Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Certificate

APU’s Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Certificate program prepares registered nurses with master’s degrees in nursing to be experts and leaders in clinical practice for patients across the adult years.

The Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Certificate program is a nondegree course credit option for nurses with a master’s degree in nursing.1 This program provides theory and clinical experiences to prepare nurses to apply to the state of California Board of Registered Nursing for certification and to apply for national certification as an adult clinical nurse specialist (CNS) by examination. Note: Students must be admitted to the university before registering for this program (see Admission section below).


Students may be given transfer credits for previous content completed in a master’s degree program.


Advanced Practice Core Courses 112
GNRS 513Advanced Nursing Practice Role 22
GNRS 610Advanced Pathophysiology3
GNRS 611Advanced Pharmacology3
GNRS 612Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning 34 (3/1)
Advanced Practice Specialty Courses22
GNRS 520Theory and Practice of the Clinical Nurse Specialist in Nursing Care of Adult-Gerontology Patients6 (2/4)
GNRS 521Clinical Specialization in the Care of Adult-Gerontology Patients6 (2/4)
GNRS 543Transitions Across the Care Continuum6 (2/4)
GNRS 548Health Promotion Across the Lifespan2
GNRS 580Gerontology2
Total Units34

Students may be given transfer credits for previous content completed in a master’s degree program.


This requirement is waived for 1992-96 APU master’s graduates, as the content was integrated in the clinical courses.


Units in parentheses are classroom/clinical units.


University graduate admission and program-specific requirements must be met before an application is complete (see Admission to the University). Program-specific application requirements are available online.

International students should contact Graduate and Professional Admissions for application procedures.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program shall be able to:
  1. Articulate a Christian worldview, demonstrating respect for the dignity and uniqueness of others, valuing diversity, and applying spiritual concepts.
  2. Engage in scholarly inquiry and critical thinking, including evaluation and application of evidence-based research.
  3. Appraise and apply knowledge to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions that promote health and prevent disease.
  4. Demonstrate thoughtful analysis of the legal, political, ethical, and/or financial factors impacting healthcare.
  5. Use information systems and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, promote quality, mitigate error and support decision-making.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to coordinate and collaborate with other health care team professionals.
  7. Engage in clinical reasoning, effective communication, and act as change agents to develop professional identity and practice skill.