Frequently Asked Questions (MEPN)

The University of California, San Francisco’s School of Nursing takes great pride in being a national leader in nursing, and as such, continuously reviews our educational programs for quality and consistency to national requirements. Currently, we are reviewing all of our professional nursing degree programs (Master’s-Entry in Nursing, Master of Science program including the Post-Master’s certificate program, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice) to ensure that they meet required and anticipated regulatory changes.

During this period of review, there is no application period for our Master's Entry Program in Nursing in fall 2022. If you would like to be notified when new program information is available, please complete our brief interest form


General Questions

Does the program confer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)?

No. MEPN is, from start to finish, a master’s degree program.

Does the program confer a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)?

No. The MEPN program is a master’s degree program. For those interested in the DNP, visit our DNP program webpage to learn more.

What is required to apply?

  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, with transcript(s) for verification.
  • All prerequisite courses must be completed with a passing grade by the application deadline.
  • 4-5 recommendations.
  • A history of work and volunteer experience.
  • A goal statement.
  • A personal history statement.

Is there any exception to the 3.0 undergraduate GPA requirement?

The most common and successful way to compensate for a low undergraduate GPA is to provide a transcript from a graduate degree program bearing a GPA above 3.0. We will also accept a one-two page well-written petition from an applicant with an undergraduate GPA that does not meet our 3.0 standard. The applicant must provide strong evidence of academic success.

Do courses need to be taken at a four-year college?

Not at all. Any course suitable for the requirement from an accredited institution will be accepted, from a post-bac program, a community college, university extension, or an online program, as long as you can provide a transcript from an accredited institution showing credits earned.

Which courses require lab components?

Anatomy, Physiology, and Microbiology must all have laboratory components, per Title 16 of the Board of Registered Nursing Practice Act.

I am finishing my bachelor’s degree in June; can I apply this year to enter the program following my graduation?

No. Unfortunately, we require that your undergraduate degree be conferred no later than the application deadline, which is typically September 1. Students with some experience beyond college tend to be more successful in the admissions process.

Questions About Prerequisities

What are the prerequisites?

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology lab
  • Physiology
  • Physiology lab
  • Anatomy
  • Anatomy lab
  • Psychology or Lifespan Development
  • Nutrition
  • Statistics (taken within the past three years)

Do all prerequisites need to be completed by the application deadline?

Yes. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a passing grade by the application deadline. 

What is the minimum number or units/credits/hours for a prerequisite course?

A course must be a minimum of two semester units of three quarter units, including any required lab component.

Is there a recency requirement for any of the subjects?

The only recency requirement is for statistics (addressed below); however, if it has been more than three or four years for any subject, we would strongly encourage you to revisit the subject, to ensure that you have a current, working knowledge upon entering the program.

Are online courses acceptable?

For prerequisites that do not require lab components, online courses are acceptable if they are from an accredited college or university that displays college credit on a transcript. We strongly encourage you to attend lab sections in person, though online options are also acceptable.

Are online lab offerings accepted?

We have reviewed certain online offerings, such as those from University of New England, Johns Hopkins University, and Geneva College via Portage Learning, and determined these are acceptable.

What online lab courses are acceptable?

Online courses and labs from accredited institutions may be taken to meet prerequisite course requirements for the 2020 application cycle due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Preferred online lab formats are synchronous instructor-led labs or participation in a virtual lab. a few institutions with approved virtual labs include University of New England, Johns Hopkins University, Emery University, and University of Massachusetts - Amherst.

What constitutes an appropriate microbiology course?

A microbiology course must cover the basics of microbial life and its interactions with the human body and the immune system, and have a congruent lab component.

Would a molecular and cell biology or organic chemistry course be suitable for the microbiology requirement?

No, though it could be a helpful foundation.

Would a course focused on physiology from a developmental or therapeutic or kinesiology perspective be appropriate for the physiology requirement?

You would want to ensure that it encompasses a systems overview of human physiology that is appropriate for your preparation; as always, it is best to ask your instructor or department whether it is suitable preparation for an advanced degree program in the health sciences.

If I am taking a combined anatomy and physiology course, would this still be accepted?

Yes. There are some combined A&P courses that are perfectly suitable, such as BIOL 106 (previously ANAT 14) from City College of San Francisco, which is four semester units including a lab. However, CCSF also offers anatomy and physiology separately, and you should take them if you can, to ensure that you obtain the most comprehensive preparation that you can.

If I am taking a combined anatomy and physiology series, do I need to complete it in its entirety?

