Admissions Guidelines for MSN Nursing Leadership Program: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

The College of Nursing participates in Nursing’s Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS). Find out how to apply.

We evaluate all applicants on the following:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution. 
  • GPAs of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) - Rush will receive GPA calculations from NursingCAS only after they have received all of your official transcripts.
    • Cumulative GPA - all college level coursework
    • Prelicensure nursing GPA - only nursing courses before licensure
  • Substantive answers to personal essay questions (included in Program Materials section of NursingCAS).
  • Three professional letters of recommendation.
    • One letter must come from current supervisor/manager (the person who is responsible for your performance evaluation).
    • Two letters should come from individuals in leadership positions who can speak to your clinical abilities (i.e. an APRN, CNS, nurse educator, medical director).
      • One academic faculty member may be used if the coursework has been completed within the past two years.
      • It is important that you choose recommenders who know you well and can evaluate your current or prospective clinical and leadership abilities, critical thinking, and potential for successfully completing graduate school. Recommendations from friends, relatives, or co-workers will not be accepted and will cause your application to be delayed or denied. 
  • Resume or CV that includes the following information:
    • Community service.
    • Educational, leadership and professional organization activities.
    • Nursing license number and state.
    • Scholarly activities, including publications, presentations, research, honors and awards.
    • Work experience.
  • Registered nurse (RN) licensure in the United States.*
    *Recent graduates from a BSN program must submit a US RN license upon matriculation
  • GRE scores, are not required.
  • TOEFL scores, if required.
  • Personal interview(s) with faculty.
  • Clinical experience is not required to apply for this program.

If you fail to submit accurate or any required information, we will remove your application from consideration for admission.

Enrollment Restrictions for Certain State Residents

Due to state restrictions, you cannot enroll in this program if you reside in one of these U.S. states.

Common Applicant Questions for all Nursing Programs
  • Request Info
  • Register for an Info Session
  • Apply Now
  • Upcoming Application Deadlines

    Spring 2024
    Application: Open
    Deadline: November 1, 2023
    Term Starts: January 2, 2024

    Summer 2024
    Application: Open
    Deadline: March 4, 2024
    Term Starts: May 6, 2024

    Fall 2024
    Application: Open
    Deadline: June 3, 2024
    Term Starts: September 3, 2024

Admissions Contact
Meghan O’Malley, MS
Academic Advancement Director
in the nation by U.S. News & World Report


Attend an information session

Learn more about the MSN Nursing Leadership Program: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) for RNs program at an online information session.