Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Family Nurse Practitioner

Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.)

College: College of Nursing and Health Professions

Department: Nursing


The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) concentration prepares nurses with the complex practice skills and theoretical knowledge necessary for roles in advanced nursing and leadership in the contemporary health care system. Graduate study in nursing is the basis for professional growth in advanced practice roles and the foundation for doctoral study in nursing.


This program is offered as 100% online in addition to clinical practicum experiences.

The FNP program of study  must be completed within six years. Click here for Plan of Study.  All FNP students must complete a professional paper in NURS 6754 FNP Synthesis Seminar or may choose to complete a supervised research experience in NURS 6893 Thesis Option.

Students must meet all graduate school requirements including passing a comprehensive exam.

Curriculum and degree requirements can be found in the most current Graduate Bulletin.

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Master of Science in Nursing

The MSN prepares nurses with the complex practice skills and theoretical knowledge necessary for roles in advanced nursing and leadership in the contemporary health care system. Graduate study in nursing is the basis for professional growth in advanced practice roles and the foundation for doctoral study in nursing.

  • Prerequisites

    Admission Requirements

    In order to be considered for admission into the MSN program, candidates must meet the following criteria:

    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an ACEN or CCNE accredited program of nursing from a regionally accredited college or university. 
    • Hold a current unencumbered license to practice nursing
    • Cumulative GPA of 3.25 overall
    • Provide verification documentation of 1,500 RN practice hours prior to admission to the FNP option.

    English Proficiency Requirements

    The School of Nursing requires a high level of proficiency in English so that all students will be able to fully meet academic and clinical objectives as well as meet criteria for professional licensure. All foreign born students and Registered Nurses must take one of the following tests: 

    1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 83 on the preferred internet-based test (iBT), 570 on the paper-based test, or 213 on the computer-based test. 
    2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a score of at least 6.5 and a spoken band score of 7. 
    3. Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) with a score of 56. 

    The TOEFL is available at the ASU Testing Center.  When taking the exam off campus, the report code for ASU is 6011.   

    Who does this apply to?

    The term foreign born refers to people residing in the United States who were not U.S. citizens at birth. The foreign-born population includes naturalized citizens, lawful permanent immigrants, refugees and asylees, legal non-immigrants (including those on student, work, or other temporary visas), and persons residing in the country without authorization. In contrast, the term native born refers to people residing in the United States who were U.S. citizens in one of three categories: 1) born in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia; 2) born in United States Insular areas such as Puerto Rico or Guam; 3) born abroad to at least one U. S. citizen parent. 


    You may be exempt for the English proficiency testing if you are foreign born but attended school in the United States since kindergarten.  For the exemption you must provide official school records showing continuous enrollment in U. S. schools since kindergarten.  

    English as a Second Language

    Students who do not meet the required English language proficiency may enroll in ASU’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program in the International Center for English. Potential nursing students enrolled in the ESL program must maintain an average of 85 or higher in levels 0 through 4. In the final or 5th level of the ESL program an average of 90 or higher must be maintained. On completion of the ESL program, the potential nursing student must take the internet based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Upon successfully meeting the proficiency requirement, potential students are eligible to apply to the School of Nursing. 

    For questions or equivalencies with other tests of English language proficiency please contact the School of Nursing at 870-972-3074.

    Unconditional Admission

    To establish unconditional admission at the master's degree level, applicants must have a grade point average of 3.25 overall or 3.25 on the last 55 hours of undergraduate nursing coursework. All courses attempted, including any repeated courses, are considered in the computation of the grade point average.

    Admission to the Graduate School and meeting eligibility requirements does not guarantee admission to all majors.

    Professional Liability Insurance

    Prior to taking the first clinical course, the student must have an unencumbered Arkansas RN license and present evidence of professional liability insurance (minimum $1,000,000/$6,000,000 coverage), current CPR (professional level) certification and acceptable immunization status.

  • Apply Here

    How to Apply

    Apply online here (Deadline: August 9th, 2021.)

    • Login or create an account.
    • Register and receive temporary PIN.
    • Set Password.
    • Select "Start New Application".
    • Fill out application for "2021 Application 100% Online".

