news-category: Graduate programs

Gardner-Webb’s Master of Science in Nursing Program Begins 8-Week Format in 2024 Fall Term

A nursing instructor with a student

Change Allows Students to Complete their Degree in One Year

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at Gardner-Webb University is changing to an eight-week format with the 2024 Fall Term. Courses will follow the Gardner-Webb online schedule. The program is designed to be flexible, which gives students the option of completing the program in one or two years.

Dr. Tracy Arnold

“If students want to complete their degree in one year, they can take two courses at a time, every eight weeks,” explained Director of the Hunt School of Nursing Tracy Arnold. “There are two terms in the fall, two in the spring and one summer term.”

Chair of the MSN program Dr. Cindy Miller added that students can tailor the program to fit their schedule. “It’s going to meet the needs of more people, who would like to come back to school while managing personal and professional responsibilities,” she said.

Additionally, changing to eight-week terms benefits nursing students at every level. Through the University’s new Accelerated Master’s Program, or AMP, qualified students working on a bachelor’s degree can begin taking courses in several master’s program. For students working on the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), this means they can take a course in the MSN program.

Students in the Davis RN to BSN program will be able to take two MSN courses. MSN courses taken while a student is enrolled in a bachelor’s program will count towards both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Once the student enters the MSN program, they will have fewer courses remaining to complete the degree.

Dr. Cindy Miller

“MSN-prepared nurses play a vital role in addressing the nursing shortage,” Arnold shared. “Nurse educators are essential to preparing the next generation of nurses to enter the workforce. Many Boards of Nursing require nursing faculty to hold at a minimum, an MSN degree, or have a percentage of their faculty prepared at the MSN level.”

Furthermore, Arnold noted that nurse administrators are tasked with addressing the day-to-day challenges of the healthcare system. They are needed to lead healthcare teams and drive organizational change to improve patient outcomes—a skillset that Arnold believes is strengthened through preparation with an MSN degree.

By revamping the MSN curriculum to streamline courses and reduce credit hours from 36 to 30, the Hunt School of Nursing is helping to meet the various needs in the healthcare field. Students can choose from two nursing tracks — education or administration. A third option is offered in conjunction with the College of Business: A combination MSN/Master of Business Administration degree, which has been decreased from 60 to 54 credit hours.

“We emphasize role-specific competencies and incorporate theories and best practices that will help students become successful leaders in whatever field they choose,” Miller explained.

Anna Reid, a current MSN student, said the nursing faculty is dedicated to helping their students grow and achieve their goals. “When looking for schools to further my education, I heard wonderful testimonies from old professors, colleagues and students who attended Gardner-Webb,” she related. “When looking at their curriculum and program design it was apparent their values in student development expanded beyond the basic curriculums seen at other universities. Gardner-Webb focuses on creating safe, supported, well-rounded learning experiences. I have learned more than I ever imagined I would from a school—not only regarding professionalism, but also how to better serve Christ through education, nursing and in my daily life.”

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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