The Master of Science in Nursing requires a minimum of 39 s.h. of graduate credit. The program has a clinical nurse leader focus. It is designed to build on general and professional baccalaureate study.

The M.S.N. curriculum consists of a core component of 22 s.h., which students take with College of Nursing doctoral students, and a specialization component of 17 s.h. that centers on the clinical nurse leader role.

Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.75 and must successfully complete a capstone project.

Graduate students in the College of Nursing must adhere to all Graduate College policies regarding academic standing, probation, and dismissal. Transfer credit applicable to the M.S.N. is limited and must be approved by the College of Nursing associate dean for academic affairs. Course work taken 10 years or more before the M.S.N. final examination must be updated according to University policy.

The M.S.N. requires the following course work every year for the clinical nurse leader focus.

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
NURS:5009 Evaluating Evidence for Practice 3
NURS:5018 Clinical Education in the Care Environment 3
NURS:5021 Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology I for the Clinical Nurse Leader 3
NURS:5022 Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology II for the Clinical Nurse Leader 3
NURS:5636 Clinical Nurse Leader Seminar 2
 Hours14
Second Year
NURS:5015 Health Systems, Finance, and Economics 3
NURS:5017 Quality and Safety 3
NURS:5031 Health Promotion and Assessment for Advanced Clinical Practice 4
NURS:5666 Leadership in the Microsystem 3
 Hours13
Third Year
NURS:5007 Applied Epidemiology 3
NURS:5016 Health Care Infrastructure and Informatics 3
NURS:5696 CNL Capstone Clinical Immersion 6
 Hours12
 Total Hours39

See the M.S.N. course plan on the College of Nursing website for a semester-by-semester course schedule.

Applicants to College of Nursing graduate programs must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College.

Applicants must have a g.p.a. of at least 3.00. A criminal background check is required for all graduate students upon admission. The College of Nursing has additional application requirements, as follows.

Admission to the M.S.N. Program

Application requirements specific to the M.S.N. program are:

a bachelor's degree with a major in nursing from an accredited program;

satisfaction of the legal requirements for the practice of nursing in Iowa;

current written recommendations from three persons knowledgeable about the applicant's competence in the practice of nursing and potential for leadership and scholarship (forms required);

a current résumé, goal statement, and supplemental/information form;

transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate course work; and

completion of an upper-level statistics course within five years of the application deadline (acceptable University of Iowa courses include BIOS:4120 Introduction to Biostatistics, PSQF:4143 Introduction to Statistical Methods, STAT:3510 Biostatistics, and STAT:4143 Introduction to Statistical Methods; see Transfer Courses on MyUI for information about using equivalent courses from other institutions).

Application deadline for the M.S.N. program is February 1.

Applications are reviewed once a year. In order to be reviewed, the application must be complete, with all materials submitted.

Applicant interviews are required for the M.S.N. program; in some cases, virtual interviews such as through Zoom may be arranged.

Due to the level of web-based course work required, international students in the M.S.N. Clinical Nurse Leader program are not eligible for F-1 or J-1 student immigration status. Questions regarding visas and immigration documentation should be directed to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

Students who constantly envision new ways to create change or innovate to improve health care delivery or nursing practice can thrive in a M.S.N. Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) role. The program prepares the CNL with the necessary knowledge and skills to make a difference both in a microsystem or a changing work environment. Upon graduation, CNL students are eligible for the certification exam.

The M.S.N. Clinical Nurse Leader provides students with eight essential roles to ensure job flexibility, including clinician, educator, advocate, outcomes manager, information manager, systems analyst, a role as a member of the profession, and with outcomes-based skills.