    For questions, contact the School of Nursing at (870) 972-3074.

  • FNP Program Statistics

    Program Statistics:  Arkansas State University Family Nurse Practitioner Program graduated its first class in 1996.  The most recent class graduated in May of 2020 with an attrition rate of 8%.  The 2019 National Certification Examination first time pass rate was 82%, with 100% on the second attempt.  One Hundred percent of the 2019 graduates received offers of employment.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What skills does an FNP have?

    Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) perform all standard procedure skills unique to caring for patients across the life span, including (but not limited to) performing and interpreting ECGs, punch/shave biopsy, incision and drainage, knee aspiration, and casting. FNPs also possess the skills necessary to make differential diagnoses, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medications and manage nutritional needs.

    Where might I be able to work after graduation?

    FNPs at large will go to work for primary care clinics such as those aimed at treating the family, children, and women’s health. Some chose to cover urgent care settings and fast tracks within emergency departments. The FNPs scope of practice is directly related to their education, certification, and experience. Rules and regulations will vary based on individual state legislation which determines one’s scope of practice. For clarification of your scope of practice as an FNP, please visit the State Board of Nursing for the state in which you will practice. Contact information for individual state boards of nursing is at https://www.ncsbn.org/index.htm.

    What is the average expected income for an FNP?

    Rates of compensation vary from region to region. Per The Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners’ average annual salary is $72,000 to $150,000, with a median of $100,000.  

    What makes the FNP Program at Arkansas State University unique?

    University location benefits our program greatly. The ASU FNP Program is seated directly between two of the largest hospitals in Northeast Arkansas. The existence and ongoing success of these hospitals is supported by an enormous patient population, which is managed on an outpatient basis by our area’s ever-growing number of primary care offices and specialty clinics. To have such a thriving medical community gives ASU FNP students the opportunity for excellent and diverse experiences throughout their clinical site rotations. In addition to obtaining several hundreds of hours in these directly supervised clinical settings, all students will complete a thorough didactic course. At the completion of our FNP program here at ASU, each student will have obtained a minimum of 840 clinical experience hours.   

    What is the length of the program?

    ASU’s FNP program begins fall semester, proceeding to the following spring semester, Summer term (time frame: entire summer), second Fall Semester, and completes at the end of the second Spring semester. Please open below link to view the full plan of study:


    Will I be able to work throughout the duration of the program?

    ASU’s FNP program is rigorous. It demands great commitment to successfully complete the didactic and clinical rotation workload. Because of this, all students are strongly discouraged to maintain full-time employment while enrolled in the program. If employment is not optional, students are to consider working weekends, or a more flexible part-time/PRN schedule. Another option is planning far in advance, strategically using acquired vacation days to fulfill one’s obligation to the program.

    What is the cost of the program?

    Tuition costs are determined by in-state or out-of-state status and may change during the program. Per Arkansas State University’s financial aid office, graduate program in-state cost (including tuition and fees) is $356/per credit hour. Students living out of state are encouraged to speak with our Office of Financial Aid, as some of the overall cost could very well be waived for particular individuals; please refer to the following link for a complete list of details (http://www.astate.edu/dotAsset/4707f8f6-5ae4-45f6-8b6d-ca53f630d0b9.pdf). Incoming graduate students all complete an admissions application. Depending on the information provided, they may receive a loan offer to assist them in covering the program cost. If the student requires additional support, related to expected travel expenses for example, they are to apply for ASU’s Graduate Plus Loan through our Office of Financial Aid. Many employers also offer tuition reimbursement for full-time and part-time employees. Students are encouraged to explore the many private scholarship funds available for graduate study in their communities as well as regional, state, and national financial aid. Some states and organizations have loan repayment programs for undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees. One resource is the Health Resources and Services Administration (https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loan-repayment/index.html).  For additional Arkansas State University financial questions, please contact Financial Aid’s Office 870-972-2310. Other resources include the Registrar’s Office at 870-972-2031 or the Treasurer’s Office at 870-972-2285.

