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 for your relevant bachelor's degree.
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
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.
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:
- Lists 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. grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale, and
- 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 Graduate Division is World Education Services ((415) 677-9378; (212) 966-6311; https://www.wes.org/).
Application difficulties: If you are having difficulty completing your online application due to connectivity issues resulting from an emergency disaster such as a wildfire or hurricane, please contact both Recruitment Director Sergio Saenz and [email protected]ucsf.edu. An application extension may be granted in certain circumstances.
Prerequisite courses: 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 Sept. 7, 2022.
Applications will not be considered complete until all educational institutions listed have corresponding transcripts uploaded or mailed.
- Course completion at college-level within five years of UCSF matriculation.
- For example, for Fall 2023 entry, statistics courses completed prior to Summer 2018 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
- 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
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) — two years of experience and intention to work as APN in primary care preferred
- 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
A comprehensive well-written goal statement essay is an essential component of a successful 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 and in your designated area of specialization. It should be approximately two double-spaced typewritten pages in length, and should include the following information in the subsequent order if possible:
- Your understanding of the nursing profession
- Reasons for seeking advanced specialty preparation as part of a nursing program
- Reasons for choosing the specific specialty area you seek
- What factors (i.e. career goals, life challenges/personal experiences, professional work to date) are influencing you to make this decision on your career choice?
- What do you see as your outcome of the academic course of study that you are selecting?
- Any additional information you believe relevant to the admissions decision.
Please be as clear and precise as possible, and include your name at the top. Use your word processing software to compose and edit your goal statement. Then, convert your document to Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
Be sure you complete and upload your goal statement PDF well before the deadline. Only complete applications (including goal statements) will be reviewed for admission.
Personal History Statement
UCSF 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, the workplace and services to the public provided by this campus.
Your personal history statement referring specifically to your experiences and/or commitment to diversity and inclusion is a critically important part of your application.
- 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 relevant to your academic journey.
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)
- $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.
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: