MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader Concentration

Major: Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader Concentration
Degree Awarded: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Minimum Required Credits: 45.0; 400 practicum hours
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 51.3801
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 29-1141

​NOTE: No applications will be accepted for the 2023-2024 academic year. Please check back in summer 2024 for an update. 

About the Program

The MSN Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) track is designed to prepare nurses for an evolving advanced generalist role that incorporates advanced knowledge, skill and clinical expertise in an evidence- and quality-driven context. The CNL oversees care coordination of a distinct group of patients, is a resource for clinical decision-making and serves as lateral integrator of care. This clinical leader puts evidence-based practice into action to ensure that patients benefit from the latest innovations in care delivery. The CNL collects and evaluates patient outcomes, assesses cohort risk and has the decision-making authority to change care plans when necessary. This clinician functions as part of an interdisciplinary team by communicating, planning and implementing care directly with other healthcare professionals, including physicians, pharmacists, social workers, therapists, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners. The CNL is a leader in the healthcare delivery system across all settings in which healthcare is delivered. The program emphasizes the development of competencies related to the use of technology, evidence-based practice, customization of care, health team and interdisciplinary leadership and outcome and risk assessment.

This online master's program prepares nurses to function effectively in a quickly changing, increasingly complex clinical care environment. Students have the opportunity to develop advanced competencies and depth of knowledge as clinical nurse leaders. The program emphasizes evidence-based approaches to solve clinical problems, assessment and evaluation of nursing and healthcare outcomes, clinical decision-making, lateral care integration, clinically based leadership and the design of nursing care for clinical populations at the clinical unit or similar small system level.

Clinical practicum experiences include the development and management of a data-driven project which provides opportunities for students to deepen evidenced-base practice competencies in the management of clients’ health care needs at the point of care. Precepted clinical experiences will include activities such as modeling of care, assessment and evaluation of aggregate patient outcomes, case management and service integration, and unit and interdisciplinary team leadership, as well as teaching and mentoring of staff.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Additional Information

For more information about this program, contact:

Graduate Nursing Division

Additional information is available on Drexel's College of Nursing and Health Professions MSN in Clinical Nurse Leader webpage and on the Drexel University Online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader webpage.

Admission Requirements

  • A Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a program fully accredited by the National League of Nursing (NLN/ACEN) or the American Association Colleges of Nursing (AACN/CCNE)
  • RNs with a BS in a field other than nursing may wish to pursue the RN-MSN "bridge" program or the Dual RN-BSN-MSN Pathway
  • 3.0 or above on all previous coursework or the last 60.0 credits completed. Applications from RNs with a GPA less than 3.0 may be considered on an individual basis.
  • Official transcripts from all previous educational institutions are required.
  • Two professional references are required from colleagues or supervisors who can attest to the applicant’s knowledge, skill and potential aptitude for graduate study.
    • Letters of recommendation are waived for students with a 3.0 GPA or higher.
  • Personal statement (no more than two pages and no less than one page double-spaced) that will give the admissions committee a better understanding of the following:
    • Why you are choosing this particular program of study
    • Your plans upon completion of the certificate
    • How your current work experience will enhance your experience in this program
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Copy of Current U.S. RN license required
  • Copies of any advanced practice nursing licensure and certification documents
  • While specific experience is not required for applicants to the track, previous related work experience may make an applicant more competitive.

International applicants must possess a BSN (or its equivalent) and current U.S. RN license.

TOEFL Requirement

International applicants, as well as immigrants to the United States and United States permanent residents whose native language is not English and who have not received a bachelor’s degree or higher in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the United Kingdom, must show proficiency in English speaking as well as listening, writing, and reading. U.S. citizens born on U.S. military bases abroad may be waived from the TOEFL requirement after providing documentation of this status; otherwise, applicants must meet one of the following requirements:

If you take the TOEFLiBT exam, you are required to have a minimum combined score for the listening, writing and reading sections of 79 plus a speaking section score of 26 or higher.

If you take the TOEFL, you are required to have a minimum score of 550 or higher and a Test of Spoken English score (TSE) of 55 or higher.

Degree Requirements 

MSN Core Courses
NURS 500 [WI] Confronting Issues in Contemporary Health Care Environments3.0
NURS 502Advanced Ethical Decision Making in Health Care3.0
NURS 544Quality and Safety in Healthcare3.0
RSCH 503Research Methods and Biostatistics3.0
RSCH 504Evaluation and Translation of Health Research3.0
Support Courses
NURS 574Advanced Integrative Clinical Concepts4.5
NUPR 664The Economics and Business of Healthcare4.5
Track Courses
NURS 531Epidemiology in Action: Tracking Health & Disease3.0
NURS 532Evaluation of Health Outcomes3.0
NUPR 602Foundations for Clinical Nurse Leader5.0
NURS 603Clinical Nurse Leader Capstone Immersion I5.0
NURS 604Clinical Nurse Leader Capstone Immersion II5.0
Total Credits45.0

Writing-Intensive Course Requirement

A [WI], Writing Intensive, next to a graduate course in this catalog indicates that the graduate course is a writing intensive course. The graduate course is a required course in your curriculum.

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
NURS 5003.0NURS 5323.0NUPR 6644.5NURS 5443.0
NURS 5023.0RSCH 5033.0NURS 5313.0RSCH 5043.0
 6 6 7.5 6
Second Year
NUPR 6025.0NURS 6035.0NURS 6045.0NURS 5744.5
 5 5 5 4.5
Total Credits 45
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