FMU's First Doctoral Degree Receives Final Approval

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Francis Marion University’s first doctoral program has received final approval from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, clearing the way for the University to offer its first doctoral degree.

The new degree, a Doctorate in Nursing Practice, will be offered through FMU’s rapidly expanding School of Health Sciences. The DNP is open to students who already hold an advanced practice nursing degree or to students who hold a baccalaureate degree.

For Advance Practice Registered Nurse students the path to a DNP is a 27-credit hour program. The course work for BSN students is 67 credit hours.

The School of Health Sciences expects to begin enrolling the first doctoral students in 2018.

Dr. Fred Carter, president of Francis Marion University, calls the doctoral program a “true milestone” for the university.

“This is an important accomplishment — for enhancing the University’s mission and for accelerating our focus on the health sciences,” says Carter. “It will substantially intensify the healthcare offerings that we provide across the Pee Dee and throughout the state.”

He added that the addition of a doctoral program represents a unique step forward in the development of this university.

“We’re ready for this,” says Carter. “I have every confidence that our nursing faculty will deliver a high-caliber program that will meet the needs for highly educated nurse practitioners serving the people of South Carolina.”

Dr. Ruth Wittmann-Price, Dean of the School of Health Sciences, says the DNP program is an excellent fit, both for FMU and the region.

“This is a natural educational progression for advanced nursing practice,” says Wittmann-Price. “DNP graduates will be leaders in innovative healthcare solutions for the Pee Dee region.”

FMU’s nursing programs have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. The university began offering advanced practice degrees for Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Educators in 2012, and has seen steady growth in those programs. A Physician Assistant program was launched in 2015 and a Speech Language Pathology program is scheduled to begin next year.

The university’s graduate-level nursing programs are housed in the brand new Carter Center for Health Sciences in downtown Florence.