Nursing Student listening to heart beat
Nursing, MSN


General MSN Program Questions

  • Master's education prepares nurses for flexible leadership and critical actions within complex, changing systems, including health, educational, and organizational systems. Master's education equips nurses with valuable knowledge and skills to lead change, promote health, and elevate care in various roles and settings. The dynamic nature of the healthcare delivery system underscores the needs for the nursing profession for graduate nurses to anticipate the healthcare needs for individuals, populations, and systems.

    Fundamental aspects of the master's-prepared nurse practice include:

    • Clinical leadership for patient-care practices and delivery, including the design, coordination, and evaluation of care for individuals, families, groups, and populations;
    • Participation in identification and collection of care outcomes;
    • Accountability for evaluation and improvement of point-of-care outcomes, including the synthesis of data and other evidence to evaluate and achieve optimal outcomes;
    • Risk anticipation for individuals and cohorts of patients; Lateral integration of care for individuals and cohorts of patients;
    • Design and implementation of evidence-based practice(s);
    • Team leadership, management, and collaboration with other health professional team members;
    • Information management or the use of information systems and technologies to improve healthcare outcomes;
    • Stewardship and leveraging of human, environmental, and material resources; and,
    • Advocacy for patients, communities, and the health professional team.
  • The School of Nursing and Health Professions provides two (2) entry points toward a master of science degree in nursing - the first entry point is for individuals who have a nursing background (registered nurses or RNs), and the second is for individuals with a baccalaureate degree in a field outside of nursing. Choose a track that is appropriate for your background to learn more about admission requirements, deadlines, curriculum patterns and more.

  • The program takes two (2) years, or six (6) semesters. Courses are held year-round, in the fall, spring, and summer.

  • Please note that tuition rates and fees are subject to change and more information can be found about tuition and graduate student fees on the University Tuition and Fees Schedule. In addition to tuition there are fees for graduate students including mandatory health insurance (Fall/Spring), Associate Graduate Students of USF (AGSUSF), and an applicable fieldwork fee per practicum course and required malpractice insurance fee per practicum course.

  • USF offer institutional financial aid in the form of loans. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for up to $20,500 per year in unsubsidized federal loans. You can also apply for Graduate PLUS loans to make up the remainder of the cost.

    USF's School of Nursing and Health Professions may offer limited scholarships to help offset program-related fees, upon availability. Many candidates look online for appropriate outside (non-USF) scholarships or grants.

ME-MSN Prerequisites & Application

  • The preferred Bachelor’s institution GPA is 3.0 or above. (To clarify, the Bachelor’s institution GPA is the GPA of courses taken at your Bachelor’s degree granting institution.) Applicants with a Bachelor’s institution GPA of 2.75 or lower will not be considered for admission unless they have earned a Master's degree with a GPA of above 3.0

    Applicants with a Bachelor's institution GPA below 3.0 are encouraged to use a portion of their statement of purpose to provide any context, mitigating circumstances for their lower Bachelor’s institution GPA.

    The USF School of Nursing and Health Professions takes a holistic approach to admissions. We do not base acceptance solely on grades or any other single factor. We consider the entire application as put forth by the applicant.

    ME-MSN applicants can enhance their application by earning a 'B' or better in prerequisite courses, along with relevant work and volunteer experience and strong letters of recommendations.

  • Though not required, performing volunteer work in a health care setting can help to bolster your application. Examples of volunteer work include but not limited to: hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and supervised homes for developmentally disabled people. Even volunteering at organizations that aren't directly linked to health care can be of great value such as Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, soup kitchens and similar organizations that help disadvantaged people.

  • After an applicant meets Bachelor’s institution GPA requirements for our Master’s Entry MSN program, we will take in account the entirety of their academic record during our review process, with specific attention towards prerequisite course grades.

  • No, USF's School of Nursing and Health Professions does not require a CNA license.

  • No, USF's School of Nursing and Health Professions does not require the GRE or TEAS test.

  • We do not accept applications on a rolling basis, so please apply within the appropriate deadline window. These are strict deadlines and all of your materials must be in by the designated time. We will begin review on the deadline day. You may only apply for one semester and one campus at a time.

  • No, you may only apply for one semester and one campus at a time.

  • Letters of recommendation should be from individuals who can speak to either your academic or intellectual readiness for graduate level work, or your professional capacities or experiences. These letters of recommendation should be on letterhead. Our online application allows you to supply the names and email addresses of your recommenders. Upon receiving those, USF will contact your recommenders by email with instructions to complete their information and upload their letter. Please note all recommendations must be received via the online system, directly from the recommender. We will not accept paper letters of recommendation, or any other paper application materials.

  • Your Master's Entry MSN personal statement is your chance to tell us about:

    1. Your personal and professional background and why you want to pursue a Master of Science degree in Nursing.
    2. Explain any discrepancies between your grades or any circumstances that may have affected your GPA.
    3. Please make sure your personal statement font-size is between 10-12.
  • We typically receive between 250-­400 applications per semester, and we admit approximately 36 for San Francisco and 26 for Orange County. We keep a waitlist for the relevant application cycle but this waitlist does not roll over to the following semester.

