Inspiring the next generation of nurses.

This post-graduate certificate program prepares nurses who possess a minimum of a graduate degree in nursing with the knowledge and experiences necessary to assume educator roles in academic or non-academic settings.

The program content is guided by the Core Competencies of Nurse Educators identified by the National League for Nursing (NLN) and acknowledged by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Graduates are educationally prepared to sit for the NLN Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) examination and are eligible to take the certification examination once they have met all of the criteria specified by NLN.

The Nursing Programs offered by the Marian University School of Nursing and Health Professions are approved by the State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, Board of Nursing and are fully accredited through 2024 by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Request Information

The Program

We offer our program at convenient learning centers in Appleton, Fond du Lac and West Allis. You can start the program in the fall or spring, with courses offered in online, on-ground and hybrid formats. On-ground classes meet in the evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., up to two nights per week: Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday, depending on location.

For more details regarding this program, view Marian’s Academic Bulletin.

Sample Course Plan:
Download Sample Course Plan

MSN core courses, 25 credits:

Health care policy, organization of health care delivery systems, health care financing, and their interrelationships are analyzed. Emphasis is placed on nursing’s role in affecting the health care environment with special emphasis on the advanced practice nursing roles.

The student is given the opportunity to examine and evaluate the components of theory, methods of theory development, and major theoretical/conceptual models used in professional nursing practice. Selected theoretical frameworks from education and behavioral sciences will be examined and compared in terms of their utility for nursing practice and research for advanced nursing practice. Nursing theory will be explored through selected grand theories, middle-range theories and practice theories.

Focuses on the acquisition, evaluation, and interpretation of information designed to link nursing theory and science as a foundation for advanced practice nursing. Working from a body of literature related to broad and middle range theoretical frameworks, the student is actively involved in a program of research critique with emphasis on applications to and implications for nursing practice. Focus is on development of skills necessary for the ethical conduct of nursing research related to vulnerable populations and including the critique of research studies, identification of research problems, communication of research findings, and application of research-based knowledge in advanced practice nursing.


Evidence based nursing practice is the integration of evidence that guides practice. Evidence for the advanced practice nurse is derived from research, practice and various other sources. This course focuses on the evaluation and integration of evidence into practice. The graduate student is provided the opportunity to explore, evaluate and integrate evidence into advanced nursing practice.

Informatics applications that affect health care and nursing will be emphasized. This course is consistent with the American Nurses Association Nursing Informatics Scope and Standards. It is designed to introduce students to the use of informatics and technology to inform and support nursing practice and to further develop computer technology skills. The theoretical underpinning of the course is the Foundation of Knowledge Model.

The graduate student is provided the opportunity to expand knowledge of the health behavior models and methods for maintaining or enhancing health. Variants in health including environmental, social, and human diversity issues are emphasized. The development and application of social and political policy for interdisciplinary approaches to health promotion are explored. The student is afforded the opportunity to examine the process of health promotion that enables individuals, families and communities to increase control over and improve their health across the life span. Epidemiology will be used as a tool to examine health promotion and disease prevention.

This course focuses on the study of pathophysiology. Emphasis is placed on correlating the altered structure with the altered function of human systems. Illness and disease processes are explored but not emphasized. The conceptual approach used focuses on the metabolic, infectious, immunologic, degenerative and neoplastic alterations at the cellular and organ levels.

Through laboratory practice and simulation, this course provides the student with an opportunity to build on previously learned knowledge and skills, and prepares the student to care for individuals and families across the lifespan. Students develop skills in obtaining and documenting a comprehensive assessment in order to determine appropriate and effective health care including health promotion strategies. Students develop advanced physical assessment skills, including functional assessment to be able to provide a comprehensive database. Performing and interpreting basic laboratory and diagnostic tests to complete the database is expected. Students learn to establish a differential diagnosis based on the data.


