Master of Science in Nursing (RN-MSN)

About the MSN Program

The SF State Nursing Master of Science program is for California registered nurses who wish to pursue advanced practice nursing education.  All students engage in clinical practice experiences throughout the two year curriculum and complete a thesis or applied research culminating experience.  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, and pediatrics.  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. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has retired all certifications provided via portfolio review. They are only processing renewals. Effective November 2017, this included the Advanced Public Health Nursing (PHNA-BC) certification by portfolio.

RN-MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration

Through advanced education and clinical training  with a family emphasis, students who pursue this area of study are prepared for both California NP license and national board certification (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners & American Nurses Credentialing Center). Nurse Practitioners (NPs) 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. NPs can also serve as health care researchers, interdisciplinary consultants and patient advocates.

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Eligibility and Prerequisite Information

Prospective students applying for admission to the RN-MSN program must have the following:  

  • Valid California RN license 
  • One year RN clinical experience *
  • BSN degree from a regionally accredited institution  
  • GPA of 3.0 or above in the last 60 semester units earned

* For RN-MSN FNP Concentration

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Application Deadline

Cal State Apply Application Period

October 1 -  January 15

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

NursingCas Application Period

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

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.  

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Application Procedures

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

  • Select the respective program of interest/major objective on Cal State Apply:
    RN-MSN FNP concentration: "Nursing (Family Nurse Practitioner) [MS]"
    RN-MSN all other emphases: "Nursing(RN-MSN) [MS]"
  • The Cal State Apply application requests an essay and references.  These Cal State Apply sections can be omitted as references and an essay 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: School of Nursing Supplemental Application

The following supplemental application materials must be submitted via NursingCAS.

  • A personal statement, 250-500 words and must address the following:
    • Describe the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Program of study you are interested in as it relates to your career goals
    • Explain why you are seeking a degree from SF State
    • How do you anticipate this program will assist your goals?
    • What contributions do you foresee adding to the field of nursing?
    • What special attributes will you bring to the nursing profession?
  • A set of official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended
  • Three references (letter and reference form); at least one of these must address health-related work or volunteer experience. References must submit the reference letters themselves electronically. For more information on this process, please go here.
  • Front and back copy of valid California RN License.
For NursingCAS supplemental application guidance and instructions, please go here.

Frequently asked questions about application cycle, including the Re-applicant feature, are available here.

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Applicant Resources

Check the University Application Status

Tuition and Fees

Financial Aid

Program Roadmap

Veteran Services