2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
    Oct 27, 2020  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Nursing (M.S.) - Clinical Nurse Leader Specialization

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Program Coordinator/Contact

Mary Minton, Associate Dean for Graduate Nursing
Department of Graduate Nursing
Wagner Hall 217, Box 2275
E-mail: SDSU.gradnursing@sdstate.edu

Program Information

Established in 1979, the M.S. in Nursing at South Dakota State University prepares nurses for advanced practice in nursing administration, leadership, clinical practice, or education.

Program Outcomes
To prepare Nurse Administrators, Clinical Nurse Leaders, Family Nurse Practitioners, and Nurse Educators who:

  • apply knowledge of evidence-based practice,
  • engage in life-long learning,
  • serve South Dakota, the region, the nation, and the world in urban, rural, and frontier health care settings, and
  • function in leadership roles.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the program, the graduate will successfully demonstrate the following outcomes:  

  • Incorporate knowledge and theories from nursing and other supportive disciplines..
  • Display competence within the legal scope of practice for the chosen specialization. 
  • Evaluate and utilize research..
  • Integrate cultural learning into nursing practice to effectively tailor health care to the diverse life ways of clients. 
  • Seek to decrease health disparities among populations by addressing socioeconomic-political- cultural determinants of health. 
  • Use leadership, administration, and teaching strategies to improve nursing practice and health care delivery. 
  • Assume accountability to influence health policy, improve healthcare delivery, address the diversity of health care needs, and advance the nursing profession. 

Accreditation, Certification, and Licensure


The master’s degree in nursing at South Dakota State University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791.


Students must provide evidence of professional registration by submitting a copy of the most current RN license.


After completing the program of study, graduates are eligible to complete certification through the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC).

Upon completion of the M.S. in Nursing - Clinical Nurse Leader Specialization, students may be eligible for the following certifications:

National Certification Eligibility Certifying Body
Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)*

*requires graduation from a CNL master’s education program or a student in their last term of a CNL education program that meets the criteria delineated in the CNL Competencies and Curricular Expectations for Clinical Nurse LeaderSM Education and Practice are eligible to sit for this certification examination.

Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC)



Course Delivery Format

The program coursework is delivered online  with an on-campus requirement for NURS 631-631L and includes a field-based practicum.

Available Options for Graduate Degrees

Master of Science Option C - Coursework Only 39 Credit Hours

Total Required Credits: 39 (Option C)

Additional Admissions Requirements

GRE: Not required
TOEFL: Department requirement of 600 paper-based, 100 Internet-based, OR
IELTS:  7.0 total band

In addition to meeting basic requirements for admission to the Graduate School, applicants for graduate study in nursing must have:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing from an NLNAC or CCNE Accredited program with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA.
  • Current licensure as a Registered Nurse in the United States or its’ territories prior to enrollment in first graduate nursing course.
  • 1500 hours of documented nursing practice experience prior to the first clinical lab or within the first program year.
  • Completed approved statistical methods course within the past 5 years.
  • Completed and verified application to the Graduate Nursing program via NursingCAS website.
  • Compliance requirements: Background check, FBI rolled fingerprint, drug screen, Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers, ACLS certification for FNP specialization, professional liability insurance, influenza vaccine, and TB test.
  • Interview with graduate faculty for FNP specialization only.
  • Completion of a written response to questions regarding educational goals, scholarly practice interest and desired practice career.

General Requirements

Graduate students should consult with their advisor before registering for graduate work.

For additional information refer to the Master’s Degree Requirements .

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