Middle Georgia State’s second graduate degree – a master of science in nursing with a major in adult/gerontology acute care nurse practitioner – was approved Wednesday, April 15, by the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents.
The degree is expected to kick off this fall, as will the master of science in IT the Regents approved on March 18, the same day they unanimously agreed to elevate Middle Georgia State to university level status as of July 1. The institution will be called Middle Georgia State University.
The new nursing master’s degree will give graduates the opportunity to sit for the nurse practitioner (NP) certification exam. Coursework is online and students – who have to be practicing RNs with at least one year of experience – must accumulate a certain number of clinical hours at regional healthcare facilities to be eligible to sit for the NP exam. Georgia is one of 12 states with more than a million adults aged 65 and older, driving a need for nurse practitioners that specialize in working with the elderly and the complex health issues many of them have.
“Middle Georgia State nursing graduates have overwhelmingly expressed interest in the availability of an advanced practice degree,” said Dr. Rebecca Corvey, dean of the School of Health Sciences. “There’s no question there is a critical need for NPs with this specialization. This truly is exciting for Middle Georgia State and for me, personally. It’s been a lifetime career goal of mine to have a part in building a master’s program. We have a great team in the School of Health Sciences and Department of Nursing who developed an excellent program for the region.”
Middle Georgia State will work with practicing RNs in other regions of the state who want to enroll in the master’s degree program to find a nearby site where they can accumulate the required clinical hours.
Both the nursing and IT master’s degree proposals were developed in consultation with regional business, industry and healthcare leaders who advised on the type of graduate degrees needed in those fields. Middle Georgia State will add more master’s degrees over time, beginning with proposals to start graduate programs in business and education in fall 2016.
The fully online information technology (IT) master’s degree will offer concentrations in information security/digital forensics and health informatics.
Middle Georgia State has established an Office of Graduate Studies. See http://www.mga.edu/graduate-studies/ for more information on the nursing and information technology master’s degrees.
In the University System of Georgia, the mission of a state university is to provide a limited number of master’s degrees that support regional economic needs. Teaching is still the primary activity of state university faculty members, but they can engage in applied research that would impact students, the institution or the community in positive ways.