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.


Current students can visit the Master of Science program's Collaborative Learning Environment site to access the curriculum (MyAccess credentials required).

For individuals applying for admission for fall 2024, the sample curriculum for the BSN Entry to DNP — Advanced Nursing Focus pathway can be viewed on our Curriculum webpage.

Practice Experience Requirement

Applicants to the UCSF Neonatal Nursing specialties are required to have a minimum of two years clinical practice experience in a neonatal intensive care unit. Review our Application Requirements webpage for a full list of admissions requirements.

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). 


Amy Renfro, MS, RN, NNP-BC, assistant professor - Co-Specialty Coordinator
Chrissy Smith, NNP-BC, CNS - Co-Specialty Coordinator
Linda Franck, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor 

Contact Us

Co-Specialty Coordinators:

Staff Contact: Griselda Thomas
[email protected]