Nursing M.S.

All students must meet the Requirements for the Master's Degree


The Department of Nursing offers a graduate program leading to a Master of Science degree. The Clinical Nurse Leader program (CNL) prepares nurses to assume leadership roles within health care systems in a variety of settings, to expand knowledge of the discipline of nursing, and to acquire the foundation for graduate study and continued professional development. The ability to work collaboratively on an interdisciplinary team, provide patient-centered care, employ evidence-based practice, access information technology, and apply quality improvement strategies are basic competencies expected of all graduates of this program.

The M.S. graduate curriculum includes 6 core courses essential for all students that address the theoretical basis of nursing care; professional issues and role development of CNLs, research utilization and evidence-based practice, quality and ethics of health care delivery, health policy and finance, genetics/ genomics, biostatistics and epidemiology. Students apply core content to their Clinical Nurse Leader program. Upon successful completion of program requirements students are eligible to complete a national CNL certification exam.

As a CNHS graduate nursing student, you are required to complete the CNHS Mandatories prior to matriculating into your program. Students must keep these requirements current throughout their program: Immunizations, CPR, HIPPA/OSHA training, annual PPD, and RN License. Some clinical sites require a Criminal Background check as well. It is a program requirement to be compliant with this process to participate in clinical courses/experiences. Complete details on CNHS Mandatories are available on the college website.

Specific Requirements

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Master of Science

The following criteria must be met to be considered for admission into the program:

  • Bachelor's Degree in nursing or another field of study (for DCNL or ADN students)
  • Eligibility for licensure as an RN in Vermont
  • College grade point average of 3.00 or higher
  • Undergraduate statistics course
  • Previous undergraduate level physical assessment course
  • Three letters of recommendation
  •  Nursing practice experience is an advantage

Minimum Degree Requirements

The following criteria must be met to complete your minimum degree requirements:

  • Core, track, and elective courses
  • Successful completion of comprehensive examination
  • Grade point average of 3.00 or higher
  • Completion, implementation, and evaluation of CNL Project

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination is conducted by the Graduate Program in the Department of Nursing. The examination is designed to allow the student to demonstrate analysis and synthesis of knowledge gained through the program. The examination must be completed prior to the final track courses and practicums, and students may take it any time after the majority of core courses have been successfully completed. Students will be expected to orally present their CNL Project proposal, clearly articulating, synthesizing, and applying the MS Essentials and the CNL competencies and core content addressed throughout the program of study as they relate to their CNL Project.

The Comprehensive Examination is rated on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.  In the event that the student does not achieve a satisfactory on the oral comprehensive exam, one opportunity to provide written evidence of satisfactory achievement of the goal of the comprehensive exam will be allowed.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Science

Meet all of the above criteria.