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.

The application cycle for admission to the 2023-2024 academic year is currently open. The deadline varies by specialty. Please check the webpage for the specialty you are interested in for the application deadline.

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 the following. Please note some specialties may have additional requirements. Check the specialty webpages for more details.

    1. Goal statement

    2. Minimum of 3 letters of recommendation

    3. Resume or CV

    4. English proficiency for non-native speakers (Minimum TOEFL score of 92, minimum ILTS score of 7)

5. Official 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.

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. semester 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;

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]. 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.

COVID-19 Information for Applicants

Pass/Fail Grades

UCSF will accept pass/fail grades or satisfactory/unsatisfactory, without prejudice, for courses taken during the COVID-19 pandemic between spring 2020 through spring 2022. 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 2022-23 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.

Application Deadlines and Process

For entry for the 2023-2024 academic year, the application cycle will open Sept. 1, 2022. Deadlines vary by specialty. Please first confirm that the specialty you have chosen is still accepting new applications. Availability and capacity differs among the specialty areas.

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.


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 Cycle

Applications Open: Sept. 1, 2022 / Deadlines Vary by Specialty