Post-Graduate Certificate

The post-graduate certificate pathway is designed for registered nurses with a graduate degree in nursing who seek academic preparation in a new specialty or subspecialty area of advanced practice nursing. Each certificate pathway is designed to be in compliance with national certification requirements including required support courses, didactic specialty courses, and clinical hours.

Post-Graduate Certificate Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Integrate advanced knowledge and theories from nursing and related disciplines into a specialized area of advanced nursing practice.
  2. Demonstrate competence in advanced nursing roles to meet current and emerging health needs of a specific population or system.
  3. Use scientific inquiry to identify problems within an organization or specific patient population to improve care outcomes.
  4. Apply advanced knowledge of leadership and management to transform care delivery systems in a specialized area of advanced nursing practice.
  5. Contribute to the focus and direction of the nursing profession within a specialized area of advanced nursing practice.

Requirements for Admission to the Post-Graduate Certificate Pathways

  1. Graduate of an approved master’s or doctoral program with a major in nursing.
  2. Current registered nurse licensure with no restrictions. Nurses with any restrictions on their license, including participation in a voluntary disciplinary alternative program, cannot be admitted.
  3. A grade-point average of 3.0 on all graduate work (A=4.00). 
  4. Submission of a resume which documents clinical experience. (Note: Prior to enrolling in nurse practitioner clinical course, students are required to have at least 2 years of experience in an area appropriate to the specialty track.)
  5. After acceptance into the program, admission is contingent upon a negative drug screen, results of an acceptable background check, submission of Health Data Forms, evidence of Health Insurance, and completion of Certified Profile Medical Records Manager. Instructions provided in acceptance letter.

Progression Requirements

Students follow the progression policies as for the MSN program for BSN prepared RN's.

Clinical Orientation

All courses are offered completely in the on-line format, for the convenience of working nurses. Students log on anytime and anywhere to complete web-based courses that are expertly designed and highly interactive. Students may be required to come to campus once when they begin the clinical portion of their program for intensive classroom and evaluation sessions. Currently, all Nurse Practitioner specialties require students to come to campus for this intensive experience.

Clinical Requirements

Students complete the clinical requirements for the degree in their home communities. All specialty tracks within the College of Nursing’s graduate programs require a practice component. Although faculty assists students in locating appropriate practice/clinical sites, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to secure a site and preceptor if indicated. Students who are unsuccessful in being accepted by an agency in their home community may have to travel to another area to complete practice requirements or withdraw from the program. Please review the list of Clinical Affiliations. If there is not a clinical site listed near you or you are interested in a site not listed, negotiations should be initiated as soon as you begin the program through the Track Coordinator for your specialty.

Program Completion Requirements for the Post-MSN Certificate Pathways

Students are required to complete all specialty courses and any support courses not previously completed. Post-Graduate Certificate students are not required to complete graduate core or research courses.

Applications for Post-Graduate Certificates


Applicants who are accepted into the Post-Graduate Certificate program need Physio-Pathological Basis of Advanced Nursing (NU 545), Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nurses (NU 578), or Advanced Nursing Assessment (NU 518). These courses must be completed before starting specialty courses in the fall semester. If applicants have previously completed these support courses, then they will be admitted to the next fall term when the specialty courses are offered depending on space in these courses. Some specialties have limited availability due to high enrollment.

Please go to the MSN Application Web Page for instructions regarding how to apply to the Post-Graduate Certificate program.

Post Graduate Certificates

Post-graduate students can select any of the specialty options offered by the program. Each certificate pathway is designed to be in compliance with national certification requirements including required support courses, didactic specialty courses, and clinical hours.

Please find the curriculum schedules for the Post Graduate Certificates below:

Post-Graduate Subspecialties

Subspecialties are specialty areas not considered primary areas of advanced practice nursing. Students in all programs can add these subspecialties if they are pursuing any appropriate area of advanced practice nursing or they may be completed as a Post Graduate Certificate.

MSN-DNP Adding a New Specialization

Students who have completed their MSN degree and are interested in completing a new specialization, along with the DNP degree, may apply for admission to the MSN-DNP Adding a New Specialization program. Please go to MSN to DNP Adding New Specialty Certification for additional information on this program. Applications for this program should be submitted to the DNP Office by following application procedures on the DNP Application page since the applicant is applying for admission to the doctoral program. Curriculum schedules for these programs are found under each specialty page listed below.

Gainful Employment

Click here for the Gainful Employment Disclosure for information on USA's Gainful Employment Disclosure 

Contact Information

For all inquiries related to the admissions process:

For all current and continuing students:

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