The Clinical Nurse Specialist: Adult/Gerontology Capstone Certificate at UW-Madison provides the education, training, and academic credentials that qualify you to sit for national certification.

Is this Program Right for You?

As healthcare systems and health-related challenges become increasingly complex, Clinical Nurse Specialists are uniquely prepared to have a positive impact. Complete the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Clinical Nurse Specialist Capstone Certificate in Adult/Gerontology in just three semesters, and develop advanced skills and knowledge to contribute to the well-being of your organization and the patients in your care.


Recently, CNNMoney/PayScale listed Clinical Nurse Specialists seventh among the 100 best jobs in America, citing significant growth potential, great pay, and a substantial level of job satisfaction.


Wisconsin currently has a 7.8% vacancy rate for Clinical Nurse Specialists, and there is increasing emphasis on APRN certification for those already in the role. As demand for high quality, cost-effective health care continues to rise, the demand for qualified Clinical Nurse Specialist candidates is expected to increase.

At UW-Madison, our industry-focused curriculum provides you with knowledge of advanced nursing practice and the Clinical Nurse Specialist role through an emphasis on the three spheres of influence: patient care; systems of care; and the healthcare organization, and nursing practice. Classroom assignments deepen your understanding, and supervised clinical practicum allow you to apply new knowledge and demonstrate increasing competencies.


The Clinical Nurse Specialist capstone certificate program from UW-Madison is aligned with educational requirements to sit for national Clinical Nurse Specialist certification through the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC).

What You Learn

  • Integrate nursing science with knowledge from the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences as the basis for advanced nursing practice
  • Demonstrate advanced nursing knowledge of assessment and disease management in adult/gerontological patient populations, including the use of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions to promote and maintain health
  • Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment, systems thinking, and professional accountability in designing, delivering, and evaluating evidence-based care to support positive patient outcomes and systems of care
  • Strategically practice and demonstrate effectiveness within the three spheres of influence that comprise a Clinical Nurse Specialist practice: clients, nurses and nursing practice, and organizational systems of care
  • Guide, mentor, and support other nurses to achieve excellence in clinical nursing practice

Where & How You Learn


  • Face-to-face with online components


  • Complete your certificate in 3 semesters
  • Participate in a supervised clinical practicum that utilizes your advanced knowledge and integrates classroom learning in a practical setting
  • Complete the program with a close cohort of peers and take advantage of collective experience and networking opportunities

Apply Now

All applicants must:

  • Have a master’s degree from an accredited nursing program
  • Have current RN licensure in Wisconsin or eligibility to obtain licensure
  • Have completed graduate courses (3 credits each) in advanced physiology, physical assessment, and pharmacology with a grade of B or better; physiology and physical assessment must be within the previous 5 years and pharmacology must be within 3 years
  • Note: Evidence of current prescriptive authority granted through a state board of nursing will be accepted in place of graduate pharmacology

Apply Now or visit program website.


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