Distance Graduate Program

Masters of Nursing (MN) Degree

The Masters of Nursing (MN) graduate degree program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Students are prepared to take certification examinations as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). MN graduate students are educated to be leaders at the bedside with a broad range of opportunities to influence health practices.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree

The Board of Regents approved the first doctoral degree for nursing in Montana on September 20, 2012 and the first class was admitted in Fall semester, 2013. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree focuses on educating nurses to the highest standards of the profession to care for people living in Montana and beyond and to lead change in health care systems. Two areas of specialty are available for the DNP-degree seeking student at MSU – Nurse Practitioner, Family/Individual or Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric/Mental Health.

Synopsis: The graduate program curriculum is taught by faculty in the College of Nursing and Engineering. Rich clinical opportunities exist in Montana for nurses seeking to expand their outreach and grow to the level of an advanced generalist, MN degree (CNL role), or advanced practice nurse, DNP (Family/Individual or Psych/Mental Health). Faculty with systems and leadership foci guide MN (CNL) students and advanced practice nurse practitioners, who are certified and experienced, guide DNP students through clinical education. Students choose from over twenty faculty in the college who hold doctorates in nursing to lead their professional (MN) or scholarly (DNP) projects in concert with course work and clinical experiences. The college provides educational preparation plus exciting opportunities to practice in rural and frontier areas of Montana. Nursing faculty are recognized nationally for their broad and wide-ranging expertise.

Graduate courses are offered primarily online with teleconference and video conference used to supplement content. See teaching methods for more information. Travel to Bozeman is required at the beginning of Fall semester.


Admission Requirements

Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.

  1. A baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited upper division program, which included supervised clinical practice in a variety of nursing settings, including community/public health and management.
  2. Successful completion of undergraduate courses in physical assessment, community/public health, research, statistics (which included inferential statistics), and an undergraduate psych/mental health course for the FPMHNP option.
  3. Current unencumbered licensure as a registered nurse.  If clinical educational experiences are to be completed in Montana, licensure in Montana is required.
  4. Favorable recommendation from the College of Nursing admissions committee.
  5. TOEFL score of 580 or computer equivalent, if applicable.

Clinical Experience Preferred

In general, one year of clinical experience is preferred for DNP (Family/Individual) and DNP (Psych/Mental Health) degree applicants. There are no clinical experience preferences for MN degree (Clinical Nurse Leader).

To Apply

  • Complete the online application available on the Graduate School’s website at: http://www.montana.edu/wwwdg/
  • Application Deadline is February 15th

MN Degree Program of Study

DNP Degree Programs of Study

Online Certificate Program (Non-Degree Option)

Course Descriptions

Technical Requirements

Proficiency in the use of a computer and access to a computer with Internet capabilities is required for graduate students who are admitted to the program: refer to Technical Requirements (pdf).


Each student completes a professional (MN degree) or scholarly (DNP degree) project developed in collaboration with a faculty advisor and committee. Examples of exciting and innovative student projects include: development of mental health outreach programs to the rural elderly; examination of alternative health practices for healing; establishment of pediatric cancer support groups for the rural client; and development of a school based clinic. An oral defense of the professional project is required for MN students. A comprehensive exam (written and oral components) and oral defense of the scholarly project is required for DNP students.

Program Costs

MSU Fee Schedule
Graduate Nursing Program Fee: $53 per credit hour FY 10 and $55.10 per credit hour for FY11.

This fee is used to offset additional costs inherent in clinically-based graduate education such as teaching models, simulation equipment, specialized computer programs, and travel to arrange and supervise clinical education across the state. Fees also are used to replace and upgrade the interactive video equipment used for distance delivery of graduate courses.

International Students

Financial Assistance

Teaching or research assistantships may be available to selected graduate students. Federal Traineeships, which help defray tuition costs, may be available to advanced practice students who are U.S. citizens. Nurse Faculty Loan Program funds also may be available to students willing to commit to four years of teaching fulltime upon graduation. Additional information can be found in the Graduate Scholarship Information (PDF)

Interested in Non-degree Graduate Coursework?

Facts to consider - Non-degree Graduate Coursework Information Guide