    What supplies, books, and equipment are required?

    Book purchases will vary by semester. Many books specific to the FNP program will be used in consecutive semesters. Textbooks are supplemented with electronic media, much of which is available in the library for the students at no cost. Students need adequate computer hardware and internet access. Basic health assessment equipment including an otoscope and ophthalmoscope is recommended but not required, as several are available for shared use within our skills lab/applications classroom. Each student is required to own a high-quality stethoscope, an ASU FNP Student identification badge, and a white lab coat by the time clinical rotations begin. Please note, equipment requirements are subject to change depending on ever-evolving advancements in medicine and technology chosen to be integrated within the program for the learners’ benefit.

    When will I experience clinical rotations (also known as Practicum) and at what sites?

    After the first fall semester and spring semester, clinical site rotations begin (starting summer term). During this time, the FNP student will complete 240 clinic hours. The following fall semester, 300 clinic hours will be completed. And the following Spring Semester, 300 additional hours remain. Total: 840 hours.

    Clinical sites relate to one of three main categories of learning: family practice, pediatrics, and women’s health. Family practice hours comprise more than half of all student’s total number of required site hours for the program. Of note, clinical hours do not include on-campus experiences, conferences, travel or mealtime.

    How will I find clinical rotation sites?

    The selection of highly qualified preceptors is of top priority here at ASU’s FNP Program. Our faculty begins the placement process early on, with the goal of every student receiving site locations that will help them achieve our designated course outcomes. Students will collaborate with the clinical course faculty to identify appropriate clinical sites. Relatives may not serve as preceptors for students. Clinical contracts are required for all clinical sites and must be received completed prior to beginning clinical rotations.

    Are students of the program required to come to campus?

    Required on-campus experiences are scheduled in advance. In the FNP program, students will be required to be on-campus a select number of times during the second semester (spring) for the advanced health assessment course. Intensive skills labs and simulation occur during these times, as well as specific dates set aside from students to perform a graded assessment of their ability to perform a complete physical assessment. Clinical site rotations (ie clinical practicum) will begin Summer Term, and alongside it will be didactics (or lecture course); students will meet on campus once weekly for exams followed by the next lecture assignment, unless otherwise specified. Clinical Practicum lasts Summer Term, the second fall semester of the program, and the second spring semester of the program, thus a didactics/lecture course will as well. Preparation for the board certification examination occurs towards the latter portion of the program.

    How is a partially online education different?

    It is important to remember that ASU’s FNP Program is a brick and mortar program, as more than half of our structure is comprised of on-campus learning. Not only do we take great pride in this, we remain aware of the higher degree of difficulty compared to strictly online family nurse practitioner programs. We will, however, continue to offer our program’s initial core courses, including Role Development in Advanced Nursing, Theory Development in Nursing, and Health Care Issues and Policy online. Further along in the plan of study, all exams are taken in person, on campus, within one of two designated computer labs; the goal is to ensure individualized ownership and display of each student’s hard-earned knowledge. The course portions that are offered online take their own form of discipline and self-motivation. Computer skills and typing abilities are essential, as is proficiency in writing/grammar.

    Are there suggestions to getting the most out of my educational experience?

    Gather as much insight as possible regarding the FNP role by meeting APRNs, attending professional meetings, and/or reviewing your state and national websites. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) are excellent resources.

    Find and visit your local NP group meetings; most of which gather quarterly if not monthly.

    To learn is to see and hear and do. The more you evaluate family member’s heart/lung sounds, the more you do skin checks, the more you review individuals’ medication lists to become comfortable with the drug’s class/goal for use/side effects/contraindications, the more comfortable over time you’ll become.

    Remember, we all learn in our own way. If you’re someone who learns best absorbing information as you study with a small group, great! If you prefer studying alone, maybe in a quiet room at the library, wonderful! If reading the material followed by making a study guide helps the knowledge stick, perfect. Do yourself a favor and enjoy the process. Enjoy higher learning and the way it steadily prepares you for the world of advanced practice. Enjoy meeting new classmates, faculty, and clinical site preceptors; learn from one another and support one another. It’s certainly possible you will be coworkers in the future!

