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Master of Science in Nursing Degree Online

Master of Science in Nursing Degree Online

Online Nursing Degree

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is currently under development. If you are interested in our MSN program and would like to be contacted when we are ready to begin accepting applications, please contact an Enrollment Counselor at 877.626.5577 or

The master of science in nursing (MSN) is being developed to be a learner-centered, achievable, online degree program that offers you an opportunity to earn your MSN, and then continue on to a doctor of nursing practice (DNP), if desired. If you already have your MSN, and are looking to continue to DNP, then please visit our DNP page.

Master of Science in Nursing Degree Online

Online Nursing Degree

Take your first step today. Earn your graduate degree in nursing at A.T. Still University’s College of Graduate Health Studies (ATSU-CGHS).

The master of science in nursing (MSN) is a learner-centered, achievable, 100% online degree program. It is your entry point to ATSU’s unique graduate nursing pathway (GNP). The GNP offers you an opportunity to earn your MSN, and then continue on to a doctor of nursing practice (DNP), if desired. If you already have your MSN, and are looking to continue to DNP, then please visit our DNP page.

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ATSU’s “anytime, anywhere” model does not require residency, saving travel time and expense. You have the freedom to work at your own pace from a minimum of one course per term.

If entering the GNP with a BSN, you will be required to successfully complete 9 courses and a professional practice portfolio (a total of 33 credit-hours). If you are entering with a BSN and a non-nursing master’s degree, you can earn the MSN by completing 30 credits.

ATSU’s MSN provides many opportunities. You can develop and enhance your knowledge and skills to expand or enrich your current position. The MSN also helps you attain skills to assume other nursing roles. These might be teaching, leading, or directing care or programs in a variety of healthcare and community systems.

Become a nurse leader! Help influence and achieve positive health care outcomes. Make a difference in the future of healthcare and nursing.

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  • Career Advancement+

    • Potential career advancement opportunities are boundless with an MSN from A.T. Still University:

      • Director of a hospital service line
      • Director of health services
      • Director of patient quality and safety
      • Director of professional practice
      • Manager of local, state, and federal government health agencies
      • Manager in a community-based health organization
      • Administrator and/or faculty in a college
      • Director of staff development
      • Program manager in insurance company
      • Healthcare outreach coordinators or managers
      • Health educator for governmental agencies or non-profit organizations
      • Health program consultant
      • Health services project manager
      • Grant funding coordinator
      • Manager or specialist in a professional or advocacy organization
  • Learning Outcomes+

    • ATSU-GNP program graduates from the MSN are expected to demonstrate competence in the following learning outcomes:

      1. Integrate nursing science; its theories, models, and system-based concepts with related sciences as needed foundations for practice.
      3. Select appropriate health care assessments to gather data and diagnostic information needed to improve and enhance the health and well-being of diverse patients, communities, and populations across the lifespan.
      5. Interpret statistics and evidence-based data using clinical judgement and reasoning to determine best practice, improve individual and population health, and to enhance practice environments.
      7. Apply organizational theories to improve the quality, cost-effectiveness, and safety outcomes of practice decisions and organizational initiatives.
      9. Evaluate processes and programs that focus on outcomes of care, care systems, and quality improvement.
      11. Use communication, consultative, and leadership skills to guide interprofessional teams and to improve quality and safety in health care.
      13. Evaluate legal and ethical issues within healthcare systems to achieve appropriate resolutions.
      15. Apply knowledge of informatics to monitor, evaluate, and improve outcomes, programs, and systems of care as well as to promote effective communication among patients, staff, and colleagues.
      17. Demonstrate leadership and engagement skills at the organizational, professional, and community levels to improve healthcare and practice.
      19. Choose self-care strategies that can be used daily to strengthen personal and professional whole person health and wellness.
      21. Assess practice regularly to become more self-aware and to reflect on and build personal and professional skills.

Master of Science in Nursing Degree Faculty

The ATSU, faculty and staff are dedicated to the success of each health professions degree student. The online GNP degrees offer challenging, interprofessional educational experiences that enables intellectual and practice advancement.

All ATSU GNP faculty hold doctoral degrees, bringing their diverse academic and professional backgrounds in nursing practice, leadership, and management to the online classroom and other GNP learning experiences. Their academic areas of expertise include executive administration, health policy and advocacy, community and rural health, advanced nursing practice, child and adolescent health, mental health, public and community health, palliative and end-of-life care, health information systems, and nursing research and education, among many others. ATSU GNP faculty enjoy online teaching and are committed to providing innovative instructional opportunities and experiences.

