2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
    Aug 20, 2019  
2018-2019 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

Program Information

Established in 1979, the M.S. in Nursing at South Dakota State University prepares nurses for advanced practice roles 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 to promote and translate evidence into practice to effectively tailor health care to diverse populations.
  • Use leadership strategies at the organizational and individual level to work with interprofessional teams to recommend quality improvement initiatives to provide safe healthcare delivery and improve population health. 
  • Assume accountability to influence health policy, improve healthcare delivery, decrease health disparities, and address the diversity of health care needs. 
  • Utilize informatics to enhance delivery of healthcare to a population
  • Communicate effectively with populations to improve health through population- centered strategies of health promotion/disease prevention education
  • Utilize microsystem assessment data to design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based interventions that improve safety and quality for selected populations.

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.
  • Applicants who have begun but not completed a graduate nursing program at another college or university must submit a letter to the College of Nursing indicating their reason for leaving that said program.  A letter of recommendation must also be submitted to the College of Nursing from the dean/director of their former program that includes the applicant’s standing in that program upon exit.

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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