MSN: Master’s-Level Entry-Into-Nursing Clinical Nurse Leader Option

Clinical Nurse Leader students being observed in a clinical setting

U.S. News and World Report - Best Grad Schools - Nursing - Clinical Nurse Leader 2020‌Have a bachelor’s degree in another field and want to become a nurse?

Our entry-into-practice Clinical Nurse Leader option, ranked No. 2 in the nation, allows you to enter the nursing profession at the master’s level. It is for those who are driven to change health care and improve patient outcomes.

What is a Clinical Nurse Leader?

A Clinical Nurse Leader is a master's-educated registered nurse who collaborates with health care providers from other disciplines to ensure the most effective and efficient care possible.

The Clinical Nurse Leader role was developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in 2003 to address the critical need to improve the quality of patient care outcomes. This exciting and rewarding career is the first new nursing role in nearly 40 years.

Through our two-year, direct-entry Clinical Nurse Leader master's option, you'll gain the knowledge and skills to:

  • Impact patient care. Work at the frontline of care in a variety of settings.
  • Improve patient outcomes. Incorporate evidenced-based practice, quality improvement strategies, and the latest technologies and innovations into processes and plans that provide patients with the best care possible.
  • Lead health care teams. Collaborate and oversee the integration of care for patients, families, or communities.

Our highly motivated students join us from a variety of fields. From fine art majors to public health graduates, former geologists to psychologists, this master's option attracts those with a common goal: the desire to become nurses and change health care for the better.

In 2020, UMSON will celebrate the 15-year anniversary of its CNL master's option. More than 1,000 of our graduates are shaping health care and patient outcomes across the globe.

Find out how your prerequisites transfer. 

Before you begin the admissions process, you can submit copies of your unofficial transcript(s) to us for review, and an admissions counselor will advise you on your requirements for admission.

How the Program Works

  • This is an intensive master's option that is typically completed in two years of full-time study. Flexible plans of study are also available.
  • 65 credit hours of classroom and laboratory instruction are required, including:
    • essential nursing courses
    • coursework in health care systems, leadership, research, and informaticn
    • more than 800 clinical hours
  • Students are admitted in the fall and spring.

Upon Completion of the Program, You Will be:

  • awarded a Master of Science in Nursing degree with a Clinical Nurse Leader specialty
  • eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for licensure as a registered nurse
  • eligible to sit for the Clinical Nurse Leader Certification Examination offered by the AACN Commission on Nurse Certification.

Congratulations, graduates! In fall 2018, 100 percent of first-time test takers from UMSON passed the CNL Certification Exam.

What You'll Do

Our graduates leverage their former life experience and nursing master's degree to pursue a variety of health care careers with roles that include:

  • direct patient care
  • case management
  • nurse navigation
  • clinical research
  • nurse and patient education
  • quality and safety management
  • unit management

Some have also gone on to start their own businesses.

If you wish to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at UMSON, there is no need to repeat coursework you've already completed for your master's degree. You can save up to 12 credits over the traditional entry-into-practice DNP and, if you are CNL certified, you will be credited with 250 clinical hours toward your practice hour requirements. Your personalized plan of study will be determined at the time of admission to the DNP program.

Ranked Among the Best

No. 2:


No. 7:

More Information about the Clinical Nurse Leader option:

Fall Admission Plan of Study

Students admitted in the fall semester enroll in classes for four semesters and one summer session.

This plan of study is for students entering the CNL option in fall 2016 and subsequent fall semesters. 

