Master of Science (MS)


The Master of Science program prepares leaders in the advanced practice roles of nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse-midwife, administrator, teacher, and consultant. Courses from nursing and other disciplines provide advanced theoretical knowledge, assessment skills, role/leadership development, and advanced clinical practice in a selected specialization. The curriculum offers an opportunity to critique and apply nursing theory and research as a scientific base for nursing practice. Most applicants applying to this program are experienced registered nurses who have successfully completed a bachelor's degree.

Upon graduation, all have a base of knowledge in a specific area of nursing; can participate knowledgeably in research activity and application; and are capable of contributing to the formulation of theory and to the application of theory to nursing practice. The Master of Science program is ordinarily a two-year long program, the vast majority of students are on full-time status at the university (although many undertake part-time paid work concurrently with their study schedule). All of our master's students begin the program during Fall quarter as full-time students and are expected to finish in two years; in extreme circumstances part-time status is granted to master's students. There is no entry into the program any other time of the academic year. The Master of Science degree in nursing (and post-graduate APRN certificate) program at the UCSF School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.


The master's core curriculum serves students from all specialties. It provides advanced preparation in research, theory and clinical judgment in nursing practice, health care economics and policy, leadership, and the scientific basis for selected concepts in advanced nursing practice.

In addition, there are two clinical cores, one for clinical nurse specialist (CNS) students and another for primary health care students. For CNS students, the core includes health assessment, program management, case management, and outcomes evaluation. For primary health care students, the core includes health assessment, health maintenance and promotion, and clinical care management.

Each specialty area (listed at right) also has a series of courses that provide substantive content for the specialty. For the convenience of students juggling career and family obligations, many specialties arrange course meeting times to fit a two-day-per-week schedule.

More specifically, the curriculum is structured as follows:

  • Engage in advanced clinical practice

    • Apply current knowledge in the specialty area to manage or meet client needs within the client environment

    • Analyze clinical problems based on theoretical and research literature

    • Communicate, cooperate, and/or collaborate with persons from this and other disciplines to provide the best possible care for clients

    • Establish lifelong learning patterns that facilitate the incorporation of new theoretical and research findings into advanced practice

    • Assume a leadership role within the profession by:

      • Participating in professional organizations and activities

      • Developing an advocacy stance and position related to the focal client population

  • Evaluate and apply theory as it relates to the science base of nursing

    • Demonstrate discriminating use of specialty-based content reflective of particular client focus

    • Value the diversity of theoretical models relevant to practice

  • Critique and evaluate research as to its scientific and clinical value

    • Demonstrate ability to critique and synthesize relevant research literature

    • Demonstrate ability to use research findings to develop approaches to problems in advanced practice

    • Identify researchable problems, demonstrate skills essential to research participation, and assist in the dissemination of findings

    • Articulate linkages among theory, research, and practice; and recognize limitations of the current science base for advanced practice

  • Interpret relationships between social, cultural, political, and economic issues and health care delivery

    • Analyze major health care issues affecting the focal client population

    • Evaluate the impact of economics, politics, and demographics on the development of social and health policy and political action

    • Identify barriers to the availability of and access to health care

    • Identify cultural factors relevant to clinical practice, the conduct and critique of research, and the development of health care policy.

Please note: The curriculum is subject to periodic revision at the discretion of the faculty.

Images and voices of students in selected courses may be video-transmitted to other locations as a part of the distributed learning program. In addition, students may be involved in patient research as well as in research on school programs, aggregate (non-personally-identifiable) student information may be reported as part of this research.


Fees, Tuition, Registration, Aid

For information regarding tuition and fees please visit the Office of the Registrar page and the Financial Aid Office page.

International Students

International applicants should review the Information for Prospective International Students web page.

Student Notice

Images and voices of students in selected courses may be video-transmitted to other locations as a part of the distributed learning program. Students may be involved in patient research as well as in research on school programs, aggregate (non-personally-identifiable) student information may be reported as part of this research.

Nondiscrimination Policy Statement

The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy,1 physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services.2 The University also prohibits sexual harassment.

This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities.

1 Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.

2 Service in the uniformed services includes membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services.

Source: Office of the Registrar, University of California, San Francisco