Yes. Most combined A&P series, such as 40A/B/C from Foothill/DeAnza are organized in such a way that anatomy is covered early in the series and Physiology is covered more heavily in the latter segments. In order to ensure that you complete a comprehensive overview, you should plan to complete the series in its entirety.

If my school does not offer specific human anatomy or physiology, may I pursue an alternative?

While a general or survey biology course will not meet our requirements, we will accept a general, vertebrate, or mammalian anatomy or physiology course, as long as there is an emphasis on human regions and systems, and a lab component is included.

What courses would be suitable for the psychology requirement?

Any intro, general, or survey course would be appropriate. Social, abnormal, behavioral courses would also be acceptable, as well as a lifespan or human growth and development course.

What course would be suitable for the nutrition requirement?

Any course that covers the foundations of nutrition, the six nutrient groups, principles of digestion, absorption, metabolism, and the role of diet in human health and disease would be appropriate, as well as social factors in access and development.

What is the recency requirement for statistics?

Statistics must be from no earlier than three years from the application deadline (e.g. if the upcoming deadline is September 1, 2021, it must be from no earlier than the Summer 2018 term).

What should we look for in courses for the statistics requirement?

You will want to review the course description and syllabus and look for terms like inferential and descriptive statistics, probability, frequency and distribution, measures of central tendency, regression, ANOVA, T-test, chi-square, hypothesis testing, and confidence intervals.

Does the statistics requirement have to be an intro or general statistics course?

Not necessarily; statistics are applied in many contexts. You might take biostatistics, statistics for epidemiology or public health, or even environmental statistics; what matters is that you learn the foundations and how to apply them as needed.

Could I apply even though my statistics classes are from 2011?

No. You will not be moved to review without fulfilling all of the requirements. Here are the details on Statistics. Statistics must be from within three years of the application deadline. 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. Applicants must provide evidence of completing this requirement for admission by providing the college transcript that displays the statistics course grade and credits earned.

Does “four semester units” mean that I have to take four semesters of anatomy? That is more than a year!

No. You take one or two classes to equal at least four semester credit units or six quarter credit units.

How many psychology classes must I take?

At many institutions, one psychology course is worth 2-3 semester credit units or 4-5 quarter credit units. Most of our applicants take one class. It can be introductory psychology.

Are AP exams accepted for the prerequisites?

AP exams can be accepted, provided that they are posted on a college transcript with credits awarded specifically for the subject in question.

Questions About the Application

What are you looking for in my goal statement?

We would like to see you describe your path into nursing as you see it, and articulate your understanding of and commitment to nursing, the advanced nursing role, and your chosen specialty. Please remember your goal statement should be no more than two pages, double-spaced.

Do I have to declare a specialty at the time of application?

Yes, you will declare your specialty at the time of application. During screening you will be evaluated not only on your fit for nursing, but a large part of the evaluation is focused on your fit for the specialty and the specific advanced nursing role associated with the specialty.

Can I change specialties during the application process?


What are you looking for in my personal history statement?

In your personal history statement, please discuss how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include below any educational, cultural, economic, family or social experiences, challenges or opportunities that are relevant to your academic journey. It should be no longer than two double-spaced typewritten pages in length.

Who should provide my recommendations?

They can be academic or professional. We ask the recommender to assess your general competence, your capacity for initiative and leadership, and your ability to work with coworkers and clients from diverse backgrounds, be it educationally, ethnically or socioeconomically.

If you are a reapplicant, while you may use previously submitted letters of recommendation, the Office of Student Affairs cannot upload them to a new application on your behalf. You will still need to contact your recommenders and have them upload the LORs themselves.

Questions About the Program's Structure

Can I work during this program?

We strongly discourage students from working during the pre-licensure year. It is an intensive, four-quarter program, requiring 8-12 hours, five days a week. During the second and third years, most of our students work 60-75 percent of the time as RNs during the program, as they are only required to be on campus two or three consecutive days out of the week, depending on their specialty and scheduling.

What will the schedule look like?

MEPNs begin the summer quarter in June with classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, skills lab on Tuesdays, and clinicals on Thursdays and Fridays. This generally holds true throughout the pre-licensure year of the program.

Where are clinicals held?

MEPN has strong clinical affiliations all over the Bay Area. Where you are placed will depend on the clinical course that you are currently taking (psych/mental health, pediatrics, community health, etc). For example, we can offer placements at the UCSF Parnassus, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Mission Bay campuses. We also have placements on the Peninsula at institutions that include Stanford, the VA in Palo Alto, and Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. There are also placements in Marin and the East Bay. We try to accommodate our students’ preferences; however, we cannot guarantee that you will get the clinical assignment they prefer. You must have your own independent means of transportation to fulfill your clinical assignments.