Clinical nurse leader

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.

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A feature of the program is UVM's nurse practitioner-led practice, Appletree Bay Primary Care, which offers outpatient services and hands-on student experience. Custom curriculum tracks combine hands-on clinical experience with courses in advanced evidence-based practice, health care management and delivery of care.

  • Preparing professionals for team-based patient care

    The College of Nursing and Health Sciences is affiliated with the University of Vermont Health Network, a six-hospital system that includes a Level 1 Trauma Center, the Vermont Cancer Center and the UVM Children's Hospital and hosts the nurse-practitioner led Appletree Bay Primary Care clinic.


The CNL curriculum includes 39.5 credits of graduate nursing courses, including 420 practicum hours.

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

The program affords flexibility to work part-time while gaining valuable clinical experience. Students complete their practicum hours at hospitals, clinics and other affiliate sites and agencies that provide experience in the variety of roles fulfilled by a clinical nurse leader. Students will also develop and implement a culminating, evidence-based capstone project.

Admission Requirements

  • B.S. in Nursing OR associate's degree in nursing with B.S./B.A. in another field*
  • RN license and Vermont RN license eligibility
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.0
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Prerequisite courses
    • Anatomy and Physiology I and II
    • Microbiology
    • Nutrition
    • Statistics
  • UVM Graduate College application form

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

*Students admitted with an associate's degree in nursing and a B.S./B.A. in another field must undergo a gap analysis to determine if their education demonstrates attainment of the baccalaureate essentials. If it does not, the student will be guided to obtain these essentials. In addition to the listed prerequisite courses, the student must have successfully completed an undergraduate course in health assessment.

** Note this is not an accelerated B.S. in nursing program. No degree is awarded at the completion of the pre-RN licensure year. Upon completion of the pre-RN licensure year, students will take the NCLEX-RN examination to obtain their RN licensure and transition to the completion of the CNL courses. For more information, contact

Learn about our direct-entry option for individuals with a non-nursing background >>

Application Instructions

Complete the UVM Graduate Online Application. Complete applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis (completed applications submitted prior to deadline will be reviewed within 6 weeks of submission).

Applications for graduate admission must be submitted online to the UVM Graduate College. The application form requires:

  • General application and associated fee
  • Three letters of recommendation,
  • Official transcript of all colleges attended
  • Official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (UVM Code: 3920). The College will accept both the old and new version of the GRE. Scores must be received by the application deadline.
  • Statement of purpose (personal summary of interest)

Financial Aid

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


The CNL is prepared for nursing leadership in a variety of roles in the health care setting, including:

  • Post-acute clinical navigator/coordinator
  • Outcomes manager
  • Patient advocate
  • Educator
  • Information manager
  • Systems analyst/risk anticipator
  • Clinical nurse manager


Accreditation: The master's degree program in nursing at the University of Vermont is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

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Application Deadline: April 1. 2021

Term Start Date: August

In-State Tuition: $683 per credit

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

Credits: 39.5

Duration: 2 1/2 Years (including summers)

Learning Format: On-campus/online hybrid

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

View Program Brochure (PDF)

Admitted Student Checklist