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    Harding University
  Aug 17, 2022
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
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2022-2023 Academic Catalog

Master’s Entry into Professional Nursing (MEPN), MSN

Master’s Entry into Professional Nursing (MEPN)

Program Description

Beginning in Fall 2021, the Harding University Carr College of Nursing (HCCN) will offer a Master’s Entry into Professional Nursing program culminating in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Successful completion of this degree program will prepare the graduate to sit for the national licensing exam, NCLEX-RN®. With the education and licensing as a Registered Nurse, the graduate will be eligible to work within a variety of settings and with patient populations across the lifespan. As state and federal decisions shape the future of health care, the graduate will be positioned to make a significant impact on safe, quality patient care in acute and community settings.

The faculty of the MEPN program work within HCCN and the Center for Health Sciences at Harding University. The curriculum is 72 semester credit hours in length and requires 1032 clinical practice hours. Students participating in the MEPN program attend classes three semesters a year, participating in face-to-face classes and a hybrid online format. The full-time plan of study can be completed within two years.

The MEPN program is located in the Carr College of Nursing in Searcy, AR. Additional information about the plan of study can be found on the Carr College of Nursing webpage. For more specific information about our program, please call 501-279-4859 or email The HCCN MEPN Student Handbook contains a comprehensive description of all policies and procedures that apply to initial licensure graduate students.

The graduate nursing program, faculty, and staff provide a supportive and nurturing environment for graduate students to develop as professional registered nurses. The graduate program’s purpose is to provide an evidence-based, quality education that leads to an understanding and philosophy that is consistent with Christian ideals. MEPN students learn to focus on individual and family units, local and global communities, health care systems outcomes, and leadership theories.

Admission Requirements and Process

The policies and criteria are conveyed to prospective students via the Harding University Catalog, HCCN MEPN Student Handbook, letters, phone calls, electronic communication, and personal interviews.

The minimum standards for admission to the MEPN program at HCCN are as follows:

  1. A baccalaureate degree in any field from an institution accredited by an agency nationally recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and all required program prerequisites, or an equivalent degree from a comparable foreign institution, or completion of 90 credit hours and all required prerequisites. 
  2. Undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0/4.0 on science prerequisites (CHEM, BIOL, NURS) and overall or cumulative GPA of 3.2/4.0. For students with a cumulative GPA less than 3.2, the last 60 hours or most recent college hours with approval from program director and admissions committee will be calculated to evaluate eligibility for application. 
  3. Program prerequisites include the HU courses or transfer equivalents as required by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing: 
      Courses HU Course Number
      Anatomy and Physiology I BIOL 2400/2400L  or BIOL 3200/3200L  
      Anatomy and Physiology II BIOL 2405/2405L  or BIOL 3210/3210L  
      Intro to Microbiology BIOL 2410/2410L  or BIOL 3400/3400L  
      General Chemistry CHEM 1010/1010L  or CHEM 1040/1040L  
      Intro to University Writing & Research ENG 1110  
      Lifespan Human Development FCS 3230/3230L  
      Nutrition FCS 3310  
      Elementary Statistics MATH 1200  
      General Psychology PSY 2010  
      General Sociology SOC 2030  

    All prerequisites must be completed with a grade of C or higher. Prerequisites for sciences must be completed within the last five years. NURS 2030/2030L  and NURS 3630  are recommended.

  4. Program admittance requires proof of completion of a certified nursing assistant (CNA) course. Certification as a CNA is not required. If a potential student has certification as a CNA, then they should upload their certificate in NursingCAS. NURS 3000  may be substituted for the CNA requirement.
  5. Although not an official requirement, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores will be reviewed and considered as part of admission into the program.     
  6. If the applicant was not born in the United States or was born in a country where English is not the official language, the applicant may document their English proficiency based on the following criteria:
    1. An official TOEFL iBT composite score of at least 83 with a minimum speaking requirement of 26/30 or 90%. The test must have been taken within the last calendar year of admission. An official TOEFL exam score report reflecting successful completion must be received no later than the application date. The TOEFL iBT can be taken in the Harding University Testing Office. The test is an expense to the student. Please contact that office for details at 501-279-4415 or online at
  7. Legal residence in the United States is necessary. International applicants must have appropriate student visas. Selected courses are offered in an online format. Due to the online education construct of our program, students who are in the United States with an F-1 Visa may not be eligible to attend this program. Students with an F-1 Visa must consult with the Department of Homeland Security for eligibility to the program. A document verifying residency status must be provided to the University and Program.
  8. Evidence of meeting health-related and functional ability requirements are required.
  9. Evidence of current health insurance must be maintained throughout the program.
  10. Evidence of current American Heart Association CPR BLS for health care providers must be maintained throughout the program.
  11. Completion of the HESI A2 Admission exam is required. The MEPN staff will assist the student with the process needed to complete the exam and will direct the student to materials to prepare for the exam. Directions for taking and paying for the HESI A2 exam through Evolve will be sent to prospective students.

Students are to complete an online application form through NursingCAS. Application elements are listed below:

  1. Online applications are available at NursingCAS and Carr College of Nursing.
  2. Official transcripts of all completed academic courses.
  3. MAT or GRE scores if available.
  4. Three references pertaining to academic and professional work.
  5. Submission of health requirements.
  6. Completion of the criminal background check.
  7. In NursingCAS, submission of a writing sample with citations and referenced in the American Psychological Association (APA) format (includes in-text citation and reference list) is required. The question prompts are included in NursingCAS. 
  8. Application for admission to the graduate program will be considered complete when all materials are collected in NursingCAS.

