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Frostburg State University Approved to Offer Online Master of Science in Nursing

Frostburg State University will begin offering an online Master of Science in Nursing degree starting with the fall 2014 semester, having now received all of the necessary approvals.

“The approval of our Master of Science in Nursing will further help meet vital workforce needs locally, across Maryland and nationwide,” said FSU President Jonathan Gibralter. “This is also an important step in Frostburg State University’s efforts to develop programs in the health sciences that will address issues involving rural health care.”

The M.S.N. program, in which coursework is delivered completely online, will offer two tracks, Nursing Administration and Nursing Education. Prospective students would be registered nurses who have earned a bachelor’s degree.

The nursing education component is designed to meet an urgent state and national need for nursing school faculty. The shortage of nursing faculty, which prevents nursing schools from expanding enrollment to meet demand, has been identified as a factor behind a nationwide shortage of nurses, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. In addition, a large percentage of current nursing faculty are nearing retirement age, making the need for new faculty even more urgent, said Dr. Heather Gable, chair of FSU’s Department of Nursing. The state of Maryland requires all nursing faculty to hold a master’s degree or greater.

“This is not just a local problem, not just a state problem. It’s a national problem,” Gable said.

The nursing administration track is designed to prepare nurses for management and leadership roles in nursing homes, hospital nursing departments or other clinical settings. Graduates in this track would also be qualified to teach with an administrative specialty.

The program, which can be taken part time, is designed to be flexible for the needs of working professionals. All coursework is online, with face-to-face practicums arranged in the student’s home community.

Students entering FSU’s R.N. to B.S.N. program also have the option of a combined B.S.N.-M.S.N. program that will require six fewer credits than would be required if the programs were taken separately.

Approval was required from the Maryland Board of Nursing, the Maryland Higher Education Commission and the University System of Maryland. Accreditation is being pursued through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education as soon as the program is eligible with the first graduating class. CCNE already accredits FSU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

“The advent of our online Master of Science in nursing is another step in the University’s new direction of education in the health sciences,” said Dr. Joseph Hoffman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Enrollment in FSU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion program for registered nurses has grown tremendously since the program was launched in the fall of 2009, with 224 students enrolled in the fall of 2013, serving primarily students from the state of Maryland, Hoffman said.

“We expect similar growth for the M.S.N.,” Hoffman said.

FSU’s program is ranked fifth nationally as a “Best Buy” among accredited online R.N. to B.S.N. programs by, a consumer organization that reviews online education.

FSU will continue to work to expand its offerings in the health sciences, Gibralter said. Long-term plans include adding a doctoral program in nursing practice and a physician assistant program, as well as the establishment of a School for Health Sciences. A proposal for a new Education and Health Sciences building, which will house this new school and the College of Education, is currently in the state’s Capital Improvement Plan for planning and design in 2019, but University officials hope to move the project earlier in the pipeline.

For information on FSU’s nursing programs, call 301-687-4141 or visit Informational webinars for prospective students will be offered Tuesday, June 10, at 3 p.m., Thursday, June 12, at 6 p.m. and Sunday, June 22, at 4 p.m. Register for the online information sessions at

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit or Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589