Medical University of South Carolina Nursing School Review

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), founded in 1824, was the first medical school in the Deep South, and only the tenth medical school in the United States. While the university still focuses on training physicians, it has branched out since its foundation to include training programs for many other types of healthcare professionals, including dentists, biomedical research scientists, pharmacists, physician assistants, physical therapists, and nurses.

Through its College of Nursing, the Medical University of South Carolina offers programs for nurses at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral level. All nursing programs are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation Board of Nursing.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) – Accelerated

Approximately 80 percent of students who enter the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ACC BSN) program already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. If an incoming student does not have a full bachelor’s degree, she does need to earn at least sixty credits of general education classes and nursing prerequisites at another college before beginning the ACC BSN program. The program begins twice a year, in the fall and the spring, and sixty students are accepted each semester. Once a student begins the program, she studies full-time for sixteen consecutive months. In total, she earns sixty-one credits at the Medical University of South Carolina, and is awarded a BSN degree. After graduation, she can take the National Council Licensing Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), and pursue a career as a Registered Nurse (RN).

Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Practitioner

In order to provide primary care to patients, an RN can complete the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at the Medical College of South Carolina. The incoming RN must hold a BSN degree. The program is hybrid in format; students can complete most of the coursework online but they do have to visit campus for several sessions over the course of the program. Students may opt to study full-time or part-time. In total, a student in the program must earn sixty credits, and complete clinical hours. Depending on the specialty chosen, the clinical hours required can vary. An MSN student can work toward certification as an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (ANP), which requires 480 clinical hours, as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), which requires 810 clinical hours, or as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), which requires 540 clinical hours.

Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Anesthesia

Through the College of Health Professions (rather than the College of Nursing), the Medical University of South Carolina offers an MSN in Nurse Anesthesia program. This program has accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. Applicants must be RNs, with a full bachelor’s degree, and must have at least one year of work experience. The program takes seven consecutive semesters, including two summer semesters, to complete. Students spend the first year in the classroom, and the remaining sixteen months completing clinical rotations.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online DNP Program)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program trains nurses to take on the highest level of clinical responsibility.  The program is offered mostly online, although students will have to travel occasionally to campus. Students may study either full-time or part-time; the time required to complete the program depends on the incoming nurse’s level of education. There are two tracks for the DNP program:

Post-MSN Track

A nurse who has already completed an MSN program and has advanced practice certification as nurse practitioner can complete the DNP program in just two years on a full-time basis. In total, he has to earn thirty-six credits to receive the DNP degree. A nurse who is a Clinical Nurse Specialist or has an MSN in nursing administration may be able to enroll in the post-MSN track, depending on his coursework and experience. A nurse with an MSN in nursing education is not eligible for the post-MSN track.

Post-BSN Track

An RN who does not have an MSN degree has to complete the master’s-level coursework before beginning the DNP coursework. At the master’s-level, she can choose to specialize in adult-gerontology, family medicine, or pediatrics, working toward certification as an ANP, FNP, or PNP. After completing the master’s-level coursework and earning certification, she can transition into the DNP coursework. In total, she must earn seventy-one credits. She can do this in just three years, if she chooses to study full-time.

Nurse Educator Certificate

A nurse who is enrolled in the MSN or DNP program may complete a course sequence that leads to a nurse educator certificate. This is not a dual major, and it is not open to nurses who are not in the MSN or DNP program. Students are required to take three classes, worth ten credits. The College of Nursing highly recommends that students complete an additional three-credit teaching practicum.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Online PhD in Nursing Program)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD in Nursing) program trains nurse researchers and scientists. The Medical University of South Carolina offers this program completely online. The program includes residency hours, and culminates with a dissertation. Depending on the incoming student’s level of education, the time required to complete the program can vary. There are two tracks for the PhD in Nursing program:

Post-MSN Track

If the incoming nurse has already earned an MSN degree, he needs to earn sixty-two credits in order to complete the online PhD in Nursing program. This will take three to four years of full-time study.

Post-BSN Track

A nurse who has a BSN degree must earn at least seventy-eight credits in order to complete the online PhD in Nursing Program. This includes both MSN-level and PhD-level coursework. However, the MSN-level coursework will not prepare her for advanced practice certification. If she wishes to purse advanced practice certification, she must complete additional coursework on top of the seventy-eight credits. Studying on a full-time basis, a student on the Post-BSN track can complete the PhD program in four years.

Post-Doctoral – Health Services Research/Academic Generalist Fellowship

In collaboration with the Divisions of General Pediatrics and General Internal Medicine and the College of Pharmacy, the College of Nursing offers a post-doctoral fellowship that provides nurses (as well as other healthcare professionals with doctoral degrees) with the opportunity to conduct research, teach, and hone professional/management skills. Coursework is based on the Master of Science in Clinical Research curriculum, which is offered through the Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Epidemiology. The fellowship is for two to three years.

Medical University of South Carolina
171 Ashley Avenue,
Charleston, SC 29425