  • Clinical practice sites for the ME-MSN option can be located within a 60-mile radius of the student's primary campus (San Francisco or Orange County). These include, but are not limited to, UCSF, SFGH, Laguna Honda, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, La Clinica, John Muir Walnut Creek, Kaiser Permanente, Clinical sites include: St. Joseph Hospital, Orange; St. Francis Medical Center, Lynwood; St. Jude Medical Center, Fullerton; Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; UCI, Irvine; Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital, Long Beachand more.

  • USF's School of Nursing and Health Professions has established partnerships with a variety of healthcare institutions throughout the state and nationally.

    The School provides clinical placements for students in the ME-MSN option which may change semester by semester and are focused on specific skill competencies and nursing experiences.

  • Microbiology with lab, Anatomy with lab, and Human Physiology with lab must be completed within seven years to the semester you are applying. If the course(s) exceed the seven-year time limit, they will not be accepted. These are the only 3 courses that have a set time limit.

  • No, you must complete all of the prerequisites. We also cannot accept any substitutions.

  • Yes, we will.

  • Yes, you may have up to three prerequisites in-progress. You must provide proof of registration in your application. Please note that a student cannot matriculate into our program unless all of the prerequisites are completed prior to the start of the program. Please be sure to check the USF academic calendar and the calendar of the institution where you are taking your prerequisites to make sure they do not overlap.

  • We are able to accept eligible online lab science prerequisites, including virtual labs.

  • Yes, we accept AP credit. Please provide a transcript that shows the course taken along with the number of college credits you received.

  • Unfortunately, we are not accepting any admission deferrals in the ME-MSN program. Should you be admitted to the program but find yourself unable to attend, you will need to re-apply.

RN-MSN Prerequisites & Application

  • We take a holistic approach when reviewing applications. We do not base acceptance solely on grades or any other single factor. We look at the whole application packet to make a decision.

    Any applicant 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 program.

    RN-MSN applicants accepted with less than a 3.0 GPA or accepted conditionally due to writing deficiencies are required to take a two (2) credit graduate-level course in the first semester (NURS 500 and NURS 501).

  • RN-MSN student's practicum hours can be completed at their place of work or the school will work with each student to secure a site.

  • Students in the RN-MSN option are responsible for identifying a practicum site and preceptor for their practica with the support of the Graduate Placement Team.

  • USF's School of Nursing and Health Professions offers the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs for Registered Nurses. At the master’s level, we have curriculum plans for associate to master's (ADN/ASN-MSN) and bachelor's to master's degrees (BA/BS/BSN-MSN). At the doctoral level, we have post-bachelor's to doctorate and post-master's to doctorate curriculum options. The DNP specialties include Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

  • RN-MSN students can complete the program in six (6) semesters or two (2) years. There are three (3) semesters per year – fall, spring, and summer. Students select their campus location at the time of application. Depending on the location, students complete the program via hybrid or online modalities. HYBRID: The classes meet one (1) night a week for three-four hours plus online components*. ONLINE: Classes meet asynchronously with pre-schedule web-conferencing session to engage directly with the course instructor. For all RN-MSN students complete 180 practicum hours that are associated with the role courses and a 220-hour Internship course in their last semester (NURS 653) - for a total of 400 practica hours (required).

    *Associate-prepared students complete Graduate Writing & Research, Transitions to Graduate Nursing, theory and practicum courses for Community Health Nursing (90 practice hours in a community health setting required), all online. NURS 500, NURS 501, NURS 505, and NURS 506 respectively.

    The BSN-to-DNP program varies from four to four and a half years. The first two years generally follow the MSN schedule of one night a week with possible weekend classes. For last two to two and a half 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.

  • We currently offer the RN-MSN program online (Fall 2021). Start dates and class days vary from campus location to campus location.

  • There are 400 practicum hours required to complete and be eligible to sit for the CNL certification exam . A part of the 400 hours include 220 hours which are completed in the internship in the last semester (NURS 653). Please plan to take paid time off during the semester to complete these hours. You will need your preceptor and site approval before these hours may be completed at your place of work.

    During the final project the student will design, implement and evaluate a quality improvement project which reflects the skills , essential to the application and design of an outcome based practice model. The student 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 practicum hours are completed through two (2) Practicum courses: NURS 654 (80 hours) and NURS 655 (100 hours).

  • Our application is 100% online. Once you fill out the application, you will also upload all supplemental documents (transcripts, resume, personal statement) to your application and supply the names and email addresses of your recommenders. USF will contact your recommenders by email with instructions to complete their information and upload their letter.

    Please note all recommendations must be received via the online system, directly from the recommender. We will not accept paper letters of recommendation, or any other paper application materials.

    Transcripts can be unofficial as long as they are readable and include your name, grades, GPA, and name of the school. Transcripts must also reflect any degree earned at the institution. If you are accepted and decide to attend, we will then require you to mail official transcripts from all schools attended.

  • 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 our International Students webpage for application instructions and score requirements.

  • No, USF's School of Nursing and Health Professions does not require the GRE or TEAS test.