Graduate Distance Education at Frontier Nursing University
Established in 1939, Frontier Nursing University is a pioneer in graduate-level nursing and midwifery education. Today, it provides innovative distance education that allows students from around the world to complete didactic courses online and receive clinical education in their communities.
The university has received national recognition for its long tradition of providing innovation and excellence in education.
Programs and Specialties
Frontier Nursing University offers evidence-based Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree programs, post-graduate certificates, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. Its curricula include four specialties: nurse-midwife, family nurse practitioner, women's health care nurse practitioner and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.
MSN Programs of Study
The MSN degree program offers students the option to complete only a Master of Science in Nursing degree or to continue on and complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree via a direct admissions process.
The program begins with a four-day "Frontier Bound Orientation" that takes place on FNU's campus, and all coursework and clinicals are completed in the student's own community. The MSN program takes approximately two-three years to complete full-time (part-time option also available) with the DNP consisting of 19 additional credit hours.
Students complete online coursework that involves frequent interaction among faculty members and students via e-mail, forums, and telephone. This didactic coursework is followed by a five-day "Clinical Bound" session at FNU where students demonstrate their ability to begin community-based clinical practice.
Students then move on to the 675-hour Clinical Practicum in their own communities. After completion of all coursework and the required clinical hours, the MSN degree is conferred. Lastly, students complete additional terms of DNP coursework and clinical education if they choose to continue on to complete the DNP.
Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice Program
This practice-focused DNP degree program is for current nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners and builds on the MSN curriculum by providing additional training in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, systems leadership, and other essential areas of advanced practice.
The program is 28 credit hours and the curriculum includes 360 additional hours of clinical training that allow students to evaluate and improve practices, further develop expertise in their specialty areas, and improve skills to practice independently.
Students become highly-skilled clinicians with competencies in evaluating evidence, translating research into practice, and using research findings in decision-making. They also become adept at using clinical innovations to change practice.
The nurse-midwife curriculum trains students to become outstanding clinicians as well as leaders and entrepreneurs in maternal and infant health care. The program's strong primary care component ensures that students also gain the skills needed to care for women across their life spans.
The complete MSN program consists of 49 didactic credits and 15 clinical credits. It can be completed in about two-three years full-time (part-time option also available). Students also have the option to exit the program once the MSN is conferred or continue on to complete the DNP via a direct admissions process.
Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty
Students who choose the family nurse practitioner specialty receive the training needed to become well-rounded clinicians, leaders, and entrepreneurs in primary health care. The MSN program contains 46 didactic credits and 15 clinical credits. It can be completed in about two-three years full-time (part-time option also available). Students also have the option to exit the program once the MSN is conferred or continue on to complete the DNP via a direct admissions process.
Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner Specialty
The women's health care nurse practitioner specialty prepares students for advanced nursing practice as well as leadership and entrepreneurial roles in women's health care. The curriculum's solid primary care component ensures that students receive the skills needed to care for women in all stages of life.
The complete MSN program consists of 44 didactic credits and 15 clinical credits. It can be completed in about two-three years full-time (part-time option also available). Students also have the option to exit the program once the MSN is conferred or continue on to complete the DNP via a direct admissions process.
Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty
The psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner specialty prepares students for advanced nursing practice to improve mental health care and overall health status of communities with a focus on individuals across the lifespan and populations in rural and underserved areas.
The complete MSN program consists of 45 didactic credits and 15 clinical credits. It can be completed in about two-three years full-time (part-time option also available). Students also have the option to exit the program once the MSN is conferred or continue on to complete the DNP via a direct admissions process.
ADN Bridge Entry Option
Frontier Nursing University also offers the ADN Bridge Entry Option that allows nurses with associate's degrees in nursing (but no bachelor's degrees in any field) to enroll in the MSN program with a nurse-midwifery, family nurse practitioner or psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner specialty. The curriculum includes approximately one year to complete the required Bridge coursework, followed by approximately two-three years full-time to complete the MSN (part-time option also available), and the optional DNP consisting of 19 additional credit hours.
The program begins with "Bridge Bound," an on-campus orientation that allows students to connect with fellow students and faculty members and learn more about the bridge program. Then, students go back to their communities to complete bridge courses online.
During the fourth term, students return to FNU to participate in "Crossing the Bridge," an event that enables them to reconnect with FNU's community and present their community health projects. Upon successful completion of the bridge courses, students begin the MSN curriculum in the nurse-midwife or family nurse practitioner specialty, and they can opt to complete the DNP program via a direct admissions process once they earn their MSN degrees.
Financial Aid at Frontier Nursing University
FNU students may qualify for Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loans, private loans, and external scholarships. In addition, Frontier offers several scholarships including the Kitty Ernst Scholarship, Alumni Scholarship, Family Nurse Practitioner Scholarship, and Student Scholarship.
Dedicated and Expert Faculty Members
FNU's faculty members are accomplished teachers, expert clinicians, and dedicated mentors. They create mutually-respectful relationships with students and support them in achieving their academic and professional goals.
They are also pioneers in distance nursing education who are highly accessible and skilled at supporting students in a virtual learning environment.
Frontier Nursing University
Frontier Nursing University’s Kentucky campus provides a tranquil, picturesque environment in which to learn and connect with faculty and fellow students during the brief one to three required visits to campus.