Semester and Course Number/Title Credit/Clinical Hours
Fall Year 1
NURS 501: Pathophysiological and Pharmacological Bases for Nursing Practice 5 Credits 
NURS 503: Health Assessment Across the Lifespan 3 Credits
NURS 505: Introduction to Professional Nursing Practice (45 Clinical Hours) 4 Credits
NURS 507: Introduction to Nursing and the Clinical Nursing Leadership Role 3 Credits 
Total: 15 Credits 
Spring Year 1 
NURS 514: Adult Health Nursing (135 Clinical Hours) 6 Credits
NURS 625: Introduction to Gerontological Nursing 2 Credits 
NRSG 736: Technology Solutions for Generating Knowledge in Health Care 3 Credits 
NRSG 790: Methods for Research and Evidence-Based Practice 3 Credits
Total: 14 Credits
Summer Year 1 
NURS 509: Maternal and Newborn Nursing (90 Clinical Hours) 5 Credits
NURS 517: Pediatric Nursing (90 Clinical Hours) 5 Credits
Total: 10 Credits
Fall Year 2 
NURS 508: Community/Public Health Nursing (90 Clinical Hours) 4 Credits 
NURS 511: Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing (90 Clinical Hours) 5 Credits
NRSG 780: Health Promotion and Population Health 3 Credits
NRSG 795: Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits
Total: 15 Credits
Spring Year 2 
NURS 523: Clinical Nurse Leader Emphasis Practicum 8 Credits
NRSG 782: Health Systems & Health Policy:  Leadership & Quality Improvement 3 Credits
Total: 11 Credits
TOTAL 65 CREDITS (4 Semesters/1 Summer Session) 

View information on the Foundations of Interprofessional Education and Practice Course.

Spring Admission Plan of Study

Students admitted in the spring semester may enroll in classes for:

  • four semesters and one summer
    or
  • four semesters and two summers.

Students choosing to enroll in both summer courses (509 and 517) in the first summer may have the opportunity to apply for a residency or certified nursing assistant position at a health care facility for their second summer in the program.

This plan of study is for students entering the CNL program in spring 2017 and subsequent spring semesters. This option is four semesters and one summer session.

Semester and Course Number/Title Credit/Clinical Hours
Spring Year 1
NURS 501: Pathophysiological and Pharmacological Bases for Nursing Practice 5 Credits 
NURS 503: Health Assessment Across the Lifespan 3 Credits
NURS 505: Introduction to Professional Nursing Practice (45 Clinical Hours) 4 Credits
NURS 507: Introduction to Nursing and the Clinical Nursing Leadership Role 3 Credits 
Total: 15 Credits 
Summer Year 1 
NURS 517: Pediatric Nursing (90 Clinical Hours) 5 Credits
NURS 509: Maternal and Newborn Nursing (90 Clinical Hours) 5 Credits
 Total: 10 Credits
Fall Year 1 
NURS 514: Adult Health Nursing (135 Clinical Hours) 6 Credits
NURS 625: Introduction to Gerontological Nursing 2 Credits
NRSG 736: Technology Solutions for Generating Knowledge in Health Care 3 Credits
NRSG 790: Methods for Research and Evidence-Based Practice 3 Credits
Total: 14 Credits
Spring Year 2 
NURS 508: Community/Public Health Nursing (90 Clinical Hours) 4 Credits
NURS 511: Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing (90 Clinical Hours) 5 Credits
NRSG 780: Health Promotion and Population Health 3 Credits
NRSG 795: Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits
Total: 15 Credits
Summer Year 2
Residency or Course Work
Fall Year 2 
NURS 523: Clinical Nurse Leader Emphasis Practicum 8 Credits
NRSG 782: Health Systems & Health Policy:  Leadership & Quality Improvement 3 Credits
Total: 11 Credits
TOTAL 65 CREDITS (4 Semesters/1 Summer Session) 

View information on the Foundations of Interprofessional Education and Practice Course.

Scholarship Opportunities

Your nursing education is an important investment. Financial aid and scholarships can help make your goals a reality.

UMSON offers multiple opportunities to help you afford your graduate education.

