Online MSN

Online MSN Degree in Forensic Nursing

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CCNE Accredited
NLN Center of Excellence in Nursing Education

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program and the post-graduate APRN certificate program at Duquesne University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

Every nurse takes vitals. Forensic nurses collect evidence.

Imagine that you’re about to treat a sexual assault victim. Your role is to serve as an advocate for the patient. How do you provide trauma-informed care? What would you do to preserve the chain of evidence during your exam? These are the questions forensic nurses are prepared to answer. And now is your time to become one.

Choose Duquesne University’s online MSN in Forensic Nursing and graduate from one of the few programs in the country to offer in-depth study in all areas of forensic practice.

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Have you already earned your MSN in a different area of focus but would like to expand your scope of practice in Forensic Nursing?

Duquesne University is proud to offer a Post-Master’s Certificate in Forensic Nursing.

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Study 100% online

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3 start dates per year

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No GRE required

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Tuition discounts available

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Prepare for SANE certification

Why earn your MSN in an online Forensic Nursing program?

Earning a graduate degree online allows you to continue working in your current position and advance your career with a focus on forensics. Your new skills and knowledge can prepare you for greater earning potential and nursing leadership roles.

The smart choice — a 100% online MSN degree in Forensic Nursing.

  • Prepare to become a certified SANE nurse. Your certificate provides a prep course that includes the 40-hour SANE-A training necessary to sit for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner certification exam.
  • Flexible online program. Complete coursework and clinical requirements anywhere on your own timetable.
  • Learn from experts in the field. Our faculty and preceptors are expanding areas of forensic nursing practice.
  • Graduate from a top-ranked institution. Study at a School of Nursing ranked #45 for Best Online Graduate Nursing School Programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2020.
  • Build your network. Connect on campus with faculty and classmates from across the country during your three-day residency.

Why choose Duquesne’s Forensic Nursing Program?

We have been leaders in online education for over 20 years. In fact, in 2002 Duquesne launched one of the nation’s first forensic nursing programs, created by faculty members who are innovators within the field.

Our masters program is rooted in forensic science and law.

Our online MSN in Forensic Nursing program was designed in partnership with the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law. You will learn to identify new methods and approaches to achieve civil and criminal justice. Our program prepares you to become a leader in this emerging nursing field.

Study with us, and you can expect:

  • Broad-based forensic curriculum
  • Preparation for an advanced practice forensic role
  • Courses that include ethics, criminal law, evidence-based practice and health care policy

“We offer one of the few forensic programs in the country — and we do it well. Our connection with the Cyril Wecht Institute is at such a level that the depth of education received at Duquesne is unparalleled.”

Cherith Simmer, MS, RN, Assistant Dean at Duquesne School of Nursing

Our faculty are pioneers in forensic nursing education.

Meet Dr. Kathleen Sekula.

Dr. Kathleen Sekula

She is more than a professor of forensic nursing. She’s a pioneer in the field. Not only did she develop one of the first Master of Science programs offering a specialty in forensic nursing, but she also now leads our forensic nursing graduate programs. She’s passionate about educating the next generation of forensic nurses. And she’s ready to teach you.

Director of Forensic Nursing Graduate Programs and Professor of Nursing

  • Certificate, The Cyril H. Wecht Institute for Forensic Science and Law, 2002
  • PhD, Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 1998
  • MSN, University of Pittsburgh, 1986
  • BSN, Duquesne University, 1967
  • RN, St. Vincent Hospital School of Nursing, 1964

In 1998, Dr. Sekula joined the School of Nursing and served on the undergraduate and graduate faculty as a psychiatric mental health expert. In early 2001, because of her expertise in psychiatry, she was asked to develop a graduate program that would interface with the Wecht Institute certificate program. Forensic nursing was a new area of practice at the time, and the incidences of violence were growing at alarming rates. Through her work with other forensic specialists, she developed a unique forensic master’s program that incorporated courses developed in the law school. Subsequently, she secured two grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA) — both of which helped to make the forensic graduate programs among the most popular programs at Duquesne. In the process of developing these programs, Dr. Sekula recognized the need to offer SANE-A (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner — Adult) training programs online for nurses unable to attend the one-week training, so she created one. Now, Duquesne’s online SANE-A training is at the forefront in preparing nurses to serve the needs of victims of sexual assault throughout the country, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

There’s no question: Dr. Sekula stands out as a leader in forensic nursing.

  • Elected to the board of directors for the International Association of Forensic Nurses
  • Honored with the International Association of Forensic Nurses Virginia Lynch Award
  • Served as president and member of the Forensic Nurse Certification Board
  • Served as a member of the International Journal of Forensic Nursing editorial board
  • Inducted as Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing

Online Forensic Nursing Courses

36 Credit Hours | 12 Courses

Forensic nurses don’t only work in hospitals, clinics, and emergency rooms. They also work as nurse coroners, expert witnesses, and policy makers. Our curriculum reflects the opportunities available — preparing you to become a respected leader who can work collaboratively on a multi‑disciplinary forensic team.

You can also choose to expand upon your MSN in Forensic Nursing by adding a concentration in Nursing Education or Transcultural Nursing to your coursework.

Note: If you have previously earned master’s‑level nursing credits with a grade of “B” or higher, you may be able to transfer up to 9 credit hours and apply them toward your MSN at Duquesne.

Forensic Nursing Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

To qualify for our online MSN program, you must:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Have at least 1 year of full-time work experience as an RN (prior to registration in clinical or specialty courses)
  • Hold a current, unencumbered RN license
  • Complete an undergraduate-level statistics course with a “C” or higher

The faculty admissions committee may look more closely at nursing and science grades when making admissions decisions.

Online Admission Process

  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Professional goal statement
  • Official transcript(s)
  • Two electronically submitted references (one academic and one professional in a supervisory role)
    • The supervisor reference letters must come from a direct supervisor who is responsible for your performance evaluation
    • If you have been out of school more than five years, please speak with your Enrollment Advisor for advice