Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELMSN)

About the ELMSN Program

The six semester ELMSN program prepares students who possess a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, for the national licensing exam (NCLEX-RN) to become a Registered Nurse.  Students are eligible for the NCLEX-RN upon completion of four semesters and the program culminates with an applied research course or a master’s thesis. Graduates will earn a BSN and MSN degree. Additional information about the program, including student learning outcomes, can be obtained in the nursing section of the SF State bulletin.

Emphases/Specialty Areas

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

This emphasis offers students in both the Entry Level MSN and the regular MSN programs the opportunity to take courses for certification by the California State Board of Registered Nursing and/or the American Nurse Credentialing Center. The CNS is an advanced practice nurse holding a master’s degree with an emphasis in a specific area of clinical nursing such as adult, women’s health, pediatrics, and community/public health. Students will need to select an emphasis at the time of application. The role of the CNS is defined by the needs of a select client population and clinical expertise of the nurse.

Nursing Administration

This emphasis enables students in both the Entry Level MSN and the regular MSN programs to combine the nursing perspective and principles of business to become effective and successful managers and administrators. Elective courses can be taken through the College of Business with the advice and approval of an academic advisor.

Public/Community Health

Students completing this emphasis are prepared to assume nursing roles in a variety of care settings including public health, home health, and schools. Upon passing the NCLEX-RN students become eligible for Public Health Nurse certification in California. 

One Year FNP Certificate Option for Entry Level MSN Graduates*

The One Year FNP Certificate option is offered jointly by the School of Nursing and College of Extended Learning.  It comprises five additional courses which prepare students for both California and national board certification (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners & American Nurses Credentialing Center).  Nurse Practitioners are licensed to practice autonomously and in collaboration with other health care professionals to assess, diagnose, treat, and manage the health needs of patients of all ages. 

*This option is available by application after one year RN experience and within five years of graduation from our Entry Level MSN programs at a rate of $675 per unit. The One Year FNP Options is not available to Nursing Administration students.

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Eligibility Requirements and Prerequisite Information

The following requirements must be met to be eligible to apply:

  • Residency
    Must be a California resident or be eligible for in-state tuition
  • Minimum Grade Point Average
    GPA of 3.0 or above in the last 60 semester units earned
  • GRE Analytical Writing Score of 4 or above by the time of application (must be taken within the past 5 years before admission)
  • Health related work or volunteer experience
  • Completed prerequisite coursework with a C or higher by the time of application:

Course Title

SF State Course Number

Human Anatomy with Lab

 BIOL 220 (3 semester units)

Human Physiology with Lab 

 BIOL 212/ 213

(4 semester units) 

*Survey of Chemistry with Lab   CHEM 101102 (4 semester units) 

General Microbiology with Lab 

 BIOL 210211 (4 semester units) 
Written Communication  (Please refer to SF State Bulletin
Oral Communication  (Please refer to SF State Bulletin
Critical Thinking  (Please refer to SF State Bulletin
Statistics   Math 124 (3 semester units)  

*This is an integrated course in which topics in general, organic and biochemistry are covered. Effective Fall 2014, courses in general, inorganic, or organic chemistry are also acceptable .

Please consult Assist to determine comparable or articulated coursework taken at California community colleges or CSUs. If the course in question was taken at a UC, a private university, or outside of California please contact the School of Nursing.

Courses required for RN licensure in California

While not required for admission, prospective students should be aware that the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) requires students to have completed a minimum of 16 semester units comprising natural sciences, behavioral, and social sciences. To complement the anatomy, physiology, and microbiology prerequisites, it is highly recommended that students complete a General Psychology or Developmental Psychology course prior to taking NURS 328 Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Theory and Practicum and any additional behavioral or social science course, as needed to fulfill the BRN's requirement.

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Application Deadlines

Prospective students must submit the university application via Cal State Apply and School of Nursing supplemental application by the following deadlines:

Cal State Apply Application Period

We strongly recommend that prospective students complete the Cal State Apply application as early as possible during the application period to allow time for an SF State ID number to be issued and all required university documentation, including a set of official transcripts, residency status information, etc., to be submitted, received and processed.

October 1 - February 1

School of Nursing Undergraduate Supplemental Application Period

We recommend beginning the process early in the application period as late applications will not be accepted. Further supplemental application guidance and instructions are available during the application period on the Program Materials section of NursingCAS.

October 15 - February 1, 8:59 p.m. Pacific Time

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Application Process

Step One: Submit Application to San Francisco State University via Cal State Apply

  • The essay and references can be omitted as they must be submitted via the School of Nursing supplemental application.
  • It is recommended that applicants complete the Cal State Apply application early in the application period.  The Division of Graduate Studies will assign applicants an SF State ID# and it must subsequently be included on the School of Nursing supplemental application.

For details information on admission and transcript submission to San Francisco State University, please go to Division of Graduate Studies.

Step Two: Submit School of Nursing Supplemental Application

The following materials or requirements must be submitted through NursingCAS by the supplemental application deadline:

  • A goal statement
  • A set of official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended. Request in January 2016 if prerequisite courses were taken during Fall 2015.
  • Three references (letter and reference form); At least one of these must address health-related work or volunteer experience.
  • Official GRE scores from ETS. Use the SF State School of Nursing CAS Designated Institution (DI) Code: 7829

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Applicant Resources

Check the University Application Status

Tuition and Fees

Financial Aid

Program Roadmap

ELMSN Information Sessions

Q & A on ELMSN Admissions