Mar 28, 2023  
2021-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2023 Graduate Catalog

Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader

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School of Nursing
3008 Human Health Building  (map)
(248) 370-4253 • Fax (248) 364-8740 


Program Contact:
Claudia Grobbel
3038 Human Health Building
(248) 364-8722

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CCNE Accreditation

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing/ master’s degree program in nursing/Doctor of Nursing Practice program and post-graduate APRN certificate programs at Oakland University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

Program description

The Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) degree prepares professional nurses for advanced nursing practice, leadership in the nursing profession, and future doctoral study.

The Clinical Nurse Leader Master’s program prepares nursing graduates to practice across the continuum of care in any healthcare setting.  The OU School of Nursing’s CNL prepares you to be a clinical leader at the point of care with a focus on care coordination, risk assessment, quality improvement, outcomes evaluation, communication and leadership, interprofessional, team, and evidence based practice.  Graduates of the CNL program will be prepared to be leaders in evidence based practice, clinical outcomes, and quality management. CNL are prepared with knowledge and skills that drive change at any level of care.   The focus of the CNL role is to improve care, wherever care is provided.  CNL’s are leaders demonstrating significant improvement in quality outcomes, patient satisfaction, and financial improvement. 

This 36 credit online program includes 19 graduate core classes and 17 credits of CNL specialty courses. Students will take courses in Leadership and Systems Health Policy, Economics & Finance for the Nurse Leader, and Organizational Theory & Quality Management. Students also complete 500 hours of clinical practice in their final practicum. This program is designed to be completed in 5 semesters.

Master’s program outcomes

Building on the foundation of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program will prepare graduates as transformational leaders with advanced nursing knowledge and practice expertise for optimizing health outcomes. (Essential IX)

The MSN program prepares graduates to:

  1. Integrate theories and scientific findings from nursing, biopsychosocial fields, genetics, public health, and organizational sciences using translational processes to improve evidence-based nursing practice across diverse settings. (Essentials I & IV, VIII, IX)
  2. Describe concepts from organizational leadership, systems leadership, and information technology in the promotion of quality improvement and safety. (Essentials II, III, V, IX)
  3. Synthesize requisite knowledge of legal and regulatory processes, health policy, ethics, and advocacy to improve health outcomes of diverse populations at the organizational, local, state, and federal level. (Essentials IV, VI, VIII, IX)
  4. Formulate intra/interprofessional collaborative strategies integral to the design and delivery of evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention interventions to improve health outcomes in individuals, families, communities, and populations. (Essentials IV, VII, VIII, IX)
  5. Integrate professional standards and guidelines in the provision of nursing practice in a specialty area. (Essentials IX)

Admission terms and application deadlines

Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in NursingCAS by the deadline listed below. Incomplete applications will not be sent to departments for admission review.

All applicants to this program are admitted for the fall semester only. The application deadlines are:

  • Fall Semester - February 15th (early): April 15th (regular): July 15th (late). All applications completed by July 15th will be considered for admission to the following Fall Semester.
  • International students: April 15th for admission to the following Fall Semester (see additional requirements below)

Application requirements

To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all Graduate Application Requirements and additional department requirements by the published application deadlines.

Applicants do not submit an online Oakland University Graduate Application.  A completed application and required materials must be submitted through the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS). Information and instructions for applying through the NursingCAS can be found at the School of Nursing website. 

Additional Department Application Requirements Submitted through NursingCAS

  • Applicants for admission to the Master of Science in Nursing program must have completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with an overall undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above from an institution accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
  • Proof of a current unrestricted Registered Nurse license in the United States or its territories.
  • A minimum of one year of clinical experience as an R.N. (at the start of the program) is required during which time the applicant must have functioned as an independent decision maker and demonstrated advanced psychomotor skills.
  • Two (2) Recommendations must be completed by healthcare professionals in clinical nursing, leadership, administration/management, or education and are able to attest to the applicant’s nursing skills and/or abilities. One reference must be from a colleague who is familiar with the applicant’s work.
  • Professional statement of 500 to 1,000 words. The professional statement should focus on the applicant’s reason for seeking formal nursing education, how recent clinical experience has prepared him/her for clinical leadership nursing practice, career goals after program completion. The professional statement will be evaluated on content and appropriate use of grammar, style, spelling, and rhetoric.

