Missed the Forensic Nursing Webinar? Get your answers here.

Posted by Amber Deschenes on September 27, 2019 at 1:54 PM


Q.  Do I have to take the GRE or MAT?
A.  No, the GRE or MAT is no longer required.

Q.  When may I start the program and how many credits may a student take as a non-matriculated student?
A.  Students may begin this program in the fall (September - December), spring (January – May) or summer (late May) semesters.   Graduate students may complete 12 graduate credits within one year while preparing an application for admission*.  Students looking to take spring 2020 courses may start with:

  • NURS 7200 Nursing Theory Online 
  • NURS 8000 Introduction to Forensic Nursing Online 
  • NURS 8410 Criminal Law 
    (No clinical requirements for these courses) All run 01/21/20 - 05/11/20

Q.  What is the average course load of a forensic nursing student and how long does it take to complete the program?
A.  Students typically complete six graduate credits per semester. You must complete three graduate credits per semester to meet federal financial aid requirements.  This program can be completed in two and a half years, however students have a total of six years from the date of the first course taken in the program to graduate.

Q.  What is the price per credit for an out-of-state student?
A.  Graduate credits are priced the same for in-state or out-of-state students. Graduate credits for these programs are currently priced at $399.00 per credit, which covers tuition and fees, books are a separate cost**.
Q.  Does the MSN in Forensic Nursing or Forensic Nursing Graduate Certificate program have a residency requirement? May I complete the program 100% online?
A.  The MSN in Forensic Nursing or Forensic Nursing Graduate Certificate programs have no residency requirement, meaning you will complete the coursework 100% online. Students complete the clinical component in their home state.

Q.  Do you offer a payment plan?
A.  Yes, a payment plan is available for fall and spring Graduate and Continuing Education courses.

Q.  How many hours of clinical do I need to complete?
A.  Students in the MSN in Forensic Nursing (online) program complete a total of 420 clinical hours. Students in the Forensic Nursing Graduate Certificate (online) program complete 360 clinical hours.

Q.  Where do I complete the clinical hours?
A.  Clinical agencies include:

  • District Attorney’s Offices
  • Hospitals
  • Police Departments
  • Medical Examiner’s Offices
  • Department of Human Services
  • Youth Services

Q.  How do I set up my clinical component?
A.  Students are provided with a form that guides them into setting up their clinical.  They are given “suggested” clinical agencies and steps on how to formally set up all required information.

Q.  May I complete the clinical hours at my place of employment?
A.  Students may complete their clinical at the institution where they work, but not on the unit where they work.  Clinical cannot be completed while a student is paid for the same hours.

Q.  What happens if a student moves during the program?
A.  Since the program is all online it does not matter if a student relocates prior to graduation.  However, he or she would need to arrange clinical wherever they are.

Q.  Why do you say the program is offered completely online if I have to complete clinical in my home state?
A.  Coursework in the MSN in Forensic Nursing and Forensic Nursing Graduate Certificate programs are offered 100% online. Students complete clinical hours in their home state.
Q.  I’m new to online learning, how should I begin?
A.  Try our free online course demo to get a feel for online learning.

Q.  I’m an RN with a B.A. or B.S. in a subject other than nursing, may I apply to your program?
A.  Yes, RN’s with a B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., Ed. D. or Ph.D. may complete a pre-matriculation portfolio. Please contact us at gce@fitchburgstate.edu or 978-665-3182 for more information.
Q.  Do I need to have an MSN to apply for the Forensic Nursing Certificate?
A.  Yes, you must hold your MSN to apply for the Forensic Nursing Graduate Certificate.

Q.  I’ve been out of school for a while. Where may I get an academic letter of recommendation?
A.  If you have been out of school for some time and are unable to get an academic reference please submit three professional references.  Please review our recommendation blog for additional ideas for people to ask.

Q.  Where have your graduates ended up working?
A.  Students who have graduated from this program have worked in a variety of settings and roles, including:

  • Medical Examiner’s office, as Death Investigators
  • Legal Nurse Consultants with various law firms or as independent consultants
  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners
  • Nursing educators
  • Trauma RNs
  • In-patient locked behavioral health units
  • Forensic nurses in the Child Protection Program at Mass Memorial Health Care, and as a forensic nurse for Children’s Advocacy centers
  • Prison/Correctional Facilities

 Q.  I’m from Canada, what are the application requirements for an international student?
A.  All foreign transcripts must be formally evaluated before we are able to make an admissions decision. Graduate applicants are required to submit a “general” evaluation.
Following are suggested organizations which provide foreign credential evaluation services:

Prospects from Canada are not required to take the TOEFL or IELTS.
Please note: An F-1 Visa will not be issued since this is an online program.

Q.  Do you have an RN to MSN bridge program as I don’t hold my bachelor’s degree?
A.  No, at this time Fitchburg State doesn’t offer a RN to MSN bridge. Fitchburg State offers an RN to BS in Nursing (Online) program. Please contact us after the webinar for more information.

Q.  I already have an MSN degree. Will you accept any of these credits in lieu of your classes?
A.  Unfortunately, you may not transfer graduate credits applied from one degree to another. We offer a Post-Master's Forensic Nursing Graduate Certificate for MSN trained RNs.

Q.  If I am interested in a death investigator position, how many of those jobs are actually available for this degree?
A.  This will depend on where you live. Here in Massachusetts some of our graduates have worked in the Medical Examiner’s Office in Boston. Our students are now working in NH. We’ve had other graduates in different states run for county coroner, so this really depends on where you are located.

Q.  What's the best way to arrange for clinical opportunities when one lives in a rural community?
A.  The best thing for a student to do is make contacts. Students should explore joining a professional organization such as the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN). This is how Dr. Stone ended up in Massachusetts getting her education. She met mentors through the IAFN who directed her to Fitchburg State’s MS in Nursing (Forensic Nursing) program. Through these professional connections you may find someone who’s working somewhere in the field, and you may complete clinical with that person.

Q. Is financial aid available to students in Canada?
A.  To receive federal financial aid you must be a U.S. citizen. You may be able to apply for an alternative loan with a U.S. citizen/eligible non-citizen as a co-signer. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.  GCE also offers a payment plan.

Still have questions? Hear from a recent grad or contact one of our advisors. 

Speak to an advisor

*Certain restrictions apply, please contact the Admissions Office for more information.
**Prices based on fall 2019 rates and are subject to change.

Topics: Programs, Webinars