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Graduate Nursing Overview

The Graduate Nursing program at Austin Peay State University offers a supportive learning environment to prepare students for advanced practice roles in various healthcare organizations and settings. The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Nurse Educator (NE), and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) concentrations are flexible and designed to meet the needs of Registered Nurses in various stages of their careers. All graduate nursing classes are primarily delivered in an online format. 

The FNP, NE, and PMHNP concentrations offer students access to a collaborative academic community with low student-to-faculty ratios, direct and frequent access to faculty, personal advising, and an interactive approach to learning. FNP and PMHNP students attend a FUN and INTERACTIVE on-campus intensive to practice hands-on skills, participate in simulation, and interact with peers, faculty, and experts in the field.

More information can be found about the Graduate Nursing programs in the APSU Graduate Bulletin.

Graduate nursing student with simulated patient.

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There are many reasons a student should consider the APSU Graduate Nursing Program. Here are just a few:

  • Low faculty: student ratios--from the time students are admitted, we get to know them by name. The Graduate Nursing Faculty at APSU is committed to the success of our students.
  • High Value/Low-Cost Education--tuition at APSU is very competitive and students graduate with low debt and quality outcomes. APSU has the LOWEST graduate tuition per credit hour than any other Tennessee state institution)--a student can earn their MSN for less than $21,000 (tuition only/in-state)
  • No GRE is Required for Admission.
  • Student Involvement--graduate nursing students have opportunities to participate in graduate nursing committees from their first semester. 
  • On-Campus Intensives (OCIs)--opportunities for on-campus learning: we believe that advanced assessment and procedures are best learned when they can be practiced in a fun, supportive, hands-on learning environment.
  • Synchronous videoconferencing--these opportunities provide students with real time experiences and participation from any location.
  • Asynchronous classes--classes are set up to be primarily online. Students watch lecture content, take quizzes, submit assignments, and participate in online discussions asynchronously.

On-Campus Intensives (OCIs) are required visits to the Clarksville, Tennessee, campus. FNP and PMHNP students will receive dates and times well in advance for planning purposes. These "Intensives" are intended to provide a fun and supportive learning environment to practice and assess the skills and techniques learned in the online classroom. During the intensive, students have opportunities to socialize with their peers and members of the School of Nursing Graduate Faculty.

  • The MSN Program (FNP & PMHNP concentrations) require two visits to the APSU campus for intensives. NP students also complete a virtual advanced clinical skills intensive.

ASSESSMENT: The Assessment OCI occurs at the end of the Advanced Health Assessment (NURS 5008) clinical/lab course. The Assessment OCI allows students to meet classmates and Graduate Nursing faculty in person and strengthen existing professional relationships. In small groups led by Graduate Nursing faculty, students will practice the skills acquired in class and participate in open labs, lab practice, and lab check-offs.

CLINICAL: The Virtual Advanced Skills Intensive for the Graduate Nursing FNP students occurs during the NURS 5801 course, at the start of the clinical hours. This Virtual OCI is intended to practice advanced practice office procedures (i.e: suturing, biopsies, x-ray interpretation, nail removal, incision and drainage, and complex wound care management). Students complete this OCI virtually.

FINAL: The Final OCI occurs towards the end of the final semester before graduation. The Final OCI involves a celebration of the accomplishments of all graduate students as they complete their final Graduate Nursing courses.

Graduate nursing students attending on campus intensive.

High Value/Low Cost Education--tuition at APSU is very competitive and students graduate with low debt and quality outcomes. APSU has the LOWEST graduate tuition per credit hour than any other Tennessee state institution--a student can earn their MSN for less than $21,000 (tuition only/in-state)

The most current graduate tuition and fee information can be found at the Austin Peay State University Student Account Services and Cashier's Office website.

For an estimate of tuition/fees and additional expenses for each semester, students can access APSU's Estimated Direct Cost Calculator.

Students can find more information about financial aid options and veteran benefits at the Austin Peay State University Office of Student Financial Aid website.

The APSU Graduate Nursing Program welcomes out of state applicants and military-affiliated applicants. We have many graduate nursing students who live and complete clinical out of Tennessee, but some states prohibit students from completing nursing clinical experiences in their state. Due to this, the APSU Graduate Nursing Program cannot guarantee the placement of students for clinical practicum in all 50 states.

Current or potential nursing graduate students who fall into any of the following categories should email graduatenursing@apsu.edu to discuss their individual needs:

  • Out of state students interested in applying to the Graduate Nursing Program.
  • Any graduate nursing student who is interested in completing clinical in a state that is different than TN.
  • Students who may move or who relocate to a different state after entering the program. 
  • We are not accepting applicants at this time from New York or Washington. 