International Students

  • International students are encouraged to contact The Graduate School ( to determine what additional documentation is required for admission eligibility.

Admission review and assessment

Admission to graduate school at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to Oakland University Graduate School, each department assesses the potential of applicants for success in the program by examining their undergraduate records, professional statement, letters of recommendation, prerequisite courses, and any other admission requirements established by the academic department.

Qualified applicants may be selected for an individual interview with a School of Nursing faculty. The interview will be scheduled after all application materials have been submitted.

Related links

Degree requirements

The Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 36 credits in all approved programs of study and includes a minimum of 420 clinical hours. The program of study allows students to complete the requirements in 18 months.

Course requirements

a. Foundation Courses (8 credits)

Foundation courses address critical content needed by all graduate nursing students. These courses include content on nursing theory, diversity, research, ethics, health policy, and roles of advanced nursing practice.

b. Clinical core courses (11 credits)

The clinical core courses provide graduate students with advanced clinical knowledge and skills.

c. Specialty courses (17 credits)

Specialty courses are comprised of didactic and clinical courses that prepare students for a role in clinical leadership in a variety of clinical settings and roles. The specialty courses build upon nursing knowledge and skills learned at the undergraduate level and during foundation and clinical core courses.

Satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree. Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress for all financial aid recipients each semester.

Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Contact the Student Financial Services for additional details.

Good academic standing

All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their graduate program. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must make satisfactory progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, including the completion of critical degree milestones as set forth by the academic program. The student must also maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of (B) 3.0.

Good academic standing is a requirement for:

  • Holding a Graduate Assistantship
  • Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
  • Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
  • Going on a leave of absence
  • Obtaining a graduate certificate or degree from Oakland University.

Additionally, graduate students must meet all department academic standards which may be more stringent than the minimum set forth by the University.

Program requirements:  Students are required to follow the university policies and procedures for graduate students, as described in the Oakland University Graduate Catalog. In addition to the university requirements, specific School of Nursing policies and procedures are outlined in the School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook.

Students are expected to earn a grade of (B) 3.0 or above in each course in the MSN program. In courses graded Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory (S/U), students are expected to earn a course grade of satisfactory. Students who are not making satisfactory progress in the program may be placed on probation with conditions imposed for retention in the program or may be recommended for dismissal from the program.

Students are required to keep RN license and health requirements current.  See SON website for health requirements.  Students are also required to meet any requirements of the healthcare facilities where they have clinical learning experiences. 

Graduate students who are not in good academic standing for any reason are subject to probation and/or dismissal from further graduate study.

Related program information

Plan of study

All accepted applicants, in consultation with the CNL program director, must develop a plan of study that details specific courses the students will use to satisfy their degree requirements. The plan of study must be signed by the program director and student and submitted, in collaboration with advising, to Oakland University Graduate School.

Master’s and graduate certificate students must submit a department-approved plan of study by the end of their first semester of graduate coursework. Doctoral students must submit an approved plan of study prior to completion of the first year of coursework. (See the Graduate Student Responsibility section of this catalog.)

Note:  Credit granted for successful completion of a course toward an undergraduate degree program may not be repeated for a graduate degree. If a substitution is approved, the minimum number of program-approved graduate credits will be required. A Petition of Exception - OU Course Waiver/ Substitution requesting the substitution must be approved.


Students are responsible for requirements and policies stated in the School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook and in each course syllabus. Every student admitted to the MSN program is assigned both an academic adviser and a faculty adviser who has teaching responsibilities in the graduate program. These advisers are available to discuss coursework, plans of study, concerns regarding progression in the program, and student career goals.


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