RN to MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership

Advance into leadership, administration or an area of specialization in your field by earning your MSN through the University of Arizona College of Nursing.



Online Master’s Nursing Program in Arizona

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The Fastest Path to an MSN

Earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree in Clinical Systems Leadership in as little as 15 to 24 months. Combining high-quality instruction with proven distance-learning technologies, the online MSN program will solidify your confidence across a broad spectrum of health care environments. Build on the expertise you’ve attained as a practicing professional to elevate patient care and leadership skills.

Graduates of the online RN to MSN program will earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree in Clinical Systems Leadership.

There are two tracks available for this program: as an applicant with an existing Associate Degree in Nursing or as an applicant with an existing Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The ADN track includes three additional courses to address material typically covered in a BSN undergraduate program. Both tracks include a 16-week capstone project.

As one of our nation's most respected premier nursing programs, the University of Arizona College of Nursing’s online RN to MSN is an engaging and patient-centric curriculum uniquely designed for working nurses. It includes coursework in evidence-based practice improvement, systems management, nurse leadership, healthcare technology, quality and safety, health promotion, and creating healing environments.

Eligibility: Applicants must have passed a 3-credit, college-level statistics class within the last 5 years. If you do not meet this requirement, you can still qualify through one of the following options:

  • Take a college-level statistics class at another regionally accredited institution before you start or during your first semester in the program (Minimum grade of C required)
  • Take NURS 629 in your first semester at University of Arizona
  • Attempt a proficiency exam and if completed with a 70% or better, have your statistics class requirement waived

Career Level: Graduate
Degree: Master of Science
College: College of Nursing

Cost & Eligibility

Per Unit Cost: $680
Residents of Tennessee, Washington D.C. as well as the US Territories are not eligible.

The core curriculum for this degree program includes:

  • NURS 520: Foundations of Systems Leadership - Using a systems perspective, you will explore basic concepts related to the health care system, professional knowledge, and quality and safety.
  • NURS 521: Evidence-Based Practice Improvement - You will analyze and apply evidence for selected areas of clinical practice to facilitate optimal patient outcomes and use evidence to develop, validate and endorse strategies for system-wide practice improvements.
  • NURS 540: Health Promotion and Risk Reduction - At the individual and interpersonal level of care, you will explore the concepts of health promotion and risk reduction and examine evidence-based strategies that acknowledge patient-centered values and beliefs optimizing health/wellness.
  • NURS 541: Population Health - For vulnerable (including cross-cultural) populations and communities, you will apply concepts related to the assessments, surveillance and interventions for risk reduction, disease prevention and health promotion.
  • NURS 543: Health Information and Patient Care Technologies - You will evaluate and apply emerging health care technologies, such as point of care clinical support, telehealth/medicine and electronic documentation, in support of patient-provider communication, interprofessional practice and coordinated patient care delivery.
  • NURS 545: Healthcare Environments and Care Coordination - You will examine health policy and regulation, health economics and advocacy, and apply advocacy strategies for transitioning ‘at-risk’ individuals across the health care continuum.
  • NURS 640: Healthcare Business Dynamics - You will apply business concepts and principles consistent with patient-centered care across a variety of health care settings. Concepts include organizational structure and finance, budgeting, cost-benefit analysis, marketing, resource allocation, innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • NURS 641 - Leadership for Patient-Centered Care - You will explore the principles of shared leadership, team dynamics and interprofessional practice as the foundation of patient-centered care with emphasis on mediation, negotiation, conflict resolution, collaboration and consultation.
  • NURS 653: Healing Environments and Practices - You will examine evidence-based integrative approaches that support structural and human care processes and evaluate models of optimal healing environments that promote personal and organizational health/wellness.
  • NURS 654: Quality and Safety Management - You will examine concepts related to the quality and safety improvement process and management strategies that ensure patient safety and quality outcomes, including continuous quality improvement processes and program planning, implementation and evaluation.
  • NURS 660: Clinical Systems Leadership Immersion - During your 16-week Clinical Systems Leadership Immersion, you will work with a faculty mentor of your choosing to develop a comprehensive care management plan for a chronic care population utilizing patient-centered leadership concepts.
Student taking a UA Online course


Earning your Master of Science in Nursing - Clinical Systems Leadership will build core skills, including:

  • development of comprehensive care plans
  • evaluation of care systems
  • interdisciplinary team experience
  • leadership and innovation
  • patient-centered care
  • staff and patient advocacy
  • understanding of business and economic principles

Your online MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership will challenge you to think more holistically and strategically about care systems, giving you a bold and broad new view of the paths your career might take. The positions below are just a handful of professions that will open to you when you've earned your MSN.

  • Clinical Care Coordinator
  • Clinical Systems Manager
  • Infection Control Manager
  • Nurse Administrator
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Manager
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Patient Navigator
  • Quality and Safety Coordinator

Choose Your Track:

man analysing diagram


Licensed RNs with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing take a total of 11 courses to earn an MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership. Each course is 7 weeks long and the program can be completed in as little as 24 months.

