Professor doing a simulation

Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Leadership Education Program

Nurses specializing in Clinical Leadership Education are transforming healthcare through new and innovative approaches that merge technology with caring and compassion.  

Campus Location


  • Hybrid

Program Duration

  • 5 Semesters

Upcoming Deadlines

Elevate Nursing through Transformative Education

The Master of Science in Nursing - Clinical Leadership Education (MSN-CLE) program is designed to address the national nursing shortage and meet the urgent need for graduate prepared nursing faculty across the United States. This program elevates clinical leadership expertise and informatics knowledge for practicing nurses throughout all settings.  

As a master's prepared nurse, you will be at the forefront of technological advancements in nursing education to include best practices in wellness, unitary caring science, curriculum development, learning assessment, simulation, and virtual reality. In addition, as a program graduate, you will be at the forefront of nursing education and the move to development of open educational resources to include virtual reality experiences.  
Nurses will develop the knowledge, skills, and expertise in clinical practice, leadership, and informatics as a foundation for developing sound pedagogy as an educator. This program prepares expert caring clinicians, leaders, and educators who will transform healthcare through the implementation of caring science in nursing education.  
In this transformative program, you will discover evidence-based practices to care for yourself, individuals, and the community. Additionally, you will explore issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging with virtual reality experiences to augment your learning.  
With this solid program foundation, graduates will publish their education project as an iBook in the Apple Store, prepare a poster for the Western Institute of Nursing Conference, and take the Certified Nurse Educator exam.  

This hybrid program will be taught online with two required on-site retreats per term. Retreats will be aimed at developing technological skills on the iPad and exploring wellness practices. Students will complete five semesters of coursework with their clinical practicum in an educational setting of their choosing. 

This program is designed for nurses who:

  • Want to transform healthcare
  • Are looking for a career change
  • Want to elevate their clinical practice
  • Are emerging educators
  • Are committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging as a foundation for practice
  • Are open to learning principles of self-care, resiliency, and wellness

The program offers a no barriers approach to earning your graduate degree: 

  • No GRE, personal statements/essays, or letters of recommendation required  

  • Must be a licensed RN and hold a BSN degree from an accredited nursing school in the United States

  • Must be resident of California 

*If your BSN is not from an accredited school in the United States and/or if you have not yet passed the NCLEX exam, eligibility will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  

The MSN CLE program is designed for nurses who already have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Applicants are considered for admission based upon the following: 

  • Baccalaureate in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university 

  • Current unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license in state of residence 

*If you do not hold a BSN or a RN license, eligibility will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis 

Students who need disability accommodations may request them by emailing Please give as much notice as you can to allow time to set them up. Further information about the Disability Resource Center can be found here

Application Fees 
Application fees are payable to Nursing’s Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS). Samuel Merritt University does not charge an additional admission fee. 

Application Fee = $80  

Non-Refundable Deposits and Fees 
Students offered admission pay a non-refundable tuition deposit of $350 to secure their seat in the class. Application fees and tuition deposits are non-refundable, whether or not the student withdraws in the first week of the term. 

For a detailed summary of annual tuition, and all fees for the program visit Student Accounts.   

Admitted Academic Year: 2024 - 2025  

            Per Unit Rate                =          $1,989/unit  

            Program Units               =          45 units  

            Total Cost Guarantee*   =          $89,500  

*The total cost estimate does not reflect potential future tuition rate increases. 

Detailed information about financial aid, budgeting, total cost and application processes. 

We realize that the financial aid process can be difficult and overwhelming.  We are here to help. The Financial Aid staff can assist with budgeting, understanding your awards, and understanding the process.  The SMU staff is committed to each and every prospective student and enrolled student.  We have an open door policy and are available via phone or email. or 510-879-9200 

Term One:

  • Self-Awareness and Wellness for Nurse Leaders
  • Introduction for Nursing Informatics 
  • Foundations of Nursing Education 

Term Two:

  • Evidence-Based Practice for the Emerging Healthcare Leader
  • Defining the Role of the Caring Nurse Leader
  • Thriving in the Role of the Academic Nurse Educator 

Term Three:

  • Social Justice and Communication for Nurse Leaders
  • Concept-Based Assessment, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology I
  • Exploring the Science of Teaching

Term Four:

  • Policy Driven Population Health 
  • Concept-Based Assessment, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology II
  • Using Caring Science to Assess Learning and Design Curriculum

Term Five:

  • Advanced Topics for Nursing Leaders
  • Exploring Best Practices in Simulation and Clinical Nursing Education 
  • Clinical Leadership Education Practicum 
Two mandatory in-person retreats per term 


  • Integrate nursing theory, clinical judgment, and research to improve care of self, patients, families, communities, and systems 

  • Incorporate interpersonal communication skills and team-building strategies to enhance interprofessional collaboration and to improve healthcare outcomes  

  • Provide compassionate and effective care directed toward self, patients, families, communities, and systems  

  • Demonstrate respect, compassion, and caring for diverse individuals and groups as defined by the ANA code of conduct

  • Apply the ANA standards of practice to guide ethical decision-making and professional practice

  • Implement evidence-based practice to promote improved outcomes for self, patients, families, communities, and systems

  • Analyze and apply health care policy to support equitable and inclusive healthcare

  • Develop interventions that address social determinants of health to improve clinical and population health outcomes 

  • Apply leadership principles in varied healthcare and educational settings 

  • Utilize emerging technology to collect, analyze, and disseminate information to support improved health outcomes 

  • Engage in self-care practices for personal health and wellness  

  • Develop innovative, technology-infused curriculum, assessments, and teaching practices to design, deliver, and evaluate evidence-based education 

Samuel Merritt University is accredited by the  Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501; 510.748.9001.  

The master's degree program in nursing at Samuel Merritt University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC., 20001. 

Master's Accreditation 
Initial Accreditation Date: April 21, 2001 
Most Recent Accreditation Date: November 2, 2020 
Accreditation Term Expires: June 30, 2031 
Last On-Site Evaluation: November 2020 
Next On-Site Evaluation: Fall 2030 

Post-Admission Reqs: Completion of Power and Success Free Online Course prior to Orientation

Technical Standards: Students will be provided an iPad to ensure all students meet the technological standards. Wi-Fi is necessary for this program.  


SMU Perspectives