  • Dean +

      • Don Altman, DDS, DHSc, EdD, MPH, MBA, MA Dean Don Altman, DDS, DHSc, EdD, MPH, MBA, MA Dean
        Don Altman, DDS, DHSc, EdD, MPH, MBA, MA Dean LinkedIn

        Don Altman, DDS, DHSc, EdD, MPH, MBA, MA, is the Dean of the College of Graduate Health Studies (CGHS) at A.T. Still University (ATSU). He also serves as director of public health at ATSU’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH). Dr. Altman has been with ATSU since October 2006.

        Dr. Altman graduated from the University of Texas Dental Branch (DDS) in 1983. He completed his Master of Public Health degree at the University of Texas School of Public Health in 1989 and became Board Certified in Dental Public Health in 1999. Dr. Altman completed his MBA at the University of Phoenix (2002) and a MA in Bioethics from Midwestern University (2004). He graduated with a Doctor in Health Science (DHSc) degree in March 2012 from the Arizona School of Health Sciences at A.T. Still University (ATSU-ASHS) and his EdD from Southern New Hampshire University in March 2016.

        Dr. Altman has worked for The City of Houston, the State of Texas, the State of Arizona, as well as The Principal Financial Group. Dr. Altman’s public health experience includes: serving as President of the Arizona State Board Dental Examiners; serving as President of the Arizona Public Health Association; volunteering with Health Volunteers Overseas (Cambodia and Vietnam); Director of the National Oral Health Leadership Institute; and serving as the Consumer Representative to the Dental Products Panel for the Food and Drug Administration. On May 1, 2012 he was appointed as a Director to The American Board of Dental Public Health and is currently the president.

        Dr. Altman’s research interests are currently centered on public health and higher education. He has published articles in the Journal of Dental Education, Journal of the American Dental Association, Public Health Reports, Special Care in Dentistry, and Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

  • Associate Dean of Academics and Assessment +

      • Jim Farris, PT, PhD Jim Farris, PT, PhD

        Jim Farris, PT, PhD, is the associate dean for academics and assessment in A.T. Still University’s College of Graduate Health Studies (ATSU-CGHS). Dr. Farris earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1987, and master’s degree in exercise science in 1989, both from California State University, Fresno; as well as a bachelor’s degree in physical therapying 1999 from Arkansas State University. His doctoral degree was conferred by The Ohio State University in 1995, where his studies focused on exercise physiology and nutrition. His current scholarship efforts are aimed at cardiopulmonary fitness throughout the lifespan.

        He joined ATSU in 2009, started his associate dean role in 2020, and is now in his 25th year of higher education and administration. Dr. Farris has over a decade of academic administration and assessment experience as a department chair and has strived for overall educational excellence in that role. He completed the American Physical Therapy Association’s Education Leadership Institute Fellowship, is an Educational Leadership Institute Fellow, and has served on the board of directors for the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy before joining ATSU-CGHS.

        He enjoys serving the community, and one our nation’s most underserved populations, through his role as a clinical director for the FUNfitness program that is part of the Special Olympics Healthy Athlete’s program. His home is in the west where outdoor activity and sunshine is abundant. Work-life integration is a goal and he “sharpens the saw” through golfing, cycling, fishing, hiking, cooking, brewing, and yardwork.

  • Chair and Associate Professor +

      • Karin A. Polifko, PhD Karin A. Polifko, PhD

        Karin Polifko’s career has spanned both the academic and service fields of health care. Along with teaching experience at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels, she has held positions as Vice President, Operations and Academic Affairs at Remington Colleges, as Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs at the University of Florida, as Consulting Dean, South College, Tennessee and as Director of Nursing at Christopher Newport University, Virginia.

        Dr. Polifko has extensive administrative experience in a variety of health care settings, in the roles of Vice President of System Development and Research, Administrative Director for Critical Care Services, Director of Nursing and Clinical Nurse Specialist. Past consulting projects include college and program development, organizational change assessment and evaluation, outcomes systems management, accreditation preparation, change management and leadership assessment. Her first textbook, Case Applications in Nursing Leadership and Management was published in 2004, Concepts of the Nursing Profession, was published in 2007 and The Practice Environment: Issues and Trends was published in 2010. Dr. Polifko has presented in a wide variety of workshops and seminars both nationally and internationally.

        Dr. Polifko received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, her Doctorate in Public Administration / Urban Health Services and a certificate in Advanced Policy Analysis from Old Dominion University.

