RN to MSN Programs in California

Find Online Master of Nursing Programs in California

Many California Nursing programs offer two major pathways towards a Master of Science in Nursing: 1) Entry-Level MSN programs for graduates from non-nursing fields and 2) traditional MSN programs for those with nursing prerequisites (ADN, BSN, or RN license).

California requires that nurses complete an undergraduate nursing program that is officially approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing; the listing is extensive and continually changing as schools are re-evaluated, so confirming Board approval status before choosing an MSN program is recommended (a school that appears on the California website cannot be assumed to be state-approved unless explicitly stated).

Master's of Nursing Programs in California

The Board has approved twelve schools for graduate study. Three of the state-approved schools are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and two are accredited by The Accreditation Commission For Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Following graduate study, Advanced Practice Nurses must obtain certificates in their specialty from a national certification organization accredited by the National Commission on Certifying Agencies or the American Board of Nursing Specialties.

- Campbellsville University: Online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner
- George Mason University: MSN-FNP
- Simmons University: Doctor of Nursing Practice

Online MSN Programs in California

The following state-approved schools offer fully or partially online Master of Science in Nursing programs in California. All approved programs must include clinical components, which can often be completed within the student's geographical community under the supervision of an approved preceptor. Some schools offer support in obtaining this preceptor while others leave the responsibility to the student.

Azusa Pacific University

Azusa includes seven tracks within its Master of Science in Nursing program, but only two of these tracks offer the option of completing coursework online: Healthcare Administration and Leadership and Nursing Education. Students can opt for a fully online course or elect to attend some courses at one of Azusa's Southern California locations.

California State University, Fullerton

The MSN in Nursing Leadership can be completed in a campus-based or online format. Within the online format, all coursework is online but clinical work must be done in the last two semesters under a preceptor in the counties of Orange, Riverside, and Los Angeles. Online students will follow the schedule of the in-person class and will not have the freedom to set their own pace.

University of San Diego-Hahn School of Nursing & Beyster Institute for Nursing Research

Only the Family Nurse Practitioner program is offered. Most of the coursework is online, with the exception of two on-campus intensives. The program is designed to be completed in 5 terms for a full-time student and 8 terms for a part-time student. Students must log clinical hours with a variety of patient populations: Adults, Pediatric & Child-bearing, and Integrated Family Practice. USC provides assistance in finding clinical placements, and 784 clinical hours are required.

West Coast University - Orange County

This program offers a number of MSN degrees online in the following tracks: Advanced Generalist, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Nursing Informatics, and Nurse Leader. Most programs typically take 2-3 years to complete, though accelerated options are available in some cases. 650 clinical hours are included in the FNP track.

Typical Curriculum for a Master's of Nursing

California offers a range of graduate programs designed for various experience levels. Graduates from non-nursing fields might consider an Entry-Level MSN program, which can provide both a graduate degree and an RN license within an accelerated 2-year track (bypassing the need to fulfill prerequisites like a BSN or RN license). Graduates of state-approved nursing undergraduate or certificate programs, on the other hand, can apply for a conventional MSN within a specialized track of their choice.

A full-time student can typically complete a Master of Science in Nursing degree in two years, though most schools offer a part-time option. Nursing programs generally require students to complete a core curriculum before delving into the nursing specialty of their choice. This core curriculum tends to cover topics relating to research methods, foundational theories of nursing roles (including ethical and legal considerations), nursing informatics, healthcare policy, pharmacology, epidemiology, and pathophysiology. Following these initial semesters of coursework, students will learn advanced material relevant to the track of their choice. The latter part of a Master's in Nursing will likely integrate practical clinical experience with classroom study, allowing students to both learn from and apply their skills to real-life situations.

Nursing Licensure in California

After attending an ADN or BSN program recognized by the California Board of Nursing, applicants must earn a passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and then apply with the California State Board of Nursing for licensure to practice in California. California does stipulate a continuing education requirement of 30 contact hours for license renewal, combined with the prescribed number of Board-recognized courses. After completing their Master’s study, California nurses can apply with the State Board for a certificate as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).

In order to be officially qualified to write prescriptions, Advanced Practice Nurses must complete an advanced pharmacology course through a nationally accredited nurse practitioner program. Nurses are also encouraged to seek accreditation from a California state-approved national certification institution associated with their specialty, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the National Board of Certification and Re-certification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA), the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB), the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN), the National Certification Corporation (NCC), or the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB), potentially among others that can prove equivalency of quality.

Salary Information for Nurse Practitioners in California

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2018 the annual mean salary for nurse practitioners in California was $133,780 (substantially higher than the national estimate, which is $110,030). California registered nurses earned an annual mean salary of $106,950 (the national average was estimated to be $75,510) and nursing anesthetists earned $212,210 (compared to an estimated national average of $174,790). Nursing instructors in California earned an annual mean salary of $101,320, significantly higher than the national average of $81,350.