This course focuses on the pharmacotherapeutics and pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of broad categories of pharmacologic agents. In addition, this course provides the future Family Nurse Practitioner with the knowledge and skills to use pharmacotherapeutics in the prevention and treatment of health problems common to individuals across the lifespan. Prescriptive privileges/authority and prescription writing for advanced practice nurses are discussed.

3 credits from the following:

The student is provided the opportunity to independently design a project focusing on a nursing problem or question that may be of scientific, philosophic, or historic in nature. This prepares the student for the advanced practice role. The project is supervised by a committee chairperson and two additional committee members. (Repeatable to earn three credits total. Receives CR/NC grade.)


The student is provided the opportunity to independently design and implement a research study synthesizing independent scholarship and creative achievement. The thesis is supervised by a committee chairperson and two additional committee members. (Repeatable to earn three credits total. Receives CR or NC grade.)

Nurse educator specialty, 17 credits:

This online course teaches the pedagogy, methodology, and facilitation methods necessary for effective instruction in the online environment. The student will learn about the technology tools used to create and maintain online courses, explore samples of online courses, learn best practices for online teaching and learning, and develop their own online learning environment.


Practicum provides a mentored online teaching experience for candidates completing the Certified Online Instructor program. The candidate demonstrates the application of online pedagogy and technology evaluated through observation, discussion, reflection, and research.

The student is provided with the opportunity to apply selected standards according to the American Association of Nursing Standards of Care and Professional Performance for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in a clinical setting.


This course is designed to expose the learner to theories of teaching and learning, while exploring theories which meet various learner styles. It will address the use of specific teaching theories and methods best suited for various learning experiences required for the education of nurses. It is designed to assist the learner in understanding the importance of evidence-based teaching methods and to examine personal experiences and opinions of effective teaching. Further, the learner will participate in development of a prototype School of Nursing, including mission, philosophy, and curriculum.


Building upon the knowledge and skills learned in Nurse Educator Theory I, this course focuses on design of learning modules, along with developmental assessment and evaluation processes for learners. Students have the opportunity to develop and refine teaching skills for classroom, clinical, and laboratory. Students design data gathering instruments, learn to interpret and repeat findings from assessment instruments that pertain to classroom, clinical, and laboratory performance. In addition, students begin to examine teaching effectiveness and program evaluation.


The graduate student is provided the opportunity to apply knowledge gained from the two theoretical courses in teaching and learning theory. Practicum experiences may be in formal nursing education, staff development, or client education. The role as a professional educator is discussed. This course has conference time for synthesis of experiences at pre-planned intervals. Nurse Educators knowledgeable in education will serve as preceptors for graduate students.

The Marian University Nursing Programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. This accreditation is based on four standards which measure the Nursing Programs’ ability to achieve the mission, goals, and expected outcomes of the programs. The extent to which the Nursing Programs achieve the mission, goals, and outcomes determines the quality of the educational program and preparation of students to enter the profession of nursing.

Standard I: Program Quality – Mission and Governance

The mission, goals, and expected program outcomes are congruent with those of the parent institution, reflect professional nursing standards and guidelines, and consider the needs and expectations of the community of interest. Policies of the parent institution and nursing program clearly support the program’s mission, goals, and expected outcomes. The faculty and students of the program are involved in the governance of the program and in the ongoing efforts to improve program quality.

Standard II: Program Quality – Institutional Commitment and Resources

The parent institution demonstrates ongoing commitment to and support for the nursing program. The institution makes resources available to enable the program to achieve its mission, goals, and expected outcomes. The faculty, as a resource of the program, enable the achievement of the mission, goals, and expected program outcomes.

Standard III: Program Quality – Curriculum and Teaching-Learning Practices

The curriculum is developed in accordance with the program’s mission, goals, and expected student outcomes. The curriculum reflects professional nursing standards and guidelines and the needs and expectations of the community of interest. Teaching-learning practices are congruent with expected student outcomes. The environment for teaching-learning fosters achievement of expected student outcomes.

