing and Health Care: 3 semester hours

Managing people efficiently, effectively, and ethically is essential to the achievement of population-focused and patient centered, quality, safe, effective and efficient care regardless of the health care organization's size or purpose. Management of non-personnel resources (supplies, equipment, and intrastructure) is also essential to achieving quality and other organizational goals. The emphasis of this course includes: management of human and financial resources, intra- and interdisciplinary collaboration, teamwork, change management, development of employee capabilities, and financial concepts and tools necessary to make effective decisions and achieve organizational goals.

NU 643 Methods of Quality Management: 3 semester hours

This course will provide the historical context of quality management and introduce the student to a number of quality management systems including Total Quality Management (TQM), ISO, the National Baldrige Award, Lean and Six Sigma that are currently being implemented in today's organizations. The course will host several guest lecturers from the community who are specialists in quality management. Cross-listed with BN 630.

NU 644 Organizational Effectiveness: 3 semester hours

This course introduces students to the basic principles of human behavior and how these principles apply to the management of individuals and groups in organizations. Topics include: individual differences in abilities and attitudes, attribution motivation, group dynamics, power and politics, leadership, conflict resolution, organizational culture, and organizational structure and design. Cross listed with BN 500.

NU 651 Technology in Health Care Systems: 3 semester hours

In preparation for healthcare leadership in rapidly changing, complex health care delivery systems, students will examine patient-care technologies, clinical informatics models, electronic-based patient records, health information technology (HIT), health information exchange (HIE) clinical decision support systems, and evaluation of other technology that influences healthcare delivery models, practices, and patient outcomes. Students will identify how data sets and information systems are utilized for research, to predict health care risks, support quality improvement methods, and develop evidence for improved health care and outcomes.

NU 660 Professional Practicum: 3 semester hours

In collaboration with faculty, students will develop a practicum experience related to their chosen track. Completion of an individual project, relevant to the practice setting and role will be completed. Prerequisites: NU 500, NU 501, NU 503, NU 504. Cannot enroll if any courses have incomplete or unsatisfactory grades.

NU 690 Independent Study: 3 semester hours

An independent study option provides graduate students in the MSN program with the opportunity to explore areas of interest that are not available in the formal courses. The course may include clinical experiences since all students are required to work in a clinical setting.