Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), MSN

The Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) prepares clinical nurse specialists with advanced competencies in nursing practice and strategies for improving the quality of patient care. The curriculum emphasizes the development of adult-gerontology nursing clinical expertise based on an in-depth understanding of nursing practice and theory.

Scranton's graduate Nursing program was ranked #98 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in its 2019 edition of "Best Graduate Schools."

The Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) program has undergone a credit reduction from 39 to 33 credits! Generally, classes meet 1 day per week with 12 hours of clinical per week for 3 semesters.

U.S. News & World Report "Best Grad Schools 2019"

Program Specific Admission Requirements

Applicants to the Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) program must possess a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a CCNE, ACEN or CNEA accredited program; have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00 or other evidence of ability to complete successfully a graduate program such as grades in other post-baccalaureate courses, scores from national graduate school entrance examinations, or a record of progressively higher work experiences; and be licensed as a registered nurse in the state of Pennsylvania.

The applicant must submit three professional references and a 300-word personal statement identifying career goals, demonstrating communication and writing skills. A personal interview with the program director or a faculty member to clarify goals and objectives is required. 

Students may begin course work in either the fall or spring semester.

For general application requirements, please click here.


The Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) specialization program is offered as a 33-credit master’s degree for baccalaureate-prepared-nurses. Each student is required to complete a clinical practicum. Faculty will provide guidance for students in selection of a practitioner(s) who will serve as preceptor(s) for clinical practicums. The preceptor(s) must be a master’s prepared nurse or licensed physician. Each credit of clinical equals 125 clock hours per semester so that total clinical practicum time for the CNS program is 500 hours (note: practicum is taken over four semesters).

Graduates will be eligible for certification as an adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in Pennsylvania through the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing.  In addition, graduates will be eligible to take the national certification examination for CNS in Adult-Gerontology from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

For additional information on the curriculum, please visit the Graduate Course Catalog.

For additional information on the curriculum, visit the Loading... Catalog.

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    Why Choose Scranton

    Nationally Ranked

    US News & World Report rated The University of Scranton among the 10 top master’s universities in the North in its “America’s Best Colleges” ranking.

    Jesuit Education

    As one of the 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, The University of Scranton is dedicated to developing the whole person.

    Faculty Engagement

    Learn from a faculty comprised of skilled educators who pride themselves in their teaching, professional nursing practice, research and service.

    Mission Statement of Nursing Department

    The Mission of the Department of Nursing at The University of Scranton is to prepare nurses grounded in Jesuit ideals, who are committed to excellence in practice for the 21st century and have the knowledge and competencies to deliver safe, evidence-based, patient centered care.

    Beyond the Classroom

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    Graduate Program Overview

    Find out more about our faculty, graduate outcomes, student support and more.

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    Graduate Assistants, who assist faculty in the delivery of course content, receive a stipend as well as tuition scholarships.

    Program Elements

    Clinical Practicum

    Each credit of clinical equals 125 hours per semester with a total program clinical time of 500 hours.

    Career Opportunities

    hospitals, long-term care/home care facilities, nursing education, health care businesses, insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms


    The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master's degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and post-graduate APRN certificate program at the University of Scranton are  accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

    Combined/Accelerated Degree Option

    Undergraduate students of the University with outstanding undergraduate records may apply for early admission to a master’s degree program through either the Accelerated Master’s Degree Program or the Combined Baccalaureate/Master’s Degree Program.

    An undergraduate student, who plans to go on to graduate study in Nursing may be eligible for admission to the Accelerated Master’s Degree Program. This program allows an undergraduate student who has an excellent academic record, to complete requirements for the baccalaureate, while also enrolling in graduate courses. In participating undergraduate programs, students may apply up to 12 of their accumulated graduate hours toward the completion of their undergraduate degree requirements. (Each participating department determines the maximum number of hours applicable to the undergraduate degree requirements.)

    Meet the Program Director

    Mary Jane Hanson, PhD, CRNP, CNS, RN, FNP-BC, ANP-BC, ACNS-BC, FAANP photo

    Mary Jane Hanson, PhD, CRNP, CNS, RN, FNP-BC, ANP-BC, ACNS-BC, FAANP

    Professor and Director of Graduate and DNP Programs


    B.S.N., Cedar Crest College M.S.N., University of Pennsylvania Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania


    (570) 941-4060

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