The sections that follow describe the Master of Science (M.S.), Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees offered by the School of Nursing, and list the courses for each. School of Nursing students are expected to operate under the general policies of the University and the school, as well as the specific policies of the degree in which they are enrolled. Graduate education provides the student with opportunities to develop advanced knowledge, skills, and attitudes relevant to a specific area of interest in nursing. Programs of study prepare the nurse for practice, leadership, and research as appropriate to their professional role.

Academic residence

To qualify for a degree from the graduate department in nursing at Loma Linda University, the student must take a minimum of 80 percent of the academic curriculum while in residence at the University, i.e., 48 units for the master's degree; 55-119 units for Doctor of Nursing Practice, depending on the selected concentration area and 60-86 units for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Transfer credits

  1. A transfer student may transfer credits up to 20 percent of the units required by the chosen program to be applied to the degree requirements at Loma Linda University. This transfer is limited to credits for which a grade of B (3.0) or better has been recorded and the coursework was done at an accredited institution and meets the requirements of a course for the degree at LLU.
  2. A maximum of nine quarter units that have been previously applied to another degree may be accepted as advanced standing upon petition.
  3. The maximum number of transfer credit towards a master's or doctoral degree may not exceed 20 percent of the minimum credits required for the degree.
  4. Following acceptance into a graduate program, all required courses must be taken at Loma Linda University.
  5. Credits taken through NEXus for graduate courses are not considered transfer credits.
  6. Transfer credits will not be used to offset coursework at this University with less than a B grade.

Academic standing

  1. Course grades
    1. The expected earned grade level for graduate studies is a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B average) or higher.
    2. Students must earn a grade of B (85 percent) or higher in all courses. If the earned grade is less than a B, the course must be repeated, except as noted in 3 A and 4 A below.
    3. For all CNS and NP clinical courses, an earned grade of less than B (3.0) may not be repeated.
    4. For all required nurse anesthesia courses, an earned grade of less than B (3.0) may not be repeated.
  2. Withdrawal and repeating course
    1.  A student may withdraw only one time from any given core, concentration, or clinical course.  (See 4B and 5B below for exception for Nurse Anesthesia students).
    2. A student may repeat no more than one course in the program.
    3. Students requesting to repeat a clinical course due to a withdrawal are placed on a waiting list, according to the timing of the request.
    4. Nurse anesthesia students who withdraw from a course may not continue in the program.
    5. Nurse anesthesia students may not repeat a course.                                                                                
  3. Academic probation
    At the end of each quarter, student G.P.A.s will be reviewed. Students will be placed on probationary status if:
    1.  the earned cumulative G.P.A. is less than 3.0
    2. If the earned G.P.A. is less than 3.0 in the nursing major
    3. If a course must be repeated due to a grade lower than an earned B in the CNS (core and concentration courses), Nursing Administration, Nursing Education concentration areas or in the D.N.P. or Ph.D. programs, the courses must be retaken and a grade of B or higher earned before proceeding in the clinical sequence. This applies if the low grade occurred in a clinical area that allows a course to be repeated (Nursing Administration, Nursing Education and D.N.P.). To repeat the course, it will be necessary to wait until the course is offered again and has space.
      1. While on probation, a student:
        1. May not take the clinical focus courses, unless this is the course that must be  repeated
        2. May not submit the comprehensive project
  4. Academic probation may be removed when the student:
    1. Retakes the course and earns a grade of B or higher.
    2. Raises the G.P.A. to 3.0 or higher the next quarter.
    3. Academic termination.
  5. Academic enrollment will be terminated if:
    1. The cumulative G.P.A. has not been raised to 3.0 or above while on academic probation.
    2. Any grade lower than B has not been raised when the course is retaken.
    3. A CNS or NP student earns a grade of B- (2.7) or lower in a clinical course.
    4. A nurse anesthesia student earns a grade of B- (2.7) or lower in any course.

Clinical probation

 Clinical work must be evaluated as satisfactory.  The faculty may recommend that the student be placed on clinical probation.  While on probation, the student must demonstrate satisfactory clinical work as stipulated by the faculty; or the student will be dismissed from the school.

Clinical termination

A student may be dismissed from the program if there is evidence of:

  1.  Unsafe clinical behavior in any of the areas of knowledge, skill, and attitudes
  2. Unethical clinical behavior, such as, but not limited to, falsification of records and/or reporting, photographing and /or recording in the clinical site, and posting patient information or photos on social media sites.

Time limits

The time lapse from first enrollment in a graduate curriculum to the conferring of the master’s degree may not exceed five years.  For the doctoral degrees, seven years are allowed after the date of admission.  A student desiring reinstatement must reapply.  This procedure implies a re-evaluation of the student’s total academic plan.

