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MSN Clinical Nurse Specialist

Program Description

The Adult/Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist program will prepare you with the knowledge and skills needed to function as an advanced practice nurse to meet the needs of adult-geriatric patients. Students can develop subspecialty expertise within the adult-gerontology population including such areas as cardiology, nephrology, neurology, and oncology, among others. CNSs are equipped to advance quality of care, integrate evidence into practice, develop and lead clinical innovations, and improve patient and system outcomes.  Graduates practice in a wide range of health care settings that include hospitals and acute care, long-term care, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation care.

The Clinical Nurse Specialist curriculum prepares graduates to apply for and sit for the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Adult Gerontology certification exam. 

Program Outcomes

Student Outcomes

Per CCNE accreditation standards, successful completion of the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing Master's Degree Program prepares the graduate to:

  • Integrate theories from nursing and support sciences to guide practice and role development
  • Use evidence-based and best practice literature to propose and initiate change.
  • Use political acumen to influence health care policy in the promotion of safe, ethical health care delivery.
  • Deliver a broad array of evidence-based, patient-centered nursing interventions to culturally diverse or at-risk individuals and populations in a specialized area of practice.
  • Demonstrate expertise in a specialized area of clinical, teaching, and management/administrative practice and/or initial competence in a functional role (advanced practice registered nurse [APRN], educator and administrator).
  • Employ leadership and management skills in decision making to improve nursing care delivery and the care environment.
  • Collaborate with the interprofessional teams to improve nursing care and health care services.
  • Contribute to knowledge dissemination through scholarly activities and communication.
  • Use critical synthesis to effectively manage resources and systems.
  • Demonstrate competency in information analysis, management, and technology consistent with role preparation.
  • Engage in lifelong learning and professional development.

Program Outcomes

  • In 2019-2020 the Clinical Nurse Specialist program had a 100% certification pass rate.
  • In In 2019-2020 the Clinical Nurse Specialist program had a 100% post-certificate pass rate
  • In 2019-2020 the Clinical Nurse Specialist program completion rate was 76.9%
  • In 2019-2020 the Clinical Nurse Specialist program completion rate was 100%
  • 100% of 2019-2020 Clinical Nurse Specialist graduates were employed within 12 months of graduation

Prerequisite Courses

All master’s programs currently require two prerequisite courses: Statistics and research methodology. Both courses must be completed prior to enrollment in the master’s program. 


Program Start: Fall

Adult/Geriatric CNS: 40 credit hours / 672 clinical hours

Hybrid Program: Some on-campus and online components. 

Full-Time (Fall Start)

Part-Time (Fall Start)

Admission Requirements

  • Completion of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Current license to practice as a Registered Nurse.
    • CNS and NP program applicants must be licensed in the state of Oklahoma. Applicants to the CNS and NP programs are advised that their clinical rotations must be completed in the state of Oklahoma.
  • Completion of an undergraduate nursing research course with a grade of C or better.
  • Completion of a general statistics course with a grade of C or better. Must include the elements below:
    • probability theory, inferential statistics, and descriptive statistics with a grade of C or better.
  • An overall grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the last 60 hours of academic credit.
  • Submission of three (3) recommendations (references) for admission with the Nursing CAS Admission Application. 
  • If requested by faculty, an interview.