BSN Entry to DNP FAQs

Please review these common questions about the BSN Entry to DNP — Advancing Nursing Focus pathway. If you have additional questions not included in these FAQs, you may reach out to our Office of Student Affairs at [email protected].

General Program Questions

How long does it take to complete the BSN Entry to DNP — Advanced Nursing Focus pathway?

UCSF operates on the academic quarter system, which consists of four 10-week sessions in the fall, winter, spring and summer. The BSN Entry to DNP — Advanced Nursing Focus pathway consists of 12 academic quarters (including summer quarter), totaling three continuous years of study starting in mid-June of each year. Quarters are separated by one- or two-week breaks. 

Can I attend part-time?

The program is designed as a full-time program. For those who cannot attend full-time, we intend to work with these students to create an accessible plan.

How many days a week must I come to campus? How many days must I be engaged in training at a clinical site?

The BSN Entry to DNP — Advanced Nursing Focus is a hybrid pathway that combines in-person and virtual didactic courses with hands-on training at clinical sites throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
For the summer and fall quarters of the first year of study, the majority of courses are delivered in hybrid format with minimal requirements for on-campus learning. Winter and spring quarters may require limited days on campus for coursework and clinical instruction.
In the second and third years of study, students can expect to spend the majority of their time engaged in in-person clinical training and specialty-focused courses to complete their clinical residencies.

What is the typical workload for courses?

Students should expect to devote three weekdays per week to coursework, including time for reviewing readings, assignments and online and/or on-campus courses and participating in recurring web-conferencing, and clinical application. 
Students will be required to prepare a project plan, and implement and evaluate the plan by the end of the program. This work begins early in the program and builds until they enroll in the project courses beginning in quarter 8 and continuing throughout the remainder of their program of study. Students should begin to think about the topic of their evidence-based quality improvement project in the first year.

Can I continue to work while in this program?

It is strongly recommended that students’ work schedules not exceed 60% of their time during the academic year to achieve a healthy balance of employment, student learning and personal wellbeing. If you feel you need to work more than 60% of the time, please speak with the program director for guidance on your educational studies.

How do I decide which specialty to choose?

When you apply, you will be asked to select a specialty area. This is a critical decision and should be made with great care. As you can imagine, there is a tremendous difference in the specialty education of a nurse midwife compared to that of an adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist. It is essential that you research these different specialty areas thoroughly in advance, that you reflect carefully on your clinical experience, personal interests, strengths, weaknesses, talents and inclinations so as to make the most informed decision possible. Each specialty has its own dedicated webpage on the School of Nursing website that you can explore for detailed information.

Once you are admitted into a specialty, you will remain within that specialty throughout the course of your study.

Does the UCSF School of Nursing coordinate clinical placements or do I need to do it?

The School of Nursing’s Office of Clinical Placements arranges clinical training at hospitals, clinics and agencies for all its students. Many of our nursing students receive clinical training at our UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center, which is consistently ranked among the finest hospitals in the country. We also partner with renowned hospitals and clinics throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Stanford Health Care and Kaiser Permanente, to provide hands-on clinical training to our students.

For the Health Policy-Public Health Nursing specialty, students have residencies at local, national and international public health, legislative and policy organizations. Examples include Health Impact, the World Health Organization, the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Alameda County Department of Public Health.

How many students are in a class? Do we attend the same classes with a cohort?

Class size varies by course and specialty. Students will move through the pathway as a cohort.

What is included in the DNP quality improvement project that is required of all students?

The evidence-based quality improvement project is a project that is often completed at the student’s workplace. After the student has identified a problem/issue, they search the evidence to determine best practices on the topic. Students will develop a project proposal and once approved by the faculty, will then plan the necessary steps to implement the project and ultimately evaluate its effectiveness.

Can I do my DNP quality improvement project at my workplace?

Most projects are completed at the student’s workplace. On occasion, the employer may not support the project and faculty will attempt to secure another location for the student.

I am an applicant with an F-1 visa. Is the BSN Entry to DNP pathway right for me?

The BSN Entry to DNP pathway is structured in a hybrid format, with the majority of courses held online. Applicants who are required to have an F-1 visa to study in the United States will not be able to meet the visa requirement for attending in-person courses. Please reach out to [email protected] if you have additional questions regarding this requirement.

The DNP Degree

What career opportunities are available to me after graduating from this pathway?

The BSN Entry to DNP — Advanced Nursing Focus pathway combines training in a nursing specialty with advanced leadership. DNP-prepared nurses have the expanded skills, judgment and confidence to develop innovative solutions to the most complex health issues and transform care for our diverse communities. DNP-prepared nurses go onto hold positions in clinical leadership and administration, health policy and academia. 