All Accredited Schools with MSN Degrees in California

Online Programs That May Be Currently Accepting Applicants
Azusa Pacific University
Azusa
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with Nurse Practitioner (NP) Specialties
  • Azusa Pacific University offers an MSN with Nurse Practioner Specialties Program that is accredited by the WASC and CCNE. Specialties include Adult-Gerontology, Family, Pediatric, and Psychiatric Mental Health NP.
California Baptist University
Riverside
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)  - School of Nursing
  • CBU offers students a Master of Science in Nursing program that is accredited by the CCNE.  Concentrations available include Family Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Healthcare Systems Management, and Teaching-Learning.
California State University-Chico
Chico
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing - School of Nursing
  • The master's degree program at California State University, Chico is tailored for rural area nursing needs.  Concentrations available include Nurse Educator and Nursing Leadership.
California State University-Dominguez Hills
Carson
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing - School of Nursing
  • The Master of Science in Nursing program at California State University, Dominguez Hills is completed entirely online.  Concentrations available include Nurse Educator, Nursing Administrator, Clinical Nurse Specialist, and Family Nurse Practioner.
California State University-Fresno
Fresno
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing - School of Nursing
  • The Master of Science in Nursing program at California State University, Fresno is completed online and in classroom.  Concentrations available include Clinical Nurse Specialist, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and School Nurse.
California State University-Fullerton
Fullerton
CCNE
  • MSN Nursing Leadership - School of Nursing
  • California State University, Fullerton offers students a MSN Nursing Leadership Program for those interested in becoming leaders in organizational and administrative roles. Course work is available in an online and classroom format.
California State University-Long Beach
Long Beach
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing - School of Nursing
  • The Master of Science in Nursing program at California State University, Long Beach is completed online and in classroom.  Concentrations available include Nurse Practitioner and Nursing & Health Systems Executive Management.
  • Master of Science in Nursing/Nursing and Health Systems Executive Management - School of Nursing
  • California State University, Long Beach offers students a Master of Science in Nursing/Nursing and Health Systems Executive Management Program for those interested in becoming leaders in organizational and administrative roles. Course work is available in an online and classroom format.
California State University-Los Angeles
Los Angeles
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing - School of Nursing
  • The Master of Science in Nursing program at California State University, Los Angeles is completed online and in classroom. 
California State University-Sacramento
Sacramento
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing - School of Nursing
  • The Master of Science in Nursing program at California State University, Sacramento prepares students for roles as nursing educators, administrators, family and community, and adult clinical roles, and credentialed school nurses. The program is accredited by the CCNE and has the opportunity for self-directed study. 
California State University-San Bernardino
San Bernardino
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing - School of Nursing
  • The Master of Science in Nursing program at California State University, San Bernardino prepares students for roles as nursing educators, administrators, family and community, and adult clinical roles, and credentialed school nurses. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
California State University-San Marcos
San Marcos
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) - School of Nursing
  • The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at California State University, San Marcos prepares students for roles as nursing educators, administrators, family and community, and adult clinical roles, and credentialed school nurses. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
California State University-Stanislaus
Turlock
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • The Master of Science in Nursing program at California State University, Stanislaus prepares students for roles as nursing educators, administrators, family and community, and adult clinical roles, and credentialed school nurses. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science
Los Angeles
CCNE
  • MSN-FNP - College of Nursing and Allied Health
  • The Family Nurse Practitioner Master of Science in Nursing Track prepares nurses to work in illness care, diagnosis, and management of chronic and acute conditions. The program is completed through full-time or part-time study.
Holy Names University
Oakland
CCNE
  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) ONLINE
  • The FNP program at Holy Names University prepares nurses to provide primary health care, treatment and care plans to families and individuals of all ages. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
  • MSN in Nursing Administration
  • The Nurse Administration program at Holy Names University graduates nurses who are skilled in fulfilling leadership and executive roles within the health care system. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
  • MSN in Nurse Educator
  • The Nursing Educator program at Holy Names University prepares nurses for teaching positions in schools of nursing, staff development, and patient education. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda
CCNE
  • BS to DNP - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • The Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Loma Linda University prepares nurses to work in illness care and management through the patient life cycle. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
  • Nursing Administration (MS) - School of Nursing
  • Loma Linda University offers nurses a Nursing Administration program for those who desire a role as clinical systems administrators. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
  • Nurse Educator: Adult-Gerontology (MS)
  • The Nurse Educator with specialty Adult-Gerontology program at Loma Linda University prepares students to work in acute of primary care of adult patients. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
Mount Saint Mary's University
Los Angeles
NA
  • Nursing MS
  • The Nursing program at Mount Saint Mary’s University assists nurses to develop knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the health care system. The program is accredited by the CCNE and offers specializations in Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Educator, Health Promotion, and Leadership and Administration.
  • Nursing MS - Leadership and Administration
  • The Leadership and Administration program at Mount Saint Mary University graduates nurses who are skilled in fulfilling leadership and executive roles within the health care system. The program is accredited by CCNE.
  • Nursing MS - Nurse Educator
