Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

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 healthcare field.

The program comprises of 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 the classroom and online instruction plus practicum coursework.

Program Features

  • Top Ranking Program: Rated among the best graduate schools in the country for training nurses in assuming leadership roles in healthcare facilities.
  • 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: Online | San Francisco | Pleasanton | San Jose
  • Flexible Schedule: Classes are held one night a week — same night throughout the program or 100% online
  • 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.

Program Details

The Master of Science in Nursing (RN to MSN) program, for registered nurses with an ADN or BSN, is responsive to the needs of working professionals.

Program Delivery

For our on-campus hybrid option, you attend class sessions in-person one (1) evening each week. Your class session is scheduled for a specific day of the week, for the duration of the program. Integrated with the in-person sessions are online modules that extend the scope, depth, and impact of the real-time interaction.

The RN-MSN on-campus hybrid option is offered at four locations:

  • Online MSN
  • San Francisco
  • Pleasanton
  • San Jose


Students in the RN-MSN program must complete 400 practicum hours. With supervisor and site approval, these hours may be completed at your place of work. You will be responsible for securing your own preceptor and identifying your own practicum site. The Graduate Placement Coordinator will work with you to secure your site; you cannot start the process of securing your site without the approval of the School of Nursing and Health Professions.

Curriculum Pattern

RN to MSN Curriculum | Associate Degree to MSN: 46 credits | BSN to MSN: 35 credits

Semester 1: 3 credits^

  • NURS 648: Healthcare Policy and Ethics | 3 credits

Semester 2: 4 credits^

  • NHP 702: Epidemiology (Online only) | 4 credits

Semester 3: 8 credits

  • NURS 603: Assessment Across the Lifespan | 3 credits
  • NURS 613: CNL Role: Introduction | 1 credit
  • NURS 639: Nursing Inquiry | 4 credits

Semester 4: 8 credits

  • NURS 614: Healthcare Systems Leadership | 3 credits
  • NURS 664: Adv. Pathophysiology and Pharmacology | 3 credits
  • NURS 654: CNL Practice I: Leading Quality Improvement Initiatives (80 hours) | 2 credits

Semester 5: 8 credits

  • NURS 629: Financial Resource Management (CNL) | 3 credits
  • NURS 640: Healthcare Informatics | 2 credits
  • NURS 655: CNL Practice II: Quality Improvement Outcomes Management (100 hours) | 3 credits

Semester 6: 4 credits

  • NURS 651*: CNL Role: Synthesis | 2 credits
  • NURS 653*: Internship: Clinical Nurse Leader (220 hours) | 2 credits

^Associate-prepared nurses must complete four (4) additional courses: NURS 500 and NURS 501 (Semester 1, 6 credits), NURS 505 and NURS 506 (Semester 2, 5 credits).

Exemptions: Associate-prepared nurses with a BS or BA do not take NURS 500 and NURS 501 (unless admitted with provisional status).

The number of courses taken/semester may be reduced to slow the pace of the program. Reducing course load may impact progressing with the cohort you were admitted into (where applicable). Students must contact Academic Adviser prior to reducing your course load.

Course lists are sample curriculum patterns and are subject to change.

The curriculum patterns for the online MSN program will vary.


A variety of materials determines whether or not a course of study is a good match for a student. In addition to grades and test scores, the following factors are considered as part of admission to the MSN for Registered Nurses program: employment background, previous academic coursework and preparedness, research interests, and long-term professional goals.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Application Priority Deadline: May 15
    Locations: San Jose, and Pleasanton
  • Spring Application Deadline: November 15
    Locations: Online

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

Application Requirements

Admission to the program is based on an overall appraisal of the applicant's ability to undertake master's study and of their potential contributions to the discipline of nursing as evidence by the following:

  1. Completed online application and fee
  2. Completion of an undergraduate nursing degree (ADN or BSN) from an accredited institution
  3. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges/universities attended. 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. For non-U.S. transcripts, applicants please submit translated transcripts.
  4. Grade point average of 3.0 or higher
  5. Personal statement
  6. Professional résumé
  7. Active unencumbered RN License documentation (must reflect the state where you plan to complete practicum hours).
  8. 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.
  9. For international students only: A Certificate of Finance, a passport copy, and TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic test scores. Refer to the International Graduate Student Admission page for test score requirements and additional information.
  10. TEAS or GRE test is NOT required

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.

RN-MSN Program Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the program the student will demonstrate:

  1. Clinical leadership for patient-care practices and delivery, including the design, coordination, and evaluation of care for individuals, families, groups, and populations;
  2. Participation in identification and collection of health care outcomes;
  3. Accountability for evaluation and improvement of point-of-care outcomes, including the synthesis of data and other evidence to evaluate and achieve optimal outcomes;
  4. Risk anticipation for individuals and cohorts of patients;
  5. Lateral integration of care for individuals and cohorts of patients;
  6. Design and implementation of evidence-based practice(s);
  7. Team leadership, management and collaboration with other health professional team members;
  8. Information management or the use of information systems and technologies to improve healthcare outcomes;
  9. Stewardship and leveraging of human, environmental, and material resources;
  10. Advocacy for patients, communities, and the health professional team; and,
  11. Leadership in delivering competent and safe patient care to individuals and groups in a variety of settings based on liberal arts and the natural sciences.


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.

Last updated Jul 2018

About the School

The School of Nursing and Health Professions follows the University of San Francisco’s mission to provide a liberal arts education rooted in the Jesuit tradition of diversity, justice and global persp ... Read More

The School of Nursing and Health Professions follows the University of San Francisco’s mission to provide a liberal arts education rooted in the Jesuit tradition of diversity, justice and global perspectives. Read less
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