In California, is the DNP degree required to practice as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)?

The DNP degree is not required to practice as an APRN in California. However, national professional nursing organizations have strongly recommended that advanced practice nurses be prepared at the doctoral level.

Application Requirements and Admissions Process

What are you looking for in an ideal applicant? 

The ideal applicant is an individual who is capable of practicing independently in their nursing role; who demonstrates leadership; values diversity, inclusion and equity; prioritizes volunteerism in work-related projects and/or in community; and is multilingual. 

I’m an RN, but I do not have a bachelor’s degree or my bachelor’s degree is not in nursing. Am I eligible for this pathway?

No. Having a bachelor’s degree in nursing is a requirement to apply to this pathway.

How are admissions decisions made? 

Through our rolling admissions process, applicants are considered and notified of an admission decision on a first-come, first-served basis.

Our Office of Student Affairs reviews submitted applications to ensure they are complete. A submitted application is defined as complete when all the required information, transcripts and letters of recommendation have been received. Our Office of Student Affairs will send applicants a notice confirming their application is complete.   

Once the application has been deemed complete, the specialty and DNP faculty will carefully review the application and determine whether to make an admission offer, to make a decision of non-admission, or to place the applicant on a waitlist for admission. Applicants will be contacted individually if the faculty chooses to perform an interview.

Specialties may close admissions before the final March 1, 2024 deadline if all seats have been filled.

After I submit my application, how long does it take to receive an admission decision? If I’m admitted, how long do I have to decide if I will accept the offer?

Once an application is fully complete, the specialty and DNP faculty will carefully review the application and determine whether to make an admission offer, to make a decision of non-admission, or to place the applicant on a waitlist for admission. You can expect to be notified of this decision no later than eight to 10 weeks of receiving the notice that confirms your application is complete. If you receive an admission offer, you will have two weeks to consider it.

What is the difference between the goal statement and the personal statement?

The goal statement and personal statement are important components of your application. The goal statement should focus on your career aspirations and professional goals. The personal statement should discuss current or past experiences that contribute to your decision to pursue this pathway.

Do I need to have the statistics prerequisite completed by the application deadline?

An introductory college-level statistics course is a required prerequisite. The statistics course must be completed within five years of matriculation to UCSF. The course can be in progress, as long as grades are due by June 1, 2024.

A college-level statistics course taken at an accredited college or university that results in credit on the college’s transcript meets this requirement. Online courses that earn credit on an accredited college or university transcript meet this requirement.

If I’m not admitted to the first specialty I apply to, can I re-apply to a different specialty? 

If you receive a decision of non-admission to the first specialty you applied to, you may apply to a different specialty if it is before our final March 1, 2024 application deadline and the specialty is still accepting applications.

Is the GRE required?

No, the GRE is not required.

Where do I send my transcripts?

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 any 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.

Who should provide my letters of recommendation?

At least three letters of recommendations are required. Two specialties — Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner — require a fourth letter of recommendation. Visit the “Letter of Recommendations” section of our Application Requirements webpage for specific instructions about who should provide letters of recommendation.

You will list your recommenders’ email addresses in your application. Recommenders will be emailed a link to upload their letters directly into the application portal.

English was not my first language, but I completed my bachelor’s degree in the United States. Am I still required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?

Waivers of the TOEFL exam are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Applicants may submit an appeal letter to the Office of Student Affairs. In the appeal letter, you must detail your use of English both in the academic setting and in your current and prior work experiences. Applicants are advised to submit this letter well in advance of the application deadline, so that in the event of a denied waiver, you have ample time to take the TOEFL exam and send your scores in to complete your application. Send your appeal letter to [email protected].

Financial Support, Housing and More

Are there scholarships and financial aid available?

Contact our School of Nursing's Student Funding Office and the UCSF Financial Aid Office to discuss financial support options.

Does the School of Nursing offer discounted tuition to UCSF employees?

Regular status employees of the University of California in these eligible titles who meet our admission requirements are eligible for a two-thirds reduction in the Student Services Fee and Tuition when enrolled in regular session courses of up to 12 units or four courses per quarter, whichever provides the greater benefit to the employee. This tuition and fee reduction for employees is available through spring 2026.

The reduced fee enrollment benefit is available to non-represented UC employees and most represented employees. Represented employees should consult their bargaining unit's contract for specific information.

How do I find housing in the area?

Housing in the Bay Area may be expensive, but the campus Housing Office offers campus housing as well as resources to identify off-campus housing. We advise newly admitted students to start their housing search as soon as possible. Many of our students find that sharing housing is a good approach to addressing the issues of availability and cost.