Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Gwynedd Mercy University

Online Clinical Nurse Specialist Program (MSN-CNS)

Prepare for Advanced Clinical Practice   

Begin your career as an advanced practice nurse by choosing an advanced educational partner: Gwynedd Mercy University. Our Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Nurse Specialist (MSN-CNS) program builds on your professional experience to equip you with the skills you need to provide advanced treatment to patients, lead other nurses, and train the next generation of nurses. 

The GMercyU Difference

Our 43-credit, two-year MSN-CNS program, offered on Main Campus in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, features a comprehensive graduate curriculum developed by our clinically experienced professors. Working closely with our faculty and a small cohort of classmates in our cns programs, you can prepare to provide expert care to adults in practice settings such as:

  • Acute care
  • Ambulatory care
  • Home-based care
  • Community health facilities
  • Long-term and rehabilitative care facilities
  • As part of your training, you’ll take advantage of GMercyU’s extensive network of regional health care partnerships to perform 500 hours of precepted clinical and role specialty practice. 

After graduation, you should be prepared to pass the American Nurses Credentialing Center Clinical Nurse Specialist Exam and qualify as a CNS. The MSN-CNS also provides the academic foundation you need to pursue a doctoral degree in nursing, such as our Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. 

What You Will Learn – Clinical Nurse Specialist Program - Adult Gerontology

Our MSN-CNS program focuses on extending your clinical practice capabilities and offers education in scientific research and professional writing. You also have the choice to specialize in either nursing management or nursing education as part of your CNS program.

As a GMercyU Master of Science in Nursing graduate, you will be able to:

  • Collaborate with colleagues and consumers to provide and improve advanced nursing care
  • Demonstrate expertise as an advanced practice nurse through the diagnosis and treatment of actual or potential nursing problems 
  • Demonstrate professionalism as a nurse practitioner grounded in the Mercy tradition
  • Demonstrate social responsibility for individuals, families, and communities within the context of a multicultural society
  • Utilize knowledge to provide holistic care in a defined area of advanced practice nursing in accordance with standards of practice and codes of ethics
  • Strategize to improve health for all by influencing policy
  • Synthesize knowledge from nursing and related disciplines as a foundation for evidence-based practice as a clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, or nurse educator
  • Assume a leadership role in interpreting and promoting advanced nursing to members of the profession, to other disciplines, and to consumers
  • Contribute to advanced nursing knowledge through scientific inquiry

A Leading Regional Nursing School for Over 50 Years

Gwynedd Mercy University’s Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions has been a regional leader in health practitioner education for more than two generations. Our nursing faculty members bring clinical expertise, academic rigor, and a passion for the nursing profession to the classroom. 

The community of nursing experts, scholars, and regional health care leaders we have developed—not to mention our thousands of nursing alumni—is an invaluable resource for your professional development and personal enrichment. Inside and outside the classroom in our CNS programs, the GMercyU community offers you the opportunity to discover the Next. 


The MSN-CNS (Adult-Gerontology) is a two-year advanced practice nursing program. You will take 12 courses and complete a practicum experience. This includes seven foundation courses (a total of 19 credits), plus four CNS concentration courses (12 credits). The last nine credits include a course in either nursing leadership or nursing education and your practicum. Courses run one at a time, in seven-week sessions.

Course Requirements

NUR 500    Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Practice Nursing Across the Lifespan 
NUR 510 Pathophysiology for Advanced Practice Nursing
NUR 530 Theoretical Foundations of Nursing
NUR 569     Advanced Assessment Practicum for Advanced Practice Nurses (two semesters)
NUR 570           Advanced Assessment and Clinical Decision Making for Advanced Practice Nursing Across the Lifespan
NUR 610 Research Methodology
NUR 615 Research Seminar

CNS Concentration Courses

NUR 550  Advanced Adult Health Nursing with Gerontology 1
NUR 551 Advanced Adult Health Nursing with Gerontology 2
NUR 552 Practicum - Advanced Adult Health Nursing with Gerontology  1
NUR 553 Practicum - Advanced Adult Health Nursing with Gerontology  2

Management Specialty Track

NUR 602  Organizational Behavior for APNs
NUR 603 Clinical Practicum – Management Role

Education Specialty Track

NUR 605 Curriculum Design
NUR 606 Teaching Role – Clinical Practicum

To review course descriptions, please refer to the graduate catalog (PDF).


Prepare for Advanced Nursing Practice as a CNS

Take the next step towards your professional goals: earn your Clinical Nurse Specialist MSN with us. Call 844-707-9064 or e-mail to contact an admissions counselor to learn more about our clinical nurse specialist programs, or begin your application online now!


The Master of Science in Nursing program at Gwynedd Mercy University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, at 202-887-6791 (

Our Outstanding Faculty