Any credit transferred to the school or taken in residence and submitted toward a graduate degree is nullified seven years from the date when the course was completed.  Refer to university policy on satisfactory academic progress.

Scholastic standing

Grade scale

The graduate department in nursing uses the following percentages for determining grades:

95-100% A
92-94% A-
88-91% B+
85-87% B
82-84% B-
79-81% C+
76-78% C
71-75% C-
68-70% D+
63-67% D
Below 62% F

Practicum experiences

Practicum experiences shall be individually structured to meet students’ needs and program requirements.  Practicum experiences are arranged by practicum faculty after consultation with advisors and appropriate agency personnel.  Off-campus placement is formalized through written contract or letter of agreement.  This process may take as long as six months.  Students requesting practicum experiences at sites that will require additional costs—such as faculty travel, phone calls, or legal advice—are responsible for this expense.

For advanced practice CNS or NP concentrations, due to the intensive nature of the clinical courses, we strongly recommend that the student keeps their workload to less than 20 hours per week. Employment for CRNA students is strongly discouraged.  Students are not permitted to work within 10 hours of the start of a clinical shift.  Employment by title or function prior to graduation is forbidden.

Comprehensive project

A written, comprehensive project is required of all M.S. degree students (NGRD 610).  The student is expected to integrate, evaluate, synthesize and apply theories and research studied in the graduate program.  Each clinical track will guide development of the project.

Thesis and dissertation

Thesis is optional for the M.S. degree.  The student's research, thesis, project or dissertation preparation are under the direction of their guidance committee. The student is urged to secure the committee's approval of the topic and research design as early as is feasible. Such approval must be secured before petition is made for advancement to candidacy.

Dissertation format

Consultation with the Faculty of Graduate Studies office is encouraged to help the student avoid formatting errors in the dissertation process that would require them to edit large sections of manuscript.

Graduation requirements

Degree candidates shall have:

  1.  Completed all requirements for admission to the respective curriculum.
  2.  Completed all requirements of the curriculum, including required coursework, specified attendance, level of scholarship, and length of residence.
  3. Given evidence of moral character, of due regard for Christian citizenship, and of consistent responsiveness to the established aims of the University and of the respective discipline.
  4. Discharged financial obligations to the University.

It is the responsibility of the student to see that all requirements have been met.

A student who completes the requirements for a degree at the end of the Spring or Summer Quarter is expected to be present at the university’s ceremony for conferring of degrees and awarding of diplomas.  Permission for the conferral of a degree in absentia is granted by the University upon recommendation of the dean of the school.

A student who completes the requirements for a degree at the end of the Autumn or Winter Quarter is invited, but not required, to participate in the subsequent conferring of degrees.  Degrees are conferred at commencements only.  See Section II of the Academic Policies.

The University reserves the right to prohibit participation in commencement by a candidate who has not satisfactorily complied with all requirements.

Additional requirements/Policies

For additional policies governing Loma Linda University students, see the academic polices and information section under the heading, About this University, in this CATALOG, as well as the University Student Handbook. Students are responsible for informing themselves of and satisfactorily meeting all regulations pertinent to registration, matriculation, and graduation.


NGRD 610. Master's Comprehensive Project. 2 Units.

Entails a comprehensive project based on a clinical problem identified by students during a practicum course or a question as appropriate for the focus area of the study. Prerequisites: NGRD 651, NGRD 658; completion of clinical courses required for concentration area.

NGRD 621. Pharmacology in Advanced Practice I. 2 Units.

Principles of pharmacodynamics, pharmacotherapeutics, and pharmacokinetics. Overview of specific major drug classifications, discussion of the therapeutic use of drugs, and application to medical conditions. Addresses specific legal and ethical issues for advanced practice.

NGRD 622. Pharmacology in Advanced Practice II. 3 Units.

Focuses on specific major drug classifications, discussion of the therapeutic use of these drugs, and their application to medical conditions.

NGRD 623. Neonatal Pharmacology. 3 Units.

Advanced principles of neonatal pharmacotherapeutics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Additional overview of specific drug classifications within the neonatal population. Prerequisite NGRD 621.

NGRD 624. Advanced Health Assessment. 4 Units.

Focuses on advanced health assessment skills and knowledge necessary to successfully conduct a comprehensive history and physical throughout the life span. Emphasizes a wholistic plan of care, including health promotion strategies, while considering cultural and developmental variations of the patient.

NGRD 625. Advanced Clinical Pathophysiology. 4 Units.

Provides graduate students with an integrated understanding of normal human physiology and the most common pathological changes that occur throughout the life span. Focuses on using pathophysiological concepts to explain clinical observations and management.

NGRD 626. Advanced Methods for Synthesis Science. 4 Units.

