San Diego State University

Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems

nurse administrators

The concentration prepares nurses for a career in administration and management.

Concentration Chair: Dr. Dorothy Zirkle (

SDSU’s Master of Science program in Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems focuses on evaluating nurses for leadership positions at all levels of health care organizations with a specific aim to prepare visionary and innovative nurse leaders who can transform the future of health care delivery.

The program curriculum is founded on the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) Certified Nurse Leader and Manager and Nurse Executive competencies and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Nurse Executive competencies. The framework for the courses embraces the knowledge and skills in leadership professionalism, communication and relationship management, business principles and skills, and knowledge of the health care environment.

Upon completion of the program’s courses and experimental learning with actual nurse leaders, the graduates are prepared to take credentialing examinations for certification provided by the ANCC, AONE, and American College of Health Care Executives, if their work experience makes them eligible.

Students in SDSU’s Nursing Leadership program have the advantage of outstanding research and teaching faculty who have both career experience and current knowledge in the courses they teach, not only in the School of Nursing, but also in the School of Public Health. Many are recognized as national and international leaders in their fields of study.

SDSU’s School of Nursing and the Nursing Leadership faculty have long established relationships with hospitals and health care settings in the region, making it possible for students to take advantage of numerous opportunities to partner with a nurse leader in a practicum learning experience.

Our courses are taught with the latest teaching methods, including online, summer immersion session, distance learning, and traditional classroom settings which are offered at convenient times for the working student.

The program is accredited by the Commission on the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The program also meets the guidelines outlined by the Council on Graduate Education for Administration in Nursing (CGEAN).


Course Sequence Plan – Two Year Program (.docx)

Course Sequence Plan – Three Year Program (.docx)