Custom Special Studies

The customized Special Studies program is for individuals seeking specialized study in nursing, policy, sociology, or leadership without the requirement of a degree or certification. It is not an academic program, but rather an individualized curriculum tailored to your needs. For example, clinical nurses may spend several months in intensive, individualized study of a new theory or engage in an observational experience. Faculty on educational leave may pursue individualized programs of research. Health professionals from other countries might want to study aspects of the nursing profession in the United States. Acceptance into Special Studies is contingent upon availability of a faculty adviser, evidence of English language competence, and approval of the appropriate department chair or nursing service unit.


To obtain application forms, send an email or written request to the address below. To ensure proper planning, please specify the exact dates you intend to study. This time should be scheduled according to the School of Nursing's academic calendar. Applications must be completed and returned to the Office of Academic Programs approximately three months before study begins.

A letter of reference written on your behalf by a leader at your institution attesting to your professional or academic capability is required. It should be sent in a self-addressed envelope directly to the Office of Academic Programs.

The University of California requires health insurance during the period of study. If you do not already have health insurance, a Student Health Service form must be completed and returned with the Special Studies application.

International Students

To ensure that you have sufficient funds to study abroad, a confidential financial statement form must be completed and returned to the Office of Academic Programs. That office will use the completed form to request a Certificate of Eligibility (Form DS-2019) from the Office of International Students and Scholars. The United States Consul in your country requires this certificate before a visa can be granted.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)—for students who are not native speakers of English, a minimum score of 80 (for 0 – 120 score range) on the TOEFL is required. In exceptional cases, this score requirement may be waived. Official TOEFL results should be forwarded by the testing service directly to the Office of Academic Programs. For more information and testing dates, please visit TOEFL.


University housing is not available; however, you may request a listing of privately owned guesthouses and facilities located near campus. Unfortunately, housing in San Francisco is scarce and expensive. As you make your plans, you should allow sufficient time and money to find appropriate accommodations.

Option for Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs)

For Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) wishing to complete coursework pre-requisite to the Registered Nurse licensure examination, the School offers a 45-quarter-unit LVN option. This option is for LVNs without associate or bachelor's degrees. The LVN option is offered in compliance with California Law on a space-available basis. Administered through the Special Studies program, the LVN option is offered at the same cost as the first twelve months of our Master's Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN), visit this page for the most current information. The MEPN rates are listed last.

Interested persons should contact the Office of Academic Programs, (415) 476-2595, to arrange for mandatory, objective counseling and to advise about space availability. Requests for objective counseling must be made by August 1 before submitting an application.

Completed applications are due by September 1 of the year preceding the June in which the applicant intends to enroll. Space is limited; all applications will be screened and an interview will be required prior to acceptance. Students admitted to the LVN option must comply with pre-enrollment immunization requirements and complete a Criminal Background Check (CBC) and drug test, details will be provided after acceptance. It should be noted that a student enrolled in this option does not receive a degree, is not matriculated and, therefore, has no transferable units. This option leads to licensure in California and may not be accepted in other states.


The majority of Special Studies curricula will not include intensive clinical expenses and thus do not lead to preparation for national certification in clinical areas of practice or advanced practice role recognition such as CNS or NP. Acceptance into Special Studies is contingent upon availability of a faculty adviser, evidence of English language competence, and approval of the appropriate department chair or nursing service unit. Those accepted to the Special Studies program are not officially enrolled but attend through special arrangement; therefore, no degree or academic credit is awarded. No official transcript is issued; the school offers only verification of coursework upon completion of study. An advisor from the School of Nursing is assigned, who is responsible for planning a program of study based upon the scholar's interests and goals. Since information provided in the application is used to assign this advisor, it is important that it be as clear and specific as possible.


Scholars-in-Residence accepted into the Special Studies program may study for as long as one year; fees are adjusted accordingly and are subject to change without notice. However long you study, you are required to budget at least the minimum amounts as shown in the example table below to cover all tuition, education, and living expenses.

Estimated Costs


California Residents


Quarterly (10 weeks) $ 6,660

Quarterly (10 weeks) $ 9,114

Monthly Expenses (3 months) $ 7,560 

Monthly Expenses (3 months) $ 7,560 

Total Cost $ 14,220

Total Cost $ 16,674

Please note: Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice and monthly expenses are generated on estimated costs.

Upon acceptance, a $100 non-refundable deposit is required, payable in U.S. Dollars to the "University of California Regents." This one hundred dollar deposit is applied to the total fee, the balance of which is due when each quarter begins. An additional fee will be imposed for late payments.

UCSF Site Visits

Visits require advance arrangements. International visiting scholars and others requesting UCSF site visits may contact the Office of the Dean for more information.

For more information, please contact:

UCSF School of Nursing
Office of Academic Programs
2 Koret Way, Room N331B, Box 0604
San Francisco, CA 94143
Telephone: (415) 476-2595 or Fax: (415) 476-9707
Email: [email protected]