MSN for Registered Nurses

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program prepares RNs already holding an associate’s or bachelor’s degree to advance within the field by gaining experience to develop and manage patient care plans, and to advocate for best practices within the health care field.

The program, rated among the top in the country, prepares students as Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNLs). It comprises 35 credits for RNs with a BSN and 46 credits for RNs with an ADN over the course of 2 years of study. Designed with a comprehensive schedule of classroom and online instruction plus practicum coursework.

The CNL Role

The Clinical Nurse Leader role prepares nurses as clinical leaders in often complex environments to assist patients in creating an experience of a coordinated approach to care. The CNL role is a pivotal role that allows health care professional teams to be creative in envisioning how other roles will best promote reliable and competent patient care.

Program Features

  • Top Ranking Program: Rated among the best graduate schools in the country for Clinical Nurse Leader program.
  • Bypass the BSN: Nurses with an associate's degree can bypass the BSN degree and complete their degree in two (2) years. Save time and money.
  • Three Campus Locations to Choose From: Classes are offered at the following locations: San Francisco | Pleasanton | San Jose
  • Flexible Schedule: Classes are held one night a week — same night throughout the program.
  • Recognizable Degree: Considered one of the most versatile and flexible MSN degrees. Our graduates are everywhere - AND employers love our graduates. Our graduates are on the frontlines of patient care, on the boards of leading health organizations, and in hospitals and governmental organizations where health policy is crafted. They will be your network.


The baccalaureate degree in nursing, master’s degree in nursing and the Doctor of Nursing Practice at the University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

All graduates of the program meet the master’s degree outcome AACN Competencies and Curricular Expectations for Clinical Nurse Leader (SM) Education and Practice standards, and are eligible for certification by the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC) as a CNL.

State Authorization

USF is accepting applications for enrollment into online degree programs from residents in the following states: Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. Please check for specific programs offered in these states.