Graduate Certificates

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Katrina Helmer

Graduate Nursing Office
Clow Social Social Science Center
Room C230

Graduate Certificate
Clinical Nurse Leader

The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) certificate allows individuals who already have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to complete the necessary requirements for CNL certification and practice. This 14-credit certificate program combines 100% online coursework with hands-on practicum to develop the managerial and professional skills that are necessary to effectively lead in a healthcare setting.

With increasing demands to improve quality, safety and patient outcomes across healthcare, CNLs play an important role as advanced generalists who are academically and experimentally prepared to provide leadership in managing patient care environments and improving clinical outcomes. Graduates of the Clinical Nurse Leader Certificate are required to pass the CNL Certification examination in order to be credentialed as a CNL. CNL students who pass the exam demonstrate a high level of clinical competence and knowledge to the point of care and serve as a resource for the nursing team. The exam can be taken during the student’s last semester.


Admission Requirements

  • Master’s degree in Nursing from an accredited college or university
  • Evidence of prior coursework in advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology and advanced health assessment
  • Graduate GPA of 3.0 higher
  • Current licensure as a registered nurse
  • Two references from professional colleagues or supervisors

Application Process

A) Apply to UW Oshkosh as a graduate student

B) Reference Letter Form
Applicants must complete the top portion of the reference form and forward to the two references listed on their UW System online application. Reference forms are to be sent directly from the references to the College of Nursing Graduate Program Office.

C) Ask your master’s degree institution to electronically send transcripts to UW Oshkosh Graduate Studies (

We need an official, degree conferral transcript for your graduate degree:

  • Official means the transcript is sent directly from the institution to UW Oshkosh Graduate Studies. Electronic transcripts are processed most quickly.
  • While we prefer official transcripts for admission decision-making, we can use unofficial transcripts. If you are admitted, we require official transcripts before you begin taking classes. If you uploaded transcripts with your application we will use those unofficial transcripts. Otherwise, email unofficial transcripts to
  • Degree-conferral means the transcript shows the name of the degree earned and the date it was awarded

You may send transcripts from all institutions.

Special situations:

  • If you attended UW Oshkosh, you do not need to send UWO transcripts
  • If you previously applied to UW Oshkosh, we will use transcripts on file
  • If you attended UW Fond du Lac or UW Fox Valley before Fall 2019, you need to request transcripts
  • If you are currently finishing your master’s degree, send a current transcript now and an official degree conferral transcript when you complete your degree
  • If you have more than one master’s degree, send transcripts for the degree most relevant to this certificate

D) Submit copy of current RN license to the College of Nursing Graduate Office via email at


The CNL certificate program begins in fall and takes four semesters to complete.

Semester 1 | Fall

  • Nursing 746 – Quality Improvement & Safety, 2 credits

Semester 2 | Spring

  • Nursing 761 – CNL Practicum I, 2 credits (minimum 112 hours)
  • Nursing 763 – Quality in the Clinical Nurse Leader Role, 3 credits

Semester 3 | Fall

  • Nursing 757 – CNL Practicum II, 2 credits (minimum 112 hours)
  • Nursing 762 – Leadership in the CNL Role, 2 credits

Semester 4 | Spring

  • Nursing 759 – CNL Immersion Practicum, 3 credits (minimum 300 hours)

College of Nursing

Clow Social Science Center
Room C210
800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901