Provides a detailed description and application of the systematic review process, discusses the strengths and limitations of the method, and provides step-by-step guidance on how to actually perform a systematic review based on a methodology developed by the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI).
Prerequisite: NGRD 658; or equivalent graduate-level research course.

NGRD 629. Special Topics. 1-4 Units.

Lecture and discussion of a current topic in graduate nursing bearing on the theory or practice of one aspect of the discipline. Specific content varies from quarter to quarter. May be repeated for additional credit.

NGRD 650. Advanced Role Development and Collaboration. 4 Units.

Focuses on transition to advanced practice and doctoral role. Topics include advanced practice nursing, theoretical bases, competencies, interprofessional collaboration, legal requirements, evidence-based practice, research, and professional writing.

NGRD 651. Theoretical Foundations for Evidence-Based Practice. 4 Units.

Focuses on the philosophical, theoretical, and scientific foundations of nursing practice and research. Examines evidence-based models and theories for use in clinical decision making, program development, and research design.

NGRD 652. Health-Care Systems Leadership. 4 Units.

Applies leadership theories and organizational models to complex professional and systems issues addressed by the advanced practice nursing leader. Focuses on development of leadership competencies for quality health care.

NGRD 653. Health Systems Policy Development and Advocacy. 4 Units.

Evaluates the impact of sociopolitical systems/processes within the context of current trends and issues affecting population health. Explores the impact of nursing on systems in the workplace, community, professional organizations, and government. Emphasizes strategic planning, policy formation, and advocacy.

NGRD 654. Social Determinants of Health. 4 Units.

Examines factors that contribute to disease prevention, health promotion, and well-being in vulnerable and diverse populations. Analyzes models, programs, and systems that address assessment, implementation, and evaluation for safe, equitable, culturally competent, and just health care.

NGRD 655. Health Systems Finance. 4 Units.

Focuses on health-care economics and finance—including evaluation of financial reports, business plans, and cost-benefit analyses of care-delivery systems. Explores strategies for optimizing fiscal resources to ensure safe patient care and best practices.

NGRD 656. Outcomes Assessment for Strategic Planning. 4 Units.

Examines and evaluates patient outcomes across the health-care system. Considers strategic planning, quality improvement, and information and technology systems that promote excellence in nursing practice and research.

NGRD 657. Intermediate Statistics. 4 Units.

Topics in intermediate statistics—including ANOVA, multiple regression, other multivariate statistical procedures, and interpreting computer output. Applies statistical analysis in translational research and research design.

NGRD 658. Nursing Research and Translational Science. 4 Units.

Provides a comprehensive understanding of scientific thinking, research methods, and translation science. Focuses on the research and evidenced-based practice (EBP) roles of scholarship for doctorally prepared nurse leaders.
Prerequisite: NGRD 657.

NGRD 659. Professional Writing for Nurse Leaders. 4 Units.

Principles and methods of scholarly writing for research and evidence-based practice (EBP) dissemination.

NGRD 660. Integrative Leadership Case Study. 1-6 Units.

Focuses on integration of advanced concepts for DNP practice. Provides opportunity to extend learning from previous academic work to achieve the knowledge needed for the D.N.P. degree. Course may be processed as an IP but must be completed before beginning NGRD 667 DNP Proposal Development.

NGRD 664. Advanced Statistics. 4 Units.

Explains the different methods of multivariable analyses and other advanced statistical methods (multiple linear, multiple logistic regression, and survival analysis); and indicates reasons for choosing one method over another. Students required to perform an appropriate multivariable analysis on a data set, conduct an appropriate literature review for confounding variables, and present their findings within a specific time frame.
Prerequisite: NGRD 657.

NGRD 667. Introduction to the Doctor of Nursing Practice Inquiry Proposal Project. 3 Units.

Examines the Iowa Model of Research in Practice (IMRP) guidelines and process to systematically develop an approach for implementing an evidence-based project to improve patient-care quality. Includes identification of the EBP question, the search for evidence, and steps for effective translation of the project into the specific practice setting.

NGRD 669A. DNP Practice Inquiry Project. 4 Units.

The first of six courses in the development of the DNP project. Student focuses on identifying and describing in detail the project problem, forming the project guidance committee and project team in the practice setting, and beginning development of the DNP project paper and PowerPoint presentation.
Prerequisite or concurrent*: NGRD 656, NGRD 657, NGRD 658, NGRD 667*.

NGRD 669B. DNP Practice Inquiry Project. 4 Units.

The second of six courses in the development of the DNP project. Student comprehensively reviews and critiques relevant literature, works through the IRB approval process, and continues developing the DNP project paper and PowerPoint presentation. Prerequisite for concurrent*: NGRD 667, NGRD 669A*.

NGRD 669C. DNP Practice Inquiry Project. 2 Units.

