The College of Nursing offers the Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) with two subprogram focus areas: clinical nurse leader (CNL) and nursing systems administration (NSA).

The Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) requires 33 or 39 s.h., depending on the subprogram students choose to complete. Students maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.75 in coursework for the M.S.N. degree.

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 executive associate dean for academic affairs. Coursework taken 10 years or more before the M.S.N. final examination must be updated according to University policy.

Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

The Master of Science in Nursing with a clinical nurse leader subprogram requires 39 s.h., including a core component of 21 s.h., which students take with College of Nursing doctoral students, and a specialization component of 18 s.h. that centers on the clinical nurse leader role. The clinical nurse leader subprogram focuses on improving the quality of patient care and helping professional nurses to thrive in the health care system. The clinical nurse leader role has demonstrated effectiveness in improving outcomes, elevating current evidence-based practice, enhancing quality, and providing continuous leadership in the microsystem.

Students must successfully complete a capstone project.

Two-Year Plan

The M.S.N. with a clinical nurse leader subprogram requires the following coursework for a two-year plan.

First Year

NURS:5009Evaluating Evidence for Practice3
NURS:5017Quality and Safety3
NURS:5018Clinical Education in the Care Environment3
NURS:5021Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology I for the Clinical Nurse Leader3
NURS:5022Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology II for the Clinical Nurse Leader3
NURS:5636Clinical Nurse Leader Seminar3
NURS:5666Leadership in the Microsystem3
Total Hours21

Second Year

NURS:5007Applied Epidemiology3
NURS:5010Clinical Data Management and Evaluation3
NURS:5016Health Care Infrastructure and Informatics3
NURS:5037Health Promotion and Assessment for Clinical Nurse Leaders3
NURS:5696Clinical Nurse Leader Capstone Clinical Immersion6
Total Hours18

Three-Year Plan

The M.S.N. with a clinical nurse leader subprogram requires the following coursework for a three-year plan.

First Year

NURS:5009Evaluating Evidence for Practice3
NURS:5018Clinical Education in the Care Environment3
NURS:5021Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology I for the Clinical Nurse Leader3
NURS:5022Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology II for the Clinical Nurse Leader3
NURS:5636Clinical Nurse Leader Seminar3
Total Hours15

Second Year

NURS:5007Applied Epidemiology3
NURS:5017Quality and Safety3
NURS:5037Health Promotion and Assessment for Clinical Nurse Leaders3
NURS:5666Leadership in the Microsystem3
Total Hours12

Third Year

NURS:5010Clinical Data Management and Evaluation3
NURS:5016Health Care Infrastructure and Informatics3
NURS:5696Clinical Nurse Leader Capstone Clinical Immersion6
Total Hours12

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

Nursing Systems Administration (NSA)

The Master of Science in Nursing with a nursing systems administration subprogram requires 33 s.h., and focuses on preparing nurse leaders to serve in a variety of managerial and leadership capacities in all practice environments. The program focuses on graduate-level practice in nursing and health care leadership and the interventions that influence health care outcomes for individuals, populations, or systems.

Students must successfully complete a graduate-level guided capstone program implementation project.

The M.S.N. with a nursing systems administration subprogram requires the following coursework for a two and a half year plan (of five semesters).

First Year

NURS:5002Leadership and Management Essentials3
NURS:5009Evaluating Evidence for Practice3
NURS:6550Advanced Leadership and Management3
NURS:6553Seminar on Innovations4
Total Hours13

Second Year

NURS:5010Clinical Data Management and Evaluation3
NURS:5017Quality and Safety3
NURS:6551Financial Management4
NURS:6808Population Health for Advanced Practice3
Total Hours13

Third Year

NURS:5016Health Care Infrastructure and Informatics3
NURS:5697Specialty Practice in Nursing Systems4
Total Hours7

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 on the Graduate College website.

Applicants must have a g.p.a. of at least 3.00. A criminal background check is required for all 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 or advanced degree with a major in nursing from an accredited program;
  • satisfaction of the legal requirements for the practice of nursing;
  • transcripts from institutions for all undergraduate and graduate coursework; 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).

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

Due to the level of web-based coursework 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).

Admission to the Clinical Nurse Leader Subprogram

Additional application requirements specific to the M.S.N. with a clinical nurse leader subprogram are:

  • 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);
  • approximately one year of experience; and
  • a current résumé, goal statement (statement of purpose), statement of disclosure, and supplemental/information form.

Applicant interviews are required, and in some cases, virtual interviews may be arranged.

Admission to the Nursing Systems Administration Subprogram

Additional application requirements specific to the M.S.N. with a nursing systems administration subprogram are:

  • 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); and
  • a current résumé, goal statement (statement of purpose), statement of disclosure, and supplemental/information form.

Applicant interviews are required, and in some cases, virtual interviews may be arranged.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines to the M.S.N. programs are:

  • M.S.N. with clinical nurse leader subprogram: February 1 for fall entry.
  • M.S.N. with nursing systems administration subprogram: February 1 for fall entry.

The M.S.N. prepares nurses to be equipped with knowledge and skills to lead change, promote health, and elevate care in various roles and settings. M.S.N. graduates are prepared for critical action with complex, changing systems, including health, educational, and organizational systems.