BSN Entry to DNP Application Requirements

Bachelor's Degree in Nursing

Applicants are required to have graduated from an accredited college or university with a bachelor's degree in nursing, documented by an official transcript.


  • Applicants are required to upload a transcript (unofficial or official transcript) to the application portal for review purposes. 
  • If you are offered admission to a program in the School of Nursing, you will be required to submit an official transcript via electronic transmission from the institution to the School of Nursing at [email protected] or mailed directly from the institution to the School of Nursing in a sealed envelope to: 
    Office of Student Affairs
    UCSF School of Nursing
    Box 0604
    2 Koret Way, Suite 319X
    San Francisco, CA 94143-0604
  • Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions, including any programs in which you are currently enrolled, are required. Failure to disclose all institutions attended, including an concurrent enrollments, may result in retraction of admission and/or dismissal from the program. The Office of Student Affairs will contact you if further documentation is needed. 
  • For prerequisite courses that are in progress at the time of application submission, unofficial transcripts may be uploaded to your application. However, if you are offered admission to the School of Nursing, an official transcript is required no later than February 1, 2024.
  • What is an official transcript? 
    To complete the admission process, newly matriculated students are required to provide proof of a qualifying academic credential. This is done by supplying the School of Nursing with an official transcript from the institution of higher learning that conferred the qualifying degree (typically a BA, BS, or MS, depending on the program). Note that the qualifying degree must reflect a conferral date that is prior to the student's admission date to UCSF.

Official transcripts are issued by a college or university's Office of the Registrar. They are normally received directly from that office without passing through the student's hands. Transcripts received directly from students can be accepted, provided they are in a sealed envelope with the institution’s seal and any other security features intact. Electronic transcripts are considered official when received from a secure site formally linked to the sending institution or a vendor that has contracted with the institution. Major vendors include Parchment, Credential Solutions and the National Student Clearinghouse.

    Records received in any other condition, such as transcripts that arrive in an unsealed envelope, copies printed from a university portal, or documents that are emailed or uploaded by the student, are not considered official transcripts. Non-official transcripts are accepted as part of the application process, but an official transcript, as described above, must be obtained by the university before the end of the first quarter after matriculation. 
  • Non-English transcripts:
    All non-English transcripts must be translated by a certified translator for evaluation. Non-U.S. transcripts must be submitted for evaluation.

    Applicants may send their transcripts and credentials to any evaluation agency which requires submission of original transcripts and/or certificates directly from the education institution to the evaluation agency. The purpose of the evaluation is to verify that your degree/coursework is the equivalent to that of a U.S. bachelor or master's degree.

    Be sure to request an evaluation that provides the following: - List all subjects/courses completed at the post-secondary level
    - Provides a U.S. term credit and grade equivalent for each course
    - Provides a U.S. gradate point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale
    - Designates the level (upper or lower) of each undergraduate course

    Matriculants from most foreign institutions must also provide a credential evaluation. The service provider that has been approved by the Graduation Division is World Education Services ((415) 677-9378; (212) 966-6311;
  • Applicants will not be considered complete until all educational institutions listed have corresponding transcripts, including any evaluations uploaded or mailed. ​​​​

GPA Requirement

All applicants are required to demonstrate a minimum GPA of 3.0. 


No GRE is required.

English Proficiency

  • Proficiency in English (both spoken and written) is mandatory for success in our programs. If your first language is not English, you must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL, or the International English Language Test (IELTS,
  • Test Score Validity (Year) Limits
    • TOEFL/IELTS Test Results are Valid for Two Years. Be aware that submitted test results for the TOEFL (or the IELTS) can NOT be more than two years old to be accepted for your UCSF application. 
  • Minimum Scores
    • TOEFL: The minimum overall TOEFL score is 92 (internet-based test); 24 is the minimum score in the speaking section and 24 is the minimum score in the writing section.  
    • IELTS: The minimum IELTS score is 7. 
  • Score Reporting
    • TOEFL: For reporting TOEFL scores from ETS, the institution code for UCSF is 4840 and the department code is 43. 
    • IELTS: Mail a copy of the official IELTS score report to: 
      Office of Students Affairs
      School of Nursing, UCSF
      Box 0604
      2 Koret Way
      San Francisco, CA 94143 USA 
  • Name Changes
    • If there are alternative names - or other issues - that might interfere with our locating and matching your score(s) among the official test records, please let us know. Send your additional identifying date, name and score information to [email protected]
  • Questions
    • Consult with Nursing Student Affairs ([email protected]) for questions about examinations and scoring.
  • Note: Test scores may take up to six weeks to reach the university. 

Statistics Course

  • Applicants are required to complete and pass a statistics course within 5 years of the start of the program in June 2024. This must be a college-level course taken for credit at a regionally accredited institution. This can include online courses and/or courses from a community college or a regionally accredited institution. 
  • Note: You must submit a transcript that verifies the details of your completed statistics course and list the institution within the "Education" section of this application. If coursework is in progress during the application period, and if admitted to the program, proof of successful completion through an official transcript must be received before the program start date. 

