Post-Master’s Certificate Program

Continue expanding your nursing skills with a Post-Master's Certificate in the specialty area of your choice.

Our Post-Master’s Certificate Program enables nurses with a master's degree in nursing to pursue state certification in an additional specialty area, or seek a program of study that may lead to a change in role (e.g., a CNL or CNS seeking an NP specialization certificate). You'll receive a certificate upon completion and will be eligible to apply for national certification examinations.

Choosing A Specialty Area

We offer Post-Master's options for specialized study as a clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner or health policy specialist.

MS specialties become available on a year-to-year basis, depending on faculty and funding resources. For details on which MS specialties offer Post-Master's options and for specialty-specific details and requirements, visit the webpages for our specialties. You may also contact the coordinator for the specialty you're interested in if you have questions.

Nurse Practitioner Specialities

Nurse-Midwifery Specialty

Clinical Nurse Specialist Specialties

Population Health and Health Policy


Applicants must have completed and received a Master of Science degree in Nursing, typically MS, MSN or MN.

If accepted, applicants must be licensed by the state Board of Registered Nursing and their nursing license must be recognized as valid for practice within the State of California during the complete course of study. (If your RN is from another U.S. state, or from Canada, you may qualify for Licensure by Endorsement by the BRN.)

Additional general requirements include:

  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions, including any programs in which you are currently enrolled
  • Goal statement
  • Minimum of 3 letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • English proficiency for non-native speakers (Minimum TOEFL score of 92, minimum ILTS score of 7)

Some specialties may have additional requirements. Check the specialty webpages for more details.

COVID-19 Information for 2021-22 Applicants

Pass/Fail Grades

UCSF will accept pass/fail grades or satisfactory/unsatisfactory, without prejudice, for courses taken during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has always been our practice to consider grades in the context of numerous other aspects of the application, and an international crisis certainly provides a unique and compelling context. In adopting this policy, we are cognizant of the fact that some undergraduate schools are providing an option for students to take courses either for grades or on a Pass/Fail or S/U basis. We therefore want to be explicit that applicants should not feel pressured by UCSF to choose the graded option. Students and their families are facing many challenges at the moment. The pressure for grades need not be one of them.

Online Courses/Labs

Online courses and labs may be taken to meet prerequisite course requirements for the 2021-22 application cycle due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Online courses and labs are acceptable as long as they are from an accredited college or university that displays college credit on an official transcript. Preferred online lab formats are synchronous instructor-led labs or participation in a virtual lab. If you are uncertain about your specific plans, please contact the Office of Student Affairs prior to enrolling in the course.

Curriculum and Time Needed to Earn A Certificate

The Post-Master's program does not have a single separate curriculum. Each MS specialty's webpage carries information about specific courses and curricula requirements. The specialty coordinator and/or specialty advisor will work with each student on a gap analysis to determine what specific curricular requirements are required for successful completion of the individual program. 

The average time commitment is 4 to 8 quarters, depending on the specialty area selected. Students are typically required to attend classes at UCSF an average of 2 days each week and attend clinical a minimum of 1 to 2 days each week. Post-Master's students need to be enrolled in a minimum of 3 quarters to fulfill the residency requirement to receive a Post-Master's certificate. Students are not required to find their own clinical placements.


The in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees for the Post-Master's Certificate Program are posted on the UCSF Student Financial Services website.

Scholarships and other financial support opportunities are available to Post-Master's students. The fee reduction policy for UCSF employees is not applicable to the Post-Master’s Certificate Program.

Application Deadlines and Process

For entry for the 2022-2023 academic year, applications open July 1, 2021. The deadline for completed and locked applications, with transcripts and all recommendations included, is Feb. 1, 2022.

Deadlines vary by specialty. If you plan to apply after the Feb. 1, 2022 deadline, please first confirm that the specialty you have chosen is still accepting new applications. Availability and capacity differs among the specialty areas.

For post-master's applicants to the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty, the application opens July 1, 2021 and closes March 1, 2022 for January 2023 entry.

The School of Nursing reserves the right to process and admit applicants after the published deadlines.

Application Process

Applicants can sign in and out of the UCSF application system as many times as necessary while completing their application. You can check your progress on the application overview page. Green check-mark symbols indicate completed sections. We encourage you to plan ahead and ensure all sections have the indicative green check-mark at least two days before the deadline.

An interview may be required by the faculty within the specialty track involved in screening MS applicants. When admissions decisions have been made, you will receive an email notification from the application system that there has been a change in your admission status. If you receive an offer of admission, you will have two weeks from the date of notification to accept or decline the offer of admission.

Applications Are Now Open

Applications Open: July 2021 / Deadline: Feb. 1, 2022