Standard IV: Program Effectiveness – Assessment and Achievement of Program Outcomes

The program is effective in fulfilling its mission and goals as evidenced by achieving expected program outcomes. Program outcomes include student outcomes, faculty outcomes, and other outcomes identified by the program. Data on program effectiveness are used to foster ongoing program improvement.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2013). Standards for accreditation of baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs. Washington, D.C.: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

NLN Core Competencies of Nurse Educators (2005)

Nurse educators:

  • Are responsible for creating an environment in classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings that facilitates student learning and the achievement of desired cognitive, affective, and psychomotor outcomes.
  • Recognize their responsibility for helping students develop as nurses and integrate the values and behaviors expected of those who fulfill that role.
  • Use a variety of strategies to assess and evaluate student learning in classroom, laboratory and clinical settings, as well as in all domains of learning.
  • Are responsible for formulating program outcomes and designing curricula that reflect contemporary health care trends and prepare graduates to function effectively in the health care environment.
  • Function as change agents and leaders to create a preferred future for nursing education and nursing practice.
  • Recognize that their role is multidimensional and that an ongoing commitment to develop and maintain competence in the role is essential.
  • Acknowledge that scholarship is an integral component of the faculty role, and that teaching itself is a scholarly activity.
  • Are knowledgeable about the educational environment within which they practice and recognize how political, institutional, social and economic forces impact their role.


The mission and philosophy of the Marian University nursing programs serve as a foundation for the development of graduate nursing program goals, which are to:

  • Provide nursing programs grounded in Judeo-Christian tradition.
  • Prepare learners for life-long learning in formal and informal settings.
  • Provide nursing education that prepares students to practice nursing in various setting with diverse populations.

The Master of Science in Nursing program offers two specializations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator. Both specialties prepare graduates for advanced nursing practice. The program also promotes continuing education and professional growth. Students in both specializations of the Master of Science in Nursing program receive the MSN degree.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Marian University Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, graduates demonstrate the processes of acquiring/generating knowledge, critical thinking, valuing, decision making, and communicating to:

  • Demonstrate strong critical thinking and decision-making skills;
  • Nurse Practitioner Pathway: Critically and accurately assess, plan, intervene, and evaluate the health and illness experiences of clients (individuals, families, and communities) to improve health care delivery and outcomes of patient care at the health care provider level;
  • Nurse Educator Pathway: Critically and accurately assess, plan, implement, and evaluate educational programs available to nursing students, staff, and clients to improve delivery of education and to promote health outcomes.
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing with professional and non-professional individuals.
  • Analyze, synthesize, and utilize knowledge required throughout the course of study

The following percentage rates show students that were employed as Nurse Educators after graduation:

December 2013 – 33%
May 2014 – 50%
December 2014 – 100%
May 2015 – 100%

The Nursing Programs offered by the Marian University School of Nursing and Health Professions are approved by the
State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, Board of Nursing and are fully accredited through 2024 by:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
One DuPont Circle, NW, Suite 530
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 887-6791

Marian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.}

After acceptance into the graduate program, students must earn a grade of B (3.00) or better in all graduate nursing courses. If a student earns a grade below B in any course, he or she may repeat that course one time only and must earn a B or higher in order to progress in the MSN program. Students may repeat only one graduate nursing course one time only. A cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required for graduation from the MSN program. Students who receive less than a B in a practicum course, are dismissed from the program. Students cannot repeat a practicum course.

“Marian University created such a welcoming environment that I have achieved two degrees here and become part of the undergraduate faculty. The balance of the hybrid program benefits any adult learner who wants the flexibility of online with personal attention of small class sizes. The online teaching certificate built into this program makes graduates market ready for a variety of academic careers. A highly recommended program.”

Rachel Loduha, MSN, RN
Assistant Professor
Marian University

Dr. Mary Polchert
Associate Professor

Dr. Janice Edelstein
Associate Professor


Apply Now

Marian University Admission Office