Admission to the MEPN program is competitive. Applications will be reviewed by the graduate faculty based upon criteria discussed above and will be followed up with an interview after the official NursingCAS submission of completed application. Following the selection process, students will receive a letter of acceptance, admission as an alternate, or non-acceptance.

Once accepted, a non-refundable deposit of $500 is required within 10 working days to secure the awarded seat in the program. If a student receives a non-acceptance letter, he or she may re-submit an application after one calendar year.      

Health and Related Requirements


Explanation of Requirement

Personal health report with proof of required immunizations

Signed by a healthcare provider.

Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Tdap)

Booster (within the last 10 years).

Measles (rubeola), Mumps, Rubella

Those born since January 1, 1957, must have two doses since 12 months of age. The two doses must be at least 30 days apart. Must present documentation of immunization with either a vaccination record, laboratory evidence of immunity, or laboratory confirmation of disease.

Hepatitis B

The completed three (3) dose series or titer of immunity. Proof of at least the first two of three doses is required before contact with patients in clinical settings. The third dose must be received and documented by the end of the 1st clinical semester. If no proof of immunization, the student may alternatively provide a positive Hepatitis B titer.

Varicella (chickenpox)

All clinical students must document evidence of immunity to varicella. The requirement may be met by showing documentation of age appropriate vaccination (two doses), serologic evidence of immunity, or a healthcare provider documentation of having varicella or herpes zoster.

Tuberculin Skin Test or Chest X-ray

Annual documentation of this is required to enroll or continue in clinical courses. First-time TB testing involves a 2-step process or a T-Spot from a blood sample. All international students are required to obtain a T-Spot.

Seasonal Flu (by October 1 for fall semester and by January 1 for spring semester)

Must have documentation of annual seasonal flu vaccine.


Per clinical site requirements.

CPR Certification for Health Care Providers (American Heart Association) 

Certification must be updated every two years. Must present documentation of certification.

Proof of Health Insurance

Proof must be maintained in the file during the duration of the program.

Criminal Background Check

Cleared background check completed upon admission and must be present in the file.

Drug Screening

Drug screening will be required upon admission. Students may be asked to complete a variety of types of screens at the discretion of the Director or as required by practicum facilities.

Vaccination requirements for those students who may be 60 or older before applying for admission or during the program, are available upon request.

Nursing Fees and Incidental Expenses

In addition to general fees, Harding administers special fees for courses requiring clinical supervision, standardized testing or specialty equipment or software. Other student expenses include but are not limited to: clinical, health-related, licensing exam application fees, health insurance, uniforms, equipment and transportation expenses.

Criminal Background Check Policy

17-87-312. Criminal background checks.

(a) (1) Each first-time applicant for a license issued by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing shall apply to the Identification Bureau of the Department of Arkansas State Police for a state and national criminal background check, to be conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2) At the time a person applies to an Arkansas nursing educational program, the program shall notify the applicant in writing of the provisions and requirements of this section.

(b) The check shall conform to the applicable federal standards and shall include the taking of fingerprints.

(c) The applicant shall sign a release of information to the board and shall be responsible to the Department of Arkansas State Police for the payment of any fee associated with the criminal background check.

 (d) Upon completion of the criminal background check, the Identification Bureau of the Department of Arkansas State Police shall forward to the board all information obtained concerning the applicant in the commission of any offense listed in subsection(e) of this section.

(e) Except as provided in subdivision (l)(1) of this section, a person shall not be eligible to receive or hold a license issued by the board if that person has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to or has been found guilty of any of the following offenses by a court in the State of Arkansas or of any similar offense by a court in another state or of any similar offense by a federal court:

(1) Capital murder as prohibited in § 5-10-101;
(2) Murder in the first degree as prohibited in § 5-10-102 and murder in the second degree as prohibited in § 5- 10-103;
(3) Manslaughter as prohibited in § 5-10-104;
(4) Negligent homicide as prohibited in § 5-10-105;
(5) Kidnapping as prohibited in § 5-11-102;
(6) False imprisonment in the first degree as prohibited in § 5-11-103;
(7) Permanent detention or restraint as prohibited in § 5-11-106;
(8) Robbery as prohibited in § 5-12-102;
(9) Aggravated robbery as prohibited in § 5-12-103;
(10) Battery in the first degree as prohibited in § 5-13-201;
(11) Aggravated assault as prohibited in § 5-13-204;
(12) Introduction of a controlled substance into the body of another person as prohibited in § 5-13-210;
(13) Aggravated assault upon a law enforcement officer or an employee of a correctional facility, § 5-13-211, if a Class Y felony;
(14) Terroristic threatening in the first degree as prohibited in § 5-13-301;
(15) Rape as prohibited in § 5-14-103;

Full information is available in the Carr College of Nursing MEPN Student Handbook.

Licensure for Nursing Practice

Typically, graduates of the MEPN graduate program in nursing are eligible to apply for the National Council Licensure Examinations for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®) in any state and U.S. territory and are qualified for generalist positions in professional nursing practice. Students who are citizens of another country should contact the Arkansas State Board of Nursing staff for licensing eligibility or contact the dean of nursing for further information (

The Arkansas State Board of Nursing requires every nursing student in the state to be aware of potential barriers to licensure. Criminal offenses can disqualify nursing applicants’ licensure application. See the dean of the college for details. Criminal background checks are required prior to beginning clinical experiences.

Graduating MEPN seniors will be instructed on how to apply for the NCLEX-RN®. Test development and oversight are coordinated through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The exam is administered in every state and U.S. territory, and successful passage enables a graduate to practice anywhere in the United States and U.S. territories. Final application approval for the examination through the Carr College of Nursing rests with the dean of nursing; final approval to be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN® rests with the state boards of nursing. Felony and/or FBI background checks and fingerprinting are required in the licensing application process and on admission to the MEPN program.