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Prospective Students: Graduate Programs - Overview

Master of Science in Nursing-Clinical Nurse Leader (MSN-CNL)
This degree is designed for the baccalaureate-prepared nurse who is interested in delivering evidence-based care to improve patient care. The MSN-CNL graduate works with leaders in inter-disciplinary programs and health care teams within the microsystem. Available online, the MSN-CNL program is highly accessible and can be completed in just over two years.

The MSN-CNL program at the University of Iowa has really opened my eyes to the difference that I can make in an advanced practice role. I now see things from a much broader, overall microsystem-level perspective. The program is really at the forefront of nursing, and I see the role expanding across the country as more health care organizations are looking for ways to improve care transitions and patient outcomes. The program has ignited in me a passion for improving processes at the microsystem level using evidence-based practice that will ultimately improve patient outcomes and safety. "--Stefanie McCrea (MSN-CNL 2014)

For more information about the MSN-CNL program, click here.


Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)
PhD student tuition and 9 month stipends are fully funded for the first three years of the program! The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program prepares scholars to conduct research in nursing, to extend the knowledge base relevant to nursing, and to collaborate in interdisciplinary research with other scholars. Study requires expertise in nursing and developing competence in research that relates to the practice of nursing and delivery of health care.

PhD Program Highlights:

  • World-renowned faculty mentors
  • 100% of full-time students receive some form of financial support
  • Research excellence in:
    • Pain, palliative care, and symptom management
    • Gerontology
    • Health systems
  • With emerging areas of emphasis in:
    • Management of chronic conditions across the lifespan
    • Health promotion in at-risk populations

"I chose the PhD program at the University of Iowa because it is well known as a research intensive institution. The college was able to match me with faculty that have the same research interests as me. My first semester in the program has been a conducive environment for me to learn from and I'm fortunate to be here. I know I will achieve my professional goals of being a nurse researcher and I will be able to influence nursing practice in Kenya through research and education."-- Lister Nyareso Onsongo, RN, MS, and a first-year PhD student from Kenya with a research interests in pain management

For details on the PhD program, click here.


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Today’s complex health care systems demand nurses at the top of their game. The DNP program is designed to prepare clinicians with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve the highest standard of care for individuals, families, and communities. Nurses seeking to expand their administrative knowledge and skills will find the Health Systems program of study relevant and exciting.

“The DNP program at the University of Iowa has fundamentally improved my professional growth and practice. Transitioning from the expert nurse role to the novice Nurse Practitioner role has been both challenging, yet rewarding. The DNP degree has not only enhanced my nursing skills, but has further enhanced my knowledge in leadership, health policy, information technology, ethics, and evidence-based practice. I am confident that I am and will always be a nurse; however, with this terminal degree in nursing, I am better equipped to advocate for our profession in order to ultimately improve patient care."--Michelle Cline (DNP ’13)

Click here to learn more UI's DNP program.