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Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Consistently ranked among the best in the country, our innovative Acute Care program aligns your individual career goals with your clinical experiences—arranged for you in the nation’s most renowned academic health centers, research institutions, and community hospitals.

Program modality

Although this program is in-person, to accommodate the busy schedules of our students some courses will be offered in an online or hybrid format. All clinical experiences for this program are in-person on Penn’s campus or at affiliated clinical sites. 

Our program

We prepare acute care nurse practitioners for the management of acutely ill, traumatically injured, and chronically complex patients. Program graduates develop expertise in physical assessment, complex clinical decision making, diagnostic and therapuetic interpretation, performance of advanced procedures, prescriptive knowledge, and patient care management across the continuum of acute care services, wherever acutely ill or medically complex patients are found.

We offer clinical practicum opportunities in a wide variety of specialties such as: general surgery, hospitalist medicine, cardiology, neurosurgery, oncology, palliative care, and trauma. These include various acuity levels ranging from intensive care to ambulatory specialty care clinics. For your practicum, we do the legwork and match you with a preceptor, including acute care nurse practitioners, physicians, or collaborative teams. Our large network of highly skilled preceptors work closely with our clinical faculty to provide students with exposure to and experience with application of newly acquired skills.

This predominantly in person program requires a minimum of 1 year work experience caring for acutely ill or medically complex patients prior to applying. Please visit our admissions page for more information.


The program follows a curriculum that includes theoretical content and mentored clinical experience that emphasizes research and holistic patient care within a collaborative team approach. Our program’s plan of study consists of 12 courses including the 3 P’s (Pathophysiology, Physical Assessment, and Pharmacology), 3 acute care diagonsis and management courses, a technology course, an advanced research course, and a year long clinical sequence (3 courses). Students can explore an area of interest through an elective or a 3-4 course minors, such as oncology, palliative care, global health, and more.

The AGACNP program is flexible. You can complete the program as a full-time student in 15 months or part-time over two to three years. Classes for the AGACNP Program are located on campus. We are committed to a individualized graduate program with personalized attention and accessible in-person faculty. We currently do not offer an on-line based program.


After graduation, you’ll be prepared to sit for national certification from the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). Upon successful completion of the exam, you are eligible to become certified or licensed to practice.

Post and Secondary Master’s Education

For those who are already FNP or PNP certified and working with acutely ill patients for a minimum of one year, you may qualify for UPenn’s Streamlined Post-Graduate APRN Certificate AGACNP program, which is an online program. 

For those who have a master’s degree but are not working as a nurse practitioner with acutely ill patients, apply to the traditional AGACNP program for consideration of a second master’s. The number of courses required depends on the outcome of a gap analysis of your graduate education.