As a professional nurse, you are committed to your job and your patients. Your work, family, and social commitments keep you busy, and yet you can envision a career path that involves a leadership position and administrative responsibility. The MS in Nursing Leadership, offered online through the University of Colorado College of Nursing, is a proven path to leadership in the nursing profession. We call the program i-LEAD, which stands for Innovation in LEadership and ADministration in Nursing and Health Care Systems. We meet you where you are in your career to help you take the next steps in your education and professional aspirations. Students who graduate from the iLEAD program are eligible to take the AONE or ANCC Nurse Executive certification.

Our exceptional faculty teach this course in a fully online format. All coursework and exams are taken online and your hands-on practicum can even be completed in your home state. We graduate talented and qualified leaders and administrators who are prepared for exciting new jobs and promotions across the continuum of nursing. 

Our students and graduates work in primary care, long term care, skilled nursing, correctional facilities, home health positions, acute care, and more. They are trained in relevant, evidence-based research and best practices by full-time faculty who are researchers, nurses, and teachers. 

When you begin your online MS in Nursing Leadership journey with us, you will connect to a network of incredible nursing leaders and administrators, starting with our faculty and your peers in the program. This network will challenge you, motivate you, and provide you with new career opportunities. 

i-LEAD is the ideal program for motivated nursing professionals who are ready for a graduate degree that is flexible, well regarded, and innovative.

Program Details

As an i-LEAD student, knowledge gained in cultural competence, informatics, and evidence-based practice will provide you with the ability to excel in today's complex and changing health care system.

i-LEAD is designed for nurses who are currently working full-time in medical settings across the continuum of nursing care. The Master’s of Science is purposefully designed as a streamlined degree, with only 30 required credit hours. These credit hours include purposefully designed courses in Informatics, Leadership Theory, Health Policy, Evidence-Based Practice, and a hands-on practicum or internship.

The program is fully online and taught by professional educators who are also nurses and researchers. Our faculty are highly qualified and well regarded. Because it is fully online, you can enroll in this program no matter where you live. Tuition is the same for students in Colorado and those who live out of state.

Our graduates are prepared for professional advancement in leadership positions in their current workplace. You can also expect to be qualified for numerous opportunities with new employers, where you will be a highly prepared and desirable candidate. You could also transition seamlessly into one of our doctoral programs, either the PhD in Health Systems or the DNP in Health Systems Leadership.

Tuition and Fees

Investing in your future is a big decision. However, becoming a fully online student at CU Denver is an affordable option with discounted tuition rates for non resident, fully online students. And of course, you will save money not having to drive to campus! 

Tuition and fees are based largely on the class that you enroll in. Tuition amount assessed is determined based on which school/college is offering your class, as well as if it is an undergrad or graduate level, and finally your resident status. For more information or to view exact rates, please visit the Bursar's website.

Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.

graduation cap with money


Most of our students do their coursework full time, even though they are also employed full-time as nursing professionals. You can successfully work and take courses simultaneously because of the flexibility of our asynchronous, online coursework as well as the fact that we are accustomed to working with employed students. Your professors understand the unique challenges that accompany getting an advanced degree while working full-time.

The i-LEAD program requires a total of 30 credit hours for completion. Students who take a full-time courseload of six credit hours in the spring, six in the fall, and three in the summer can complete their master’s degree in just two years. If you need additional time and flexibility, we are happy to work with you on a schedule that fits your needs.


This program accepts applications throughout the year. Admissions requirements vary.

Learn more about the admissions process by visiting the College of Nursing Admissions website and start your application today!

Career Outlook

One of the main reasons that nurses pursue graduate degrees is career advancement. Professional nurses with a MS in Nursing Leadership can move upward in their employment, into leadership and administrative positions. These positions generally come with additional responsibilities, authority, and pay.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects Medical and Health Services Managers to experience faster than average growth over the next ten years.

Here are some of the career opportunities that you could expect after graduation:

  • Healthcare Administrator
  • Nurse Administrator
  • Nursing Director
  • Chief Nursing Officer


To complete the i-LEAD program, you must complete all required courses and a hands-on practicum. This degree consists of 30 credit hours and can be completed in as little as two years.  

View the Anschutz Medical Campus Academic Calendar.

View the academic catalog for course information.


Connect with Us

Complete the form below to start the conversation! View our privacy policy.