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Masters (MSN) in Nursing - Healthcare Systems Leadership

Expand your nursing expertise and advance your career towards a management position. Our online MSN program will prepare you to engage in higher level practice and leadership.

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At a Glance

Fall 2024

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Spring 2025

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Credits and Tuition Cost (2023-2024)

Credits Required: 38
Cost Per Credit: $798.50


Online with In-person Requirements

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Learn more about the Nursing - Healthcare Systems Leadership online program.
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Masters in Nursing - Healthcare Systems Leadership overview

Program format
Online with In-person Requirements
Total credits
Total Credits
Program level
Degree awarded
Degree Awarded

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What You'll Learn


The curriculum will emphasizes leadership effectiveness in micro and meso organizational/systems/settings, evidence-based management, quality/safety, information management expertise, and strategies to make organizational changes. Research utilization, evidence-based practice, and leadership are emphasized throughout the program. 

Graduates will be primed to:
1. Lead change to improve quality outcomes
2. Advance a culture of excellence through lifelong learning
3. Build and lead collaborative inter-professional care teams
4. Navigate and integrate care services across the healthcare system
5. Design innovative nursing practices, and
6. Translate evidence into practice (AACN, 2011, The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing)

Course Examples

  • EPE/EDP 557 Gathering, Analyzing and Using Educational Data
  • NUR 602 Research Methods in Advanced Practice Nursing
  • NUR 610 Nursing Leadership In Health Care
  • NUR 624 Concepts, Theories, And Models for Advanced Practice Nursing
  • NUR 730 Leading Change: Seminar
  • NUR 619 Quality And Safety In Nursing And Healthcare
  • NUR 614 Economic and Financial Aspects of Clinical and Population-Based Health Care Delivery Systems
  • NUR 731 Leading Change: Practicum
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How to Apply

Application Requirements

Standard graduate application requirements apply.

  • Three references attesting to the applicant's expertise in nursing or health care. Faculty prefer professional references from a former nursing faculty member or advisor if available, one or two from a manager/director/leader from their work setting, and no more than one from a peer. (Only an email address is required. Our system will ask them to upload their letter.)
  • Personal interview(s)
  • Current, active, unencumbered and unrestricted RN license in each US state where practice or clinical experiences occur. The RN license cannot have any restrictions on licensure which would preclude meeting the requirements of the degree program and required clinical rotations.
  • Goal statement: The mission of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing is to promote health and well-being through excellence in nursing education, research, practice and service while fostering diversity and inclusion.  To support our mission, we strive to build a community that includes students of diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and cultures.
    • Please write a one to two page double spaced essay describing what you would bring to our educational community, the advanced practice nursing profession and the community you seek to serve. Include your short- and long-term professional goals. Identify and discuss a health system or organizational issue/problem you wish to expand your knowledge on during your MSN program.
  • Scholarly written work:  An example of scholarly written work, completed within three years of application, related to nursing that demonstrates excellent writing skills and the ability to communicate clearly and logically. 
    • Samples of scholarly work: formal research paper written in your BSN program; published article on a nursing issue; or paper written on a nursing issue of interest to you
  • Current curriculum vitae/resume

Admissions Criteria

Standard graduate admission requirements apply.

  • Baccalaureate degree in nursing from a school accredited by a nationally recognized organization and goal statement
  • Unencumbered RN licensure required in/for the state where clinicals take place.
  • Undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale*
  • Baccalaureate degree in nursing from a CCNE or NLN accredited program.

   * In instances where exemplary practice has been established and/or the applicant has successfully completed post-graduate work, a provisional admission may be considered for applicants with a GPA below 3.0. This will be evaluated case-by-case based on the number of qualified applicants for each admission cycle. Students admitted provisionally must complete the first (9) hours of MSN course requirements with a grade of B or better in each course to remain in the program.
   Exemplary practice is defined as a comprehensive understanding of the role of nursing, the application of that role with patients/families/communities/interdisciplinary team and the application of new knowledge and evidence to continuously drive practice forward which will be evaluated by application material and interview results. (American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2019)

Program Contact

Debra Hampton
Director of Graduate Studies


Fall 2024

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Spring 2025

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Distance Learning

Licensure & Authorization

Where you live matters when completing distance education activities. If you will live outside of Kentucky while completing your program, please check the Distance Learning Authorization & Licensure page to confirm that the program can be offered in your state or country, and if relevant, that it meets professional licensure requirements in your state. Please note: Admission and enrollment in a fully-online program can NOT lead to the issuance of a J-1 or F-1 student visa. 

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University of Kentucky has been approved to participate in State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

Student Support

Once you become a student, you will have access to a wide variety of academic support services to maximize your success. These services are available completely online to meet the needs of our online students.

Why UK Online


No test scores required.

UK degree

Degrees are conferred by the University of Kentucky, an accredited university.

Flexible schedule

Fit learning into your busy schedule with no prescribed class times.

Be Supported

Access supporting services and success coaches to help you succeed.


The Master of Science in Nursing Healthcare Systems Leadership online program allows me to become a Wildcat while serving my country in operational and deployed settings all around the world. By expanding my knowledge in health care systems, I can help accomplish the mission of the hospital’s leaders while advocating for the goals and needs of nursing manager.
Aaron J. Lueke
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