The Direct Entry into Clinical Nurse Leader program offers an accelerated path to nursing for those with a bachelor's degree or higher in a non-nursing discipline. The clinical nurse leader (CNL) is a master's-prepared generalist advanced practice nurse whose role is to coordinate patient-centered care in a complex health care system. Clinical nurse leaders serve as advocates, prepared to anticipate and provide integrative, evidence-based solutions to patients' needs. Whether providing acute care or assisting with decision-making in the transition to community or home care settings, clinical nurse leaders provide vital support to patients, their families and providers as experts at the point of care.

The program begins with 36.5 credits and includes 810 clinical hours of full-time, year-round coursework to prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam and gain registered nurse licensure in the State of Vermont. Students then continue into the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) program. The 3 1/2-year curriculum includes 420 practicum hours associated with the CNL project.

Curriculum and Program Requirements

The curriculum for the DCNL program per entrance year:

The UVM Course Catalogue details specific requirements as designated by catalogue year. Academic standards are outlined in the CNHS Nursing Graduate Student Handbook.

Graduation Requirements

A grade point average of 3.0, successful completion of all clinical experiences and a comprehensive examination are required for graduation. Refer to class year curriculum sheets for credit hours required for graduation.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree in nursing or another field
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • College grade point average of 3.0 or higher
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Essay and resume
  • Prerequisite courses
    • Anatomy and Physiology I and II
    • Microbiology
    • Nutrition
    • Undergraduate statistics

Please note this is not an accelerated B.S. in Nursing program.

Application Process


1. Complete the Nursing Common Application through the Centralized Application Service for Nursing Programs (NursingCAS), a division of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Follow instructions on the site. All application materials should be submitted directly to NursingCAS. These include:

  • (3) Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript(s) from all schools attended
  • On the NursingCAS application there is an opportunity for the applicant to self-report when they took the GRE. Official GRE scores should be submitted to UVM GRE code 0115.
  • Essay: Please speak to why you have chosen to be a clinical nurse leader. Describe your professional goals and how those goals will be met through this program. Include any additional information that you would like the admissions committee to know about you that has not previously been addressed in the application.

2. Complete the UVM Graduate College Application. Include the following information with the application:

  • You do not need to upload a resume or writing sample. Under the personal statement, please upload a PDF or Microsoft Word document that reads: "See essay on the NursingCAS application."
  • Official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. The college will accept both the old and new version of the GRE, but scores must be received by the application deadline. (UVM Code: 0115)
  • Application Fee
  • No transcripts or letters of recommendation should be sent to the University of Vermont.

Financial Aid

For information about financing your education, contact the UVM Financial Aid Office.

Frequently Asked Questions

The DCNL program is designed for those with a baccalaureate or higher degree in a field other than nursing.

What are the prerequisites for the DCNL program?

  • Undergraduate level statistics
  • Anatomy and Physiology I & II (no lab required)
  • Microbiology (no lab required)
  • Nutrition

(In general, the standard is that prerequisite courses taken longer than five years before application to the program should be repeated. This will ensure you enter the program with current information and will make you a stronger applicant.)

How long will the DCNL program take a full-time student to complete?

A full-time student may expect to complete the program in a minimum of 3 1/2 years. (Please note: Full-time status for graduate students is 9 credits per semester.)

Will courses be online or on campus?

A hybrid model including both online and on-campus courses is ulitized for the DCNL and CNL programs. The majority of DCNL courses are taught on campus.

How many students will be accepted into the DCNL program?

The department anticipates an entering class of 20-24 that includes both DCNL and DEPN students.

What are the GRE score and GPA guidelines for the DCNL program?

Applicants generally have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. The program prefers a minimum score of 144 Quantitative, 153 Verbal, and 4.0 Writing. The GRE's must have been taken within the last five years.

How can I find out more about the DCNL program? Do you hold information sessions?

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences Office of Student Services is able to guide you during the application process and answer any of your questions. There are also advisors and current students available to speak with you about the program.

Information sessions for the program are held several times a year. More information including dates and locations can be found in the prospective graduate students section of the CNHS website. These sessions, hosted by a faculty member in the department, are highly recommended. In addition, the UVM admissions office offers tours, which are a great way to see the campus.

What about financial aid and tuition costs for the program?

For current information about financial aid, tuition, and fees, refer to the Student Financial Services website. If you have questions about whether you are an in-state or out-of-state resident, refer to the Registrar's Residency Policy.

Where should I send my application materials?

Official transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation should be submitted through the NursingCAS website. The GRE Code for the University of Vermont DEPN program is 0115. The UVM on-line supplemental graduate application must also be completed. Please put only the names of your references on this application and not their e-mails, as it will send them another recommendation request. In the box calling for an essay, please write: "See essay on application."

How can I find out if UVM has received my transcripts (or any other materials)?

UVM will notify you when application materials have been received.


Contact Us

College of Nursing & Health Sciences
Office of Student Services
(802) 656-3858

The Direct Entry into Clinical Nurse Leader program at the University of Vermont is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (