Public Health Nursing Leadership

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

New opportunities for nursing leadership are abundant as health care shifts from hospital-based to community-oriented systems. The Public Health Nursing Leadership concentration prepares nurses for specialized practice in promoting the health of individuals, families, groups and populations.  Emphasis is on the development of knowledge and expertise to assess the health status and health delivery systems of populations and to design nursing interventions to better manage care in complex settings. Courses provide the required knowledge and expertise needed to plan, implement, and evaluate care in population settings, including public health departments, schools, home health agencies, and nursing clinics. Care management strategies to assure continuity of health service delivery for individuals and groups at the local and global level are emphasized.

The MSN in Public Health Nursing Leadership is also offered for students who do not live in Central Virginia. In this option, students enroll in 2-4 courses per term and complete most of the course requirements online. Classes meet 'live' at the University twice per term (at the beginning and end of the semester). Attendance on Grounds for these two classes is mandatory. Only active-duty military nurses and their dependents are exempt from the requirement to attend classes in Charlottesville those two sessions per term, and may access these class meetings live via a web-camera.

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

Full-time students can complete the MSN in Public Health Nursing Leadership in as little as 12 months. Part-time students complete the program in approximately 24 months.

The University of Virginia School of Nursing offers a program that combines Public Health Nursing Leadership with Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) or Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) preparation. Click here for more information.

BSN-to-DNP pathway: The UVA School of Nursing offers a DNP specialty track for those with BSN or Generalist MSN degrees who with to pursue the Public Health Nursing Leadership track. You can read more about the BSN-DNP option here.

Pam Kulbok
Pamela Kulbok, Program Coordinator
Kathryn McEldowney
Kathy McEldowney, Administrative Assistant

Program Coordinator: Pamela Kulbok, DNSc, RN (434) 924-0128;
Direct all questions on admissions and financial aid to Assistant Dean Clay Hysell (434) 924-0141,


Students complete a total of 504 hours of clinical preceptorships. Most of these hours are completed in GNUR 7411 (fall) and GNUR 7412 (spring).

Students arrange to complete their clinical requirements close to your home. In the past, students have worked in public health (state or county), with school systems, with HMOs or other non-governmental actors, or with global agencies (WHO Healthy Cities Project, international health missions, etc).

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 MSN program, 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, with eligibility to transfer your 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.
  • Submit a total of three satisfactory recommendations (academic, professional, and clinical).
  • Submit a copy of your resume or C.V.
  • Have completed an undergraduate or graduate statistics course within the past 5 years.
  • Be available for an interview if requested.
  • International applicants have additional admissions requirements.

Note: New BSN graduates may apply for the Public Health Nursing Leadership program. The advanced practice progams (CNS and NP) require at least 1 year of full-time RN experience.


Please note: The University is in transition with establishing regulations to support out-of-state students for distance-learning.  If you are a non-Virginian student interested in enrolling in a distance-learning program, please contact Clay Hysell, the Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid at to see if you would be eligible to enroll.

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

*Submission of the scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is optional.  If you want to have GRE scores sent to the University, the institutional code is R-5820.  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. 


A competitive candidate for entry to the Public Health Nursing Leadership MSN program would have the following at the time of application:

  • BSN gpa of 3.25 or higher;
  • Exhibited leadership behaviors in a practice or volunteer setting (mentoring others, participating in healthcare leadership teams,
    engaged in practice or delivery change and evidence-based practice projects);
  • Excellent writing skills.

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Downloads, Program of Study, and Links

For More Information

For additional information on admission to and programs of study at the UVA School of Nursing, please complete the online inquiry form. You are also welcome to call the Office of Admissions at (434) 924-0141 / (888) 283-8703.

Questions on admissions and financial aid should be directed to Clay Hysell, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid,