Nursing - Primary Care/Nurse Practitioner Option, M.S.



Sylvia Miller, Chair
McLane Hall, Room 190

Degrees and Programs Offered

BS in Nursing, B.S.N.
BS in Nursing - R.N.-B.S.N.
BS in Nursing, R.N.-B.S.N. - Continuing & Global Education
CRED in Health Services, Credential
DNP in Nursing, D.N.P.
MS in Nursing - Accelerated Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Educator, M.S.
MS in Nursing - Primary Care/Nurse Practitioner Option, M.S.
MS in Nursing - Primary Care/Nurse Practitioner & Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Educator, M.S.
MS in Nursing - Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, M.S.
MS in Nursing - Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, M.S.
PREB in Pre-Nursing

Courses Offered

The mission of the School of Nursing is to offer quality nursing education to undergraduate and graduate nursing students. This education prepares nurses to make clinical decisions based on theory and research. As life-long learners, graduates are prepared to deliver quality health care for increasingly diverse populations. Graduates will lead, supervise, delegate, manage, and evaluate care outcomes, as well as demonstrate the ability to act as consumer advocates in promoting wellness and facilitating change.

The scope of nursing practice is changing significantly. The professional nurse uses theory and research-based knowledge to provide direct and indirect care to individuals, families, groups, and communities.

In the role as designer, manager, and coordinator of care, nurses collaborate with patients and interdisciplinary care teams.

Health Related Personnel. Medical corpsmen, psychiatric technicians, and others are eligible for credit by examination under the university’s policy as outlined in the current catalog. The curriculum is designed to emphasize theory-based practice in nursing and to provide the foundation for graduate study. While pursuing the degree, students are encouraged to select their area of interest. They are also encouraged to collaboratively care for patients in a variety of settings: acute care, critical care, long-term care, ambulatory care, and home care.


Graduate Program (Primary Care / Nurse Practitioner)

The school offers a CCNE accredited program that leads to a Master of Science degree in nursing. The purpose of the program is to prepare nurses for advanced practice in the functional roles of primary care nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist. Each graduate of the master's in nursing program must demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill in physical diagnosis, psychological assessment, and management of health-illness needs in complex client and community systems. The program provides a foundation for doctoral study in nursing.

Clinical Options
Students select a functional role of either primary care nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. Any nursing class in the role specialization options area may be cancelled because of insufficient enrollment.

Nurse practitioner
The Primary Care/Nurse Practitioner Option prepares the graduate to provide primary health care to children, the elderly adult, and families. Classroom and clinical experiences focus on health assessment, health maintenance, and promotion, as well as counseling, client education, and management of selected health problems. Practice in rural settings and with clients from diversified cultural backgrounds is emphasized.

Graduates meet the requirements for recognition as pediatric or family nurse practitioners in California and may apply for national certification.

The purpose of the Primary Care/Nurse Practitioner Option is to prepare nurses as specialists in primary care and to improve the availability, accessibility, and quality of primary care services in the Central San Joaquin Valley.

Policies and Procedures for M.S.N. Admission

Admission Procedures. You must complete two applications for the graduate nursing program.

  1. You must apply to the university by March 1 as a graduate student through
  2. You must also complete a School of Nursing application. You may download and complete the application online from the School of Nursing website at, or you can pick up an application from the nursing office. Once they are completed, print and mail the application and accompanying documents to the nursing office at

    California State University, Fresno
    Admissions: Graduate Nursing Program
    School of Nursing
    2345 East San Ramon Avenue M/S MH25
    Fresno, CA 93740-8031

  3. Complete the Graduate Record Examination and have scores sent to the university and the School of Nursing.
  4. Complete and submit School of Nursing graduate program written essay.
  5. Have official copies of all transcripts sent to both the School of Nursing and to

Graduate Admissions Office
Joyal Administration Building
5150 N. Maple M/S JA57
Fresno, CA 93740-8026

Admission Criteria

There are two pathways into the M.S.N. program for individuals with different educational backgrounds: the B.S.N. graduate and the R.N. with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree.

