Strategic Systems Leadership, Graduate Certificate


College of Health and Human Services

The Graduate Certificate in Strategic Systems Leadership is designed for nurses and healthcare professionals who desire to acquire or expand upon existing management skills to move into leadership positions. The certificate will help nurses and health professionals understand the essential elements of business acumen in finance, economics, systems thinking, strategic planning and governance in leading and managing others in a healthcare organization. 


    • Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 credit hours. Many graduate certificate programs require more than 12 credit hours.
    • No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 - 4 units) may be used on a graduate certificate program.
    • No more than twenty-five percent of the units required for the certificate program may be transferred from another university.
    • A 400-level course (undergraduate course) completed at another university is not eligible for transfer credit.
    • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved to obtain a graduate certificate. No more than three units of coursework with a Grade of "C" may be used in a certificate program.
    • A graduate student may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with a graduate degree. Each graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can be counted toward the graduate degree.
    • Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program will be eligible for the official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcripts when all applicable coursework has been successfully completed and approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College.
  • Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program).  See the “Details” tab for additional information.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 12
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Some online/blended coursework Required
Licensing or Certification

This program may lead to licensure or certification.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this graduate certificate is to prepare nurses and healthcare professionals to become managers, supervisors and administrators with the skills required to effectively lead specialty units, departments, and organizations in the healthcare industry. Skills to be acquired include fiscal basics in budgeting, department/line management, staffing, ethical decision-making, population, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) responsive service delivery and point-of-care management. 

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Clinical Practice and Prevention
    • Design patient-centered and culturally responsive strategies in the delivery of clinical prevention and health promotion interventions  services for individuals, families, communities, and aggregates/clinical populations.
  • Communication
    • Develop and collaborate within interprofessional teams and partnerships by using effective communication strategies.
    • Advance patient education, enhance accessibility of care, analyze practice patterns, and improve healthcare and nurse sensitive outcomes by using information and communication technologies.
    • Critical Reasoning and associated health outcomes for patient aggregates.
    • Integrate theory, evidence, clinical judgment, research, and interprofessional perspectives using translational processes to improve practice
  • Leadership
    • Examine the effect of legal and regulatory processes on nursing practice, healthcare delivery, and outcomes. 
  • Professionalism and Professional Values
    • Advocate for patients, families, caregivers, communities, and members of the healthcare team.
    • Incorporate core scientific and ethical principles in identifying potential and actual ethical issues arising from practice and assisting patients and other healthcare providers to address such issues.
  • Global Health
    • Global Engagement: Transforms healthcare systems to address health equity and social justice thus reducing health disparities in vulnerable populations.
    • Diversity Education: Assumes leadership roles and/or research roles in developing, implementing, and evaluating culturally reinforcing nursing and other healthcare services from local to global perspectives.
    • Prioritizes the social and cultural factors that affect health in designed and delivering care across multiple contexts.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    • Bachelor’s degree, nursing and/or healthcare related field preferred
    • Active nursing or healthcare professional license (if applicable)
Certificate Requirements
  • This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate. Federal financial aid cannot be used if the certificate is completed as a stand-alone certificate.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.