Master’s Degree

Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (MSN)

Contribute to excellence in healthcare delivery and outcomes as a clinical nurse specialist.

nursing alumni working at a hospital wearing lab coats

Program Overview

In this program, you'll explore the advanced role as a clinical nurse specialist while earning a Master's in Science of Nursing. Become a leader in improving patient care outcomes and the quality of health care with a broad foundation in:

  • Health promotion/disease prevention across the health illness continuum
  • Concepts of illness care
  • Clinical decision making grounded in evidence-based practices

The program focuses on delivery of care for late adolescents, adults, and senior adults in wellness through acute care settings, including emergency and critical care environments. 

After program completion, you will be eligible to sit for either the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) national certification as an Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist. As a certified CNS, you'll be on the track to earning a doctoral degree.

The master's degree program in nursing at Widener University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

Program Options

View the Loading... for curriculum and coursework requirements.

Students can enroll for the program at either our Main Campus in Chester or Central Pennsylvania campus in Harrisburg.

The program can be completed in 30–36 months at the student’s pace or within the five-year time limit post matriculation.

Students who are registered nurses have the option to enroll in accelerated tracks to earn a master's degree through the RN-to-MSN program option or earn a BSN degree with graduate course credits that can be rolled into a master's degree program.

Students who hold an MSN can pursue a Adult-Gerontology CNS post-master's certificate. The School of Nursing offers a number of post-master's and post-doctoral certificates in different areas of study. Certificate options can be viewed here.

Admissions Requirements

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  • Complete online application.
  • Application fee of $35.
  • Personal Statement.
  • Updated resume.
  • Two recommendations, preferably from professional nurses with graduate degrees, regarding applicant’s practice and potential for graduate work in nursing.
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended institutions of higher education.
  • Valid U.S. license as a registered nurse. NP or CNS option requires PA State Board of Nursing licensure prior to start of clinicals or as appropriate. Appropriate state licensure within the jurisdiction of the state where clinicals is required. 
  • Satisfactory scores (550 written and 213 computer-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for all applicants from non-English speaking countries.

All admission requirements, including an interview, must be received and completed before:

  • August 15 — for matriculation in the fall semester.
  • December 15 — for matriculation in the spring semester.
  • April 15 — for matriculation in summer sessions.

Students enrolled within the Widener University School of Nursing may be considering licensure (NCLEX) and/or advanced practice certification. Each state/jurisdiction has requirements that candidates must meet in order to obtain licensure and/or certification. To view Widener’s licensure qualifications by state, please visit the School of Nursing Licensure by State webpage or visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) directly. 

Program Highlights

2020 National League for Nursing Center of Excellence

For enhancing student learning and professional development

Nursing students in clinicals

Renowned in the Region

Our School of Nursing was ranked 16th in the Mid-Atlantic region and 8th in Pennsylvania among private colleges.

Best Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Best Master of Science in Nursing

Recognized as the best hybrid MSN program based on flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation.

Founders Hall, home to Widener's School of Nursing, at dusk

Top 50 in Nation

Our School of Nursing is proud to rank #46 out of more than 1,100 private institutions evaluated across the nation.  

Source: Nursing Schools Almanac


Nursing Clinic

Clinical Experiences

Gain clinical experiences with CNS Preceptors at the region’s top hospitals and health care systems. Our dedicated faculty will work with you to find a clinical placement that aligns with your experience and career goals.

nursing graduate student classroom

Course flexibility

A flexible hybrid course delivery system offers classes in-person and online at both the Main Campus in Chester and Harrisburg Campus.

nursing faculty in clinic

Close Faculty Mentorship

Partner with nursing professors who bring years of clinical experience to the classroom. You will join a graduate nursing student community that is guided by close mentorship and one-on-one support from our full-time faculty.


At Widener, our nursing faculty aren't just teaching the courses but are creating the science of nursing education.

Kim A. Noble

I believe that an education with a foundation in science is essential for entry into nursing or advanced practice nursing. Nursing clinical reasoning skills grow as students apply an understanding of disease as the loss of normal function.

Students have great variation in their manner in which they acquire, process, manipulate, store, and retrieve learned information. It is a faculty priority to assist students with the development of metacognitive strategies to assist learning success and retention.

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

As a clinical expert, you will graduate with the expertise you need to provide care as a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Jefferson University Hospitals
  • Main Line Health System
  • Virtua Health System
  • Kennedy Health
  • Presbyterian Hospital
  • Tower Health System
  • Lancaster General
  • Lehigh Valley Health

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist

Take the Next Steps

Join a leading university dedicated to your success.

Visit Us

To visit Widener is, more often than not, to fall in love with the place. To fit your timeline and schedule, we offer a variety of ways to get to know us.

View Tuition and Fees

Explore program costs and payment options.

Financial Aid

At Widener, opportunities for financial aid extend to graduate students. Discover how Widener can help make obtaining your degree possible.

Next steps to apply

We’re glad you made the decision to apply. All applications and supplemental materials are submitted through the online application system. There is a $35 application fee to apply to Widener.

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