AU Introduces a New Master of Nursing Program

The first Master of Nursing degree program to be delivered fully online in Canada receives approval from Alberta Learning

Athabasca, May 9, 2003 – The Centre for Nursing and Health Studies at Athabasca University announces government approval of the first Canadian Master of Nursing (MN) program to be delivered completely online. Although other universities have offered partially online programs, Athabasca University is the first to offer a fully online format of study that does not require an on-site residency. This gives graduate students “anytime, anywhere” accessibility to complete a course-based or project-based Master of Nursing program.

Dr. Margaret Edwards, Professor and Coordinator of Graduate Programs for Athabasca University’s Centre for Nursing and Health Studies explained, “While there has been much discussion in the media regarding the shortage of front-line nurses, there is also a shortage of Master’s-prepared nurses who can provide nursing leadership and teach in basic nursing education programs.”

The Athabasca University MN program was developed to meet or exceed professional standards for nursing excellence. Dr. Jeanne Besner, President, Alberta Association of Registered Nurses said, “This program is a revolutionary step in graduate nursing education and demonstrates the international leadership of Alberta’s nursing educators.” Dr. Besner added, “It offers nursing students another option to pursue the knowledge needed to enhance the services they offer to the public and their profession.”

Athabasca University has earned a respected international reputation as “Canada’s Open University” with over 30 years of delivering distance and online undergraduate and graduate programs to students throughout Canada and around the world. This “open university” concept maximizes flexibility for online course delivery regardless of place of residence, work schedules, family commitments or transportation constraints. This MN program now allows nurses to complete their Master’s degree without having to leave their jobs or home, unlike other programs that include mandatory site-based components of study. Current students in the Master of Nursing degree program hail from all provinces and territories in Canada and internationally from Saudi Arabia, Australia, Bermuda, Germany, United Arab Emirates, United States and Germany.

Dr. Francine Girard, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Calgary Health Region, congratulated Athabasca University for the new program and said, “This program will provide diverse opportunities for nurses to advance their nursing knowledge.”

The Master of Nursing program offers two streams of study: Advanced Nursing Practice and Generalist. The Advanced Nursing Practice stream prepares Nurse Practitioners to provide greater public access to primary health care services. Students in the Generalist stream are able to tailor their program to meet their personal and professional interests.

Registration information and course descriptions are available online at or contact the Centre for Nursing and Health Studies at 1-800-788-9041 local 6381.

Dr. Margaret Edwards
Professor and Coordinator, Graduate Programs,
Centre for Nursing and Health Studies
Athabasca University,
1 Athabasca Avenue
Athabasca, AB T9S 3A3
Phone Number 1-888-500-3055