Adult-Gerontology Acute Care CNS

Post-Master's Certificate

The School of Nursing prepares nurses for the care of acute and chronically-ill adults within the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care CNS (AGCNS) program at the MSN or post-master's certificate level. This is an advanced practice role that prepares the student to assume the roles of clinician, educator and researcher, as well as clinical consultant and clinical leader. Emphasis is placed on providing the student with the advanced theoretical knowledge and practice skills needed to function in increasingly complex acute care settings. Evidenced-based practice, outcomes management, clinical research, and advanced clinical decision-making are emphasized.

The curriculum builds on both the theoretical knowledge and clinical experience of the bachelor's prepared nurse.

Students can complete the post-MSN certificate in AGCNS in 21 months. In the first year, the student has didactic classes on Thursdays and Fridays (in the fall) and Wednesday-Friday (in the 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.

Note:   Students in the post-master's programs at the University of Virginia are ineligible for scholarship assistance or student loans. University aid is restricted to those who are enrolled in degree programs (MSN, DNP, PhD, etc).


Students complete 560 clinical hours, divided evenly between GNUR 7311 and GNUR 7312. The first clinical course (GNUR 7311) is generally completed at the UVA Medical Center. The Medical Center adjoins the School of Nursing. The UVA Medical Center is a 590-bed, Level I trauma center with 6 adult ICUs. It provides an excellent clinical cite 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 the focus of his/her specialization (ie: cardiology, ER/trauma, digestive health, nephrology, wound/ostomy/continence, neurology or neuro-surgery, general surgery, pulmonary, transplant, oncology, etc). The acute care graduate program can accommodate students interested in preparing for more than one specialty and/or preparation as an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP). 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


Graduates are eligible to sit for the ANCC or AACN certification exam for Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist. 

Admission Requirements

Admission to the School of Nursing is competitive and based on evaluation of all portions of the application. To be considered for the certificate program, applicants must submit a completed application and:

  • Have a master's degree in nursing from a nationally accredited school (prerequiste or co-requisite)
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in undergraduate and graduate study
  • Hold an unencumbered RN license in the US at the time of application.  All matriculating students who are not active-duty military nurses must have a Virginia RN license before the first day of classes.
  • Have at least 1 year of full-time RN practice
  • 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
  • Be available for an interview if requested
  • International applicants have additional admissions requirements

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

Application deadline: November 1 for fall entry

Downloads, Program of Study, and Links


  • 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