New WSU Master's Degree Aims to Address Nursing Shortage

OGDEN, Utah – Beginning in January 2008, the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions at Weber State University will offer a master of science degree in nursing.

The new degree will require students to complete 36 credit hours, with 80 percent of the course work completed online. Students will be able to complete the degree in four semesters. An optional fifth semester is available to help prepare students who may be interested in working toward a doctor of nursing practice degree.

The WSU master’s degree in nursing offers students a choice between two areas of concentration: nursing education or nursing administration.

According to projections from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be more than one million open positions for registered nurses by 2020 due to the growth in demand for nursing care, coupled with the number of nurses who will retire in the next few years.

“One challenge that is complicating the nursing situation is the shortage of faculty at nursing schools,” said Catherine Earl, chair and professor of WSU’s Department of Nursing. “This degree will help Utah address that need by increasing the number of nurses with the credentials to become nursing faculty.”

“Weber State’s nursing program has a long history of meeting the health care needs of this region,” said Shelley Conroy, dean of the Dumke College of Health Professions. “Offering a master’s degree in nursing is the latest example of how our college strives to ensure that this community receives outstanding health care and treatment.”

WSU is already accepting applications for the program, which was approved by Utah’s Board of Regents earlier this month. Administrators expect 20 students will begin the program in January.

WSU’s Department of Nursing has been educating and preparing nurses for more than 50 years. In 1953, then Weber College was selected as one of seven institutions nationwide to pioneer Mildred Montag’s curricular model for an associate’s degree in nursing, which was designed to address the nursing shortage in the years following World War II.  From that initial class of 36 students in 1953, the program has grown to educate more than 7,000 men and women as nurses. Today, the program offers students the option to earn a certificate as a practical nurse or an associate’s degree as a registered nurse (RN), as well as a bachelor’s degree completion program for registered nurses (BSN). The WSU nursing program has provided nursing education not only in Ogden, but, through its outreach efforts, to virtually every community throughout Utah.

For more information about the master of science in nursing degree program contact either Robert Holt at 801-626-7774 or Doug Watson at 801-626-6128 or For more information about the nursing program, contact the College of Health Professions Admissions Advisement Office at 801-626-6136 or

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Catherine Earl, chair, Department of Nursing
801-626-6833 ·

Shelley Conroy, dean, Dumke College of Health Professions
801-626-7117 ·

John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
(801) 626-7212 •