Licensure and Certification Disclosures

Students should be aware that licensure and certification requirements vary from state to state and are subject to change. Licensing agencies or boards also may have requirements in addition to an earned degree. APSU recommends that students who are not Tennessee residents or who plan to seek licensure or certification outside the state of Tennessee contact the appropriate licensing agency or board before they enroll in an academic program designed to lead to licensure or certification and discuss their plans with an advisor. Find more information below on nursing licensure and clinical practice regulations.

Licensure Program Eligibility Disclosures

Nurse Licensure Compact State Information

Nursys Authorization to Practice Map

Graduate Nursing Program--Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Each student is assigned a Graduate Nursing advisor who will review each student's program sequence outlining which courses to take in the various semesters.

NE students are not required to come to campus. FNP and PMHNP students are required to be on campus 2  times throughout their program. Each On-Campus Intensive (OCI) is 1-2 days and the date is published well in advance. The OCIs are FUN. There are opportunities for learning and socialization with peers and faculty. 

Many of our students continue to work while in our program; however, each student has varying needs related to study time, work-life balance, and clinical practicum availability. Students who choose to complete the NP concentrations full time typically do not work, or work part-time/PRN minimally.

No. The MSN program (all concentrations) accepts applications from nurses once they receive their BSN degree and pass the NCLEX. Though we do not currently require any work experience for a specific time, each student should carefully consider their ability and desire to take on advanced level of education at the same time they are beginning a new profession.

Nurse Educators enjoy careers in instructional or administrative positions as faculty in schools of nursing or in medical facilities in areas of staff development. A MSN in Nursing Education enables experienced nurses to combine their clinical expertise  with a passion for teaching.

End of Program Student Learning Outcomes (EPSLOs) are measurable statements that express the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that the student should be able to demonstrate upon completion of the program. The following EPSLOs are consistent with standards of professional practice, professional standards, the Graduate Nursing Program Outcomes (POs), and are consistent with professional standards and competencies.

Role-specific Professional Competencies are expected, measurable levels of graduate performance that integrate knowledge, skills, and behaviors.

Graduates of the MSN program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate advanced role professional behaviors and leadership competencies, including effective communication, coordination, and collaboration with individuals, families, and members of the healthcare team.
  2. Appraise information and technology to guide advanced nursing practice.
  3. Analyze theoretical and evidence-based research to guide decisions and quality improvement in the advanced nursing role.
  4. Demonstrate ethical decision-making in the advanced nursing role.
  5. Analyze data to modify the determinants of health, promoting improved outcomes for all persons and populations.
  6. Integrate advocacy principles to influence nursing practice and policies at the systems level.

Graduates of the MSN Nurse Educator (NE) Concentration will also be able to:

  1. Evaluate the process of implementing, monitoring, and managing curricula using relevant theories, teaching and learning strategies, and technological innovation.
  2. Appraise various strategies to monitor and evaluate programs, curricula, and mastery of student learning.
  3. Practice advanced, evidence-based, contemporary, and person-centered nursing care.

Graduates of the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Concentration will also be able to:

  1. Demonstrate independence and accountability in managing primary healthcare needs, including assessing and identifying differential diagnoses, prioritizing, managing health and illness, and evaluating care for individuals and families across the lifespan.
  2. Utilize evidence-based practice guidelines to provide safe, compassionate, quality, and personalized care to diverse patients.
  3. Apply advanced clinical judgment in the management of person-centered care.

Graduates of the MSN Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Concentration will also be able to:

  1. Demonstrate independence and accountability in managing psychiatric and mental health care needs, including assessing and identifying differential diagnoses, prioritizing and managing acute and chronic disorders, and evaluating care for individuals and families across the lifespan.
  2. Utilize evidence-based practice guidelines to provide safe, compassionate, quality, and personalized care to diverse patients.
  3. Apply advanced clinical judgment in the management of person-centered care.

NP CERTIFICATION RATES: Certification rates are assessed by calendar year.

  • 2022--The annual pass rate for all first-time test-takers for the FNP Certification is 91.2%. There were no test-takers for the PMHNP concentration in 2022.
  • 2021--The annual pass rate for all first-time test-takers for the FNP Certification is 94.7%. There were no test-takers for the PMHNP concentration in 2021.

COMPLETION RATES: Completion rates are assessed by calendar year and tracked by starting date.

  • 2020 Admission Cohort--Aggregate Completion Rate calculated removing work-life-personal reasons for leaving the program= 94%
  • 2020 Admission Cohort--Aggregate Program Completion Rate (within 12 semester maximum)= 76% 
  • 2020 Admission Cohort--100% on-time completion rate for the full-time MSN program option= 62%
  • 2020 Admission Cohort--100% on-time completion rate for the part-time MSN program option= 77%
  • 2019 Admission Cohort--Aggregate Completion Rate calculated removing work-life-personal reasons for leaving the program= 93%
  • 2019 Admission Cohort--Aggregate Program Completion Rate (within 12 semester maximum)= 63%
  • 2019 Admission Cohort--100% on-time completion rate for the usual timeframe for the full-time MSN program option= 51%
  • 2019 Admission Cohort--100% on-time completion rate for the part-time MSN program option= 61%

APSU Nursing Scholarships: There are several scholarships available to APSU Graduate Nursing students. Applications can be submitted from October 1- February 1. Students must be admitted to APSU in order to apply. Awards are decided each spring for the following academic year starting in fall semesters.

