Post-Master's Certificates

Would you like to expand or change your advanced practice nursing role? Are you interested in an area that is not the specialization obtained for your MS, MSN or DNP degree? Our certificate programs offer opportunities for you to build upon your clinical skills and knowledge, allowing you to explore new professional directions. 

The purpose of the post-master’s study program is to provide, for nurses who already hold a master’s degree in nursing, an educational route to specialization in an area other than that obtained in their master’s or doctoral program. The program is designed to strengthen or broaden the clinical, or management capabilities of master’s-prepared nurses who are planning a role expansion or role change. 

Post-master’s certificate (PMC) students must successfully complete all didactic and clinical requirements of the desired area of practice. In order to obtain a PMC in nurse-midwifery or in a nurse practitioner specialty, students are required to complete a minimum of 500 supervised hours in direct patient care. The program of study includes academic and clinical courses, and completion results in awarding a certificate of academic achievement of post-master’s study. Completion of the requirements for the PMC is posted on the student’s official Vanderbilt University transcript.

The specialty director develops an individualized program of studies for each PMC student based on evaluation of the student's prior academic work and a gap analysis of courses/ experiences needed to qualify for advanced practice certification in the student's desired specialty. The student's program of study will contain didactic and clinical experiences sufficient to allow the student to master the competencies and meet the criteria for national certification in the population-focused area of practice.

There is also an option to add the DNP degree to your post master’s certificate.  If you complete the certificate as part of the DNP program, you are eligible for federal loans and for scholarships since you will be earning an academic degree (the DNP).

Earning the DNP will add an additional 32 credits to your Vanderbilt program of studies so be aware that additional time and money is involved in earning the doctoral degree. The length of the PMC program varies by specialty; consult the program web site for a sample PMC curriculum plan. The DNP program adds an additional 5 or 6 semesters to your program of studies. Students completing the PMC as part of a DNP program of studies are eligible to take the national certification exam as soon as certificate requirements are completed. Students then progress to DNP courses. 

If earning the DNP degree is a fit with your career goals, you should apply to the nursing practice (DNP) program, not the PMC program. When you get into the DNP application, you will be able to indicate that you want to complete a PMC as part of your DNP program of studies. Applicants interested in completing the certificate as part of  the DNP degree should review DNP program information at

Post-Master’s Certificate Programs

Post-master’s certificate programs are available in each of the following specialties:

Please refer to the specific advanced practice specialty overview for a sample curriculum plan.

As part of the application process, a Post-master’s applicant or a DNP applicant completing a PMC who is not an APRN currently in clinical practice may submit prior course syllabi to be reviewed for VUSN course equivalency. A non-APRN certified applicant who has taken Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Pathophysiology, and Advanced Pharmacology in the last 5 years (5 years or less at the time of matriculation) must provide the syllabi to be reviewed for equivalency. If the course is determined to be an equivalent course, was taken within the last 5 years and the grade earned was a B- or higher, the course may be waived. Note: Determination of equivalency does not mean that VUSN transfer credit has been awarded. Equivalent courses will not appear on the VU transcript. 

For further information, please email the admissions office at


Accreditation Information and contacts

Vanderbilt University is a participating institution in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). Vanderbilt is approved to offer programs and courses, such as the MSN, PMC, DNP and PhD programs, that are in compliance with SARA policies and standards.


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