Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Preparing students to assume the roles of clinician, educator and researcher, as well as clinical consultant and clinical leader.

  • 21 months for full-time study; 3 years for part-time study
  • Graduates are eligible to sit for the ANCC or AACN certification exams for Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Application deadline: Nov. 1 for entry the following fall (notification by Feb. 1)


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Overview Admissions Classes Contact



Who is the AGCNS for?
Nurses seeking preparation for the care of acute and chronically ill adults at the master’s or post-master's level. Applicants should have at least one year of full-time RN experience before entering the program.


  • Small, intimate classes
  • 560 clinical hours at the UVA Medical Center and other clinical sites
  • Full- and part-time curricula available


Admissions requirements
Admission to the School of Nursing is competitive and based on evaluation of all portions of the application. To be considered for the Master of Science in Nursing, applicants must submit a completed application and:

  • Have a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited school
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in undergraduate study
  • Be licensed as a registered nurse in the US and be eligible for a RN license in Virginia. All matriculating students who are not active-duty military nurses must have a Virginia RN license before the first day of classes
  • Submit a total of three satisfactory recommendations (academic, professional, and clinical), one of which should be from an APRN
  • Submit a copy of your resume or CV
  • Have completed an undergraduate or graduate statistics course within the past five years
  • Be available for an interview, if requested
  • International applicants have additional admissions requirements

RN experience
Applicants to the advanced practice programs (CNS and NP) must have at least one year of full-time RN experience before entering the program. A minimum of one year of full-time, relevant clinical nursing experience is necessary before enrolling in GNUR 6020 (Advanced Pharmacology), GNUR 6025 (Advanced Health Assessment), and the clinical practica.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
Submission of GRE scores is optional. If you wish to submit your scores, UVA's Institutional Code is R-5820. The School of Nursing accepts GRE scores that are more than five years old (please submit a copy of the student report).

Competitive applicants
A competitive candidate for admission has:

  • a BSN GPA of 3.25 or higher
  • More than one year of relevant, full-time RN experience
  • Active member of a national nursing organization (preferably in applicant’s practice area)
  • Exhibiting leadership behaviors in a nursing practice setting (mentoring other nurses, participating in unit or hospital-based leadership teams, engaged in practice change and evidence-based practice projects)
  • Possess a clinical certification, or on pathway to obtaining one or more certifications
  • Excellent writing skills

Steps to apply

  • Register for an online application account through MyGrad UVA
  • Log into your account in MyGrad UVA to complete and submit your application
  • Visit your MyGrad UVA page

Tuition & financial aid


Dorothy Tullmann video-100px What's special about the UVA School of Nursing?
Faculty and staff provide exceptional support to UVA nursing students.
Facteau-video Benefits of studying nursing at UVA
Medical center at UVA draws diverse patients.


Professional nursing standards and guidelines incorporated in the curriculum: The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing (AACN, 2011).

Plan of study

Class schedule (full-time)
In the first year, the student has didactic classes on Thursdays and Fridays (in the fall and spring). In the second year, the didactic component is on Thursday, and clinical practica are generally Monday to Wednesday, or as the individual's schedule allows. 

Students complete 560 clinical hours, divided evenly between GNUR 7311 and GNUR 7312. The first clinical course (GNUR 7311) is generally completed at the top-ranked UVA Medical Center, which adjoins the School of Nursing. The UVA Medical Center -- a 590-bed, Level I trauma center with 6 adult ICUs -- provides an excellent clinical site with a wealth of professional and technological resources. The second practicum (GNUR 7312) may be completed at another facility in Virginia with prior arrangement of the clinical coordinator.

The individual student determines his or her specialization focus (e.g., cardiology, digestive health, nephrology, neurology or neuro-surgery, general surgery, pulmonary, transplant, oncology, surgical-trauma, etc.) and learns to provide care across the lifespan and care settings within this specialty. The acute care graduate program can accommodate students interested in preparing for more than one specialty and/or preparation as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP).  In such cases, students should expect additional clinical hours, and will receive individual faculty advisement.

All clinical/practicum activities are generally conducted within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Clinical/practice activities may be conducted in a different state as long as that state participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. A list of participating states can be accessed at

Technology requirements
All graduate nursing students are required to have a laptop. Additionally, students in advanced practice tracks (CNS and NP) are required to have a smartphone (Apple or Android). Information on the laptop and smartphone requirements will be sent to enrolling students in the summer before classes begin.


  • Complete the online inquiry form to be added to the mailing list
  • Admissions and financial aid questions: contact the Office of Admissions & Student Services, (434) 924-0141 or (888) 283-8703
  • Other inquiries: contact MSN & DNP Program Director Dorothy Tullmann, PhD, RN, CNL