Clinical Nurse Specialist Tracks

Apply to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Our Master of Science in Nursing program has two Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) tracks that will deepen your expertise in the type of patient care that you feel passionate about. IU School of Nursing’s CNS tracks include Adult-Gerontology and Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Application Deadlines

Admission to the CNS track is offered every semester. Applications must be submitted by the following deadlines:

  • Fall admission: July 1
  • Spring admission: November 1
  • Summer admission: March 1

All supplemental materials (recommendations and official transcripts) must be received within 14 days of the application deadline.


To apply for our MSN program, you must have:

  • A Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Applicants who completed their nursing degree in a foreign country must have the equivalent of a BSN as evaluated by the IU Indianapolis Office of International Affairs.
  • A BSN degree GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent).
  • An active, unencumbered Indiana or Compact RN license.
  • One year of full-time, hospital-based RN experience with adults (Adult-Gero CNS) or in pediatrics/NICU (Pediatric CNS) at the time of application. 
  • Completed a three-credit hour undergraduate statistics course with a grade of B- or better at an accredited college or university.

Steps to apply

The following are examples of appropriate professional references:

  • Current or former nurse manager or other clinical supervisor (i.e. house supervisor, shift coordinator, etc.)
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Clinical educator
  • Physician who has supervised you
  • Immediate supervisor from previous healthcare-related employment (i.e. nurse tech, CNA, EMT)

References from co-workers who are peers, close friends, or relatives are not appropriate.

You will enter your reference contact information into the application. Electronic evaluation requests will be sent to your references once you submit their information into the application. (Note: You do not have to wait until you have all items of the application complete and ready to submit - if the application deadline is nearing, we recommend submitting your evaluation requests ASAP to give your references adequate time to respond while you work on completing the other components of the application.)

Be sure to return to your application to verify that your references have submitted their evaluation - it is your responsibility to ensure that you have at least three evaluations by the application deadline. Applications must be complete by the application deadline in order to be forwarded to faculty for review.

Your resume should include:

  • Clinical RN experience - be sure to include employment dates (month & year) and hospital unit. if applicable
  • Other healthcare-related work experience
  • Significant prior careers
  • National certifications (please spell out certification & organization names - do not use acronyms)
  • Professional development Leadership and/or committee roles in your place of employment (examples: charge nurse, shift leader, committee member, committee chair)
  • Awards, nominations, or other recognition with the field of healthcare (or academics for recent grads)
  • Preceptor experience
  • Healthcare-related volunteer experience
  • Membership to nursing organizations (including nursing student organizations, if a recent graduate) - denote any leadership roles held

There is no page limit - please feel free to use as much space as you need to in order to convey to the admission committee who you are as a nurse and potential graduate student. IUSON does not provide a resume template. You may use whatever resume format you prefer.

Using your computer or phone, take a screenshot (not a photo) from the appropriate state licensing board website showing your full name, license number, and license expiration date.

Request official transcripts from ALL colleges or universities outside of the IU system that you have previously attended. You do not need to submit an official transcript from coursework and/or degrees completed at IU (any campus).

In order to be considered official, transcripts must be sent directly to the IU School of Nursing from the issuing college or university. Electronic transcripts are strongly preferred. Please have transcripts sent to IUSON Admission Coordinator. If an electronic transcript is not available, please have your transcript mailed to:

Indiana University School of Nursing
600 Barnhill Drive, NU 112C
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Attn: Admission Coordinator

Some transcript request systems will offer default options to send transcripts to the IU Indianapolis Office of Admissions or the IU Indianapolis Graduate Office. Please be sure to bypass these default selections and enter the email or mailing address for the School of Nursing listed above. Transcripts sent to other offices may not reach the School of Nursing, or may be significantly delayed. Applications are not considered complete until official transcripts are received by the School of Nursing.

Complete and submit an IU graduate application for your intended MSN track.

To locate the track to which you are applying, type "Nursing" in the program search bar. Please pay attention to which campus is offering the program you are selecting. Applications submitted to another IU campus cannot be transferred to IU Indianapolis. You can also filter by campus using the Filters button next to the search bar.

Be sure to upload the required supplemental materials to your application before submitting:

  • Résumé
  • RN License

If you have questions about your application submission, please contact

The application fee is $70 and is non-refundable.

Ready to take the next step?

Apply now