Master’s Degree

Adult-Gerontology MSN Clinical Nurse Specialist

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.

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) logo

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.

MSN Clinical Nurse Specialist 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. 

View post-master's certificates

View post-doctoral certificates

Many area health care systems offer their employees discounted tuition rates for Widener's graduate nursing programs.

View our educational partners

Admissions Requirements

  • 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. 
  • International applicants, immigrants to the U.S., and U.S. permanent residents are required to submit the results of an English proficiency test taken with 2 years, unless they are from a TOEFL-exempt country.
    View English Proficiency Requirements
  • International applicants who will be seeking licensure in the U.S. should work with Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) to utilize their credentials evaluation service

Loading... in the course catalog.

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. 

MSN Clinical Nurse Specialist Program Highlights

College of Distinction Nursing 2023-2024 Logo

College of Distinction for Nursing

Recognized for top-quality teaching and successful outcomes.

National Center of Nursing Excellence

1 of 9 schools nationwide to be recognized as a National Center of Nursing Excellence.

Founders Hall midday shot

Renowned in the Region

Our School of Nursing was ranked 7th 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 30 in Nation

Our School of Nursing is proud to rank #28 out of more than 1,100 private institutions evaluated across the nation.  

Source: Nursing Schools Almanac


Bachelor's Degree in Nursing BSN student Works in School of Nursing Community Clinic in Pennsylvania. Pursue a BSN degree and earn a nursing BSN at one of the best schools for nursing in Pennsylvania.

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.

Clubs & Organizations

Nursing majors that the opportunity to join mutliple clubs and organizations across campus to expand their network, including the Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders (PONL), Sigma—International Honor Society of Nursing, and many more.


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

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.

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist

Recent Employers

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Jefferson University Hospitals
  • Main Line Health System
  • Virtua Health System
  • Kennedy Health

Take the Next Steps


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.