Résumé or Curriculum Vitae (CV) 

  • A résumé or curriculum vitae (CV) is required. In chronological order, include details of your relevant work history, academic accomplishments, volunteer activities and professional affiliations, licenses, certifications applicable to advanced practice nursing or nurse leadership. 
  • Describe the basic elements and particular details of each experience, including the title of your position, the schedule (e.g., three weekends per month, five shifts per week and a brief description of the duties involved.
  • Be concise. Your submitted résumé / CV document should be 2-5 pages in length. Please upload, in PDF format, a copy of your current Résumé or CV. Examples can be found at: A résumé / CV may include the following and any other pertinent information:
    - Educational background
    - Work experience  
    - Honors, awards and scholarships
    - Professional organizations, community and/or public service including leadership role(s) i.e., membership versus leadership roles
    - Professional certifications
    - Professional presentations 
    - Research experience 
    - Publications

RN Licensure

  • Applicants must be licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN) in California. 
  • Non-California applicants desiring a California license should review "Licensure by Endorsement / Reciprocity" rules from the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN)
  • California BRN regulations 2729 and 2732 state that all nurses practicing in California must be licensed in California. 
  • Information regarding recognition of licensure in other states, or other matters related to licensure, may be obtained from the BRN at the following address: 
    CA Board of Registered Nursing
    P.O. Box 944210 
    Sacramento, CA 94244-2100

Practice Requirements

The following specialties are the only specialties that require previous practice experience:

If the specialty you are applying to is not listed above, then you are not required to have practice experience. 

Letters of Recommendation

It is important that applicants review both Section I and Section II, below. For questions, contact [email protected]

Section I - Specialty-Specific Letter of Recommendation Guidelines:

  • Applicants to the Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist; Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner; Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner-Occupational/Environmental Health; Family Nurse Practitioner; Health Policy and Public Health Nursing; Neonatal Nursing; Nurse-Midwifery; Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Acute Care; or Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care specialties must submit a minimum of 3 recommenders that meet the following selection criteria:
    1. One recommendation from current/recent employer(s) or supervisors, preferably advanced practice nurses (in the specialty you are applying if possible).
    2. One recommendation from a faculty member who can assess your academic performance in the area in which you wish to study.  If you are unable to obtain a faculty member recommendation, you have the option to replace it with an additional letter of recommendation from a current or recent employer or supervisor.
    3. One recommendation from individuals, not relatives, who are well-acquainted with your professional preparation and experience. 
  • In addition to the 3 recommenders above, applicants to the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty must submit a 4th recommender that meets the following selection criteria:
    1. For applicants to the PMHNP specialty who have clinical experience: One recommendation from an individual, not relative, who is well-acquainted with your clinical practice experience.
    2. For applicants to the PMHNP who do not have clinical experience: One recommendation from an individual, not relative, who is well-acquainted with your health-related work or volunteer experience.
  • Applicants to the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty must submit 4 recommenders that meet the following selection criteria:
    1. One recommendation from current/recent employer or supervisor
    2. One recommendation from a faculty member who can assess your academic performance in the area in which you wish to study.
    3. Two recommendations from individuals, not relatives, who are well-acquainted with your professional preparation and experience:
      - Professional colleague
      - Advanced practice nurse (in the specialty you are applying if possible)

Section II - General Letter of Recommendation Guidelines (applies to all specialties):

  • Recommenders should address one or more of the following areas in their letters: 

    [a] Research or scholarly activity  

    [b] Relationships with team members such as nurses, physicians, and others 
[c] Professional nursing ability, including application of theory, independent judgment where appropriate, and quality of patient care 
[d] Leadership Skills 

    [e] Communication Skills 

    [f] Creativity 
[g] Self-direction in learning  

    [h] Writing Skills 
[i] Teaching  

    [j] Recommender's relationship to the applicant  

    [k] Clinical practice  
  • We also ask for an overall numeric rating of the applicant. 
  • You will list your recommenders’ contact information in your application. Recommenders will be contacted and prompted to submit their documents in PDF format only
  • You should check your application periodically and follow-up with recommenders as necessary, to ensure that your recommenders have submitted their letters before the deadline. 

Goal Statement

  • A comprehensive well-written goal  statement essay is an essential component of a successful DNP application. 

    The goal statement essay is used as a source of information and as a sample of your writing ability. You should focus on your professional goals and how you envision these goals can be achieved through your designated area of specialization and doctoral study at UCSF. Please include the following information in the subsequent order if possible:
    - Describe your professional or career rationale for applying to the DNP program
    - Explain the reasons for choosing the specific specialty that you seek, i.e. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner  
    - Address future career goals and contributions you expect to make to nursing after completing the degree program
  • Your submitted Goal Statement should be no more than 500 words double spaced and typewritten. Please include your full legal name and page number at the top of each page. Upload the document, only in PDF format. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is strictly prohibited in the completion of this statement. This includes the use of AI-generated text, as well as the use of AI tools or software.

Personal Statement

  • The University of California, San Francisco, is committed to a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. Diversity refers to the variety of experiences and perspectives that arise from differences in race, culture, religion, mental or physical capabilities, heritage, age, gender, sexual orientation, and other characteristics. UCSF values diversity because it enhances the educational experience, workplace, and services to the public provided by this campus.  
  • A personal statement essay referring specifically to your experiences and/or commitment to diversity and inclusion is a critically important part of your application. In your statement, discuss how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree and include any educational, cultural, economic, family, or social experiences, challenges, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey. Please describe how these experiences or factors inform how you plan to advance the field, serve diverse patient populations, and shape your approach to professional development, including:  
    - Your personal background rationale for applying to this program 
    - Experiences or Factors (i.e., family or social opportunities, life challenges/personal experiences, volunteer or professional work to date) influencing you to make this decision regarding future career? 
  • Your submitted Personal Statement should be no more than 500 words, double-spaced and typewritten.  Please include your full legal name and page number at the top of each page. Upload the document, only in PDF format.  The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is strictly prohibited in the completion of this statement. This includes the use of AI-generated text, as well as the use of AI tools or software.

Application Fee (subject to change)

  • $120 for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and $140 for international applicants.
  • U.S. citizens and permanent residents who demonstrate financial need, or who would have significant difficulty in paying application fees, may be eligible for a fee waiver.

Please review our FAQs for more information and start your application. If you have questions, please contact [email protected] and a member of our Student Affairs team will respond to your inquiry.