Master of Science Admission Requirements
Please read through the admissions requirements carefully, and review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for greater detail.
A bachelor's degree in nursing from an NLNAC- or CCNE-accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, or experience and licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) with a (U.S.) regionally accredited bachelor's degree in another discipline. The degree must be conferred by the application deadline.
- Minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale verified by official transcripts.
- Must be uploaded to your application or mailed to the Office of Student Affairs in an official, stamped envelope. When possible, we prefer you upload official pdf copies of your transcripts directly to your application. Due to COVID restrictions, we are not always in the office to receive hard copies, and we cannot guarantee pdf transcripts sent directly from your Institution's registrar will be downloaded before the link expires.
- Applications will not be considered complete until all educational institutions listed have corresponding official transcripts uploaded or mailed. Be sure to include all post-secondary institutions, including any programs in which you are currently enrolled.
- All non-English transcripts must be translated by a certified translator for evaluation. Non-U.S. transcripts must be submitted for evaluation by an organization such as World Education Services, etc.
- For prerequisite courses still in progress at time of application, unofficial transcripts may be uploaded to your application. However, official transcripts are required for final admission if you are accepted.
- Failure to disclose all institutions attended, including any concurrent enrollments, may result in retraction of admission and/or dismissal from the program.
- Course completion at college-level within five years of UCSF matriculation.
- For example, for Fall 2021 entry, statistics courses completed prior to Summer 2016 does not meet this requirement. Transcript must reflect statistics course grade and credits earned at an accredited college, university or online institution. See Statistics FAQs for more information.
- Post-master's applicants: Please note that those applying to the Post-Master's Certificate Program do not need to fulfill the statistics requirement.
English proficiency for non-native English speakers
English proficiency for non-native English speakers as verified by one of the following:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) – minimum total score of 92 with a minimum score of 24 in both the speaking and writing sections. To report your scores, use UCSF institutional code 4840 and department code 43.
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – minimum score of 7 mailed to the Office of Student Affairs.
- Note: Test scores may take up to six weeks to reach the university.
- Evidence of licensure as a registered nurse (RN) is required. Applicants must be licensed as a Registered Nurse in California or in home state of residency at the time of application. While studying in California, international students must be recognized as a registered nurse or a nurse in their country of origin, if RN licensure is unavailable
- Students applying for MS Program specialty tracts to become a Nurse Midwife, Clinical Nurse Specialist, or Nurse Practitioner will perform direct patient care during the course of their study. As a result, students must be licensed by the California BRN as an RN during any portion of the program in which they will provide direct patient care.
- Non-California applicants should review "Licensure by Endorsement / Reciprocity" rules from the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).
- California BRN regulations 2729 and 2732 require licenses for all practicing nurses in the State of 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: California Board of Registered Nursing, P.O. Box 944210, Sacramento, CA 94244-2100.
- Some specialties may require additional experience:
- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)—two years of adult acute care nursing experience
- Adult Gerontology CNS-Oncology and Adult Gerontology CNS-Critical Care/Trauma (AGCNS) — one year or more of relevant clinical experience
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) — two years of experience and intention to work as APN in primary care preferred
- Neonatal Nursing — two years of acute care nursing experience with infants/neonates
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care (PNP-AC) — one year acute care pediatric nursing experience
- The following specialties do not require RN experience:
- Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS)
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) — not required, although one year is preferred
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner-Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing (AGPCNP-OEH)
- Advanced Public Health Nursing (APHN)
- Certified Nurse-Midwife/Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (CNM/WHNP) — not required, although applicants are strongly encouraged to gain exposure to both nurse-midwifery practice and birth prior to applying
- Health Policy
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care (PNP-PC) — not required, although volunteer or work experience with children and families is highly recommended
- Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) — not required, although one year is preferred
Your goal statement referring specifically to your choice of specialty area, and to your experience is a critical part of your application. This goal statement is used as a source of information and also as an example of your writing ability. Be as specific as possible and focus on your professional goals and how you envision these goals can be achieved through study at UCSF in your designated area of specialization. It should include the following information:
- Describe your understanding of the nursing profession.
- Articulate personal and professional goals, motivation for seeking an advanced nursing degree, and reasons you are selecting your chosen specialty.
- Discuss how your previous academic and life experience will contribute to the nursing profession and our program.
Please be as clear and precise as possible. Your goal statement should be no more than two double-spaced typewritten pages. Place your full legal name and page number at the top of each page.
Four nominated recommendations are required (a maximum of five is permitted) from:
- Two recommendations provided by the most recent employer(s), preferably nurses;
- A school of nursing, if you are a graduate within the past five years, and preferably from a professor who can assess your clinical performance and judgment in the area in which you wish to study; and
- One or two from individuals (not relatives) who are well acquainted with your professional preparation and experience.
Each recommender is asked to address the following areas, as appropriate:  relationships with team members such as nurses, physicians, and others;  professional nursing ability, including application of theory, independent judgment where appropriate, and quality of patient care;  communication skills;  leadership skills; and  responsibility and initiative. An overall numeric rating is also requested.
The applicant will initiate the referral process through their online application, by entering an email address for each recommender. Then, each identified recommender will receive an email with individualized instructions to access the application site. That recommender will have the option of uploading a reference letter or answering a short survey.
Within the online system, applicants can verify when each of their recommenders has submitted their reference/recommendation. If necessary, applicants may send reminders to their nominated recommenders through the UCSF application system. Recommenders will have access to submit their reference for applicants even after the applicant 'locks,' or submits their application. The UCSF admissions committee will only review complete applications when the minimum four recommendations have been received.
Résumé or curriculum vitae
- A current resume or C/V, including all work and volunteer experiences
Application fee (subject to change)
- $105 for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and $125 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.
Interviews (depending on specialty)
- May be required. Check your specialty webpage for details.
The School of Nursing requires all applicants who have completed degrees and/or coursework outside of the U.S. to submit their transcripts for validation and evaluation before they may be considered for admission. International applicants should start this process as soon as possible. Please refer to the FAQ page for more details. Prospective international students should also review the following resources: