George Mason University Nursing School Review

George Mason University (GMU) is a public university founded in 1956. In that year it was known as George Mason College until in 1972 it was renamed as George Mason University. GMU is located minutes from Washington, D.C. The University offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in many disciplines from health care and engineering to the arts with strong programs in basic and applied sciences. There are four campuses at George Mason University; Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William and Mason in Loudoun.

Its Graduate program in nursing has been ranked as being among the top programs in the USA by the U.S. News and World Report. The College of Health and Human Services is home to the School of Nursing at George Mason University. Students that are enrolled in the School of Nursing (SON) can choose any of the following programs provided they meet the entry requirements established by the university.

Undergraduate Nursing Programs

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

There are three pathways to choose from to complete the BSN. All three prepare students to detect, prevent diseases in their early stages and encourage better health awareness among patients. Graduates from the undergraduate program can work in health care facilities and hospitals such as Inova Fairfaz Hospital, Mary Immaculate Hospital,Bedford Memorial Hospital, just to name a few. The three pathway programs are:

1)  BSN Traditional Pathway: This is a two-year full-time program that accepts applications on a space available basis and completed prerequisite courses. Students interested in applying must complete all general education and nursing prerequisite courses by the end of school’s spring term. Some of the 11 general education prerequisites include: General Psychology, Fine Arts, English Composition and Quantitative Reasoning. The prerequisite courses for the nursing course include: Biomedical Ethics, Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Developmental Psychology, Statistics and Nutrition. Applicants must have the accepted GPA in nursing prerequisite coursework and general education/elective prerequisite coursework of 3.0 and 2.0 respectively.

2)  BSN Accelerated Second Degree Pathway: This is a 12-month program that is open to students with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. Applications are accepted only during the fall term and students must commit to the full-time program. All nursing pre-requisite courses for the BSN traditional pathway must be completed by the end of Mason’s spring semester. Students must also have a GPA of 2.75 in the undergraduate degree or a 3.0 for the last 30 credits of undergraduate degree, or a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. The application deadline for the BSN Accelerated Second Degree Pathway is different from the general application deadline.

3) RN to BSN Pathway: Applicants to this program must be registered nurses and have an associate degree or diploma in nursing. The course can be completed within one year on a full-time basis. It is also possible to complete the curriculum part-time. Only applicants that have completed the general education and nursing prerequisite course requirements can apply to the program. Students are also required to have a current RN license.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is accredited by the Virginia State Board of Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Graduate Nursing Programs

The graduate programs at the College of Nursing include; Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Joint MSN/MBA Track, Nursing Administration Concentration, Nurse Educator Concentration, Nurse Practitioner Track, Nursing PhD Program and a Nursing RN to MSN Pathway.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice allows graduates to be able to apply to write one of four certification exams; Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist and Child/Adolescent Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist. The program is offered both online and at the Prince William or Fairfax campuses.

Students at the George Mason University College of Nursing can also take a joint Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Business Administration degree, as well as Masters concentrations in Nursing Administration, Nurse Education, and Nurse Practitioner. The College of Nursing also offers a pathway for Registered Nurses to complete their Master of Science in Nursing degree.

Master’s Programs

The schools master´s programs are accredited by the Virginia State Board of Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Nursing Administration Concentration, MS

The school adopts a one-on-one approach to the program to better capitalize on the skills, competencies and experience of each student. It is also keen on ensuring that students meet their professional and person goals while enrolled in the Nursing Administration Concentration program. Students that enroll in the program will be trained and adequately prepared to undertake management/ and or administrative roles in different health care settings. They will also gain the necessary knowledge for clinical, education and research roles where aspects around decision, policy and operation are key areas in the organization. Only applicants with a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0 issued by an accredited institution can enter the program. They must also hold a current active U.S. RN license and have completed a statistics course. The course can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis.

Nurse Educator Concentration, MSN

Students enrolled in this program will gain the necessary experience and knowledge to undertake roles as a nurse educator in hospitals and community health care centers. They will also be able to work in nursing schools as faculty members guiding students that want to become nurses. The admission requirements into this program are the same as those for the nursing administration concentration. Some admission requirements not previously covered above include: the overall academic performance with courses covered during the undergraduate phase is an integral part of admission. In addition to this, students must demonstrate skills in research and ability to write at graduate level is also important.

