University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing

The University of California (UCSF) offers several accredited nursing programs including, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), RN to MSN, Masters Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and the new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees. Students Schools Scholarships

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  • Accreditations CCNE Accredited ACME Accredited
  • Location San Francisco, California
  • Programs DNP, MSN, RN-to-MSN, Entry-Level Master's, MSN to PhD, CNS, CNM, NP, PhD, BSN-to-PhD, Post-grad Certificate, Other
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The University of California San Francisco (UCSF), a public entity, was founded as Toland Medical College in 1864 and in 1873 it became affiliated with the University of California. In 1907 UCSF established its first nursing diploma program in San Francisco.

Nursing Programs

  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Masters Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


  • Community Health Systems
  • Family Health Care Nursing
  • Physiological Nursing
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences
  • Community Health Systems Nursing Specialty Areas

The focus at the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing is to promote and sustain health in the community and workplace, with a particular focus on culturally diverse and high-risk populations.

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)

Advanced practice nurses who are able to diagnose and care for clients with acute and chronic healthcare problems.

Advanced Public Health Nursing (APHN)

This program provides the nurse with the opportunity to learn about community/public health concepts, health promotion, population-level interventions, grant writing, health care systems, leadership, and health policy; addressing health disparities of vulnerable and diverse populations and practicing and consulting in diverse and multicultural settings.

Occupational & Environmental Health Nursing

This specialty gives the nurse a look at the area of occupational and environmental health. The focus is on prevention of workplace injuries and death.

Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Advanced practice psychiatric nurses provide services for patients with mental health issues in a variety of settings.

Family Health Care Nursing Specialty Areas

Family Health focuses on all ages from children through the elderly. Nurses learn through the programs of teaching, research, and practice, as well as through community service.

Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (ACPNP)

The ACPNP program provides training for students to take their practice to a hospital-based pediatric acute area. These areas include: PICU, Pediatric Cardiac ICU, Pediatric Emergency Department, and program-based specialties that manage acutely ill patients from the outpatient setting through inpatient and hospital discharge. There is a requirement for clinical experience before admission. This is not open to MEPN applicants.

Advanced Practice Neonatal Nursing (NNP or CNS)

The Advanced Practice Neonatal Nurse cares for the smallest, acutely ill and recuperating neonates/infants and their families in a variety of settings. These settings include hospital-based neonatal intensive care, convalescent care, and neonatal follow-up. Students in the program can choose to become either a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) or Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). Clinical experience is required for admission and is not open to MEPN applicants.

Certified Nurse-Midwife / Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Nurse-midwives care for women throughout their pregnancy in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings including hospitals, homes, and birthing centers.

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) meets the healthcare needs of the individual and family by providing comprehensive primary care throughout the lifespan.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)

The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) program provides excellent education for those interested in caring for infants, children, and adolescents. These PNP graduates care for children across a variety of settings including: primary care clinics, urgent care, school-based health centers (SBHC), home health and specialty pediatric clinics.

Physiological Nursing Specialty Areas

The Physiological Nursing Specialty Area helps nurses assume leadership roles in the clinical setting. In this setting nurses clinically practice, teach and perform research in a community role. Students learn in a cutting edge research practice and in turn, are able to transfer that knowledge into practice, delivering optimal care for those who have acute and chronic conditions.

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG ACNP)

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (AG ACNP) are prepared to assess and follow the care for acutely ill patients in the inpatient hospital setting. There are also opportunities available to learn across hospital-to-clinic settings, including the emergency department, intensive care unit, specialty labs, acute and sub-acute care wards, specialty clinics, or any combination of the above. The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner-Oncology (AG ACNP-Oncology) prepares the nurse graduate for the population for adults and the older adult population who have cancer.

Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AG CNS)

Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialists (AG CNS) are prepared to care for the complex health-care needs of adults and seniors in clinical practice settings. Limited MEPN and Post-Masters options may be available.

Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist - Critical Care/Trauma (AGCNS-CCT)

The program focuses on the coordination of care in emergency departments, trauma and critical care units, and intensive care units.

Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist - Oncology (AGCNS-ONC)

The program specialty focuses on adults and older adults who have cancer. The role focuses on prevention, detection, planning, implementing, and evaluating new ways to care for oncology patients.

Social and Behavioral Sciences Specialty Areas

The principal aim of this SBS Doctoral Program in Sociology is for students who are interested in becoming sociologists in both academic and applied contexts. Students focus on the sociology of health, illness & medicine.

Specialty Areas

  • Sociology of aging, chronic illness and disability
  • Race, gender, class and health/health inequalities
  • Health policy and organizations
  • Science, technology and medicine studies

Nursing Health Policy (MS, PhD, Minor, and Post-Masters)

This program is for nurses who would like to provide leadership in the health policy area. This area focuses on legislative organizations, nongovernmental advocacy organizations, and regulatory and licensing bodies. Learners focus on improving health policies that benefit the patient and public, as well as nursing as a profession.

Nursing and Health Policy

The Nurse as a Health Policy Specialist assumes a leadership role with the focus on health policy advocacy, research, analysis, and policy development, including implementation and evaluation.

Master of Science (MS)

This program is for the BSN prepared nurse who has a degree from a NLN- or CCNE-accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program. The student may choose from the clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse educator, nurse midwife, administrator, health policy specialist, or consultant specialty areas. Experienced and licensed Registered Nurses who have a US bachelor's degree in another discipline are also eligible to apply.

ADN to Master's Pathway

This program is for registered nurses with an Associate of Science in Nursing degree who have not previously earned a Bachelor's degree in any field. There is an option to stop once the BSN is received, or the student may go on to earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree in a pre-selected specialty focus.

Master's Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN)

This program is for individuals who have a bachelor's degree in a non nursing field and would like to become a nurse with an MSN degree. Graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX RN and become eligible for state RN licensure.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Nursing

This program is a research-focused program for nurses who would like to become clinical researchers, teach, or would like to be in a faculty research position. To be eligible, the applicant must be a graduate of an accredited Bachelor's or Master's in Nursing program.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Sociology

The PhD program is for those interested in an advanced study in sociology and the social psychology of health and illness, health care and institutional policies. The program is open to students with a bachelors or masters in sociology or a related field.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The UCSF DNP program is the first DNP program to be established in the University of California system.

NOTE: Applications are now open for April 2019 entry. The application deadline is December 1, 2018.


US News & World Report (2019-2020)

  • #18 (tie) in Best Nursing Schools: Master's
  • #11 in Nurse Practitioner: Adult / Gerontology, Primary Care
  • #10 (tie) in Nurse Practitioner: Family
  • #8 in Nurse Practitioner: Pediatric, Primary Care
  • #4 (tie) in Nurse Practitioner: Psychiatric / Mental Health, Across the Lifespan
  • #1 (tie) in Nursing-Midwifery
  • #15 in Best Global Universities

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided a research grant to the UC San Francisco School of Nursing for the six year in a row in 2016.

Healthcare Management Degree Guide has ranked UC San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing as one of the top programs in Clinical Nurse Leadership and Nursing Administration. This made the UCSF School of Nursing the only master's program in California to make the list.

Accreditation and Approval

UCSF is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited the Master's degree in Nursing and the post-graduate APRN certificate programs.

The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) accredited the Nurse-Midwifery/WHNP program.

The UCSF School of Nursing graduate programs meet requirements as set by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).

The Nurse Practitioner program has been approved by the BRN.

The Clinical Nurse Specialist program is not formally approved by the BRN but conforms to the Board's requirements for Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification.

The Certified Nurse-Midwifery program has been approved by the BRN.

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