Tennessee Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program: The Graduate Nursing Loan-Forgiveness Program is designed to encourage Tennessee residents who are registered nurses to become teachers and administrators in Tennessee nursing education programs. For more information, please go directly to the TN website:

Army Nurse Corps Association Scholarships: scholarships to support nursing education for graduate nursing students. For more information, please go directly to the ANCA website:

Veteran's Benefits: Thank you for your service! Please contact the APSU Office of Veteran's Education Benefits directly for information regarding educational benefits and services.

National Graduate Nursing Scholarship Opportunities

  • Federal HRSA Scholarship and Loan Repayment Programs provide funding to help students offset the cost of their education. Scholarship programs provide tuition, fees and living stipend assistance to students enrolled in a qualified nursing program. Loan repayment programs provide funding to graduates employed full-time at a critical shortage facility with qualifying educational loans.
  • Faculty Loan Repayment Program provides up to $40,000 to health professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds in exchange for two years of service on the faculty at an accredited health professions college or university.
  • U.S. Public Health Services’ SRCOSTEP Program provides pay and benefits to selected applicants in the final year of full-time academic study in exchange for work for the sponsoring agency as a Commissioned Corps Officer after graduation. The service obligation is equal to twice the time sponsored; that is, for 9 months of financial support, a SRCOSTEP participant commits to 18 months of employment with the division or organization that provided the support.
  • Best Nursing Degree.com--$1,000 Honor's in Nursing scholarships available for BSN or MSN students.
  • MinuteClinic awards up to 40 Nurse Practitioner Scholarships at $2,500 each and up to 20 Doctor of Nursing Practice Scholarships at $2,500 each.
  • National Health Service Corps, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, offers a scholarship program to Nurse Practitioners students (post graduate degree with clinical practice focus) at an accredited U.S. school.
  • Nurse Practitioner Health Association offers a variety of scholarships ($1,000 to $4,000 awards) to students in Nurse Practitioner graduate programs for outstanding research, leadership and academic achievements.
  • GradSchools.com is offering a $2,000 scholarship for minority nurses to help fund their graduate school degree.
  • MinuteClinic awards up to 40 Nurse Practitioner Scholarships at $2,500 each and up to 20 Doctor of Nursing Practice Scholarships at $2,500 each.
  • National Health Service Corps, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, offers a scholarship program to Nurse Practitioners students (post graduate degree with clinical practice focus) at an accredited U.S. school.
  • Nurse Practitioner Health Association offers a variety of scholarships ($1,000 to $4,000 awards) to students in Nurse Practitioner graduate programs for outstanding research, leadership and academic achievements.
  • American Assembly for Men in Nursing Foundation is sponsoring a five student scholarships to male students pursuing undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees.
  • American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) offers a series of scholarships for eligible American Indian and Alaskan Natives.
  • American Red Cross awards the Jane Delano Student Nurse Scholarship to both undergraduate nursing students and graduate nursing students who are a volunteer or employee of the American Red Cross Unit.
  • DiversityNursing.com, a niche website for Nurses from student Nurses up to CNO's, is offering a $5,000 Education Award. You must be enrolled as a full-time or part-time student in an accredited School of Nursing in a professional registered nurse program (baccalaureate, graduate, associate degree or diploma) OR work Full-Time, Part-Time or Per Diem as a Registered Nurse, LPN, Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Leader/Administrator at a U.S. based organization.
  • ExceptionalNurse.com offers scholarships to both graduate and undergraduate nursing students with disabilities.
  • Indian Health Service (IHS) offers scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native health professions students in both undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) members enrolled in accredited undergraduate and graduate nursing programs are presented scholarships based on their demonstration of professional contributions to the nursing profession and have the potential to be role models to aspiring nursing students.
  • NURSE Corps Scholarship Program (NCSP), helps students complete their nursing education by paying tuition, fees, other education costs, while providing a monthly living stipend. The program is open to full-time nursing students accepted or enrolled in diploma, associate, baccalaureate or graduate nursing programs at accredited schools located in the U.S. Upon graduation, scholarship program members fulfill a service commitment at a Critical Shortage Facility.
  • Tennessee Nurses Foundation supports the education of nurses who are members of the Tennessee Nurses Association by providing scholarships for those seeking higher education. The Maureen Nalle Memorial Graduate Nursing Scholarship Program offers up to a $5,000 award. Applications are due March 1.