ADN to MSN Courses
man analysing diagram


The ADN track includes a total of 11 courses.

Examples of courses that you may take include:

  • NURS 521 Evidence-Based Practice Improvement
  • NURS 540 Health Promotion and Risk Reduction
  • NURS 543 Health Information and Patient Care Technologies
  • NURS 545 Healthcare Environments and Care Coordination
ADN to MSN Details
public health professionals


The BSN track has been designed for students who already hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This 15-month curriculum consists of only 8 courses, minimizing overlap with your prior coursework. Each course is just 7 weeks long.

BSN to MSN Courses
public health professionals


The BSN track consists of 8 courses.

Examples of courses that you may take include:

  • NURS 520 Foundations of Systems Leadership
  • NURS 541 Population Health
  • NURS 545 Healthcare Environments and Care Coordination
  • NURS 653 Healing Environments and Practices
BSN to MSN Details

Upcoming Start Dates

With classes starting three times a year, the next opportunity to start your MSN program is never more than five months away:

January 13, 2021



Admissions Requirements

A current RN license in the state where you now practice with no restriction, encumbrance, or probationary limitations imposed by the applicable Board of Nursing or any judicial entity associated with yourself, your license or your practice. The RN license must be current upon application and throughout the program. RN licenses that expire before classes begin must be updated before starting the program.

All applicants must have an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited educational institution such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN, formerly the National League for Nursing), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or a national accrediting body for nursing programs in countries outside of the U.S.

Degrees may be an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), an Associate of Applied Science-Nursing (ASN) or equivalent, or a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

A 3.0 or higher GPA (based on a 4.0 scale), or equivalent, for your associate or bachelor’s degree based on one of the following:

  • All cumulative undergraduate coursework (BSN-MSN and ADN-MSN tracks)
  • The last 30 credits of your associate program (ADN-MSN track)
  • The last 60 credits of your bachelor's program (BSN-MSN track)

Within the last five years, the equivalent of the following:

  • One full year of RN work experience (ADN-MSN and BSN-MSN tracks)

Students who are practicing RNs in the US but who have an international nursing degree, should have the equivalent of two full years of RN work experience in the United States (50 states) within the last five years. Complete the work verification worksheet to submit with your application.

RN work experience is defined as employment in a role that specifically requires a registered nurse. Nursing practice may be in clinical practice such as clinical nurse in acute care, ambulatory care, home health, case manager for an insurance company, clinic, or home health nurse; or in nursing administration, education, research, or consultation.

Proof of English proficiency is required for any international applicant born in a country where English is not the official language. Visit the International Applicants page for additional information on this requirement, including exemption details and testing procedures.

Applications must be submitted through NursingCAS and the University of Arizona Graduate College

Applying Applications must be submitted through NursingCAS and the University of Arizona Graduate College

Nursing CAS Application


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Review Requirements

Review the program materials section of NursingCAS to learn more about the specific admissions criteria, requirements and deadlines for your program. Collect and submit any required supporting materials, such as personal statements, documents and certification data.


Complete Application

Send your official transcripts and test scores to NursingCAS and complete your application. Once you have submitted your application and any additional supporting materials, monitor your application status in your NursingCAS account and follow-up on any necessary actions.

University of Arizona Graduate College Application


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After you have created a GradApp account, you can begin your application. Remember to choose Arizona Online as your campus.


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RN to MSN Opens Doors

Lead the Way

Today, 3 million RNs in the US are the backbone of American health care. You make an incredible impact on people’s lives through the care you provide.

An MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership opens doors that will empower you to help even more people. It can give you a seat at the table for decisions about care policies and practices and the business of improving health.

Advance Your Career

Not all RNs want to advance into leadership. However, without an MSN or doctoral degree, most nurses are already at a career ceiling.

An MSN empowers you to advance your career in any direction, such as teaching nursing and lead clinical classes and mentoring those who are just starting their journey.

Improve Your Future

As an RN, you do vital work that you should be proud of. Because of the intensive and demanding work, some RNs eventually experience their own health challenges, in part from the physical rigors of their work.

If that’s you today, an MSN opens up new ways to help people with new roles and responsibilities. An MSN ensures that when you’re ready to transition to a different kind of nursing: your options will be wide open.

Live Your Best Life

Do you struggle with work-life balance? Most MSN jobs have regular hours, more in sync with the schedules of friends and family.

Do you value independence and respect in your work? An MSN is a professional signal of greater expertise as well as your commitment to making a difference.



Meet an MSN graduate below and see how our program made a difference in her life and career.

Beth High's Story

Watch Beth's Story

The highlight of the program for me was the Systems Leadership Immersion Project

-Beth High

RN to MSN Graduate


The online MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

Additionally, the UA College of Nursing is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Western Institute of Nursing.



Need help filling out the application? Our dedicated enrollment counselors are here to help. Call us at 520.621.6676 or send us an email.

Dentin Garrett
Senior Enrollment Counselor
msnonline@email.arizona.edu(link sends e-mail)

Heidi Creel
Senior Academic Adviser
heidim@arizona.edu(link sends e-mail)

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