Master of Science in Nursing

Masters of Science in Nursing - Clinical Nurse Leader

The MSN Clinical Nurse Leader track prepares Registered Nurses to assume leadership roles in the provision and management of health care across all settings. Coursework focuses on developing advanced skills in advocacy, education, policy and organization, supervision, delegation, and interdisciplinary teamwork. Students are prepared to utilize knowledge, research, and evidence-based practice to design, implement, manage, and evaluate patient care initiatives in order to improve patient outcomes. The program starts every Fall semester.

Students who complete the MSN Clinical Nurse Leader track, including 400 hours practica, have completed the educational requirements needed to take the CNL Certification exam.

Admission Requirements

Students applying to the program must hold a valid, active license as an RN in the United States, a baccalaureate degree in Nursing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and have completed an undergraduate or graduate-level statistics course within ten years of the application deadline.

Application Instructions

  • Apply to the College of Graduate Studies; the application deadline is March 1 for the Fall semester
  • Submit official transcripts for all post-secondary education
  • Submit a 2-3 page essay identifying your population of interest; how to you plan to use your MSN degree to enhance your professional growth and development; and skills you hope to acquire during the program
  • Two (2) professional letters of recommendation
  • Resume

All application materials must be submitted to

Cleveland State University
Application Processing Center
Office of University Registrar
1836 Euclid Avenue, UN 443
Cleveland, OH 44115


Course Sequence and Degree Planner Information

MSN Clinical Nurse Leader Courses 

MSN Clinical Nurse Leader Degree Planner Thesis Track

MSN Clinical Nurse Leader Degree Planner Non-Thesis Track


Professional/Career Information

The Commission on Nurse Certification eligibility criteria for the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) examination includes a minimum of 400 clinical hours in a clinical immersion experience as part of a formal CNL education program. Students who select the thesis option will also need to take NUR 606 if they desire to take the CNL exam (AACN, 2011).

The Commission on Nurse Certification’s CNL Certification Program

AACN’s White Paper on the Role of the Clinical Nurse Leader