College of Nursing to offer master of science degree in nursing at Shenango

September 28, 2017

Nurses who have their bachelor of science in nursing (B.S.N.) degree will now have the opportunity to earn their master of science in nursing (M.S.N.) degree to become a nurse practitioner (NP) at Penn State Shenango.

Penn State College of Nursing recently announced that Penn State Shenango in downtown Sharon will offer its popular nurse practitioner master of science in nursing degree program beginning fall 2018.

“We are very pleased to be able to collaborate with the College of Nursing to bring nationally recognized graduate programs like the nurse practitioner to our community,” said Penn State Shenango Campus Director Jo Anne Carrick. “We hope that this new master of science in nursing degree will enable many of our local nurses to further their education.”

The College of Nursing’s NP program offers a total of three degree options, with the Shenango campus offering the Family Nurse Practitioner and the Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner programs. The Shenango campus will be one of five campuses to offer the NP degree options (the others are University Park, Fayette, Hershey, and Worthington Scranton).

The M.S.N. Nurse Practitioner options enable baccalaureate-prepared nurses to acquire knowledge and clinical practice skills in direct care of individuals, families and aggregate populations.

“I am excited that the College of Nursing and Penn State Shenango can offer these options to nurses in the northwestern region of Pennsylvania to become primary care nurse practitioners,” said Madeline Mattern, director Nurse Practitioner Options for the College of Nursing. “Pennsylvania has a great need for providers in the rural areas. The majority of our NP graduates work in rural, medically underserved areas or health professional shortage areas, which supports the program’s mission to improve access to primary care in Pennsylvania.”

Students in the NP program can complete the M.S.N. degree and become nurse practitioners in as little as four semesters with full-time study; however, the program is also available for those students who want to attend part-time. The curriculum will be offered at the Shenango campus using videoconferencing technology and some online courses, with clinical experiences at Primary Health Network (PHN) and other health care facilities in the local area. Upon graduation, alumni will be eligible for national certification and state licensure in their specialty areas.

“The delivery of the M.S.N. program at the Shenango campus will provide a continuation of excellence in nursing education that Penn State has been known for in our community for more than 30 years,” said Joan Humphrey, coordinator of nursing at Penn State Shenango. “Increasing the number of highly qualified advanced practice nursing providers is critical in today’s health care environment.”

Penn State’s M.S.N. program is nationally recognized. Out of more than 500 accredited nursing schools with master’s degree programs, U.S. News & World Report ranked Penn State No. 20 nationwide -- and No. 9 among public universities -- in overall nursing master’s degree programs for their 2018 Best Graduate Schools rankings.

Penn State Shenango currently offers the registered nurse (RN) to bachelor of science in nursing (B.S.N.) degree. The campus also partners with the Sharon Regional Health System School of Nursing to offer area residents the unique opportunity to earn a diploma in nursing (RN) from Sharon Regional and complete the RN to B.S.N. at Penn State Shenango in a seamless and timely manner.

The College of Nursing, in conjunction with Penn State Shenango, will hold a Nurse Practitioner Open House from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 24. For more information or to register, contact Tami Jones in Admissions at 724-983-2803.

For more information on becoming a nurse practitioner with a Penn State master of science in nursing degree, contact Marsha Freije, academic adviser, College of Nursing graduate programs, at 814-867-5025; or visit To speak to a Penn State Shenango representative, contact Humphrey at 724-983-2963 or

Last Updated November 14, 2017