Nursing, Master of Science Degree

Mission Statement
The graduate program in nursing promotes foundational competencies that are core to advanced nursing practice in an ever-changing and globally reaching health care environment. Both academic, practicum and interpersonal preparation are characterized by increased depth in organizational and systems’ leadership within a culture of integrity and personal accountability in a community that values the dignity and contributions of our members. Standards of ethical behavior and decision-making are essential foundations of our graduate education programs, which guide individuals to distinguish ethical principles and understand the consequences and implications beyond personal and organizational self-interest. By pursuing more effective and innovative methodologies through which students utilize administrative expertise with the foresight to analyze problems, structure and facilitate development, and find and implement solutions, WCU graduates are prepared to make a positive impact on society.

MSN Tracks:

  1. Advanced Generalist (MSN)
  2. Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP)

Post Master's Certificates:

  1. Nurse Educator
  2. Family Nurse Practitioner 

Full time enrollment in the Master’s program is 6 credits per semester. Part-time enrollment of 3 credits is available.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon graduation, MSN students will:

1. Integrate nursing science and related fields, such as physiology, statistics, psychosocial, political, financial, genetics, public health and organization sciences in the continued improvement of nursing across the continuum of health care settings.

2. Provide leadership in a variety of settings that promote high quality, safe patient care that also incorporates ethical decision making and effective inter-professional working relationships.

3. Demonstrate the skills needed to effect quality improvement that incorporates the various models, standards and performance measures necessary to apply quality principles, within any type of organization.

4. Apply evidenced based research in clinical practice by identifying actual or potential practice problems in a setting and resolving them through the role of change agent.

5. Demonstrate proficiency in computer skills both technical and in the application of informatics to enhance, deliver, communicate, integrate and coordinate patient care.

6. Recognize the need for and ability to affect policy changes by using the policy development process and advocacy strategies to influence individual health and health care systems.

7. Communicate and coordinate inter-professionally in a variety of settings to manage and coordinate care.

8. Identify and integrate the various evidenced based practices of health promotion and disease prevention using client centered, culturally and age appropriate concepts in the nursing process of services to individuals, families and broad-based aggregate populations.

9. Demonstrate an advanced level of scientific and nursing-specific knowledge with the ability to integrate that knowledge into nursing practice that influences health care outcomes for individual, families, populations and/or systems.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the Master of Science in Nursing Program (Advanced Generalist and Family Nurse Practitioner tracks)  must meet the following admissions requirements:

  1. Submit a non-refundable application fee to cover administrative cost of processing application.
  2. Have a minimum of a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing or closely related field from an accredited institution recognized by the United States Department of Education for admission to the MSN curriculum.  Students with a Bachelor of Science degree in a field other than Nursing will be required to verify course work or experience in undergraduate research, leadership/management, and public/community health.  If course work is required, the student may be admitted to the program, but must complete the additional course requirements before starting the MSN core courses.
  3. Submit official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions recognized by the United States Department of Education. A bachelor’s degree from a professionally accredited nursing program is required.  Nurses who have received a bachelor's degree from a U.S. institution in another discipline are eligible to apply. An undergraduate cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher is required.
  4. Applicants with an undergraduate cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 2.7 to 2.99 may be considered for admission on probation, but must achieve a B (3.0) or better in the first 9 credits in the program to be removed from probation.

    Note: Applicants submitting non-U.S. or non-English transcripts should refer to the International Admissions section of the catalog.
  5. Provide proof of current unobstructed professional licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) in the United States**
  6. Completion of an introductory Statistics course with a grade of “C” or better, equivalent to MATH 211 (Applied Statistics).English proficiency for all applicants whose first language is not English will be required to either complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or meet one of the criteria shown below.  Note: The minimum overall TOEFL score is 84 (internet-based test); 24 is the minimum score in the speaking section, and 24 is the minimum score in the writing section. Consult with Nursing and Student Affairs for any questions on TOEFL examinations and scoring.

West Coast University will also consider proof of English Proficiency established if official documentation of one of the following is provided:

a. Graduation from an accredited U.S./international high school program where English is the primary language of instruction and examination, achieving a minimum GPA of 3.0 in a
minimum of three English courses.

b. Within the last five years, successfully completed at least three years of instruction from an accredited U.S./international high school where English is the primary language of instruction and examination, including three years of English (not ESL) courses with a grade of “B” or higher.

c. Within the last three years, successfully completed at least two years of full-time coursework at the post-secondary level (accredited college or University) where English is the primary language of instruction and examination, including two English courses (one course must be a 200 level course or higher) with a grade of “B” or higher.

d. Minimum university ACT composite score with a minimum English score of 20. 

e. Minimum university SAT composite score with a minimum Critical Reading score of 525.

f. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination (academic modules) taken within the last twelve months, results must be sent by paper to the University campus Registrar office, with a score of 6.5 of better."

A minimum of one year documented and university-verified work experience as a registered nurse is desirable for the MSN Advanced Generalist track.  Students in the Family Nurse Practitioner track must have completed a minimum of one year of direct patient care nursing experience within the past 2 years. 

Admissions Requirements (MSN-FNP only)
In addition to meeting the admissions requirements above, applicants to the Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner track must also meet the following admissions requirements:

  1. Recommendation for admission following an interview with the Nursing Dean and admission committee members. This also includes a handwritten essay evaluation.  Past academic performance and professional activity will be evaluated, e.g., community, organizational, and volunteer service, and creative professional accomplishments. These qualifications will be evaluated using a rubric in order to determine the applicant’s level of qualification.
  2. At least one (1) year of RN experience in direct patient care before beginning FNP courses. 
  3. Three (3) letters of recommendation from health care professionals regarding their suitability for the FNP program.   
  4. Applications are expected to be complete and submitted 60 days prior to the first day of instruction.  Applications received after the application deadline will be considered for admission on a space available basis.

