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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 who are 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.

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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

View the curriculum for the DCNL program:

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
  • College grade point average of 3.0 or higher
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Essay and resume
  • Prerequisite courses (grade point average of 3.0 or higher)
    • Anatomy and Physiology I and II
    • Microbiology
    • Nutrition
    • Undergraduate statistics

Please note this is not an accelerated B.S. in Nursing program. Completion of the DEPN program allows the student to take the NCLEX in the State of Vermont. This is not necessarily transferable to other states. The pre-licensure year is not a standalone program and does not provide a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Students who complete their master’s degree in nursing or the D.N.P. and successfully complete the NCLEX are eligible to practice in any state.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required but may complement your application

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the prerequisites for the DCNL program?

  • Undergraduate 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 GPA guidelines for the DCNL program?

Applicants generally have a cumulative and prerequisites courses GPA of 3.0 or higher. 

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 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.

When will I learn if I have been accepted to the program?

If completed application is verified through NursingCAS by December 1 deadline, applicants will receive a decision by December 9, 2020. If completed application is verified through NursingCAS after December 1 (application must be submitted by Dec 1 deadline), applicants will receive a decision by January 13, 2021.



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

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Application Deadline: December 1

Term Start Date: August

In-State Tuition: $683 per credit

Out-of-State Tuition: $1,720 per credit

Credits: 76

Duration: 3 1/2 Years

Learning Format: On-Campus

*Tuition may change and varies based on number of enrolled credits per term.

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