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Master of Science in Nursing

nurse education in classroom

About the Program

Established in 1979, the Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) at South Dakota State University prepares nurses for advanced practice in nursing administration, clinical leadership, clinical practice or education.

We feature collaboration and placement with over 200 established partnerships in a variety of local and regional clinical settings. Our clinical preceptors are engaged, caring healthcare professionals who provide an invaluable piece of our students’ clinical education.

Yearly annual fall admission and flexible scheduling allows students to finish the M.S.N. program in three to four and one half years. Total credits vary depending on the specialization chosen. No matter what you choose, we have programs in a variety of formats to meet your evolving needs.

Specializations and Curriculum Plans

Nurse Administrator (Online)

The nurse administrator specialization prepares graduates to utilize concepts and theories from nursing management and health administration and to assume leadership positions in health care agencies. The graduate demonstrates skills in personnel management and budgetary resources. Upon completion of the degree, the graduate is eligible for the following certifications:

For required courses and more information, see the curriculum plan.
Clinical Nurse Leader (Online)

The clinical nurse leader specialization prepares graduates for coordination of care and clinical leadership in all healthcare settings. The graduate demonstrates skills in managing microsystems of care and is prepared to implement outcomes-based practice and quality improvement strategies. Upon completion of the degree, the graduate is eligible for the following certification: Clinical Nurse Leader.

For required courses and more information, see the curriculum plan.

Nurse Educator (Online)

The nurse educator specialization prepares graduates to utilize theories of teaching and learning in a variety of settings with emphasis on nursing education. The graduate demonstrates the ability to plan, implement and evaluate nursing education programs. Upon completion of this degree, the graduate is eligible for Certified Nurse Educator certification.

To help you reach your goals, we've developed a two-year and three-year curriculum plan. View the curriculum plans for required courses and more information: 2 year curriculum plan or 3 year curriculum plan.

Family Nurse Practitioner

This program was reinstated in Fall 2014 with the permission of the South Dakota Board of Regents as part of the response to the Affordable Care Act implementation. 

Graduates of this program are prepared to deliver evidence-based direct patient care at an advanced practice level to individuals across the lifespan in primary care settings with an emphasis on rural healthcare. Graduates are eligible to write certification examinations in Family Nurse Practitioner from either the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP).
A blend of online and face-to-face course delivery ensures convenience and accessibility. Students complete a minimum of 1000 hours of clinical practice preceptorship.
For required courses and more information, see the curriculum plan.

Ready to take the next step?


Program Outcomes

To prepare Nurse Administrators, Clinical Nurse Leaders, Family Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Educators and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners who:

  • Apply knowledge of evidence-based practice.
  • Engage in life-long learning.
  • Serve South Dakota, the region, the nation and the world in urban, rural and frontier health care settings, and function in leadership roles.
Student Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the program, the graduate will successfully demonstrate the following outcomes:  

  • Incorporate knowledge and theories from nursing and other supportive disciplines to promote and translate evidence into practice to effectively tailor health care to diverse populations. (Transferable Skill: Diversity Awareness)
  • Use leadership strategies at the organizational and individual level to work with interprofessional teams to recommend quality improvement initiatives to provide safe healthcare delivery and improve population health. (Transferable Skill: Leadership - Management) 
  • Assume accountability to influence health policy, improve healthcare delivery, decrease health disparities and address the diversity of health care needs. (Transferable Skill: Awareness of Public Policy - Regulatory Affairs)
  • Utilize informatics to enhance delivery of healthcare to a population. Communicate effectively with populations to improve health through population- centered strategies of health promotion/disease prevention education. (Communication Skills)
Specialization Specific Student Learning Outcomes
  • Clinical Nurse Leader: Utilize microsystem assessment data to design, implement and evaluate evidence-based interventions that improve safety and quality for selected populations.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: Collaborate with the interprofessional team in the translation, implementation, analysis and dissemination of evidence-based practice to improve healthcare outcomes.

Need more information?