  • Faculty +

      • Martha Agbeli, DNP, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC Martha Agbeli, DNP, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

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      • Jayme Ambrose, DNP, MS, BSN, RN, CCM Jayme Ambrose, DNP, MS, BSN, RN, CCM

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      • Leanna Brown, DNP, MBA, ACNP-BC Leanna Brown, DNP, MBA, ACNP-BC

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      • Diane Drexler, DNP, MBA, BSN, RN, FACHE Diane Drexler, DNP, MBA, BSN, RN, FACHE

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      • Helen Ewing, DHSc, MN, BN, RN Helen Ewing, DHSc, MN, BN, RN

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      • Michelle Goldbach, DNP, MHA, BSN, RN, CHPN Michelle Goldbach, DNP, MHA, BSN, RN, CHPN

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      • Jeremy Hodder, DHSc, MSc, PG Dip Law, BScN (Hons), RN, CPHRM Jeremy Hodder, DHSc, MSc, PG Dip Law, BScN (Hons), RN, CPHRM

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      • Clair Lunt, DHSc, MEd, MN, RN Clair Lunt, DHSc, MEd, MN, RN

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      • Lisa Palucci, DNP, MSN, BSN, RN, NE-BC, CPHQ, CSSGB Lisa Palucci, DNP, MSN, BSN, RN, NE-BC, CPHQ, CSSGB

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      • Elizabeth Segura, DNP, BSN, APRN, FNP-BC Elizabeth Segura, DNP, BSN, APRN, FNP-BC

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      • Judith Vaughan, DNP, MSN, BSN, RN Judith Vaughan, DNP, MSN, BSN, RN

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      • Bobbi Winter, DHSc, MBA, MSN, RN Bobbi Winter, DHSc, MBA, MSN, RN

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Master of Science in Nursing Degree Admissions

ATSU admits nurses into the MSN program who have a BSN or a BSN and a non-nursing master’s degree and who meet the requirements.

Prospective students are selected by considering the overall qualities of applicants through a thorough review of application content, academic record, prior experience, and personal motivation.

  • Requirements +

      2. Application:
        • Completed and signed admissions application along with a nonrefundable application fee.


      3. Academic:
        • An accredited degree from a university recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (bachelor’s degree for masters programs and a master’s degree for doctoral programs). Applicants who graduated from a university outside the United States may have to provide a degree equivalency evaluation.*
        • Official transcript from the qualifying degree-granting institution. For students using VA benefits transcripts for all institutions attended are required.
        • Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) at the qualifying degree institution.
        • Evidence of a current unencumbered RN license held in the state in which the attainment of applied non-clinical skills hours will occur.


      4. Elements of success:
        • A current resume.
        • Completion of a brief essay.
        • English proficiency **
        • Meet ATSU technology requirements.***


      *Applicants who have graduated from a foreign college or university should submit acceptable evidence of U.S. degree/course equivalency. All course work taken at the foreign institution must be evaluated for American institution equivalence by one of the following services:

      • World Education Services P.O. Box 5087 Bowling Green Station New York, NY 10274-5087 p: (212) 966-6311 f: (212) 739-6139
      • Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. P.O. Box 514070 Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470 (414) 289-3400
      • American Assn. of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 520 Washington, DC 20036-1135 (202) 293-9161
      • Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. International Education Consultants 7101 SW 102 Avenue Miami FL 33173 p: (305) 273 -1616 f: (305) 273 -1338
      • Intl. Education Research Foundation, Inc. PO Box 3665 Culver City, CA 90231-3665 (310) 258-9451

      • **Applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in English when applying to A.T. Still University’s College of Graduate Studies. Written and spoken proficiency in the English language may be demonstrated by one of the following options:
        The Computer Based Test (CBT), Internet Based Test (iBT), or the Paper Based Test (PBT) are accepted. The following are the minimum required score based on test type:
        The TOEFL is administered by TOEFL/TSE Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ, 08541-6151, USA 609. 771.7100. A.T. Still University’s institutional code is 0339. Please be sure to include this information when you submit your application packet. TOEFL Educational Testing Services P.O. Box 6151 Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, 609.771.7100
        ***ATSU technology requirements
      • Option 1 - English is your first language.
      • Option 2 - Graduated from a regionally accredited four year college/university in the United States with a BA/BS or graduate degree.
      • Option 3 - You are demonstrating your English proficiency by submitting acceptable scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
      • Acceptable minimal scores for CGHS applications are:

      • CBT - minimum total score of 213 Minimum of 22/Reading Skills section | Minimum of 26/Writing Skills section
      • iBT - minimum total score of 80 Minimum of 22/Reading Skills section | Minimum of 24/Writing Skills section
      • PBT - minimum total score of 550 Minimum of 57/Reading Skills section | Minimum of 61/Writing Skills section
  • Tuition+

    • Review tuition and fees for the Master of Science in Nursing program. Please note tuition and fees are subject to change.

The Family and Culture

Doctor shaking hands with man in suit Doctor, nurse, business men looking at paper work Business people around conference table Business man and doctor shaking hands Doctors and business men around laptop smiling Doctor showing business man charts Man reviewing graph charts Business man showing graphs to doctors Business people conversing


Master of Science in Nursing Curriculum Overview

The MSN features leading edge information contributed by nurses in advanced practice, and from those who are nurse administrators, managers, leaders, and educators. Student learning is enhanced by using the ATSU-CGHS approach of providing broad training, integrated online instruction, directed readings, email, and chat room interactions.

