The Nursing Leadership and Organizational Science (NLOS) concentration at the VCU School of Nursing equips registered nurses with the knowledge and skills needed to transform the healthcare delivery system and sustain quality health outcomes across populations. NLOS students are educated in leading innovation and change, organization and improvement science, clinical and fiscal operations, system design, quality and safety evaluation, and project management. NLOS courses focus on skills for creating safe, healthy environments that support the work of the health care team, contribute to patient engagement, and improve the patient experience and health outcomes. Students build on core content through elective options in the topic areas of innovation and system management. The skills acquired in the NLOS concentration support a flexible and rewarding career path as they are transferable to a variety of roles and practice settings. An online delivery model is used to deliver course content with a short 1 or 2 day face-to-face component each semester. Students also complete a precepted practicum experience. 

Graduates of the NLOS concentration are prepared to succeed as nurse leaders and administrators across all levels of the healthcare system. Graduates are eligible, depending on employment role and work history, to apply for nursing administration certification exams offered through the American Nurses Credentialing Center of the American Nurses Association and the American Organization for Nursing Leadership.

Student learning outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  1. Synthesize knowledge and theories from nursing and related sciences to improve health outcomes for individuals, populations and systems
  2. Integrate prevention and population health concepts into models of care
  3. Demonstrate leadership to foster interprofessional collaboration that advances health care practices and influences health policies
  4. Integrate evidence and organizational science into practice to enhance outcomes 
  5. Enhance patient care and safety using quality processes and improvement science
  6. Incorporate current and emerging health care technologies and informatics into practice
  7. Demonstrate core competencies in their advanced practice concentration

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

VCU School of Nursing Student Policy and Information handbooks are located on the school’s website.

Our international and non-native English-speaking students bring different perspectives and new thinking to our nursing programs. To ensure that all incoming student are prepared for the school’s academic rigor, all international applicants and non-native English speaking applicants without a degree from a U.S. high school, college or university must provide additional information with their applications according to the English language proficiency guidelines on the program admission tab.

Visit the School of Nursing website for program-specific application instructions.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
M.S.FallRolling admissions

Note: No admissions test is required for this program.

To be considered for admission to the School of Nursing, applicants must:

  1. Be eligible for readmission or be in good standing at the last college or university attended
  2. Meet the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School
  3. Submit a complete application with all required materials to the School of Nursing
  4. Have an earned baccalaureate (or higher) degree in nursing from an accredited nursing school (e.g. ACEN, CCNE, CNEA)
  5. Have completed a minimum of three credit hours in statistics with a minimum grade of B
  6. Have a current, unrestricted R.N. license from a U.S. state or territory at the time admissions application is submitted (Applicants without a R.N. license in the U.S. should consult with the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools and the Virginia Board of Nursing for the steps needed to obtain a Virginia R.N. license.)
  7. Provide additional information with the application according to the English language proficiency guidelines for applicants who are international or non-native English speakers without a degree from a U.S. high school, college or university (Additional information can be found on the ‘Required materials’ tab of the VCU International Admissions website.) 

School of Nursing B.S. graduates who successfully completed the requirements of the VCU Honors College are eligible for guaranteed admission to the master’s program.

Degree requirements

Thirty-five graduate credit hours are required for the nursing leadership and organizational science concentration.

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, a candidate for the degree of Master of Science in Nursing must be recommended by the faculty and must:

  1. Meet academic requirements of the Graduate School
  2. Complete all requirements for the prescribed curriculum within six calendar years of the first registration for work to be credited toward the degree
  3. Earn a minimum grade of B or pass grade in all nursing courses
  4. Earn a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all work presented for graduation
  5. Conform to School of Nursing policies in respect to pass/fail grading for course work or thesis study

The degree will be granted only after all requirements have been fulfilled and all fees to the university have been paid. Degrees are not granted in absentia unless written request is made to the dean and permission is granted.

Curriculum requirements

Core courses
NURS 512Foundations for Evidence-based Advanced Practice3
NURS 607Epidemiology and Population Health3
NURS 638Health Policy Leadership and Advocacy3
NURS 640Teamwork In Complex Clinical Situations3
Concentration courses
NURS 515Holistic Leadership in Health Care Delivery3
NURS 516Health Care Information Technology3
or INNO 502 Business Principles for Product Innovation
NURS 517Organizational Science Implications for Human and Material Resource Management3
NURS 593Project and Planned Change Management3
or INNO 590 da Vinci Project
NURS 603Improvement Science and Outcomes Management 3
NURS 604Applied Budgeting and Finance3
NURS 628Practicum in Nursing Leadership and Organizational Science5
Total Hours35

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 35.

Carla Nye, D.N.P., RN, CPNP-PC, CNE
Clinical associate professor and graduate program director
(804) 827-0629

Additional contact
Jeannetta Hollins, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Student Success

Program website: