Ferris State University Review

Ferris State University offers a single online master's in nursing with three speciality concentrations in areas that support high demand professional roles in nursing.

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The Good

Three specialty concentrations for Master's in Nursing

Ferris State University has three concentrations available to online students in the master’s in nursing (MSN) degree program. The areas of specialization include nursing administration, nursing education, and nursing informatics. You can choose a second speciality in addition to the one you have declared as your focus, and each speciality consists of nine credit hours, or about three online classes. Two of the concentrations also give you the chance to earn a graduate certificate, if they have not been chosen as your primary focus. You can earn a graduate certificate in business intelligence and informatics advanced studies if you select the nursing informatics concentration, or you can earn a graduate certificate in nursing education after taking an additional nursing education course.

Flexible program pacing

Online students in the online nursing program at Ferris can choose to take between one to four classes each semester. Some online programs require students to follow a rigid track that does not provide a lot of autonomy over your course selection. Keep in mind that to qualify for financial aid as a graduate student, you will need to take at least five credits, or two classes, per semester. The program typically takes two and a half years to complete, but you have as many as five years to finish.

Two different practicums experiences

The online MSN degree at Ferris is made up of 37 credits total, which outside of your core and speciality courses, includes 10 credits of practicum experiences. There are two practicums that you will need to complete, the first one is based on core courses and the second one is based on your selected speciality and will involve a nurse mentor who holds a MSN degree. Each practicum is 120 hours of practice, and if you need more time, the hours can be extended into the following semester with no additional tuition charges. Additionally, you are able to complete your practicum hours where you currently work as a nurse, but your hours and responsibilities much be outside of your normal work duties.

No application fee

Ferris State University is one of very few online schools that does not charge an application fee. Most schools charge an application fee that ranges from $25 – $75 or more. This may not seem like a significant amount, but considering that many students apply to multiple schools, these application fees can definitely add up.

Professional portfolio useful for job search

As part of your capstone course in the online MSN degree program, you must submit a professional portfolio for review. Your portfolio is related to your chosen speciality, and you will begin developing the framework for your portfolio in one of your first core courses. You will build your portfolio as you progress through the program, and it will include components of both academic and practical experiences that have prepared you for the speciality role you seek after graduation. When you graduate from the online MSN program, the goal of the professional portfolio is for you to have a portfolio of evidence that will be useful to you when applying for jobs in the speciality role you have chosen.

The Bad

Informatics concentration requires some Saturday classes

Not all courses for the online nursing program at Ferris are offered completely online. Some of the courses for the nursing informatics specialization require a few face-to-face meetings on Saturdays, and your attendance is necessary mostly for the purposes of training you to use specialized databases. If you are interested in the informatics concentration, but cannot commit to traveling to the main campus in Big Rapids, Michigan, there are two other concentrations available in the online MSN degree. The nursing education and nursing administration specialities do not require any on-campus sessions, and all electives are available to take entirely online.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 2005-2006
  • Application Deadline: April 15
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Location: MI
  • Number of Graduate Nursing Programs: 1
  • Region: Midwest
  • School Type: Public
  • Term Schedule: Semester

Tuition Rates (per Credit)

  • In-State: $497
  • Out-of-State: $746


  • Master of Science in Nursing


  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing Informatics


  • Nursing Education

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Average Student Age: 40
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.42
  • Gender Ratio: 87.8% female, 12.2% male
  • Maximum Class Size: 20
  • Total Enrollment: 98


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 3 Years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 5
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 1

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2009): 85%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2010): 81%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2011): 88%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2013): 85%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2009-2010): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2010-2011): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2011-2012): 70%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): 77%

U.S. News Ranking

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 28
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 77/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 61
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 78/100
  • Student Engagement Rank: 2
  • Student Engagement Score: 95/100
  • Student Services and Technology Rank: 14
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 67/100

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