Admission Criteria for B.S.N. Graduates

  1. Admission to California State University, Fresno, Division of Graduate Studies
  2. Baccalaureate degree in nursing from an NLN/CCNE accredited program
  3. Registered nurse license in California (may be waived for nurses licensed in another country)
  4. Overall GPA of 2.5 with 3.0 in nursing
  5. Malpractice insurance
  6. An introductory course in statistics
  7. An introductory course in research
  8. A physical assessment course that includes theory and practice; or validation of knowledge and skills for graduates of programs with integrated content
  9. Current CPR certification

Admission Criteria for Registered Nurses with a Baccalaureate Degree
in a Field Other Than Nursing

This program is open only to students eligible for admission to graduate standing at California State University, Fresno, who have completed a nursing program in an accredited school, are registered, or eligible for registration as nurses in the state of California and who hold a bachelor's degree in a related field from an accredited university.

For admission to this program, students are required to meet the following criteria in addition to the regular criteria set for admission to the M.S.N. program:

  1. Submission of resume of all past educational and employment experience. Resume should emphasize experience in leadership, community health, research, and writing for publication.
  2. Review of resume by the graduate coordinator of the School of Nursing who establishes nursing courses the student must complete to obtain a background comparable to students graduating with a B.S.N. at California State University, Fresno.
  3. Satisfactory completion of the individualized program established by the coordinator before enrolling in the regular M.S.N. program.
  4. Admission to the Nurse Practitioner Program is not guaranteed, and all students must make application to the Nurse Practitioner Program.

Post-Master's Certificates (State-Issued)

At California State University, Fresno, the post-master’s nurse practitioner certificate is 30 units. These certificates are issued by the California Board of Registered Nursing. Applicants may receive credit toward the certificates for graduate courses taken previously. Typically, the main courses that are requested for credit are the advanced theories and advanced issues courses. In order to request a course substitution, the applicant must submit a copy of the course description, objectives, and assignments for review by the graduate coordinator. At that time, the course of study will be determined with input from the student and school graduate curriculum committee. Students seeking post-master’s certificates are exempt from some coursework and have a shorter program.

Master of Science Degree Requirements

Courses. Under the direction of the graduate coordinator, each student prepares and submits an individually designed program based on the following:

Core courses in nursing (13 units)
NURS 211, 212, 221, 223, 225

Role specialization courses (24 units)
(See below.)

Thesis (NURS 299) or Project (NURS 298) (3 units)

Minimum Total (40 units)

  1. Minimum total for Primary Care = 40 units

Role Specialization (Primary Care/Nurse Practitioner Option)

Facilities. The diverse facilities of the community provide a wide variety of learning opportunities for individualized pursuit of student goals. Graduate and postbaccalaureate students have clinical placements, which are consistent with their career goals.

Preceptor selection for clinical placement in the and nurse practitioner program is the responsibility of the School of Nursing. The school will gather pertinent information to assist in preceptor identification during the first semester of the program. All preceptors must meet standards for educational and clinical experience as established by the California Board of Registered Nursing and appropriate accrediting bodies. Preceptors must be either a physician or a master's prepared nurse practitioner.

Graduate Writing Requirement. All students must meet the university's graduate writing proficiency requirement prior to being advanced to candidacy for the master's degree. Students fulfill the writing requirement by passing the writing component of NURS 221. Students can obtain additional information regarding the graduate writing requirement in the program's Graduate Student Handbook.

Thesis and Project. The school offers students the option of writing a thesis or completing a project. Information about the culminating experience is available from an adviser in nursing.

Note: All practicum courses require a minimum of three hours of clinical work per unit of credit to meet course objectives.

Advancement to Candidacy. Completion of 9 graduate units with a GPA of 3.0.

Graduate students are responsible for policies and regulations of the Division of Graduate Studies and those specified in the graduate nursing program brochure


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