Post-MSN Certificate (PMC), Clinical Nurse Specialist

Post-MSN Certificate (PMC), Clinical Nurse Specialist

Certificate: Applicants must complete their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) before beginning this certificate program.


Your work is more than a job — it’s a sacred calling. You meet people in their weakest, most vulnerable, and joyful moments. Your patients need more than your skills and technology alone; they need your compassion, humble strength, and spiritual understanding.

At PLNU, we believe nursing is sacred work. That’s why we provide you with the best knowledge and practices while also focusing on the spiritual and emotional side of caring for patients. We challenge you to make nursing care the best it can be for patients because this is work that deeply matters. If you have an MSN degree, earning your clinical nurse specialist (CNS) certification can prepare you to do even more in the field you love.

Faithfully serve others — and fulfill your purpose.

A Strong Impact

When you become a clinical nurse specialist (CNS), you will be prepared to advance the standard of care in your area of specialization. When you earn your CNS from PLNU, you will focus on the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of nursing and your specialty, preparing you to make a big impact on patients’ holistic care.

Close-Knit Collaboration

Move through the program together with a small, diverse cohort of peers for continued encouragement and supportive friendships. Small classes allow for in-depth discussion and quality interactions with professors. You will also learn to care for yourself to better serve your patients.

A Healthy Future

The hands-on, evidence-based instruction, clinical hours, mentoring, and networking opportunities through an extensive alumni group, as well as PLNU’s strong nursing reputation in San Diego, set the stage for your continued career success after graduation.

State Authorization

State authorization is a formal determination by a state or U.S. Territory that PLNU is approved to conduct activities regulated by that state or U.S. Territory. PLNU is not required to obtain state authorization in every state or U.S. Territory, and the university has opted at this time not to seek authorization in some states. Additionally, PLNU meets the criteria for exemption from authorization in certain states.

At this time, PLNU does not have authorization in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin, which means residents of these states cannot enroll in any PLNU online program or course.

Authorizations in specific states and U.S. Territories may change periodically. PLNU recommends individuals contact PLNU admissions at (800) 733-7770 for the latest information.

Professional Licensure or Certification

This program is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing and meets the requirements for licensure or certification in the state of California, where Point Loma Nazarene University is physically located. PLNU cannot confirm whether or not specific programs meet out-of-state requirements for Professional Licensure or Certification. Information about out-of-state requirements in Nursing are available on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website.

For more information on State Authorization and Program Licensure, please refer to our disclosures page.

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master's degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and post-graduate APRN certificate program at Point Loma Nazarene University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Application Information

Program Start Date(s):

  • Summer 2023 – May 8, 2023
  • Fall 2023 – August 28, 2023

Application Deadline(s):

  • Summer 2023 – April 19, 2023
  • Fall 2023 – August 9, 2023

All applications submitted after this date will be reviewed based on availability of space.

Start Application

The Selection Process

The educational context at PLNU will challenge you to live a full life that integrates the pursuit of knowledge with beliefs, values, and actions. While honoring diverse perspectives and beliefs, Christian values and principles are woven into the educational experience. We understand your application is not only a reflection of you as a student; it reflects you as a person.

At PLNU, we holistically evaluate your academic history, work and life experience, background, and circumstances to determine admission into a program. Your undergraduate and graduate GPA are important pieces of your application, but if you do not meet the minimum GPA requirement of 3.0, you may still be eligible for admission based on your application package as well as the exceptions policy per your particular program. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor, who will advise you regarding your qualifications and provide specific information about the admission under exceptions process.

To be admitted into PLNU's PMC program, you must have a baccalaureate degree and an M.S. in nursing from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by official transcripts. You must also have at least one year of employment experience as an RN that aligns with the CNS track in which you want to specialize. The PMC clinical nurse specialist program at PLNU offers the following tracks:

  • Adult/Gerontology Nursing

  • Women's Health

  • Pediatric Nursing

Five hundred hours of practicum will be required.

If you have any questions about your qualifications or the program in general, we encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor.

Application Checklist

Note: The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

  1. Submit online application for admissions (includes $50 non-refundable application fee).

  2. Fee waived if applicant is one of the following: PLNU alum, current or former military, PLNU employee.

  3. Submit official transcripts showing completion of MSN degree from a National League for Nursing (NLN), Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or regionally accredited program* (i.e. WSCUC). (If you are a PLNU alumnus, please notify your counselor to have your transcripts retrieved. You do not need to request transcripts from the PLNU Office of Records.)

  4. Current California licensure as a Registered Nurse.

    Official transcripts must be sent to:
    Point Loma Nazarene University
    Office of Graduate Admissions
    3900 Lomaland Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92106

    Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to:

    *Please note, official transcripts must be sent directly from the regionally accredited institution.
  5. Submit personal essay:

    • Clinical Nurse Specialist Concentration Essay Prompt:
      Please submit an essay of approximately 250 words that demonstrates graduate-level writing skills. Using and, compare and contrast the role of a CNS and Nurse Practitioner. Discuss why you chose the CNS role.

  6. Submit two professional recommendations.

  7. Work Experience:

    • CNS concentrations must have at least one year of employment experience as an RN in an acute care facility.

  8. After all application materials are submitted, an interview with the nursing department is scheduled.

Start Application 

Exceptions Policy*: If you have a GPA below 3.0 in your baccalaureate degree, you will need to speak with your enrollment counselor for more information on the exceptions materials needed for your particular program.

Career Opportunities

The versatile set of skills you’ll develop by pursuing a degree in nursing from PLNU prepares you for nursing in a variety of settings. PLNU nursing alumni have held various positions in hospitals, K – 12 schools, clinics, medical missions, and public health institutions. PLNU cultivates passion, professionalism, and a values-driven approach to work in a context that intersects your intellect and faith, equipping you to become a trustworthy leader in your workplace.

Natalie Hamill with Her Mother

Caregiving: The Challenge, Choices, and Love

PLNU alum Natalie Hamill (13) on caring for and loving her mom with Alzheimer’s.

Read More in the Viewpoint Online Magazine 

Financial Aid and Student Support

We take seriously the role of providing you with financial, academic, and career support so you have the tools you need to be successful at PLNU and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Financial Aid and Student Support

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Post-MSN Certificate (PMC), Clinical Nurse Specialist Certificate program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information