Decker School of Nursing

Graduate School

The graduate and undergraduate nursing programs of the Decker School of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) through June 19, 2019.

The Decker School of Nursing offers graduate level programs of study culminating in professional graduate degrees of the Master of Science (MS) and Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) with majors in family, community health, psychiatric mental health or adult-gerontological nursing. The Decker School also offers the research degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing, with emphases in rural health and vulnerable populations.

In the Master of Science program, students select one of four functional roles to pursue as either a clinical nurse specialist (CNS), administrator, educator or nurse practitioner (NP). Dual roles are also available for additional credit. Certificates are available in Disaster Preparedness, Nursing Education, and Forensics.

For those students already holding a master's degree in nursing, the Decker School offers post MS programs leading to a certificate as family, adult-gerontological, family psychiatric mental health, or community health primary care nurse practitioner. Students with a baccalaureate degree in nursing and certification as a nurse midwife may complete requirements for a master's degree in family nursing.

The Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) program is designed to prepare Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists to respond more efficiently to changes in health care delivery and emerging health care needs. The DNP focuses on providing leadership for evidence-based practice, and will incorporate the advanced practice content currently included in the master's program. New courses will encompass the following essential content:

  • Scientific underpinnings for practice
  • Organizational and systems leadership for quality improvement and systems thinking
  • Clinical scholarship and analytical methods for evidence-based practice
  • Information systems/technology and patient care technology for the improvement and transformation of health care
  • Health care policy for advocacy in health care
  • Interprofessional collaboration for improving patient and population health outcomes
  • Clinical prevention and population health for improving the nation's health
  • Advanced nursing practice

Under the guidance of a committee, students will complete a DNP Capstone Project which will result in the implementation of a program plan for improvement of one of the following areas:

  • Health care delivery system
  • Program development and evaluation
  • Development of a patient-focused intervention
  • Organizational changes that influence health care policies to reduce health care disparities

The PhD program in nursing is designed to prepare graduates for research and active scholarship in nursing that will extend the knowledge base of nursing and improve the delivery of health care for rural and vulnerable populations. Graduates will be prepared to conduct research and develop theory related to these populations. Graduates of the program will also be able to design future practice models, direct the development of policy initiatives and effect meaningful change within healthcare delivery systems. The program includes:

  • Research and Conceptualization:
    • Study in advanced research methods, theory development and analysis, advanced statistics for health research, conceptual analysis, instrumentation and measurement, and involvement in active research programs
  • Nursing and Health Policy:
    • Study in the healthcare needs of rural or vulnerable populations, and the issues, strategies and policy development interventions for healthcare delivery for these populations
  • Cognate Courses:
    • Selected courses advancing student's knowledge in their specific area of interest
  • Dissertation:
    • An independent original research project

Last Updated: 2/24/14