The third of six courses in the development of the DNP project. Student pilots the project in the practice setting, and continues developing the DNP project paper and PowerPoint presentation.
Prerequisite or concurrent: NGRD 669A, NGRD 669B.

NGRD 669D. DNP Practice Inquiry Project. 2 Units.

The fourth of six courses in the development of the DNP project. Student implements the change project using appropriate communication strategies with key personnel; and adapts change strategies appropriately, while continuing to develop the DNP project paper and PowerPoint presentation.
Prerequisite: NGRD 667, NGRD 669A, NGRD 669B, NGRD 669C.

NGRD 669E. DNP Practice Inquiry Project. 2 Units.

The fifth of six courses in the development of the DNP project. Student monitors and analyzes the change project, evaluates key variables, implements adjustments as needed, identifies implications for future work. Student continues developing the DNP project paper and PowerPoint presentation.
Prerequisite or concurrent: NGRD 669D.

NGRD 669F. DNP Practice Inquiry Project. 2 Units.

The last of six courses in the development of the DNP project. Student develops results for dissemination through publication and presentation, and completes the DNP project paper and PowerPoint presentation.
Prerequisite or concurrent: NGRD 669E.

NGRD 679. Writing for Professional Publication. 4 Units.

Provides a review of fundamental writing skills appropriate for doctoral nursing students and a mentored writing experience that includes information, resources, and guidance to facilitate development of a publishable manuscript.

NGRD 680. Strategies for Advanced Theory Development in Nursing. 4 Units.

Engages the student in examining and applying the process of concept and theory development. Students analyze phenomena of interest, use selected strategies to construct conceptual relationships, and evaluate theoretical frameworks for development of nursing science.
Prerequisite: NGRD 651.

NGRD 681. Philosophical Foundations of Nursing Science. 4 Units.

Explores the development of scientific thought and knowledge. Examines sources of knowledge and the assumptions underlying major approaches to scientific inquiry. Critiques these approaches in relation to knowledge development of nursing science.

NGRD 683. Mentored Research. 2 Units.

Student participates in the research process or engages in research activities guided by mentors. Experience contributes to ongoing development of the student's knowledge in research planning, design conduct, analysis, or dissemination. Research activity may continue beyond one quarter (IP eligible). Acceptance into the Ph.D. degree program in nursing.

NGRD 684. Quantitative Research Methods. 4 Units.

Examines quantitative research methods applicable to advancing and developing nursing science. Topics range from the formulation of research problems and questions to discussing and identifying complex designs and methods. Guides the student in development of a quantitative research proposal that focuses on an area of study that may serve as the initial step in conducting independent dissertation research.
Prerequisite: Minimum of one doctoral-level statistics course, or equivalent.

NGRD 685. Qualitative Research Methods. 4 Units.

Overview of qualitative research methods. Emphasizes selected qualitative and mixed research methodologies specific to social, clinical, and health services research. Topics include theoretical bases for conducting qualitative research; research design; data gathering, including interviewing, observation, archival and historical research, and data analysis and writing. Introduces various approaches for integrating qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

NGRD 686. Applied Psychometrics for Health Care. 4 Units.

Advanced study of psychological tests and application in the health sciences. Includes review of basic statistics and an introduction to more advanced analyses important to test development and evaluation. Focuses on methods of test development, procedures for evaluating psychometric adequacy, and issues in the use and interpretation of test scores.
Prerequisite: NGRD 657, NGRD 664.

NGRD 688. Nursing Science Seminar. 1 Unit.

Nursing phenomena. Focus varies according to national emphases in nursing research and focus areas of participants. Emphasizes critical examination of conceptual, theoretical, and methodological issues relative to the selective topic.
Prerequisite: Doctoral standing or consent of instructor.

NGRD 689. Spiritual Care: Theory, Research and Practice. 4 Units.

Examines spirituality and religiosity in the context of health and illness, and provides or coaches others in providing spiritually sensitive health care. Emphasizes empirical, personal, and ethical sources of knowledge about spirituality and religiosity, using knowledge generated in health care, psychology, anthropology, and other fields.

NGRD 695. Advanced Qualitative Research. 4 Units.

Builds upon NGRD 685 Qualitative Research Methods. Focuses on an in-depth exploration of descriptive qualitative methods, including coding, with expansion and application of the method for dissertation design. Prerequisites: NGRD 685.

NGRD 696. Master's Thesis. 1-5 Units.

Completion of the requirements of the master's thesis. Prerequisites: NGRD 657; NGRD 658; approval of advisor.

NGRD 697. Dissertation Research. 1-8 Units.

Development, conduct, analysis, and defense of dissertation research. IP may be applied as needed, depending on the progress of the work.
Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of the Comprehensive Examination.

NGRD 699. Guided Study. 1-6 Units.

Opportunity for intensive study in a selected area of nursing, under faculty direction.