Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist

The Master of Science specialty for Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS) prepares graduates to practice as an expert practitioner in a specialized area of nursing with expanded authority and autonomy. The AGCNS focuses on improving patient care and nursing practice and serves in a multitude of roles. AGCNSs can provide highly specialized, expert nursing care, serve as the clinical specialty expert for a particular unit or service line, or serve in other roles such as clinical coordination, case management, staff and patient education, or hold staff roles in nursing research. A CNS must obtain a master's or doctoral degree from a clinical nurse specialist accredited program and pass a national CNS certification examination. A CNS is licensed by the Boards of Nursing as an APRN. A CNS must practice in collaboration with a physician or podiatrist when providing direct patient care. Graduates in this specialty can be certified as an Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Joyce Karl
Director, Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Specialty Track

Message from the Director

As a former critical care clinical nurse specialist, I appreciate the important contributions that AGCNSs can make to the evidence-based, high quality care of individuals, families, groups, populations and in organizations. Their expertise in clinical care, evidence-based practice/quality improvement/research, education and staff development help them emerge as advanced practice nursing leaders in all settings.


Our AGCNS graduates enter the workforce with the skills and competencies to: 

  • Assume an advanced practice role
  • Put theory and research into practice with individuals and families 
  • Develop, implement and assess nursing strategies to assure quality of care
  • Utilize leadership skills for positive change in policies at the local, regional and national level
  • Adapt professionally to the constantly changing healthcare environment 
  • Contribute to the advancement of the profession

Specialty Curriculum

  • Nursing 7410 Advanced Health Assessment
  • Nursing 7450 Pathophysiology of Altered Health States
  • Nursing 7470 Advanced Pharmacology in Nursing
  • Nursing 7378.01 Advanced Practice Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum I
  • Nursing 7378.02 Advanced Practice Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum II


Sample Curriculum

A sample curriculum for the traditional master's full-time and part-time options, as well as the graduate entry option can be found in the master's in nursing handbook. A sample curriculum for the BSN to DNP can be found in the DNP handbook


Nicole Baltich
Nicole Baltich, graduate

“The Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist program facilitated my growth to a clinical expert in the critical care department. As a CNS, I have the opportunity to pioneer ways to impact patient outcomes in the acute phase of their hospitalization.”