Nurse Practitioner Concentration

This program along with the two specialties are offered through the partnership between George Mason University and The George

Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Only applicants with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 credits of undergraduate coursework can enter the program. Additional admission requirements include an active R.N license, completed undergraduate statistic course and strength of the undergraduate record and any post baccalaureate coursework among others. There are two specialty areas that students can apply to to enter the program: the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and the Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP).

1) Family Nurse Practitioner in Primary Care (FNRP): This course is comprised of both clinical and theoretical components. Students must complete 800 hours of clinical practice. They can complete the entire program in 2 years if they decide to take the full-time route. Additionally, there is the part-time route which gives added flexibility to most students and these are able to complete in 2.5- 3 years. The program is built up on a 50 credit curriculum that is covered over 4 semesters and 1 summer.

2) Adult Nurse Practitioner in Primary Care (ANRP): A total of 600 clinical hours must be completed in this program. Students can either complete the program on a part-time or full-time basis. Those that choose part-time can complete the entire course in 2.5- 3 years depending on the number of credits that are taken. A full-time approach guarantees faster completion of 2 years again depending on the credits taken.

RN to MSN Pathway, MSN

Applications are welcome from registered nurses that can demonstrate active roles over the last two years in health care jobs and have successfully completed the nursing and general education prerequisite courses. Those that have been active for one year can also apply. At the end of the program they will earn a master of science in

nursing (MSN) degree. Admission to the program is accepted twice yearly in the fall and spring semesters. Students must complete 30 credit general education prerequisites that consist of courses such as: Information Technology, Psychology, Sociology or Anthropology, etc. They must also complete 21 credits of designated nursing prerequisite courses and 12 credits of electives. For the MSN concentration they will have the option to specialize in any of the following areas:

1)Nurse Educator

2)Nurse Practitioner (Adult Nurse Practitioner Concentration)

3)Nurse Practitioner (Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration)

4)Nursing Administration

Advanced Clinical Nursing Concentration, MSN

This program was suspended in fall 2011 and applications are currently not being accepted. For information purposes only, the program was only for those that had a current RN license and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 with 60 credits of undergraduate work. Students were trained to work in hospitals, ambulatory and community settings. This information will be updated if the program is offered again in the future.

Doctoral Programs

Doctor of Nursing Practice, DNP

This course prepares students to become experts as nurse administrators, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists. The school uses innovative ways to deliver the content of the curriculum through online mediums, advanced clinical expertise and executive format. It is offered at both the Fairfax and Prince William campuses. Successful completion of the program adequately prepares students to engage in leadership roles in both clinical practice and nursing administration.The concentrations for the DNP include:

1) Advanced Clinical Nursing

2) Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP)

3) Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

4) Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (FPMHNP)

5) Nursing Administration

Doctoral Programs in Nursing

Students that are interested in assuming leadership roles in many health care organizations will find this program an interesting option to consider. The course taps into students’ individual choices to create a curriculum that is channeled towards their specific goals. Students will be able to choose their required coursework, dissertation studies, selection of supporting electives and independent studies. There are 48 credits in total which is comprised of 27 credits for scientific base/research core, 9 credits of cognate courses and 12 credits for dissertation.

For the cognate courses, students will get the assistance of their advisor to choose from existing doctoral level university courses. These courses can range from anywhere in women’s health, nursing administration, preventive care, just to name a few. Applicants must fulfill the requirements for degree status at the school and have one year working experience as a RN prior to sending in their applications for the course. They must also present evidence of prerequisite graduate level courses in applied statistics. Academic achievements through a master’s degree in nursing or a master’s degree in a related field with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution are also compulsory.

Graduate Certificates

Nursing Administration

Only students with a master’s degree in nursing or are enrolled in a MSN program will be considered for entry into this program. The program consists of 15 credits. Students are awarded the certificate after successful completion of all courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and not having more than three credits with a minimum of C. The certificate program presents the various concepts of nursing administration which are covered in the five courses: Administrative Theory in Nursing, Practicum in Nursing Administration I, Administrative Strategies in Nursing, Practicum in Nursing Administration II and Nursing Admin Financial Mgmt/Financial Management in Health Systems.

Nursing Education

Students are trained in this program to assume roles as nurse educators in both academic and health settings. The course builds on the concepts of nursing education and ties this into the various foundation courses in education. Only applicants with a master’s degree in nursing or that are currently enrolled in a MSN program will be considered for admission. Only students that maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and do not have more than 3 credits with a grade C will be awarded the certificate. The entire program consists of 15 credits.

George Mason University
4400 University Drive,
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: (703) 993-1000


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