Master of Science in Nursing

Clinical Systems Leadership


Great Salary Potential

Payscale 2022 Average Base Pay


Online Nursing Masters in Arizona

2022 U.S. News and World Report


Top Ranked Online Masters Program

2022 U.S. News and World Report

Earn your MS Online

Our Online Master of Science in Nursing program is designed to strengthen your patient care and leadership abilities. You'll expand your expertise and understanding of emerging interventions and technologies, as well as the inner workings of care systems across a spectrum of health environments. Nurses are the public's most trusted professionals. Trust us to share with you a powerful MS program that can begin to change your life in as few as 15 months.

Program Outcomes

  • Design and lead innovative patient-centered care in a variety of practice settings.
  • Collaborate with interprofessional teams to deliver evidence-based quality care.
  • Evaluate and apply integrative evidence-based healing strategies across the health –illness trajectory.
  • Incorporate innovative healthcare technology to deliver safe and effective patient –centered care.
  • Coordinate care transitions to improve patient outcomes across the healthcare continuum.
  • Apply theory and evidence-based knowledge to design, coordinate, and evaluate patient care systems.

Program Facts


BSN Track Program Length
2 Courses per Semester*


ADN Track Program Length
2 Courses per Semester*


Program Delivery

Fully online coursework with direct clinical practicum (90 hours)



BSN Track



ADN Track


Course Length**


Applications Open

& Fall

Program Start

*The time needed to complete the program will vary depending on which track you're on and how many classes you choose to take at one time.
**All courses span 7 weeks except for the Clinical Systems Leadership Immersion course which is the culminating experience for the program and is a full semester in duration.

Violeta Lewis Portrait

Violeta Lewis, Class of 2015

"The professors were engaging and personable. They really went out of their way to make sure we felt connected. It worked well around my schedule, but it challenged me and really pushed me forward in a lot of other avenues, especially in my role as mayor. I was actually finishing the program during my first term and found that some of the skills that I learned have helped me not just in my nursing but my political career as well."

Read Student Story

Frequently Asked Questions

Earning your MS can be life-changing, but it's not a decision to make lightly. The program is as demanding as it is rewarding, and the time required is significant. Your MS is also a considerable financial investment, even when offset by financial aid.

Just as significant, however, are the benefits when you've earned your master's degree. For some, it's about leadership and the chance to shape health care at a higher, more strategic level. For others, it's the opportunity to earn an additional $15,000 or more a year.

One thing is true, however, for all our graduates. The investment of time and money happens over the course of 15 or 24 months. The benefits your investment gives back will last a lifetime.

    Today’s 3 million RNs in the US are the backbone of America’s health care. You have incredible impact on people’s lives through the care you provide. At the same time, RNs have limited opportunities to help shape the systems they work within, let alone the larger systems of care at a community, regional or even national level. An MS in Clinical Systems Leadership opens leadership doors that will empower you to help even more people. It can give you a seat at the table for decisions about care policies and practices and the business of improving health.
    Not all RNs want to advance into leadership. However, without a MS or doctoral degree, most nurses are already at a career ceiling. An MS empowers you to advance your career in any direction, opening choices unavailable to you now. Most nursing specializations require an advanced degree. Some health organizations give preference to applicants with higher education, even for standard RN positions. An MS also lets you choose to teach nursing and lead clinical classes, educating and mentoring those who are just starting the journey you’ve already made.
    As an RN, you know how physically challenging your job can be. Long and demanding shifts, not to mention the stress of working in life-or-death situations day in, day out. That intensely personal care is what drew you to nursing. It’s vital work you should always be proud of. It’s also hard on the body. Some RNs eventually experience their own health challenges, in part from the physical rigors of their work. If that’s you today, an MS opens up new ways to help people with new roles and responsibilities. An MS ensures that when you’re ready to transition to a different kind of nursing: your options will be wide open.
    What matters most to you? Providing for your family? World travel? A nice home? Nurses with an MS earn $86,000 per year on average, with top salaries in the range of $100,000 per year – significantly more than the $64,000 average income for nurses without an MS. Do you struggle with work-life balance? Most MS jobs have regular hours, more in sync with the schedules of friends and family. Earning more could also mean choosing to work less, giving you more time for loved ones or other pursuits. Do you value independence and respect in your work? An MS is a professional signal of greater expertise as well as your commitment to making a difference. Last but not least, don’t underestimate how good you’ll feel as you earn your MS. Few things compare to the satisfaction of knowing you’ve climbed to a new level of knowledge, raised the bar in personal accomplishment and pushed yourself to give your very best.
  • Clinical Care Coordinator
    Works to ensure the best possible care by coordinating timely, patient-centered services across a range of health care settings and contexts while also managing care costs and efficiencies.
  • Clinical Systems Manager
    Works to improve systems of care in collaboration with families and other care providers with special attention to evidence-based practices.
  • Infection Control Manager
    Much like a quality and safety coordinator, focused on containing and preventing disease in health systems through best-practice policies, education and careful monitoring of care.
  • Nurse Administrator
    Sometimes called a director of nurses or nurse executive, oversees daily care and spearheads new models of care in a variety of health systems; encompasses a wide range of opportunities and responsibilities, from strategic planning to budgeting and staffing.
  • Nurse Educator
    Works in classrooms, labs, research settings and clinical sites to nurture, teach and mentor nursing students or novice RNs as they begin their nursing journeys.
  • Nurse Manager
    Leads a nursing unit within a care setting, serving as the eyes and ears of the nursing unit and helping to voice questions, concerns, interests and recommendations to ensure positive outcomes for patients, families and staff.
  • Nursing Informatics
    Combines experience in health care and systems with special knowledge in information management and analytical sciences to provide meaningful data to care providers, people receiving care and their families.
  • Patient Navigator
    Working at the forefront of care in a role new to most health systems, helps people receiving care for cancer or other select conditions, along with their families, navigate the complexities of different care settings, insurance payment systems and support organizations.
  • Quality and Safety Coordinator
    Works to advance comprehensive health and safety in the workplace via quality assurance programs aligned with local, state and federal accrediting agencies with a focus not on people under care but on nurses and other staff.

You may be able to offset some costs with financial aid, but no matter what, your MS degree will be a significant investment. One thing to keep in mind is the amount of time in which you are likely to see a return on your investment. Jobs that typically or always require an MS pay significantly more than most RN positions – often an additional $15,000 or more per year. For this reason, nurses moving into an MS career can potentially recoup the cost of the degree within two to three years. See the Costs & Financial Aid page for more details.

The MS in Nursing is a rigorous educational undertaking. You'll need time for readings, assignments, collaborations with classmates, exams and more. A key advantage of the online MS in Nursing is that it requires zero time on the UA campus and classes are asynchronous, meaning you log on when you choose. That means you can do schoolwork in the evenings, early mornings, lunch breaks or split across these times and more – whenever and wherever you can focus on your learning.


The master's degree program in nursing at The University of Arizona College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Contact Information

Phone: 520-621-6676

RN-MS Program Director

Cheryl Lacasse, PhD, RN, AOCNS
Clinical Professor and RN-MS Program Director