    Educational eligibility requirements:

    The graduate will be prepared to care for individuals and families across the lifespan. The FNP role includes preventative healthcare as well as the assessment, diagnosing, and treatment of acute and chronic illness and preventative health care for individuals and families. Family nurse practitioners recognize the importance of routine care based on national guidelines as well as the need for acute evaluation, both of which require follow-up and possible referral. The curriculum is built to support this role in addition to preparing students for their population-based certification examination.



    Family Nurse Practitioner Certification (FNP-BC)

    Presented by ANCC

    Nurse Practitioner Certifications

    Credential Awarded: FNP-BC

    The ANCC Family Nurse Practitioner board certification examination is a competency based examination that provides a valid and reliable assessment of the entry-level clinical knowledge and skills of nurse practitioners. This certification aligns with the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification and Education. Once you complete eligibility requirements to take the certification examination and successfully pass the exam, you are awarded the credential: Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (FNP-BC). This credential is valid for 5 years. You can continue to use this credential by maintaining your license to practice and meeting the renewal requirements in place at the time of your certification renewal. The Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification accredits this ANCC certification.




    Examination Development:

    The nurse practitioner competency-based national certification examinations are developed in conjunction with independent organizations that specialize in examination development and psychometric services. Adult, Family, Gerontology, Adult-Gerontology, and Emergency nurse practitioner subject matter experts (SMEs) from representative work and academic environments, as well as geographical areas, assist in all phases of the development of the examinations.

    Major components of the examination development process are:

    • Role delineation study, also known as a practice analysis.
    • Test specifications development.
    • Test construction.
    • Passing point determination.

    The examinations are based on a current practice analysis which serves as an objective measure of the knowledge and skills required of competent nurse practitioners. The practice analysis provides the foundation for defining the content domains (areas) of the competency-based examinations. Documents created by these expert panels are validated by representative samples of professionals selected from the adult, gerontology, emergency, and family nurse practitioner community. Test specifications derived from the respective practice analysis for adult-gerontology primary care, family nurse practitioner, emergency nurse practitioners serve as the blueprint for the certification examinations.

    Each examination consists of 150 multiple-choice items. Items are written and developed by practicing nurse practitioners with extensive knowledge and expertise, and placed in an item bank. All items which appear on the examinations have been reviewed at least four times:

    Nurse practitioner item writers develop and review all items for content relevance, competency level, accuracy of scoring,and bias and sensitivity (e.g., cultural, age, gender, and other stereotyping).

    Contracted test development organization staff and psychometrician review each item for psychometric quality, adherence to test specifications, style guidelines, and absence of bias and sensitivity.

    Additional panels of nurse practitioner content experts review and validate all items prior to approving them for inclusion on an examination. Items are reviewed for relevancy to current/best practice, importance and harm level, adequacy of content coverage, elimination of stereotyping and bias, item redundancy, accuracy of answer keys, and current reference citations.

    After each practice analysis and test specification update, passing point determination occurs following test construction. Determining the passing point establishes the minimum passing score, which is accomplished using certification standard methods, such as Item Response Theory. The rigor of this examination development process promotes quality, competency-based certification examinations

Additional Information

Policies and other information are available in a guide for graduating nursing students, entitled "Graduate Information Guide (GIG)". Knowledge of the policies and information in the GIG, A-State Student Handbook and A-State Graduate Bulletin are required following admission.


If you have questions, you may email the Family Nurse Practitioner Coordinator, Dr Mark Foster. at smfoster@astate.edu or Megan Reynolds, Admin Specialist II at mreynolds@astate.edu.  Or contact the School of Nursing at 870-972-3074.

Accredited by ACEN

ACEN LogoThe most recent accreditation decision made by the ACEN Board of Commissioners for the Master's/Post-Master's Certificate nursing programs is Continuing Accreditation with Conditions. View the public information disclosed by the ACEN regarding this program at http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm.  

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, 3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30326, Telephone: (404) 975-5000. http://acenursing.org/.

The MSN program is also approved by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing.