Neonatal Nursing (NNP & CNS)


The Neonatal Nursing specialties develop culturally sensitive providers who are able to address the complex health needs of acutely ill and recuperating neonates and infants and their families, and reduce disparity in neonatal care access. Students can choose to become either a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) or neonatal clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and the neonatal specialty accepts both Master’s and Post-Master’s applicants.

Students will complete core graduate and neonatal/pediatric coursework, in addition to select residency experiences across a variety of local and regional settings that support role development. NNP graduates complete a minimum of 600 mentored practice hours and are eligible for CA state licensure as an NP as well as seeking national certification as an NNP. CNS graduates complete a minimum of 500 mentored practice hours and are eligible for CA state licensure as a CNS.

Certifications and Licenses

Students who complete this specialty would be eligible for:

  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: The California Board of Registered Nursing licensure as a Nurse Practitioner, and National Certification Corporation certification as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.
  • Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist: The California Board of Registered Nursing licensure as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, and American Association of Critical-Care Nurses certification as a Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

For Master of Science and Post-Master's Students
Is RN experience required? Yes. Two years of acute care neonatal/infant experience.
Other admissions requirements specific to this specialty N/A
Application deadline May 1, 2023


View the sample curriculum for Neonatal Nurse Practitioner as well as the sample curriculum for the Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist. Please note that courses are subject to change.

Post-Master's Certificate Program

Post-Master's study is individualized following a gap analysis of the applicant’s prior work. It is typically four to five quarters. Contact the specialty coordinator for consultation on an individualized post-master's curriculum. All must complete the same number of residency hours as in the MS program (i.e. 500 for CNS, 600 for NNP). 

Learn more about our Post-Master's Certificate Program, including how to apply. (Please note that post-master's applicants do not need to fulfill a statistics requirement.)


Linda Franck, PhD, RN, FAAN
Jana Kohler, DNP, RN, NNP, CNS
Amy Renfro, DNP, NNP-BC
Chrissy Smith, NNP-BC, CNS

Contact Us

Specialty Coordinator: Jana Kohler
[email protected]

Staff Contact: Griselda Thomas
[email protected]