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Nursing, M.S. (Clinical Nurse Leader)

The Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing (Clinical Nurse Leader) degree program that prepares nurses for leadership roles in a variety of health care settings, focusing on quality improvement, clinical coordination and accountability for health outcomes as a provider and manager of care.

The Valentine School of Nursing is renowned for excellence in nursing education. U.S. News and World Report's Best Graduate Schools survey consistently ranks our graduate programs among the top in the nation. The MSN-CNL program provides a seamless transition for those graduates interested in becoming a nurse practitioner upon the completion of their master’s program.

Program Highlights

  • Faculty who are nationally recognized for teaching excellence, nursing leadership, scholarly research and student mentorship
  • State-of-the-art teaching facilities including online library and writing center resources
  • Location on a major health sciences campus
  • An innovative curriculum that offers students updated 21st-century nursing graduate competencies

Curriculum Overview

The MSN-CNL program at Saint Louis University is a non-advanced practice option that will prepare you to function as a master's prepared clinical nurse leader. The program is offered online in a part-time format and may be completed in as few as five semesters. Please see the roadmap for our MSN-CNL curriculum plan.


In addition, upon completion of the program, graduates from SLU's Master of Science in Nursing (Clinical Nurse Leader) program will be eligible to sit for the clinical nurse leader exam offered by American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Nurse Certification.

Admission Requirements

The Saint Louis University Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing adheres to the principles of a holistic admission process in which selection criteria are broad-based and linked to our University’s and school’s mission and goals. While we do consider academic metrics, we also look at applicant experiences, attributes, potential for success, and how applicants may contribute to the school’s learning environment and to the profession.

  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited college or university.
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or greater on a 4.0 scale.
  • Background checks and negative drug screenings are required after acceptance.

Prerequisite Courses

  • Completion of an undergraduate-level descriptive and inferential statistics course prior to enrollment in “Research Methods.”
  • Completion of a beginning-level health assessment course or the equivalent thereof prior to enrollment in “Advanced Health Assessment.”

Application Requirements

Please follow the five steps outlined below to apply:

Step 1 - Application:

Submit the application form and pay the associated fee through NursingCAS. Select Saint Louis University. 

Step 2 - Transcripts

Please submit your official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended directly to NursingCAS. They will provide details when the application is initiated.

​Step 3 - Resume: 

Attach your professional resume within the NursingCAS application. 

Step 4 - Professional Goal Statement: 

Attach your professional goal statement within the NursingCAS application. The goal statement should outline your nursing goals on a five-year trajectory. The statement should be one-to-two pages and double-spaced.

Step 5 - RN License:

Attach a copy of your unencumbered registered nurse license in the state in which clinical experience will be done within the NursingCAS application.

Step 6 - Letter of Recommendation: 

Attach one letter of recommendation to your NursingCAS application.

Requirements for International Students


All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students. International students must also meet the following additional requirements:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Financial documents are required to complete an application for admission and be reviewed for admission and merit scholarships. 
  • Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the student's time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of the student's study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include:
    • Courses taken and/or lectures attended
    • Practical laboratory work
    • The maximum and minimum grades attainable
    • The grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations
    • Any honors or degrees received.

WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Application Deadlines

Admissions are rolling, with the following deadlines:

  • Fall semester start: August 1
  • Spring semester start: January 1

Review Process

Applicants for admission to this program are considered individually.


Tuition Cost Per Credit
Graduate Tuition $1,370

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

Net Price Calculator

Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Financing for this program may be available through grants, scholarships, loans (federal and private) and institutional financing plans.  For price estimates, please review the SLU Cost Calculator.  

The Saint Louis University Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing offers scholarship and graduate research assistantship opportunities to eligible graduate students.  Additionally, most nursing students will participate in a tuition assistance program provided through their employer.

For more information, visit the student financial services office online at


The Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing is fully approved by the Missouri State Board of Nursing.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice at the Valentine School of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Missouri State Board of Nursing. To achieve its educational objectives, the school uses the hospitals within SSM Health and many health care organizations in the greater St. Louis area.

  1. Graduates will be able to implement collaborative strategies to provide ethical, high quality, safe, cost-effective, patient-centered care.

  2. Graduates will be able to use scholarly inquiry including evidence-based practice and research application to improve decision-making and health outcomes.

  3. Graduates will be able to integrate advanced competencies, skills, theories, and cultural sensitivity into microsystems in relationship with patients and interprofessional teams.

  4. Graduates will be able to design culturally sensitive patient care that includes health promotion and disease prevention and considers social determinants of health.

  5. Graduates will be able to advocate for policies that improve the health of the public and advance health equity.

  6. Graduates will be able to synthesize systems data, information and evidence-based and theoretical knowledge to reduce risk, improve safety, and achieve optimal client adaptation and outcomes.

  7. Graduates will be able to utilize appropriate information and health care technologies to improve health care outcomes.

  8. Graduates will be able to manage human and fiscal nursing team resources.

  9. Graduates will be able to advocate for policies that improve the health of the public and the profession of nursing.

NURS 5170Advanced Pathophysiology3
NURS 5140Health Promotion3
NURS 5020Health Care Systems & Policy3
NURS 5110Advanced Assessment and Clinical Decision Making3
NURS 5200Gen Research Methods3
NURS 5025Informatics and Quality Improvement3
NURS 5045Role Acquisition for the Clinical Nurse Leader 3
HCE 5500Ethics in Nursing& Health Care2
NURS 5080Advanced Pharmacology3
NURS 5604Advanced Clinical Studies3
NURS 5605Practicum in Clinical Leadership3
Total Credits32

Nurse Educator Option

Nurse educator courses provide an opportunity for course work and practicum experience in nursing education. NURS 5560 Evidence-Based Approaches for the Nurse Educator (2 cr) may be added to earn the Nurse Educator Certificate.

NURS 5570Curriculum Development in Nurse Education2
NURS 5580Instructional Strategies and Evaluation in Nurse Education2
NURS 5590Practicum in Nursing Education2
Total Credits6

Non-Course Requirements

Students will complete 525 clinical hours which includes 75 hours in Advanced Assessment; 75 hours in Role Aquisition of the Clinical Nurse Leader; 150 hours in Advanced Clinical Studies; 225 hours in Practicum in Clinical Leadership.

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
NURS 5045 Role Acquisition for the Clinical Nurse Leader 3
NURS 5140 Health Promotion 3
HCE 5500 Ethics in Nursing& Health Care 2
NURS 5080 Advanced Pharmacology 3
NURS 5170 Advanced Pathophysiology 3
Year Two
NURS 5110 Advanced Assessment and Clinical Decision Making 3
NURS 5200 Gen Research Methods 3
NURS 5020 Health Care Systems & Policy 3
NURS 5025 Informatics and Quality Improvement 3
NURS 5604 Advanced Clinical Studies 3
Year Three
NURS 5605 Practicum in Clinical Leadership 3
 Total Credits32

Apply for Admission

For additional admission questions, please contact the School of Nursing's recruitment and enrollment staff:

Undergraduate Inquiries

Graduate Inquiries