Master of Science Advanced Practice Programs

The Master of Science program prepares leaders in the advanced practice roles of nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse-midwife, health policy expert, 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.

For admissions information and Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the Ready to Apply? page


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 below) 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.

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

Curriculum Objectives

  • 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.

MS Specialty Areas

Caution:  some specialty areas listed below do not currently admit MEPN students ( † ), and also some specialties are not open to Post-Master's students.