Prerequisite Progression Requirements

As a prerequisite, students in the Masters of Science Nursing (MSN and MSN-FNP) are required the following grades in order to progress in the program.

Course Number Course Name 

MSN Advanced Generalist - 

Grade Requirement 


Grade Requirement

 NURS 500 Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Practice C+ C+
 NURS 510 Policy, Organization, & Financing of Healthcare C+ C+
 NURS 521 Ethics in Healthcare C+ C+
 NURS 530 Advanced Physiology and Pahtophysiology C+ B
 NURS 540 Research Utilization C+ C+
 NURS 561 Health Promotion & Disease Prevention  C+ C+ 
 NURS 570 Advanced Pharmacology  C+ 
 NURS 580 Advanced Health/Physical Assessment  C+ 
 NURS 592     Advanced Clinical Practice:  Theory  C+  N/A 
 NURS 593L Advanced Clinical Practice:  Practicum  C+  N/A 
 NURS 600 Principles of Teaching and Learning  C+  C+ 
 NURS 660 Roles in Advanced Practice Nursing  N/A 
 NURS 662 Primary Care Pediatric Patient:  Theory  N/A
 NURS 662L Primary Care Pediatric Patient:  Practicum  N/A  P/NP 
 NURS 663 Primary Care Adult and Geriatric Patient:  Theory Pharmacology and Practice  N/A 
 NURS 663L Primary Care Adult and Geriatric Patient:  Practicum  N/A P/NP 
 NURS 664 Primary Care Women's Health:  Theory Pharmacology and Practice  N/A 
 NURS 664L Primary Care Women's Health:  Practicum  N/A  P/NP 
 NURS 665 Care Management and Coordination:  Theory      N/A 
 NURS 668L Advanced Healthcare Residency  N/A  P/NP 
 NURS 690A Culminating Experience I  P/NP  P/NP 
 NURS 690B Culminating Experience II  P/NP  P/NP 

MSN-FNP Progression Requirements

  1. In the FNP track/certificate, students must receive a grade of "B" or better in all FNP-specific courses taken in order to progress.  Students will be allowed one (1) opportunity to repeat a course for a higher grade.  If unsuccessful, the student may move to another program track, if available or will be dismissed.  
  2. As an FNP track pre-requisite, the following courses (or their equivalents) must have been completed within the last three (3) years with a grade of "B" (3.0) or better:
    1. NURS 530 Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology
    2. NURS 676 Advanced Pharmacology
    3. NURS 680 Advanced Health/Physical Assessment

Paired Courses - If a student in the FNP track passes only one of the two required paired courses in a term, i.e., receives a B in theory and a C in clinical, or vice-versa, then the student must repeat the "failed" course (failure being defined as less than a B). The student who fails a sequenced theory and/or clinical course may not continue on to the next course in the sequence.  (Example: a student must pass NURS 663 and NURS 663L in order to proceed to NURS 664 and NURS 664L).

Clinical Hours - Students must complete all required clinical hours in each of the clinical courses, or they will not progress into the next course; they will have a maximum of 10 days at the end of that term to complete the hours, consistent with the University incomplete policy. No further extension will be granted.

Students must demonstrate clinical competence prior to starting any of the FNP Track Clinical Practicum courses. Demonstration includes a focused history taking, physical examination and
documentation of findings (OSCE). Clinical competence will be assessed by the faculty at a scheduled time prior to the first FNP track course.

Students who do not demonstrate clinical competence cannot be placed in a clinical practicum course. Unsuccessful students will be given the opportunity to repeat Advanced Health Assessment and
demonstrate clinical competence prior to entering the FNP track courses. After an unsuccessful repeat attempt, they will have the choice of transferring into the Generalist Track if there is space available.

FNP theory or clinical practicum courses may be repeated only one time. Students who do not pass these courses with a minimum of B the second time will be withdrawn from the FNP track.  A student who must repeat a class or clinical practicum will do so when the course is available and only if there is space available in the class.  An FNP student who is required to repeat a clinical practicum cannot go back to the same clinical site or work with the same preceptor he/she had before.

Academic Warning - Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00. If a student’s cGPA falls below 3.00 then the student will be placed on academic warning. The student can remain on warning for one semester only, at which time they must bring their cGPA up to a minimum of 3.00 or they will be dismissed.  In the MSN program, they may be placed on academic warning only once.  In the Family Nurse Practitioner track, students cannot be on academic warning at the time of entry into the FNP Track. They have the option to complete the Generalist track (6 units) and then apply to return as a post-master’s FNP certificate student on a space-available basis.

MSN Program - FNP track: Recency Requirements for Advanced Practice core courses and competency exam. 

Due to the importance of the content of the three Advanced Practice core courses in the MSN program, (NUR 530) Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology, (NUR 570) Advanced Pharmacology and (NURS 580) Advanced Health Physical Assessment, in preparation for the Family Nurse Practitioner track, they must have been taken within three (3) years prior to starting the actual FNP courses.  This would apply to the MSN students as well as the post-master's FNP Certificate students. If more than three years has elapsed since they have taken these courses, they will need to repeat them in the MSN program.

MSN Progression Requirements (All MSN Tracks)

A cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0 is required for all 500 and 600 level courses for graduation.  Students are also required to meet all requirements under the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.  

Program Information and Disclosures

RN Licensure Disclosure

RNs who are not licensed in California, will be required to apply for a California RN license if their clinical practicum is to be completed in California. RNs wishing to complete their clinical practicum in their state of residence must identify a clinical site in their state of residence with which the university can execute a clinical affiliation agreement.  The RN license must be active and unobstructed.