Curriculum is grounded in research and designed to ensure competency achievement through authentic embedded assessments. These are driven by the MSN learning outcomes and applied clinical skills and a foundational competency framework built from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing and AACN’s Graduate-Level Quality and Safety Education in Nursing Competencies (QSEN).

Courses include content in nursing science, evidence-based practice, planning and evaluation, health assessment, policy and ethics, managing healthcare systems, leadership and interprofessional collaboration, and healthcare information systems. In addition, students build skills in whole person self-care, resilience, and reflective practice.

Course content is enriched with 500 hours of the required master’s-level GNP applied clinical skills earned through the completion of specific assignments found in all MSN courses. Examples of applied clinical skills include advocacy, consultation, coaching, employee engagement, mentoring, and population health management.

MSN students complete a professional practice portfolio. In this culminating course, students assume a leadership role as they respond to a needed change within a healthcare system, in practice, in an educational setting, or advocating for a health policy locally or globally. In portfolio, students also assess how well they demonstrated expected competencies including those in whole person self-care and reflective practice.

  • DNPP 7000 – Fundamentals of Graduate Nursing Study (3 Credits) +

    • Students strengthen their skills in gathering data and information from nursing and related sciences. This evidence/research is used as a foundation for developing, implementing, and evaluating nursing practice and care delivery systems. Students are also introduced to ATSU’s mission and values and the nursing program’s requirements, expectations, and competencies including AACN Essentials. Emphasis is also on critical reasoning, academic/professional writing, reflective practice, personal self-care, and professional goal development.

  • MSNP 5100 - Nursing Science and Best Practice (3 Credits)+

    • Students examine historical and contemporary theoretical and conceptual thinking in nursing science. Analyses of nursing theories, concepts, and related systems/sciences are used to build a strong framework for decisions and actions to achieve best practice in whole person healthcare delivery, leadership, and research.

  • MSNP 5200 - Evidence-Based Practice, Planning, and Evaluating Quality Care (3 Credits)+

    • Students examine how evidence influences their nursing decisions and practice. Focus is on identifying appropriate practice questions to systematically obtain sound evidence from a variety of sciences and sources This will be used to analyze, plan, coordinate, lead, and evaluate programs and practice to achieve quality, safety, and positive health outcomes for diverse patients, communities, and populations across the continuum of care.

  • MSNP 5300 - Comprehensive Health Assessment (3 Credits)+

    • Students use a variety of assessments to learn how information improves the quality of care and health outcomes for diverse patients, families, communities, and populations across the lifespan. Focus is on the assessment process (including clinical, physical, and medication), illness prevention, population health, health promotion/wellness, and social determinants of health. Students build skills in therapeutic communication, motivational interviewing, interpretation of data, diagnostic reasoning, respect for and valuing whole person healthcare, and collaborative development of holistic plans of care.

  • MSNP 5400 - Health Law, Policy, and Ethics (3 Credits)+

    • Students are provided a concrete foundation in healthcare law and bioethics, as well as learning practical approaches to improving the legal and ethical delivery of whole person healthcare. Emphasis is on legal issues, policy making and politics, advocacy, and the use of frameworks and data-driven decisions to practice, lead, and conduct research ethically.

  • MSNP 5500 - Managing Healthcare Systems (3 Credits)+

    • Students examine the design, operations, and relationships in healthcare and organizational systems. Focus is on finance and marketing, management processes, functions, and roles. Care coordination, operations, budgeting, delegation, conflict resolution, change theory and strategies, and organizational communication are also emphasized.

  • MSNP 5700 – Critical Issues in Strategic Nursing Leadership (3 Credits) +

    • For students entering with a BSN only. Students analyze critical issues in nursing leadership that affect nurses and their ability to provide patient care in current and future healthcare systems, and in diverse communities and populations. Major theories and significant conceptualizations of nursing and leadership, related sciences, and supporting interdisciplinary models and concepts are used to explain, support, and promote evidence-based practice, whole person healthcare, quality, safety, and the achievement of positive patient outcomes.

  • MSNP 5800 – Healthcare Information Systems (3 Credits)+

    • Students examine the knowledge and skills needed to manage information and information management systems. Emphasis is on standard terminology, data sets, regulation, ethical and legal issues, investigating the qualities necessary to strategically and collaboratively assess needed technology, select, implement, and evaluate system-wide informatics that improve performance and provide safe and effective clinical, patient, support, and management systems.

  • MSNP 6000 – Professional Practice Portfolio (6 Credits)+

    • Students identify, analyze, develop, implement, and evaluate a change needed within a healthcare system, in practice, as a leader or educator, or from a policy perspective locally or globally. A summary of MSN Learning Outcomes and Essentials Achievements and a Whole Person Professional Career Advancement Plan is completed.