Type of AidAward
Federal Financial Aid various award amounts
Merit Scholarships $3,000 per semester, or $12,000 total
(You are automatically considered for a merit scholarship upon submitting a completed application for enrollment in an UMSON academic program.)
Donor-Funded Scholarships $500-2,000 per semester
(offered during the fall and spring semesters)
CNL Scholars Program $10,000
(scholarships rewarded to 10 students each semester)
Conway Scholarship full scholarship: tuition and fees
(for those who will have completed 12 credit hours of graduate study by the start of the semester for which the Conway Scholarship is awarded and who have at least half of their credit hours remaining)
Graduate Assistantships competitive; includes stipend, tuition remission, in-state status, and paid student health insurance

Learn More About Financial Aid and Scholarships


All students receiving funds through the University must:

  • be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) in a degree-seeking program
  • complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year by UMB's award priority deadline
    • FAFSA Submission period: Oct. 1 (of the previous year) through Feb. 28
    • FAFSA School code: 002104

The UMB Office of Student Financial Assistance & Education is available to guide prospective and current students through the FAFSA application process and the financial aid award package.


Contact Us:

UMSON Scholarships and Grants Office
410-706-0489 | nrsscholarships@umaryland.edu

UMB Student Financial Assistance and Education Office
410-706-7347 | aidtalk@umaryland.edu

 

CNL Admission Deadlines and Requirements

In this section:


Deadlines:

Spring 2020 Timeline
Application Opens April 1
Priority Deadline Aug. 1
Deadline Oct. 1
Your online application and all supplemental materials must be received by this date.
Interviews July through Oct.
Admissions Decisions Announced late Aug. through Oct.

Competitive applicants will be offered admission first. Space is limited so applicants are encouraged to apply early. 


Qualifications:

  • Baccalaureate degree in a major other than nursing with an overall undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Science Prerequisite GPA of 3.0 (chemistry, anatomy and physiology I and II, and microbiology)

Prerequisite Coursework:

  • General Chemistry with Lab*
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I with Lab*
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology II with Lab*
  • Microbiology with Lab*
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Statistics
  • Nutrition

*The science prerequisite science courses must have been completed within the last 10 years in order to be eligible for consideration.

Prior to applying, applicants must complete a minimum of:

  • two science prerequisite courses
    (chemistry with lab, anatomy and physiology I and II with lab, and microbiology with lab)
  • one other prerequisite course
    (human growth and development, statistics, and nutrition)

All prerequisite courses must be complete prior to matriculation.

  • spring applicants must submit all final grades by the end of December
  • fall applicants must submit all final grades by the end of July

Application Materials:

Materials

Submission Guidelines

Online Application and non-refundable $75 application fee.

Start your application now via the Admissions Dashboard.

The Admissions Dashboard is where you will:

  • submit your online application and fee
  • submit/request any supplemental documents
  • check your application status.

We recommend that you continue to log in for regular updates.

One recommendation. Your recommendation must come from a professor who can attest to your academic performance. Only the first recommendation received will be considered.

Submit/request these materials via the Admissions Dashboard.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Essay. Please submit a 500-1,000-word essay that addresses the following:

  • Discuss your motivation to pursue the profession of nursing and why you have chosen the Clinical Nurse Leader option for your nursing education.
  • Identify at least one important role of the Clinical Nurse Leader that you find interesting or compelling and provide examples of how you see yourself practicing as a Clinical Nurse Leader.
  • Describe the population of interest or the area of health care in which you would like to work after graduation.
  • Briefly summarize what you hope to be doing professionally five years from now.

Typed résumé or CV. Be sure to include your full name with your résumé submission.

Prerequisite Course List. Download, print, and complete the Prerequisite Course List. Prerequisite courses must be taken at regionally or nationally accredited schools. ACE credits are not accepted.

Official transcripts. An official transcript from every institution previously attended or currently attending must be submitted in a sealed envelope, as prepared by the sending institution. Electronic transcripts from University System of Maryland institutions will be accepted in lieu of official, sealed transcripts.

Returning students are required to submit UMSON transcripts via the Office of the Registrar.

