2021-2022 Academic Catalog

Graduate School of Nursing (GSN)

GSN Philosophy

The philosophy of the GSN is derived from the mission and goals of the University. The philosophy is built on a foundation of nursing theory, research, and advanced practice that fosters critical thinking and a vision of future health care with consideration of the unknown and unforeseen.

Graduate nursing education builds upon a foundation of undergraduate nursing education. Baccalaureate nurses enrolled in the advanced practice nursing programs are provided learning 5 experiences that increase the breadth and depth of their knowledge base in nursing and students acquire a new advanced level of competence while preparing for role specialization.

The advanced practice nurse utilizes nursing science as a basis for the delivery of health care by incorporating scientific knowledge and clinical skills. The curricula for advanced practice nursing are constructed upon a balanced theoretical and research base specific to the practice area. The GSN prepares students for collaborative and autonomous nursing roles with an emphasis on health promotion; disease prevention; primary care delivery; case management, anesthesia services; administration; and emergency preparedness. Further, they advance the profession of nursing by conducting research and applying findings to nursing practice.

Students accepted into the PhD program transition from a master’s specialty domain to an educational program of study that includes emphasis on nursing leadership, research, education, and practice. The PhD program is uniquely focused on the needs of individuals and systems within the Federal/military sector.

Inherent in the philosophy of the GSN are beliefs regarding the individual, society, environment and culture, nursing, health, and graduate nursing education. The GSN utilizes an eclectic approach to implementing theoretical concepts and nursing models, thus providing a broad yet selective foundation.


The GSN is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) graduate degree program options offered by the GSN include the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees. A research doctoral PhD program in nursing science, established in 2002, has a research-intensive focus within the areas of relevance to the needs of the military and Federal health.

Program Descriptions

Master of Science in Nursing degree, MSN:

The Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AG-CNS) program option prepares nurses to care for adult and geriatric populations (age 8 years - death) in increasingly complex healthcare settings in the Military Health System (MHS). AGCNS graduates are prepared to work in diverse settings to include traditional stateside military treatment facilities (MTF), as well as austere/under-resourced settings encountered in humanitarian and operational missions. Special emphasis in the program is placed on understanding MHS processes and structures to improve outcomes, enhance evidence-based care, and improve the business of healthcare at the individual MTF-level. Across the program, students assess systems and processes preparing them to assume active roles as a member of the healthcare team to optimize health system performance in support of the MHS Quadruple Aims of better care, better health, lower cost, and improved readiness.

Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, DNP:

The DNP is a deliberate blend of the DNP Essentials, specialty practice requirements, and the unique integration of operational healthcare curriculum that produces an APRN with the essential skills necessary to provide advanced practice care to support both the operational and peacetime requirements of the uniformed services. The DNP curriculum is organized around 4 primary domains that includes a DNP core, an advanced science core, specialty practice curriculum, and the operational curriculum. The GSN offers five advanced practice program options. There are 3 DNP Program options: Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Anesthetist, and Nurse Practitioner which includes 3 population focus areas: Family, Women’s Health and Psychiatric Mental Health.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science degree, PhD:

Since 2002, the GSN PhD program has provided nurses with the opportunity to study in the unique environment of federal health care and military operational research since 2002. The curriculum prepares tomorrow's scientists and scholars with a foundation of sound science, diverse philosophical perspectives, and ethical and policy considerations in the discovery of new knowledge. Research training is implemented through rigorous methodological perspectives in concert with advanced statistical techniques to address relevant and strategic questions important to our nation's military and federal service health care. GSN graduates are well prepared to advance research that will make a difference in the lives of those we serve.