Master of Science in Nursing

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What type of graduate nursing degrees does HPU offer?

The HPU Nursing Program offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with a concentration as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). Additionally, Hawai'i Pacific University offers a joint MSN/MBA degree. Registered Nurses can also enter the graduate nursing program without a baccalaureate nursing degree through the RN to MSN pathway.

Q: Is the graduate nursing program accredited?
A: Both the graduate and undergraduate nursing programs are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education through 2016. The University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (P.O. Box 9990, Oakland, CA 94613-0990 or (510) 632-5000).
Q: Do I need to take the GRE or GMAT for admission?
A: No. These tests are not required for admission.
Q: What are the admission requirements for the MSN program?
  • Completion of a baccalaureate nursing degree from a nationally accredited school of nursing OR for non-U.S. graduates, their credentials must be analyzed by the university.  
  • Evidence of successful completion of undergraduate courses in statistics, research and health or physical assessment.  
  • An undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher. Those with GPA’s under 3.0 may be considered for conditional admission.
  •  Two letters of recommendation (one from a professional associate who preferably holds a graduate degree and is able to assess your potential for graduate study and the other from your immediate supervisor detailing your clinical performance).
  •  A personal handwritten statement of your career goals and reasons for seeking graduate admission.
  •  A current license as a registered nurse in Hawaii.
  •  Evidence of one year’s full time (or 2000 hours) experience over the preceding
  • 36 months as a registered nurse.
  •  Outcome of a personal or telephone interview with a graduate faculty member.
    • the applicant should schedule an appointment with the Graduate Chair: 236-3552.
  •  Non-Native English speaking students must have TOEFL proficiency scores of 550 or greater with a TWE of 5 or more.
Q: Does a waiting list exist for this program?
A: No.
Q: Can this program be taken full or part time?
A: Yes. Full -time study is nine credits per semester and part-time study is part of the flexible plan for this program.
Q: How long will it take to finish a MSN degree?
A: The MSN with a concentration as a Family Nurse Practitioner requires 50 credits. If a student attends the program full time, it would require a minimum of four semesters and 2 summers to complete the program. A dual MSN/MBA would likely require a minimum of seven semesters or more based on the student’s past educational preparation. Part time students would require longer intervals based on number of credits taken each semester and course availability.
Q: How do I apply?
A: Most of the Admission applications are online. Call Admissions at (808) 544-0279 or (800) 669-4724 or e-mail the Graduate Admissions Office. 
Q: How soon do I need to apply?
A: Early enrollment is encouraged so you can prepare for your return to school and be eligible for scholarship funds. But applications will be taken for each semester until classes begin. Applicants should be informed of their suitability for the program within two to four weeks of the completion of all application materials.
Q:         What are the course prerequisites for the MSN program?
A: There are three prerequisite courses that all candidates for the MSN program must complete to be adequately prepared for the rigors of graduate school: Statistics and NUR 4700 Nursing Research (or equivalent). These courses maybe transferred in from your original degree or from other programs if applicable.
Q: What are the course prerequisites for the RN to MSN Pathway?
  • This pathway is for nurses without baccalaureate degrees in nursing or nurses educated internationally who may be missing some components of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited school. NOTE: Graduates of nursing programs without NLN accreditation or its equivalent must take the NLN Mobility Profile II Tests (4) and receive a positive evaluation (score of 100 on each test). These tests cost $142 for the entire set of four.
  •  There are seven courses that may be required of the registered nurse based on transcript evaluation. The two prerequisite courses are Statistics and Advanced Composition (WRI 1200 at HPU). The five nursing courses are: Health Assessment, Nursing Research, Health Teaching, Leadership and Management in Nursing, and Community Health Nursing. Prior academic course work and clinical experience may substitute for these courses upon evaluation.  A 3.0 cumulative GPA is required in these courses in order to transition into the MSN course work.
Q: How long will it take to complete the RN to MSN Pathway?
A: That depends on what course prerequisites are necessary. On average, the course prerequisites can take one year to complete for the registered nurse on a part-time basis. The RN to MSN program takes three to three and one half years with full-time enrollment and four years or more with part-time enrollment. So three to four years is a good estimate of the time commitment for the RN to MSN pathway.
Q: I just arrived in Hawaii and don’t have my RN license here yet. Can I still apply?
A: Yes. You could receive a provisional admission until this requirement was satisfied. However, note that the Hawaii license is pending on your applicant, and know that admission will not be granted without the Hawaii license by the start of classes.
Q: What is the tuition for the RN to MSN Pathway?
A: RN to MSN applicants take the program prerequisites or transition courses with the RN to BSN students. This provides the applicant the opportunity to be in an all RN class with tuition rates at that level. Tuition rates for Graduate classes are viewable on the tuition webpage.
Q: What is the difference between a FNP and a CNS?
  • A Family Nurse Practitioner in primary care is a Master's or Doctorally-prepared nurse with graduate education in advanced assessment and diagnostic skills who can provide primary health care across the lifespan. Nurse Practitioners can perform physical assessments, treat common conditions, promote health through education, and manage chronic conditions, and prescribe medications and durable medical equipment. The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty (NONPF) issued a Policy Statement in April, 2012 defining the scope of Primary vs acute-care nurse practitioners.
  •  While a Clinical Nurse Specialist traditionally was a nurse with advanced training or skills employed in a hospital to lead, mentor, manage, educate, consult and/or advocate, these functions in acute-care have expanded to include acute-care skillsand require an acute-care NP education in an accredited program for acute-care NP. Now, Boared-certified clinical nurse specialists are nurses with expertise in a certain area of care, with management skills as case managers, consultants, educators, specialty physician extenders and executive director of agencies.
Q: What are the practicum requirements for these concentrations?
A:   The clinical courses require a total of 630 hours. The minimum number of clinical hours required to sit for the national FNP credentialing exams is 500 hours.
Q: Where are the clinical experience practica offered?
A: HPU graduate faculty will secure preceptor placements for all FNP students. Students may request a particular preceptor, but the faculty will make the arrangements for placement to include the administrators of the facility and all other necessary arrangements for successful placement. The sites for the clinical experiences include health care organizations, military campuses, and private health care provider offices.
Q: I need more information specific to nursing, who should I contact?

You may contact the College of Nursing and Health Science main office at 808.236.3552 for additional information.

Download the 2014-2015 Master of Science in Nursing Student Handbook