  • The Nurse Educator program at Mount Saint Mary’s University prepares nurses for teaching positions in schools of nursing, staff development, and patient education. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
National University
La Jolla
NA
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) - Department of Nursing
  • The Master of Nursing program at National University assists nurses to develop knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the health care system. The program is accredited and offers specializations in Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, Nursing Informatics, and Psychiatric-Mental Health NP.
Point Loma Nazarene University
San Diego
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)  - College of Nursing
  • Point Loma Nazarene University offers a Nursing program, which prepares registered nurses to function and excel in various advanced nursing roles. The program is accredited and can be studied online or on campus.
Samuel Merritt University
Oakland
CCNE
  • MSN Family Nurse Practitioner
  • The Family Nurse Practitioner program at Samuel Merritt University offers students the skills they need to function in health care delivery, management and education. The program is accredited and completed online and on campus.
  • Entry-Level Masters of Science in Nursing (ELMSN)
  • The Entry-Level MSN program at Samuel Merritt University prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the health care system. The program is accredited and offers career paths in Case Management (CM) and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).
San Diego State University
San Diego
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • The MSN program at CSUSM prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the health care system. The program is accredited and offers concentrations in Clinical Nurse Specialist, Transitions of Care Management, Nurse Practitioner, and more.
San Francisco State University
San Francisco
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing (RN-MSN)
  • The MSN program at SFSU prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the health care system. The program is accredited and offers concentrations in Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nursing Administration, Nurse Practitioner, and Public/Community Health
San Jose State University
San Jose
CCNE
  • Masters in Nursing
  • SJSU offers an MSN program, which prepares registered nurses to function and excel in various advanced nursing roles. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park
ACEN
  • MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner
  • The MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner program at Sonoma prepares students to provide a full range of primary care services to individuals and families throughout the life span. The program is accredited by the ACEN.
Stanbridge College
Irvine
NA
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • The MSN program at Stanbridge College prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the health care system. The program is accredited and completed entirely online.
United States University
Chula Vista
CCNE
  • MSN Family Nurse Practitioner - School of Nursing
  • US University’s Family Practitioner program prepares nurses to provide primary health care, treatment and care plans to families and individuals of all ages. The program is accredited by the CCNE and completed both online and on-campus.
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • The Master of Science in Nursing Program at US University prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the health care system. The program offers a specialization in Nursing Leadership for Health Systems Management Innovations.
University of California-Davis
Davis
CCNE
  • Master of Science — Leadership in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership - Program in Nursing Science
  • The Leadership in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership program at UC Davis teaches advanced-practice nursing knowledge to manage patient-centered primary care and health and illness of patients of all ages.
University of California-Irvine
Irvine
CCNE
  • MEPN - Master’s Entry Program in Nursing - School of Nursing
  • The MEPN - Master’s Entry Program in Nursing program at University of California Irvine prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the health care system.
University of California-San Francisco
San Francisco
CCNE
  • Master of Science (MS) in Nursing - School of Nursing
  • The MEPN - Master’s Entry Program in Nursing program at University of California San Francisco prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the health care system.
University of Phoenix-California
Costa Mesa
NA
  • Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner
  • The University of Phoenix California’s Family Practitioner program prepares nurses to provide primary health care, treatment and care plans to families and individuals of all ages. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
  • Master of Science in Nursing/Nurse Administration
  • The Nurse Administration program at the University of Phoenix California graduates nurses who are skilled in fulfilling leadership and executive roles within the health care system. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
  • Master of Science in Nursing/Nurse Education
  • The Nurse Education program at the University of Phoenix California prepares nurses for teaching positions in schools of nursing, staff development, and patient education. The program is accredited by the CCNE and completed entirely online.
University of San Diego
San Diego
CCNE
  • MSN Nurse Practitioner
  • The Family Nurse Practitioner program at the University of San Diego offers students the skills they need to function in health care delivery, management and education. The program offers options in Family Nurse Practitioner, dual Pediatric/Family Nurse Practitioner, dual Adult-Gerontology/Family Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
  • MSN Executive Nurse Leader
  • The Executive Nurse Leader program at the University of San Diego graduates nurses who are skilled in fulfilling leadership and executive roles within the health care system.
University of San Francisco
San Francisco
CCNE
  • MSN Clinical Nurse Leader
  • The Clinical Nurse Leader program at the University of San Francisco prepares nurses to teach in higher education and leadership in a variety of hospital, community-based, and health care settings. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
Vanguard University of Southern California
Costa Mesa
CCNE
  • MS in Nursing
  • The MSN program at the Vanguard University prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the health care system. The program is accredited by the CCNE.
West Coast University-Los Angeles
North Hollywood
NA
  • MSN - Advanced Generalist
  • The MSN - Advanced Generalist program at West Coast University prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the health care system. The program is completed in 24 months online.
Western University of Health Sciences
Pomona
CCNE
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • The MSN program at Western University prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the health care system. The program offers concentrations in Health Systems Leadership-Administrative Nurse Leader, Health Systems Leadership-Clinical Nurse Leader, and Ambulatory Care.