Master's Degrees in Forensic Nursing

If you're interested in using your nursing skills in areas of the law, a degree in forensic nursing may be the right fit for you. Read on to learn about the requirements to enter these programs, what classes are included, whether the program is available online and what you can do with your degree. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Requirements for a Master's Degree Program in Forensic Nursing?

Many master's degree programs in forensic nursing require that you be a licensed registered nurse (RN). Some offer other pathways to the degree. For example, you may be admitted if you aren't a nurse but have a baccalaureate degree in nursing or another field. In this case, you would become a licensed RN during the course of the program. You may also be admitted if you possess an RN credential, but not a bachelor's degree.

You must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in your undergraduate studies. Completion of a statistics course may be a prerequisite for these programs. Other requirements may be letters of recommendation, GRE scores and a written letter of intent. Some schools may have dual degree programs in which they award the Master of Science in Nursing with a forensic concentration and the Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

Admissions Requirements Bachelor's degree in nursing or another field, RN licensure, minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, GRE scores
Online Availability Online programs are available; some clinical portions must be done on campus
Study Topics Forensic nursing principles, emotional responses and behaviors of victims, legal issues with forensic science, victim and family reaction to violence, criminology in health care
Work Settings Adult protective service units, hospitals, police departments, insurance companies, government agencies
Job Outlook (2016-2026)15% growth (for registered nurses)*
Median Salary (2018)$71,730 (for registered nurses)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Is the Degree Available Online?

Some schools offer an online master's degree in forensic nursing program, giving you the option of attending part-time or full-time. Some schools allow you up to six years to complete the program. Your online courses are structured in the same way as if you were an on-campus student. They include assignments, deadlines and interaction with faculty.

As an online student, you need a computer with Internet access, an e-mail account and proficiency with e-mail, online research and working with documents. Your courses may be delivered through e-mail, media files or an e-learning system, such as Blackboard. An online interview with a faculty member may be required prior to admission. Your clinical education and requirements must be completed on campus.

What Kind of Courses Will I Take?

Your curriculum includes core nursing courses, clinical courses and forensic nursing courses. In addition to your coursework, you'll also have to complete a campus residency or internship on site. You may also be required to complete a capstone project or practicum. Topics of study may include:

  • Victim and family reaction to violence
  • Legal issues with forensic science
  • Emotional responses and behaviors of victims
  • Evidence collection procedure in health care
  • Forensic nursing principles
  • Criminology in health care
  • Promoting good health while preventing disease

What Can I Do With My Degree?

Forensic nurses aid victims of assault and other crimes by collecting evidence in the clinical setting. They also interact with law enforcement officers. As a forensic nurse, you'll find employment opportunities in many places, including hospitals, police departments, adult protective service units, emergency care settings, law firms, insurance companies and government agencies.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated employment of registered nurses was projected to increase 15% from 2016-2026. Although this rate is faster than average, it may vary with factors such as experience, location and specialty.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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