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College of Nursing

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Certificates of Graduate Study

Frequently Asked Questions

Program flexibility

The length of time to complete the program depends on a number of factors, but in general each can be completed within four to six semesters.

AGACNP: APRN 19 credits/Non-APRN 25 credits

FNP: APRN 18 credits/Non-APRN 30 credits

PMHNP: APRN 20 credits/Non-APRN 30 credits

Nursing Administration: 18 credit hours

Nursing Informatics: 18 credit hours

The College of Nursing defines a full-time course load as at least six credit hours per semester while a part-time course load is up to six credit hours per semester. Plans of study vary per degree and follow a predetermined plan for enhanced learning and success. Consult the Office of Financial Aid for eligibility guidelines.

You generally can work part time or on the weekends while completing the CGS program. Clinical courses are very labor intensive and meet during the work week. You will have to make adjustments in your work schedule to meet the program’s academic and project demands.

Advisement and courses

A program adviser will review your program of study, which outlines which courses you will take in the various semesters.

Only a limited number or type of courses can be transferred into the program. For APRN students seeking additional certification, credit may be given for advanced health assessment, advanced pathophysiology and advanced pharmacology. To be eligible, you must have earned a “B” or better in the proposed transfer credit class. Official transcripts and course syllabi of applicable courses must be supplied directly to the CON advisor for credit to be determined.

As a newly admitted student, you will participate in a mandatory advising session prior to starting the program. Once your plan of study is established, no other advising is required unless you need to change the plan of study, take a term away or have other circumstances requiring a change in the established progression outlined. Advisement can be conducted by phone or in person.

Clinical placements

You are encouraged to seek preceptors six months prior to beginning your course. There are several resources available to aid your search. The College of Nursing maintains a list of contracts/agreements on Blackboard to support Nurse Practitioner students with clinical placements. In addition, you may reach out to the college’s director of clinical partnerships for assistance in making clinical connections. Moreover, your professional relationships with health care providers are important when identifying potential new preceptors. Please share new, approved preceptors or settings with Jeanne Cavanaugh, the director of Clinical Partnerships, so that new agreements can be reached with the College of Nursing.

The preceptors are approved by the course faculty in each course and include physicians and experienced nurse practitioners.

For the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program, licensed counselors, psychologists and clinical mental health social workers are appropriate for the therapy portions of the curriculum.

Clinical placement setting requirements vary by degree program.

  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program clinical placement settings: internal medicine, hospitalists, specialty care (cardiology, gastroenterology, nephrology, trauma, critical care, pulmonary, infectious disease) in both ambulatory and acute care hospital settings.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner program clinical placement settings: internal medicine, family practice, primary care practice, pediatric practices, urgent care or minute clinic settings, women’s health practices and emergency departments.
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program clinical placement settings: mental health centers, inpatient psychiatric facilities, private psychiatric practices, counseling centers and other appropriate settings with faculty permission.
  • Nursing Administration program clinical placement settings: Sites for preceptorship experiences may include any healthcare organizations including health systems, hospitals, community based settings or others where nursing leadership is practiced.

The College of Nursing Office of Academic Affairs supports the College of Nursing in establishing new agreements or contracts with approved clinical settings. Establishing a new agreement with a setting or person can take six months or longer to finalize. We recommend starting the process early.

Columbia campus travel requirements

Advanced Practice students are required to travel to the Columbia campus a minimum of one time per clinical course. There may be selective intensive days for Nurse Administrative students.

All didactic course content is online. Courses are taught using the Blackboard CMS and Adobe Connect.

The College of Nursing has a mandatory student orientation that is delivered online. You must complete the orientation session by the designated deadline to be cleared for your first semester of courses.


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