Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AG CNS, AG CNS-ONC, AG CNS-CCT)


The Adult-Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialists (AG CNS) cares for patients from wellness through acute care, with a specific focus on complex and vulnerable adult and older adult populations. The AG CNS is best described as the “nurses’ nurse” as the CNS is a resource and consultant to nurses and health care professionals. The AG CNS is involved in all levels of the health care system, spanning from the acute care setting to the home. The AG CNS engages in numerous direct care and leadership roles in the health care system including organizing and managing large scale programs, incorporating evidence into practice, coaching and mentoring nurses and serving as a consultant to health care professionals, organizations, patients and families.

Clinical practice and residency sites include UCSF Medical Center and Clinics, Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Medical Center as well as community hospitals and systems.

Subspecialty options:

  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist-Oncology (AG CNS-Oncology)
  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist-Critical Care/Trauma (AG CNS-CCT)

To learn more, watch a video that students in this specialty produced about what it means to be a clinical nurse specialist. 

Certifications and Licenses

All completers of the Adult-Gerontology CNS tracks within the MS program are eligible upon graduation and completion of 500 clinical hours for a Clinical Nurse Specialist certificate through the California State Board of Registered Nursing. All completers of the AG CNS tracks and MS program are also eligible upon graduation and completion of 500 clinical hours for national certification examination offered through American Nurse Credentialing Center as an Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist-Board Certified (AG CNS-BC) or through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation as an Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist-Adult-Gerontology (ACCNS-AG).

Learn more about ANCC certification, and AACN certification.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

For Master of Science and Post-Master's Students  
Is RN experience required?


AG CNS-Oncology: No

AG CNS-CCT: Yes. Requires at least one year of acute care experience. This subspecialty is not open to MEPN applicants.

Other admissions requirements specific to this specialty AG CNS-Oncology: MEPN students have the option, but are not required, to take a one-year step out after completion of MEPN curriculum and before entering MS degree AG CNS-Oncology portion of the program.
Application deadline Feb. 1, 2023


Review the master's curriculum for this specialty. Post-master's applicants can review the post-master's curriculum for this specialty. Please note that courses are subject to change.

Post-Master's Certificate Program

Four quarters (fall through summer) are required to complete the Post-Master's Certificate Program in this specialty. Review the post-master's curriculum for this specialty

To learn more, including how to apply, visit the Post-Master's Certificate Program section of our website. (Please note that post-master's applicants do not need to fulfill a statistics requirement.)


Astrid Block, MS, RN, CNS
Elena Flowers, PhD, RN
Heather Leutwyler, RN, PhD, NP
Lynda Mackin, PhD, RN, ANP
Christine Miaskowski, PhD, RN, FAAN
Michele Pelter, RN, PhD

Contact Us

Specialty Coordinator: Lynda Mackin
[email protected]