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Spring 2012


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Program Notes

New Grad Programs Address Pressing Needs

Arizona and the nation face unprecedented challenges in the areas of natural resources, the environment, and health care. Starting in fall 2012, three new graduate programs at Northern Arizona University will help produce a new generation of leaders and professionals in these high-need areas.

Discovering environmental solutions requires scientific expertise plus a creative, interdisciplinary perspective. An innovative Ph.D. in Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability will ground students in environmental sciences, policy, and engineering while also preparing them to communicate with policy makers, business leaders, and the public.

Students will choose from three emphases: climate and landscape change, earth and planetary systems, and engineering sustainable systems. A fourth emphasis in the general area of sustainability for curriculum, service learning, and community engagement is expected within one year. Preferred applicants will hold a master’s degree in a related discipline.

This interdisciplinary program stresses a mastery of quantitative science and a deep understanding of the economic and social contexts underlying today’s environmental issues, along with the policy sophistication to mobilize scientific knowledge effectively. Graduates will hold competitive advantages for positions in government, industry, and academia.

Health care education is increasingly impacted by the tremendous growth in medical knowledge and technologies. There is also a shortage of qualified faculty to train medical support personnel. The Doctorate in Nursing Practices (DNP), a clinical doctorate emphasizing expert clinical practice, will give students a broader capacity to provide high-quality health care within a complex and increasingly strapped health-care system. DNP degrees also qualify clinical faculty to teach advanced students.

The master’s degree has been the required degree for advanced nursing practice, but the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has mandated that all advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) be prepared at the doctoral level by 2015. Applicants must hold a master’s degree and national certification in an APRN specialization.

The Master’s of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program provides students with the clinical and professional knowledge to deliver compassionate medical care as a physician assistant, of particular importance in states like Arizona with a substantial rural population.
The program will be housed at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus and conducted in collaboration with the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree with coursework in the life sciences, anatomy, physiology, and statistics plus 500 hours of health-care experience.

The degree qualifies graduates to take the physician assistant national certifying exam (PANCE) for licensure as a physician assistant in all states. Program evaluation for accreditation is underway through the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc.

Program details, contacts and application deadlines are available at Graduate Degrees and Programs.