The University of San Francisco: School of Nursing and Health Professions

Frequently Asked Questions

What programs do you offer for the Registered Nurse?

We offer both Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs for Registered Nurses. At the Master’s level, we have the ADN-to-MSN, BSN-to-MSN, RN with non-nursing BA/BS-to-MSN program, and we can accommodate nurses who are graduates of diploma programs ( At the doctoral level, we have the BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP completion program with either a Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health or Healthcare Systems Leadership concentration (

How long are the programs? What is the schedule?

The RN-MSN programs are 6 semesters or 2 years. There are 3 semesters per year – Fall, Spring, and Summer. The classes meet one night a week for 3-4 hours plus online components. Additionally, if you start with an ADN degree, you will take a community nursing practicum course (NURS 505/506) where you are required to complete 90 hours in a community health setting, one day per week for the semester. It is the same day as theory classes. For all RN-to- MSN programs, students complete 180 clinical hours that are associated with the role courses and a 220 hour internship in the last semester (NURS 653).

The BSN-to-DNP program varies from 4 to 41⁄2 years. The first two years generally follow the MSN schedule of one night a week with possible weekend classes. For last 2 – 21⁄2 years, the schedule changes to every other weekend on Friday evenings and all day Saturday. You will be required to do 1000 clinical hours in the BSN-to-DNP program that includes 135 DNP residency hours.

Do you offer the RN-MSN programs at the Branch Campuses?

We currently offer the RN-MSN program in San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Sacramento and Pleasanton. Start dates vary from campus to campus. Please refer to the following webpage for specific start dates and locations:

Or, feel free to contact the following campus representative to see start dates for each respective campus:

San Francisco: Tamara White (415) 422-3627 or

San Jose Branch: Natasha Odama (408) 343-7100 or

Santa Rosa: Alexandria Weishaar (707) 527-9612 or

Sacramento: Angela Dotson (916) 920-0157 or

Pleasanton: Maricris Rice (925) 867-2711 or

Southern California: Tamara White (415) 422-3627 or

What is the master’s program concentration?

In addition to the MSN degree, upon taking the certification exam at the end of the program, you will be awarded with a Clinical Nurse Leader certification. Designed in 2004, a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) is a masters' prepared nurse generalist who assumes accountability for the healthcare outcomes of a specific group of patients within a unit or setting through the assimilation and application of research-based information to design, implement, and evaluate patient outcomes at the point of care. The emerging role of the CNL is a national initiative in response to patient care needs and the current health delivery environments. See AACN’s webpage for more information:

What will I be qualified to do upon graduation? Will I be required to work as a Clinical Nurse Leader?

The CNL role is a versatile, flexible role that allows nurses to not only be hired as a CNL, but also go into nurse education, management, administration or teaching. Other graduates decide to stay in their present position but often with more authority and responsibilities. The CNL degree does not limit your potential for growth within your chosen field but rather, enhances and broadens the spectrum of professional possibilities. 

How many clinical hours are required for the program? What is the final project?

There are 400 clinical hours required for the CNL role, 220 which are done in the CNL internship in the last semester (NURS 653).  Please plan to take PTO days during the semester to complete these hours. With supervisor permission, you may do these hours at your place of work. You will be taking on the role of a CNL and performing such functions. You will also be working on your final project during this time. As a CNL, you will be trained to develop solutions for any kind of fragmentation or systems problem that you see in your unit or place of work. In your final project, you will develop a solution to such a problem and present it in poster-style presentation as well as a paper. You are not required to write a thesis. The remaining 180 clinical hours are completed through several courses: NURS 615 (60 hours) NURS 623 (60 hours) and NURS 628 (60 hours).

How does the N653 internship work?

The purpose of the CNL internship in the final semester of the curriculum is to immerse the student in the CNL role and requires a minimum of 220 hours of unit based activity. In general, the student will arrange a liaison in their work setting that will allow them to perform CNL role activities. In addition to performing CNL activities outlined in the end-of-year competencies in the CNL White paper (2007), the students will do a final CNL project for their microsystem and develop a poster and abstract. The CNL White paper can be found at

What is the CNL certification and when do I take the certification exam?

After the completion of your CNL internship hours (400 total over the program) you are eligible to become CNL certified by taking an exam. Once you complete your final semester, N653 you will be eligible. Taking the CNL certification exam is a course requirement for N651. Information regarding the exam can be found at

How do I apply for a Public Health Nurse Certificate?

Once you complete all of our courses and graduate from the program you are eligible to apply for a Public Health Nurse Certificate. The application can be obtained at Please follow their instructions. On the application form, complete the section under Education, check Masters and fill in USF’s name and address. Leave the Verification of child abuse/neglect training blank. The BRN knows that USF’s curriculum meets this requirement. There is an official transcript request form. Complete section A and, deliver it or mail it along with an USF transcript request and $5 payment to the registrar’s office. They will send the completed form and an official transcript to the BRN.

Application Questions

Where do I get the application for the program? Do I have to apply on-line?

Our application is online at: Use the online application to upload all supplemental documents (transcripts, resume, personal statement) and to supply the names and email addresses of recommenders online. Recommenders will upload the letter online. Transcripts can be unofficial as long as they are readable and include all courses, GPA and school names.

What is the minimum GPA requirement? Do I still have a chance of being accepted if I have a lower GPA?

We take a holistic perspective when reviewing applications. The minimum GPA requirement is 3.0, but we accept people who have under a 3.0 on a conditional basis. Any student applying with less than a 3.0 GPA should include in their personal statement an explanation of their past grades and why they have the ability to be successful in the MSN program at USF. If accepted with under a 3.0 or if accepted conditionally due to writing deficiencies, students are required to take a 4 credit graduate level writing course in the first semester (NURS 500).

How much is the program?

For the 2015-2016 academic year, the cost is $1,245 per credit and the programs vary from 30-45 credits depending on your specific track. You can expect to pay an additional $2000 more or so for books, clinical fees, etc.

Does USF offer financial aid or scholarships?

We do offer substantial financial aid. US citizens and permanent residents are eligible for $20,500 in federal loans per academic year. You can apply for Graduate PLUS loans to make up the remainder of the cost. We have select scholarships through the School of Nursing. It is best to look online through a search engine for appropriate scholarships or grants.

Do you require the GRE, TEAS or any other tests?

No, we do not.

As an international nurse applicant, what are the requirements?

International nurses are required to have a valid California RN license in order to be eligible to apply. You are also required to submit transcripts evaluated by WES, IERF, or similar transcript evaluation agency in the US. Upon evaluation completion, you may apply to the program through the online application. Please upload 2 letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a resume, copy of your RN license, a Certificate of Finance, and an official TOEFL or IELTS score. Please refer to the following webpage for application instructions and score requirements:

How often do you accept applications? What are the deadlines? Do you accept applications on a rolling basis?

We accept applications two times a year, yet this varies depending on branch campus and program. Please see the following webpage for an up-to-date list of program start dates and locations: The application deadlines are May 15th for Fall and October 15th for Spring.

How can I find the semester time lines?

Please refer to the five year academic calendar to see when each semester starts and ends and when you will have your holiday breaks.

When do applicants find out if they have been accepted?

We let you know approximately 4-6 weeks after the deadline, assuming all supporting documents have been received.