Admissions, Master's Entry MSN

As a practice, the School of Nursing and Health Professions takes a holistic approach to reviewing applications. We look at every applicant’s story — academic and personal — to select students who are eager to develop the skills to take on the challenges of modern health care systems. 

The Master's Entry MSN is designed for individuals with a baccalaureate degree in a field outside of nursing. In order to be eligible, you must complete prerequisite coursework prior to the start date of the semester to which you are applying. Please carefully review information about required prerequisites and application instructions below.

Application Deadlines


The Master's Entry MSN program accepts applications for spring and summer admission at our San Francisco location, and Spring and Fall at our Orange county location. Please apply by the following deadlines for Spring, Summer, or Fall admission at our San Francisco or Orange County campus locations. You must complete all required nursing courses at the campus to which you apply.

Application Materials

All application materials should be uploaded through the online application form. The School of Nursing & Health Professions Office of Graduate Admissions does not accept mailed materials. 

Applicants can check their application status online or by contacting the School of Nursing & Health Professions Office of Graduate Admissions at sonhpadmissions@usfca.edu.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of "C" or better prior to the start date of the semester to which you are applying. AP courses will count toward fulfilling these prerequisite course requirements, as long as you received college credit for the course. The CLEP exam is not accepted as a substitute for these prerequisites. Prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of "C" or better prior to the start date of the semester to which you are applying. The following prerequisites are required to be considered for admission:

  • Completion of any Baccalaureate degree or higher; plus:
  • 16 Semester or 24 Quarter credits of natural, behavioral, and/or social sciences*: Includes Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, and Psychology
  • Human Anatomy - 4 credits: Must be completed within seven (7) years of the semester to which you are applying. Lab must be in person; virtual labs will not be accepted
  • Physiology - 4 credits: Must be completed within seven (7) years of the semester to which you are applying. Lab must be in person; virtual labs will not be accepted
  • Microbiology - 4 credits: Must be completed within seven (7) years of the semester to which you are applying. Lab must be in person; virtual labs will not be accepted.
  • 1 Psychology course*: Any psychology course will suffice
  • 6 Semester or 9 Quarter credits of Communication*: Must include a College composition course. We can accept a combination of written, oral, and group communication. Please note that the written communication requirement must fulfill the undergraduate writing requirement for the University where you received your Bachelor’s degree.
  • 1 Statistics course
  • International Students: For those students seeking an F1 visa, please note that in order to receive your I-20, you must complete all admission requirements. USF is not able to issue an I-20 to a prospective student before they have met all criteria for full-admission. If you need an I-20 to apply for an F-1 visa, you will want to plan ahead and make sure you can get your I-20 and visa in time to attend the program.

*STATE LICENSURE

Please note that the California Board of Registered Nursing licensure application requires specific minimum coursework, as noted in the requirements above. Students in this program must have completed 16 semester (24 quarter) credits of natural, behavioral, and social science coursework, including a course in psychology, and 6 semester (9 quarter) credits of communications, part of which must deal with basic English writing skills.

Application Requirements & steps

The application process is entirely online. Please do not mail any application materials. You can simply upload all of your application items to your application account.

Applicants can check their application status online or by contacting the School of Nursing & Health Professions Office of Graduate Admissions at sonhpadmissions@usfca.edu.

Application steps

  1. Completed online application and fee
  2. Unofficial Transcripts from all colleges/universities attended:
    • For the Master's Entry MSN option, we require the proof of completion of a Bachelor’s degree (in any field) from an accredited institution.
    • Official or unofficial transcripts should be uploaded through the online application form.
    • Transcripts must reflect the name of the institution attended, degree earned, grades earned and GPA.
    • Applicants should ensure that all transcripts are readable once uploaded. Submission of official transcripts is ONLY required for all admitted students who decide to enroll.
    • We require translated transcripts for all international applicants.
  3. A preferred cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above: 
    Those with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or lower will not be considered for admission. Please see the FAQs for further details.
  4. Personal Statement:
    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.
    4. The personal statement should be 2 pages maximum.
  5. Professional resumé
  6. Two letters of recommendation:
    In the online form, enter the names and e-mail addresses for recommenders. They will receive an e-mail from USF with instructions to upload their letter.  Please note that letters of recommendation must be on letterhead and signed by the recommender.
  7. For international students only:
    For those students seeking an F1 visa, USF is not able to issue an I-20 to a prospective student before they have met all criteria for full-admission. International students are required to submit the following:
    • Certificate of Finance
    • Copy of passport
    • TOEFL, IETLS, or PTE English language proficiency exam
    • Please refer to the International Graduate Student page for test score requirements and additional information
    Please note that we are not accepting international applications for our Orange County campus at this time. 
  8. TEAS or GRE test is NOT required

Frequently Asked Application questions:

Please review the frequently asked questions and answers below about the Master's Entry, Master of Science in Nursing (ME-MSN) program for individuals with a baccalaureate degree in a field outside of nursing. For general questions about our Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program please review our MSN FAQ page.

Can I submit unofficial transcripts?

You may upload official or unofficial copies of your transcripts at the point of application, 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.

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

  • The preferred cumulative undergraduate GPA is 3.0 or above. Applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or lower will not be considered for admission except for applicants with an undergraduate GPA lower than 2.75 and an earned graduate degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Such applicants must include a personal statement with a) a succinct explanation regarding course grades that contributed to a GPA lower than 3.0 but higher than 2.75 and b) why they believe they will be successful in the Master of Science in Nursing program.
  • 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.

What types of volunteering experience do you recommend?

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.

Do you look at the entire undergraduate transcript or just the last 60 credits of the undergraduate GPA?

We look at the cumulative GPA from your previously earned degrees, as well as GPAs from all institutions attended. We look at the prerequisite grades separately.

Does USF offer financial aid or scholarships?

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. 

Also, visit our Financing Your Education web page for current funding opportunities available: https://www.usfca.edu/nursing/admission-and-aid/financing-your-education

Do you require a CNA license?

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

Do you require the GRE or TEAS test?

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

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

San Francisco location: We accept applications two (2) times a year. The deadlines are September 1 for spring (January start), and January 15 for summer (May start). Please note these deadlines have recently changed.

Orange County location: We accept applications two (2) times a year. The deadlines are September 15 for spring (January start), and April 15 for fall (August start).

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.

Do you conduct interviews for the program?

No, we do not conduct interviews. The admissions committee carefully reviews each applicant’s personal statement instead.

Who should I have write the letters of recommendation? Can I have them sent directly to the school?

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.

What should be included in the personal statement?

Your personal statement should be a two-page document that describes your reasons for pursuing a master's degree and for choosing the graduate nursing program at the University of San Francisco. The statement should relate your past experiences to a career in nursing, your understanding of the profession and the clinical nurse leader role, and your future career goals. 

When do I find out if I have been accepted?

Admission decisions are communicated to applicants approximately ten weeks after the deadline.

Do the prerequisites have a time limit?

Our three science courses (Anatomy, Physiology, and Microbiology) are the only prerequisites with a recency requirement. These three courses must be taken within 7 years to the term to which you are applying.

Is there any way I can waive a prerequisite?

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

Can prerequisites be in progress as I apply? Is there a limit to the number of classes I can have in progress?

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.

Can I take Anatomy, Physiology, and Microbiology online?

You can take the lectures to these sciences online, but you may not take the labs online. Labs must be taken in person.

Do you accept a passing AP score that shows up as credit on your college transcript?

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