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Master's Information

Program Description | Purpose and Objectives | Core Courses | Admission Criteria

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Master's Program Majors

Only applications to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program for Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Family (Individual Across the Lifespan), Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Adult-Gerontology and Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist areas of concentration will be accepted. The Nursing Education Minor ,Nursing Research Minor, and Certificate in Nursing Research are available.

Pitt Online

Building on the strength and reputation of its graduate programs, the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing is offering a Master of Science for the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Nursing Administration online as well as onsite, and Nursing Informatics online.

The interactive online classroom, led by the excellent University of Pittsburgh faculty, provides opportunities for active learning, discussion, problem solving, debating, critical thinking, research, networking, and community building.


Program Description

The master's program leads to the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, and varies in credits depending on the major and area of concentration. The majors can be completed as full-time or part-time study. The curriculum design includes core courses, area of concentration core courses, advanced practice specialty courses, role development courses, and electives. Students in any of the majors may also elect to add a minor in nursing administration, nursing education, nursing informatics, nursing research, or health care genetics.

Students may select a major with a clinical practice focus. These include nurse the anesthesia major and psychiatric primary care nurse practitioner area of concentration. Students may also select preparation for a specialty role: The Nurse Specialty Role (NSR) major has three areas of concentration: nursing administration, clinical nurse leader, and nursing informatics.

Registered nurses who do not yet have a BSN may enter the Master's program via the RN Options, early admission to MSN.

Registered nurses who already have a master's degree in nursing have the option of earning a second master's degree in nursing. Earning the second master's will require completing the course requirements for the specific Major or Area of Concentration and may require taking more credits than are required for certification alone. Master's and Post-master's students also have the option of enrolling in a number of certificate programs. The School of Nursing offers certificate programs in genetics, nursing research, and school nursing and post-masters’ certificates in health care genetics; education; informatics; and as an acute care, neonatal or psychiatric primary care nurse practitioner.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of the Master's Program is to provide an organized sequential plan of study that leads to preparation of an advanced practice nurse or preparation in a specialized nursing role. This purpose is fulfilled through:

  • Preparation in advanced nursing practice or in a specialized role
  • Preparation in research methods and skills
  • Provision of a foundation for further study at the doctoral level

The graduate of the Master's Program will:

  • Demonstrate mastery of advanced knowledge and skills in a specialty area of advanced practice nursing or in a specialized role.
  • Critically evaluate knowledge and theories from nursing and other disciplines for their contribution to nursing practice.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use the steps of evidence-based practice to develop clinical practice guidelines and design projects to improve health care delivery.
  • Initiate collaborative relationships with other health professionals to ensure quality care to the patient/client and to mobilize health and social resources for individuals, families, groups, and communities.
  • Demonstrate leadership activities to advance the profession of nursing.
  • Critically evaluate issues relative to nursing practice and health care in light of scientific knowledge and personal and societal values.
  • Formulate and implement plans for individual professional development.
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate ideas both orally and in written form in an articulate, literate, and organized manner.

Core Courses

The following courses, from the School Core Courses, are required for all students enrolled in the Master's Program:

  • NUR 2000 - Research for Evidence Based Practice 1
  • NUR 2007 - Research for Evidence Based Practice 2
  • NUR 2011 - Applied Statistics for Evidence-Based Practice
  • NUR 2010 - Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Culturally Diverse Populations
  • NUR 2008 - Ethics for Advance Practice Nursing

The following are required of all students in the Nurse Anesthesia Major, Neonatal Nurse Nurse Practitioner area of concentration and Clinical Nurse Leader area of concentration:

  • NUR 2004 - Pathophysiology Across the Life Span
  • NUR 2031 -The Diagnostic Physical Exam Across the Life Span
  • NUR 2034 - Advanced Pharmacology
  • NUR 2009 - Leadership and Healthcare Systems: Policy, Organization and Financing of Health Care Module

Admission Criteria to the Master's Program

Applications to the Master's Program in nursing are reviewed by the faculty in the applicant's Major/Area of Concentration. Applicants must be considered qualified for advanced study.

Qualified applicants are considered without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or a veteran of the Vietnam era.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing admits a FALL COHORT ONLY to all MSN Program areas of concentration except the Nurse Anesthesia major. The application deadlines for all areas except Nurse Anesthesia are February 15th and  May 1st. International students are advised to apply by the February 15th deadline.  Complete applications received by February 15th will be reviewed and an admission decision will be made by June 1.  Complete application received by the May 1st deadline will be reviewed and admission decisions made by June 30th.  The Nurse Anesthesia major’s application deadline for BOTH THE FALL AND SPRING COHORT is January 5th.

Applicants to the master's program in nursing must have:

  • A baccalaureate degree in nursing from an NLN, CCNE, ACICS, or ACEN program in nursing
  • An RN Option, Early Admission to MSN is available.
  • A current license to practice nursing in a state or territory of the United States.  All students must obtain a Pennsylvania license prior to beginning clinical courses.
  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher in the undergraduate degree.
  • Relevant clinical experience: Specified by the Major/Area of Concentration.
  • A pre-admission interview. If the applicant resides at a great distance, a telephone interview may be conducted.
  • Official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE may be waived if the GPA is 3.5 or higher.
  • A prerequisite undergraduate statistics course of at least three credits, with a minimum of a C grade is required.
  • The following requirements can be uploaded into the online application.
  • Three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's capacity and potential for master's study from each of the following:
    • The director or a faculty member from the most recent academic program attended (if applicant has been a nursing student in the last 5 years);
    • A recent employer; and,
    • A person who can speak to the applicant's professional work.
  • A typed essay of a minimum of 500 words stating:
    • Your philosophy of nursing;
    • Your reasons for wanting to study in a particular area of concentration;
    • What you expect from the master’s program; and,
    • Your future career goals.


  1. Application forms are secured from and returned to the Student Services Office. Applicants wanting full time study are encouraged to apply for Fall Term admission.
  2. Applicant's materials are assembled and filed in the Student Services Office, 239 Victoria Building and must include:
    1. Completed Master's program application including the essay as directed on the application itself.
    2. Application fee (non-refundable and does not apply to the payment of tuition)
    3. Complete transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work
    4. Standardized test results (GRE).
      1. You can arrange to take the GRE by calling the Test Center in the Cathedral of Learning (G-35CL) on campus at 412-424-9103. The fee is currently $140.00.
      2. Kaplan offers GRE preparation courses
      3. 2 - 3 weeks to receive scores
      4. Both the Test center and CCAC states there scheduled offerings each term/semester.
    5. Three (3) references.
    6. Copy of a current license to practice nursing.
    7. Resume.

Graduate Clearances

All admitted students are required to submit Act 33, 34 and 78 clearances by the end of their first term of enrollment.


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Student Service Contact Information

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