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The clinical nurse specialist graduate certificate is designed to provide advanced practice nurses with preparation as a clinical nurse specialist (CNS). Nurse who hold a master’s degree in nursing and are prepared for other roles or population groups. The student will choose one of the following populations: adult-gerontology, pediatric or maternal/infant.

Program Type

Graduate Certificate

Program Format

On Campus
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About the Clinical Nurse Specialist

Expand your knowledge and patient population with the CNS Certificate. Practicum placements at UWM College of Nursing are a collaborative effort with students. Graduates of the CNS certificate, with a population focus on adult-gerontology or pediatrics will be eligible to take the national CNS certification exams in adult-gerontology or pediatrics offered by American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC, 2013) or by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACCN) Certification Corporation.

Upon successful completion of the CNS certification exam, graduates may choose to apply for prescriptive privileges in the state of Wisconsin as an Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber or APNP. Currently, CNS certification exams are not available for maternal/infant populations.

This certificate program is subject to federal gainful employment regulations. Due to new federal financial aid regulations, beginning with the summer 2017 term, students who had not previously been awarded federal financial aid at UWM and are enrolled in a standalone certificate program will no longer be eligible for federal Title IV aid. Students working on a standalone certificate who are seeking financial assistance may be eligible for private loans. Private loans are not guaranteed as they are subject to lender approval including a credit check.

FastChoice is a tool that will help you learn what to look for when shopping for a private loan. At the end of the short tutorial, it will provide a comparison shopping tool allowing you to sort, filter, and compare up to five lenders at one time.

Upon applying for the loan of your choice and being approved, the UWM Financial Aid Office will be notified by the lender to provide enrollment information. At such time the loan will be added to your financial aid award.

The CNS certificate consists of 18 credit hours of coursework. All courses are three credits each and are offered in a three-semester sequence so the program can be completed in 12 months. The three practicum courses vary by population focus and must be taken sequentially. The three theory courses vary by population focus, and the plan for theory coursework must be approved by the CNS option coordinator. The three courses must be graduate-level (700 or above) and provide content across the continuum from wellness through acute care for the selected population.

A minimum cumulative 3.0 grade point average in certificate courses taken at UWM is required.

Adult/Gerontology Track

Clinical – Nine credits required

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum I – Adult GerontologyNURS 8323
Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum II – Adult-GerontologyNURS 8333
Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum III – Adult-GerontologyNURS 8343

Theory – Nine credits required

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
Advanced Practice Nursing Adult-Gerontology Chronic Illness NURS 7023
Advanced Practice Nursing Adult-Gerontology Acute Illness NURS 7033
Advanced Practice Nursing Adult-Gerontology Critical Illness NURS 704*3
Process of Aging NURS 760*3
*Students can choose between NURS 704 and NURS 760

Pediatric Track

Clinical – Nine credits required

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum I – PediatricNURS 8173
Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum II – PediatricNURS 8183
Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum III – PediatricNURS 8193

Theory – Nine credits required

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
Nursing Therapeutics for Acute/Critical Illness in ChildrenNURS 6640 (Marquette)3
Human Development: Theory and ResearchED PSY 640*3
Development of the Family Over the Life SpanSOC WRK 771*3
Advanced Practice Nursing-Care of the Child and FamilyNURS 766+3
Interdisciplinary Care of Children with Special Health Care NeedNURS 746+
(UW-Madison)
3
*Students can choose ED PSY 640 or SOC WRK 771
+Students can choose NURS 766 or NURS 746
Maternal/Infant Track

Clinical – Nine credits required

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum I – Maternal/InfantNURS 8143
Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum II – Maternal/InfantNURS 8153
Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum III – Maternal/InfantNURS 8163

Theory – Nine credits required

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
Global Maternal and Child Health: From Evidence to Action NURS 7083
Issues in Women’s Health and DevelopmentNURS 7633
Special Topics Seminar: Advance Practice Nursing:
Maternal/Infant and Women’s Health
NURS 7793

The admission requirements of the CNS graduate certificate are consistent with those requirements specified by the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition, students must also meet the following requirements for the College of Nursing:

  1. A minimum 3.0 (4.0 scale) cumulative grade point average (GPA) is required in previous undergraduate and graduate programs.
  2. Graduate level courses (3 credits each) in physiology, physical assessment, and pharmacology are required with a grade of B or better prior to the start of the program. Courses in physiology and physical assessment must be completed within five years and pharmacology must be within three years of the start of the program. Note: Evidence of prescriptive authority granted through a state board of nursing will be accepted in place of graduate pharmacology.
  3. A master’s or doctoral degree in Nursing from an accredited program providing preparation as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife, or certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Graduate degree and previously admitted graduate non-degree students who decide to pursue a certificate program must submit the Panthera application before completing 6 credits in the certificate sequence. All graduate certificate applicants—even those already enrolled in a UWM graduate program—must apply to the Graduate School via the Panthera admission application and include:

  • A master’s or doctoral degree in Nursing from an accredited program providing preparation as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife, or certified registered nurse anesthetist.
  • Certification in their current advanced practice registered nurse specialty as applicable.
  • Completion with a grade of B or better of a graduate-level course in advanced physiology/pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, and advanced health assessment. Evidence of current prescriptive authority in the state of Wisconsin will be accepted in place of advanced pharmacology.
  • Current registration as a Registered Nurse in the state of Wisconsin.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation, two (2) of which are from persons most knowledgeable about the applicant’s recent academic and work experiences.
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  • Personal statement that includes rationale for certificate study and career goals.
  • Personal interview with a faculty member may be requested.
  • One year of clinical experience relevant to the chosen specialty.
  • a nonrefundable application fee
  • unofficial transcripts from all and any schools attended (regardless of how long it may have been). Applicants will be required to submit official transcripts after an admission offer is accepted

No more than 20% of the required credits may be taken at an institution other than UWM. These courses are subject to Graduate School transfer policy and must be approved by the director of the certificate program.

Time Limit

The certificate program time limit is one year from the time of enrollment.

Jennifer Daood
  • Senior Advisor