Preparing students to be advanced practice nurses providing care to acute and chronically ill adults.

  • Guaranteed Admission for UVA School of Nursing alumni 
  • #7 public MSN program at Virginia's #1 nursing school
  • Full- and part-time options available
  • Two years (full-time) or three years (part-time) to complete
  • Graduates are eligible for the adult-gerontology acute care CNS certification exam administered by AACN or ANCC
  • Application deadline: January 5

The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS) is an advanced practice nurse prepared to manage adult patients in acute, critical and specialty care units. UVA's program emphasizes the advanced theoretical knowledge, practice and skills needed to manage adult gerontology patients through all phases of their hospitalization and follow-up. AGCNS students also develop exceptional diagnostic and clinical decision-making skills, strategies to communicate and collaborate with clinicians and health care team members, and the ability to manage and monitor clinical outcomes. A keen focus on evidenced-based practice, quality improvement through system based leadership, teaching and clinical research are also hallmarks.

Who should apply?

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.

The AGCNS is offered at the MSN, certificate, and DNP levels.

Our Approach

  • Intimate—classes are small, dynamic and filled with like-minded learners
  • Mentorship—access to world-class nursing faculty, exceptional mentors, cutting-edge research and top-of-the-line clinical facilities
  • Hands-on experience—more than 500 hours of clinical experience
  • Specialize—a chance to specialize as part of the extended clinical practicum


Admission Requirements

Learn about the MSN APRN admission requirements.


Full-time students begin study in the fall, and complete the program in two years, including summer session in year 1. In the first year, the full-time student has didactic classes on Thursdays and Fridays (in the fall) and Wednesday-Friday (in the spring). In the second year, in addition to the didactic component, clinical practica are typically held Monday through Friday as the preceptor and student schedules permit.


Students complete over 500 clinical hours in the AGCNS track in two semester-long preceptorships (GNUR 7311 AND GNUR 7313). The first clinical course (GNUR 7311) is typically completed at the top-ranked UVA Medical Center, which adjoins the School of Nursing. The UVA Medical Center—a top 100 hospital with a Level I trauma center—provides an excellent clinical site with a wealth of professional and technological resources. The second practicum (GNUR 7313) may be completed at another facility in Virginia with prior arrangement of the program coordinator. Clinical placement sites are assigned based upon optimal learning experiences, students' requests, interagency contracts, and availability.

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.

All clinical/practicum activities are generally conducted within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Clinical/practice activities may be conducted outside Virginia if the University is authorized to place students in that state and pending faculty approval.

Palliative Care

The UVA School of Nursing is a leader in integrating compassionate care and the central precepts of palliative care into the education of future nurses and advanced practice nurses. Students who attend UVA can be mentored by a growing faculty of over 15 national and international experts in palliative care—educators, clinicians, researchers. Great opportunity awaits the student to develop palliative care as a specialty in their practice—across the lifespan and all care settings. This experience is enriched by the student's access to other disciplinary programs across the University such as religion, ethics, contemplative sciences, mindfulness, and medicine.

Plans of Study

Technology Requirements

All graduate nursing students are required to have a laptop; information about these requirements will be sent to enrolling students before classes begin. Please see the School of Nursing Computing Policies for more guidance on laptop ownership requirements.

State Authorization and Professional Licensure Disclosures

As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement, the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)).  

Upon completion of the Master of Science in Nursing, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state.

Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).

Spring 2024 classes will be held on: January 23, February 20, March 12, April 9, and April 30

Summer 2024 classes will be held on: May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9, and July 30

The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record is the official repository for academic program requirements.