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
  2. Informatics
  3. Nurse Educator
  4. Nurse Leader

MSN Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Tracks

  1. Family Nurse Practitioner
  2. Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  3. Psychiatric Mental Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Online Orange County Only)
  4. Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Online Texas Only)

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 (All tracks)  must meet the following admissions requirements:

  1. Have a minimum of a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing or more advanced degree; or Bachelor of Arts degree in a closely related field from an accredited institution recognized by the United States Department of Education with a cumulative grade-point average (CGPA) of 2.7 or higher.   
    1. Applicant with an undergraduate degree GPA of 2.5-2.69 may be considered for probationary admission after meeting the following admission requirements:
      1. The applicant must provide a letter of intent.  
      2. The applicant must be approved for admission following an interview with the Program Dean/Director.  
      3. The applicant must satisfy program prerequisites and achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all coursework attempted over the first trimester (two terms).  Students failing to meet these requirements following the first trimester (two terms) will be withdrawn from the university.  
    2. Applicants with a baccalaureate degree in a field other than Nursing will be required to have course work or experience in undergraduate research, leadership/management, and public/community health.  Applicants that do not have the minimum required coursework may be admitted to the program but must complete the additional course requirements before starting the MSN core courses.  
    3. Applicants submitting non-U.S. or non-English transcripts will be required to have their coursework evaluated by a transcript evaluation service to determine the equivalency to a U.S. degree/coursework. If the transcript evaluation is unclear as to the equivalency to a U.S. degree/coursework, the Program Dean will review the transcript (translated if necessary) and transcript evaluation to determine if a minimum of 3 academic years of undergraduate coursework has been met for admission.  
    4. Applicants submitting advanced degrees will be reviewed by the Program Dean to determine if a minimum of 3 academic years of undergraduate coursework has been met for admission.  
    5.  Official transcripts must be received prior to the end of the add/drop period of the first term.  
    6. Pending graduates from a baccalaureate degree from West Coast University may be admitted conditionally.  Official transcripts that show a degree conferred in a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science in Nursing Degree that meet the admission requirements must be received by the Add/Drop deadline of the first term.  
  2. Completion of an introductory Statistics course with a grade of "C-" or better, equivalent to MATH 211 (Applied Statistics).  Applicants who have not taken an introductory Statistics course may take MATH 211 at WCU as part of their MSN program (must be taken prior to the Research course). Students must submit transcripts showing completion of this requirement by the first day of the term of matriculation.  
    1. Student submitting unofficial transcripts may be admitted on a probationary status for one trimester, until official transcripts are received.  Failure to submit official transcripts by the end of the first trimester of matriculation will result in the student being scheduled for MATH 211 for the following term.  

    2. Probationary status will be removed after earning a "C-" (2.0) or higher in MATH 211 or producing a valid transcript illustrating successful completion of the requirement. 

  3. Provide proof of current unobstructed professional licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) in the United States.

  1. Applicants must have a current and unobstructed license in the United States prior to entering the third trimester of the program; an unobstructed license is required for degree completion and will be verified prior to entering the practicum.
  2. Applicants awaiting their licensure exam may be admitted if all other admissions criteria are met, however, must show proof of licensure prior to entering the third trimester of the program.  
  3. Failure to present a valid RN license will result in dismissal from the university until such time license is current and unobstructed.

        4.  One year of direct patient care experience as a registered nurse (RN)  within the past five years is preferred except for the APRN tracks which require one (1) year of full-time RN experience in direct care prior to entering APRN core courses.   


Admissions Requirements for the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Tracks only

In addition to the admissions requirements above, applicants to the Master of Science in Nursing - Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) tracks must also meet the following admissions requirements:

  1. Recommendation for admission by the Program Dean/Director and admission committee members. Past academic performance and professional achievements will be evaluated using a rubric to determine the applicant’s level of qualification.
  2. Submission of a written essay that addresses the applicant’s career goals and motivations for APRN study.
  3. Applicants to the APRN track must have a minimum of one (1) year of direct patient care RN experience prior to entering APRN core courses.  
  4. Submission of a current Curriculum Vitae.  

  5. All applicants may be contacted for a personal interview with the Program Dean as needed based on the submitted application.  

  6. Students who have taken an outside or generalist Advanced Health/Physical Assessment course (or its equivalent) within five (5) years must participate in the On-site Intensive (OSI) weekend for Advanced Health/Physical Assessment course and must pass the Objective Structured Clinical Evaluation (OSCE) to receive credits. Students who do not pass the OSCE must repeat the APRN Advanced Health/Physical Assessment course at West Coast University.  

  7. Students who have previously taken an outside or generalist Advanced Pharmacology which was not approved by the BRN for prescriptive authority will need to complete and pass a BRN-approved Advanced Pharmacology course/module (or equivalent) prior to the end of first term of matriculation to receive credits.   

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.  

Prerequisite Progression Requirements

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

Course Number Course Name 

MSN - non-APRN Tracks 

Grade Requirement 

MSN - APRN Tracks

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 530A Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology C- B-
 NURS 530B Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology C- B-
 NURS 540 Research Utilization C- C-
 NURS 561 Health Promotion & Disease Prevention  C- C-
 NURS 570 Advanced Pharmacology  C- B-
 NURS 580 Advanced Health and Physical Assessment  C- B-
 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  B-
 NURS 662 Primary Care Pediatric Patient:  Theory  N/A B-
 NURS 662L

MSN-APRN Progression Requirements

  1.  In the APRN tracks, students must receive a grade of "B-" or better in all APRN track courses taken to progress.  Students will be allowed one (1) course failure (theory or clinical) with an opportunity to repeat it. If the student fails the second time, the student will be dismissed from the APRN and may move to the MSN (non-APRN) program.
  2. An APRN student may be dismissed for the following reasons: Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress according to the standards of the program; conduct reasons; or failure to meet program-specific grade and/or clinical requirements.  

  3. Due to the importance of the content of the three (3) Advanced Practice core courses (Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, and Advanced Health/Physical Assessment), they (or their equivalents) must have been completed within the last five (5) years with a grade of "B-" or better prior to starting APRN core courses. If more than five years has elapsed, they will need to repeat the courses.  

  4. Students must demonstrate clinical competence prior to starting the APRN track clinical/practicum courses. Demonstration includes a focused history taking, physical examination and documentation of findings. Students who do not demonstrate clinical competence cannot be placed in a clinical practicum course.  

  5. A student in the APRN track must participate in the On-site Intensive (OSI) weekends. The OSI brings students to campus to learn, practice and demonstrate essential hands-on skills and competencies needed by nurse practitioners. Students who do not attend the OSI automatically fail the course that is associated with the OSI.  

  6. A student who fails a sequenced theory and/or clinical course may not continue to the next course in the sequence until the failed course is repeated successfully. Students must complete all required clinical hours in each of the clinical courses, or they will not progress into the next course and must follow the University Incomplete policy.  

Program Information and Disclosures

RN Licensure Disclosure

RNs who are not licensed in California or Texas, will be required to apply for California or Texas RN license starting their clinical practicum courses. 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.