Have each institution submit electronically or submit by mail to:
University of Maryland School of Nursing
Office of Student and Academic Services
655 West Lombard Street, Suite 102
Baltimore, MD 21201-1579

Residency classification. Applicants who are claiming in-state (Maryland) residency MUST apply for in-state status. 

Complete a residency application and submit it either by mail, e-mail, or fax to the Office of the Registrar using the instructions supplied at the bottom of the residency application. The completed application, signed and dated, should be submitted prior to the first day of enrollment for the term and program for which you are seeking admission.

Applicants to the CNL program who meet minimum standards to be considered for admission will be asked to interview in person as part of the selection process. The interview will also include a proctored writing sample.


Applicants without a High School Diploma or College Degree in the U.S:

  • If you do not have a degree from a U.S. high school, college, or university, you are required to demonstrate English proficiency.
  • If you have completed coursework outside of the U.S., you must have your transcripts evaluated.

More information.


If you have questions regarding the admissions requirements or process, contact the Office of Admissions to avoid errors that could delay the processing of your application.

Frequently Asked Questions

Jump to:

For additional admissions-related questions, see our Admissions FAQs.


General Program Information

What is a typical CNL academic schedule like?

The first semester courses are delivered face-to-face, requiring you to be present four to five days each week (Tuesday-Friday) Mondays are designated as Resource Days to meet with advisors, student study groups, course faculty, and the UMB Writing Center and to reinforce and/or practice your new skills in open lab. Class days begin between 8 and 9 a.m. and often run as late as 4 or 5 p.m. Additional learning activities are scheduled around formal class sessions, including guided study sessions and peer tutoring opportunities provided by UMSON’s Student Success Center (learn more at nursing.umaryland.edu/ssc). We find that CNL students need to reserve their weekends to review material covered the previous week and to prepare for the week ahead.

Can I be employed and be successful in the CNL program?

The key factor in academic success in the CNL program is how you balance your home/work/school obligations. While some students successfully balanced as many as 10 hours of work per week, most find that working while in the CNL program is challenging, especially in the first semester. This is true even if you worked during your undergraduate program and/or during a previous graduate program. Generally, nine credits per semester is considered full-time graduate study demanding full attention due to content complexity and program rigor. The CNL program includes 12-15 graduate credits each semester, with 15 credits in the first semester.


Applying to the CNL Program

Can I apply to the program before I have finished completing all of the prerequisite courses?

Yes; however, prior to applying, you must complete a minimum of:

  • two science courses (chemistry with lab, anatomy and physiology I and II with lab, and microbiology with lab)
  • one other course (human growth and development, statistics, and nutrition).

Do you require any exam scores like the GRE or TEAS?

No; however, if you are an applicant without a U.S. degree, please visit the international applicants webpage as you may be required to submit English language proficiency exam scores.

What happens once I am offered admission to the CNL program?

You have 14 calendar days to accept your admission offer and pay your deposit to hold your place in the class. Because the CNL program admits first by a priority deadline and then on a rolling admission basis until the class is filled, you should have funds available to pay your deposit to ensure your spot in the admitted class.

Once your deposit is paid, you will be directed to additional information about our student success program and orientation.

What if I am not offered admission to the CNL program?

We understand that this is disappointing. Our admission decisions are based on competition within the applicant pool in any given cycle. While the CNL program is always competitive, your application will be freshly evaluated with the next cycle of applicants if you choose to reapply. 

Some applicants take this opportunity to brush up on interview skills, since the interview is a critical part of this application process.

Do you offer on-campus housing?

Yes. Please visit the UMB Housing page for more information.


Affording the CNL Program

Am I considered an in-state student or an out-of-state student for purposes of tuition?

This may seem like a straightforward question, but there are many factors that impact residency status. Please review the UMB's residency information to understand the comprehensive documentation required to qualify for in-state tuition.

How do I pay for my CNL education?

