Clinical Nurse Leader for RNs

A fast-track master’s degree program for RNs interested in healthcare administration, nursing leadership and policy – and all the benefits an advanced degree confers

  • Full- and part-time programs available
  • 16-months (FT) or 24-months (PT) to degree
  • 34 to 41 credits
  • Graduates eligible for CNL exam
  • In 2015, CNL program offered at 2nd site in southwest Virginia
  • Deadline to apply: Nov. 1 for entry the following fall


already started an application? log in here

Overview Admissions Classes Contact


Who is the RN to CNL for?
Unlike a typical two-year master's degree program or the traditional CNL program, the RN to CNL program offers experienced nurses a fast-track to a master's degree with the flexibility of full- or part-time study. The program takes into account nurses' education, career and life experiences as they prepare for leadership roles in nursing and health care, and these U.Va. grads are well-positioned to continue their education in either the clinical specialty, with a PhD, or in whatever role or setting they choose.

With their wealth of professional and scholarly experience, RN to CNL grads tend to rise rapidly in health care communities as clinicians, team-leaders, patient care coordinators, client advocates, outcomes manager and systems analysts. 

Licensure and certification
RN to CNL graduates are eligible for the CNL certification examination. Students must have an unencumbered RN license in Virginia before the first day of classes.

CNL offered in SW Virginia
While the RN to CNL will continued to be offered in Charlottesville, beginning in May, 2015, the program will be web-streamed at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Virginia. This will enable a group of students to complete the program (including clinical requirements) from Southwest Virginia, a health professional shortage area, in Appalachia.


  • Small, intimate classes
  • Credit for previous clinical experience, as well as close mentorship with world-class nursing faculty
  • A chance to specialize in a particular clinical focus area as part of the extended clinical practicum
  • The opportunity to practice at UVA Medical Center, the Veterans' Administration Medical Center in Salem, as well as a host of other sites throughout the Commonwealth
  • Upon graduation, an advanced nursing degree (MSN) and the chance for further study


Admission requirements
Applicants to the RN to CNL program must submit a completed application and satisfy the following requirements:

  • Possess either a BSN, ADN degree or diploma from a regionally accredited school (ADN and diploma applicants must also have a BA/BS degree in another discipline from a regionally accredited institution)
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in undergraduate study
  • Complete a college-level course in statistics within the past five years
  • Submit a resume or CV and three academic and professional recommendations
  • Be licensed as a registered nurse in the US, with eligibility to transfer the license to Virginia. All matriculating students who are not active-duty military nurses must have a Virginia RN license before the first day of classes
  • Be available for an interview by phone, if requested
  • International applicants have additional admissions requirements

The most competitive applicants have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher in nursing and non-nursing degrees, have experience in quality improvement projects and stellar writing skills.

Applicants with ADN + BSN degrees should apply for the fall semester, and request change to enroll in the summer session after admitted.

*Submission of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is optional for applicants to the traditional MSN program. The School of Nursing accepts GRE scores that are more than 5 years old. If you have your 'older' scores, you may submit a copy of the Student Report. Students who have already completed a graduate degree do not need to submit GRE scores. The institutional code for the University of Virginia is R-5820.

Technology requirements
All graduate nursing students are required to have a laptop; information is sent to enrolling students prior to the beginning of classes.

Tuition & financial aid

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


In the final semester, students identify a clinical focus area for completion of an extended clinical practicum, followed by the CNL residency practicum. Clinical experiences will be offered at the UVA Medical Center, at other facilities and settings in the Charlottesville area, and at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Salem, Virginia.


  • Gina DeGennaro, DNP, RN, CNL - CNL program coordinator: 434-924-0116
  • Renee Breeden, CNL program manager: 434-243-0840
  • Specific questions about admissions and financial aid should be directed to the Office of Admissions & Student Services, (434) 924-2743 or (888) 283-8703