Loans and Scholarships
Graduate loans are generally offered per credit hour. There are minimum and maximum numbers of credits that can be taken each semester for loan eligibility. Please visit UMB’s University Student Financial Assistance webpages or visit the office in person at 601 W. Lombard St., Suite 221, Baltimore, MD 21201 for more information.

To be eligible for loans and scholarships, you must submit a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You should submit the FAFSA at the same time you apply to UMSON to ensure timely financial aid decisions.

There are also scholarships available to UMSON graduate students, including CNL students. These are available for first-semester students and for students applying for scholarship support after the first semester. Many of these scholarships are merit based. These scholarships are in addition to four competitive GPA-merit-based scholarships awarded to CNL students each admission cycle. In addition, there are many scholarships that are not UMSON-specific that are available to students based on specific criteria (minority, children and grandchildren of World War II veterans, and home state legislative scholarships, to name a few); we encourage you to do internet searches to learn more about these opportunities.

Selected Funding Opportunities

CNL Scholars Program: This program prepares UMSON students from backgrounds underrepresented in the nursing workforce to meet the health care needs of a diverse population and to help ensure that all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, income, sexual orientation, neighborhood, or other social condition, have a fair opportunity to live a long, healthy life. The program provides $10,000 scholarships plus $300 in book vouchers to 10 incoming students and $300 in book vouchers to an additional five incoming students. Learn more.

UMSON Conway Scholarship: This scholarship is available to current students who will have completed 12 credit hours of graduate study by the start of the semester for which the Conway Scholarship is awarded and have at least half of their credit hours remaining. Scholarship funding covers in-state tuition and fees, and it is awarded for the remainder of your academic program. Learn more.

Peace Corps Coverdale Fellowship: UMSON offers Returned Peace Corps Volunteers an outstanding opportunity to build a health care career in nursing. Through service-learning experiences, you will improve people’s lives in underserved communities, build upon the skills and expertise you developed during your Peace Corps service, and advance the Peace Corps’ third goal: bringing the world back home. As a Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow, you’ll receive a $10,000 scholarship to use toward tuition and fees for the duration of your nursing program. Learn more.

NURSE Corps Scholarship Program: Through the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration, you can receive funding for tuition, fees, and other educational costs. In exchange, you must work at an eligible facility with a critical shortage of nurses, a Critical Shortage Facility, upon graduation. Learn more.

Graduate Research Assistants: A limited number of graduate assistant positions are available by application each fiscal year. The selection process is competitive as appointments are given to students who have shown superior aptitude in their field of study and who appear likely to render a high quality of research service to the University. Graduate assistants function both as students and professionals, enhancing their education by playing this important dual role. While studying to meet academic requirements for advanced degrees, graduate assistants also complement their formal studies through research under the supervision or tutelage of UMSON faculty and staff. Employment in this type of position requires a commitment of 20 hours per week, which would require a CNL student to attend less than full time. Learn more and apply.

Work Study: Federal Work Study (FWS) is available to undergraduate and graduate students. FWS provides students the opportunity to earn funds ($10-$17/hour) as an alternative to loan debt while working on or off campus. After submitting the FAFSA, eligible students are offered FWS in the UMB financial aid package. Students must accept the FWS offer prior to seeking employment. Learn more.

Peer Tutors: Opportunities to serve as a peer tutor are available to students through the UMSON Student Success Center after your first semester, based on recommendations from faculty. Students who have demonstrated academic success in mastering content can work as a peer tutor for an hourly wage to assist fellow students in study strategies and content.

The UMSON CNL program prepared me well to think about incorporating evidence-based practice and seeking opportunities for improvement from the very start of my nursing career. When the opportunity arose for me to help create a new role focused on transitions of care, the training I received informed every step. Kimberly Rice-Smith, MS '12
The field of nursing is just an exciting place to be. It's always changing. There's science involved, there's research involved — I'm interested in all of that — and there's this personal component of getting to be with people and work with people in extreme situations. Brett Kiser, MS '18
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