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.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon graduation, MSN students will:

  1. Demonstrate innovative leadership strategies in complex healthcare settings to evaluate health outcomes in culturally diverse populations.
  2. Appraise research findings to support evidence-based quality initiatives).
  3. Employ communication and information technologies to promote interdisciplinary collaboration and guide clinical decisions.
  4. Develop population-based care coordination strategies to promote health and disease management.
  5. Present advocacy strategies to influence ethical and fiscally responsible policy and process changes to influence individual health and healthcare systems.

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
  4. Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

APRN Core and Specialty

  1. Synthesize the core knowledge of advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, and physical examination to develop informed differential diagnoses.
  2. Deliver individualized, evidence-based, culturally competent, and equitable person-centered care to diverse populations.
  3. Employ therapeutic communication strategies utilizing and emerging technologies to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborative care across the healthcare continuum.
  4. Coordinate effective patient-specific care utilizing policies, standards of care, and available resources.
  5. Advocate for policy changes that create safe, accessible, and quality health care for patients leading to principles of entrepreneurship and innovation within a dynamic healthcare environment.


Admission Requirements

Applicants for the program must meet the following requirements (MSN All Track Option):  

  1. Completion of the application for admission.
  2. Complete all university admissions requirements.
  3. Completion of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an ACEN, CCNE, or CNEA accredited program, with a 3.0 GPA or better.
  4. A valid and unencumbered license as a registered nurse in any US State or territory in which the student is licensed, including the State in which the student completes all assignments for the program.  
    1. Military, federal, and foreign-educated nurses must meet this State requirement for nursing licensure.
    2. An active and unencumbered RN license(s) must be maintained throughout the program.
    3. A domestic or foreign medical degree is not equivalent to a nursing degree.
  5. Applicants can be conditionally admitted into the first week of the program by providing unofficial transcripts or a copy of the conferred nursing degree. Official transcripts which meet the requirements set forth must be received by the end of the add/drop period to be admitted to the program.

*Applicants submitting non-U.S. or non-English transcripts should refer to the International Admissions section of the catalog

MSN Probational Admissions Requirements (Probational Admission not available for Master of Science in Nursing - Advanced Practice Registered Nurse tracks)

Applicants with a CGPA of 2.70-2.99 may be considered for probational admission after meeting the following probational admissions requirements. Based on review of the applicant packet the Program Dean may request an interview in consideration for admission.

  1. The applicant must provide a letter of intent. 
  2. The applicant must be approved for admission by 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 administratively withdrawn from the university.

Additional Nurse Practitioner Program Tracks Admission Requirements for Applicants with Nursing Degrees Awarded Outside of the United States

Students with nursing degrees outside of the United States will not be considered for admission into the Post-Masters Nurse Practitioner Programs [Adult-Gerontology Acute Care; Adult-Gerontology Primary Care; Family, and Psychiatric Mental Health]. There are additional requirements for consideration for entry into the MSN Nurse Practitioner Programs. Please see below:

Additional Academic Transcript Requirements

Applicants who have completed the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree or higher at an institution outside of the United States are required to provide official third-party course-by-course evaluations of those academic credentials, verifying the Grade Point Average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale. These evaluations must be completed by a recognized accredited organization such as the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES), American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), or Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE). Examples of acceptable evaluation services include:

In addition, those students applying to any of WCU’s MSN and Nurse Practitioner programs [Adult-Gerontology Acute Care; Adult-Gerontology Primary Care; Family, and Psychiatric Mental Health] must have their transcripts from nursing degrees awarded outside the United Stated reviewed by CGFNS International, Inc, and must include computed equivalent grades [course-by-course] and computation of GPA. It is the student’s responsibility to pay any fees associated with this evaluation. It is the student’s responsibility to cooperate with WCU in providing all essential required documentation for CGFNS and other national certification agencies such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), American Association of Critical Care (AACN), etc. This is to ensure that their foreign course(s) are recognized as if earned in the United States. A written confirmation must be provided to WCU of the student’s eligibility to sit for national certification upon successful completion of the program. If the courses are not recognized as equivalent by national certification bodies such as those mentioned above, they will not meet West Coast University eligibility.

Language Verification Requirements

Students with foreign degrees applying to a nursing program must possess proficiency in English at a level to enable them to succeed in graduate-level studies. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Duolingo English Test (DET) must be taken if the applicant’s native language is not English. Results must be sent directly from TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo to the West Coast University admissions department. Copies are not acceptable. Your application will not be considered until you have achieved at least the minimum score.  

  • TOEFL - minimum composite score of 100, with sub-scores of 21 or higher.

  • IELTS – minimum overall band score of 7.0, with a speaking band score of 7.0 or higher and other band scores of 6.0 or higher.

  • DET – minimum score of 125.

Additional Admissions Requirements 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 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. Applicants to the APRN tracks must have a minimum of one (1) year of direct patient care RN experience before entering APRN core courses as verified using the experience verification form.
  3. Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Track applicants must have one (1) year of intensive care unit (ICU) experience as a registered nurse (RN) within the past 5 years prior to admission as verified using the experience verification form.
  4. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track applicants must have one (1) year of registered nurse (RN) experience in direct patient care or a minimum of six (6) months of direct patient care experience in psychiatric mental health nursing (preferred) within the last 5 years prior to admission as verified using the experience verification form.
  5. Students in MSN APRN tracks will be required to have a Gap Analysis review upon admission.
  6. All students will be required to complete the Supplemental Application Form.

*Students admitted to APRN tracks under previous admissions requirements and have withdrawn that have completed more than 75% of the credits associated with the program will be re-admitted to the previous version of their program using previous requirements

California APRN Tracks Additional Admission Requirements/Information

California applicants will be provided information on the selection process during information sessions.

California Board of Nursing capped APRN program application period opening dates are as follows:

  • September 1st, for January start
  • December 1st, for March start

The application period closes:

  • October 1st for January start
  • January 1st for March start

Applicants are required to complete the following:

  • Complete each section of the application and submit by the deadline provided.
  • After submission, complete the Supplemental Application Form and all document requirements.

The APRN selection committee carefully reviews each application and supplemental information. The selection committee selects qualified applicants for admission consideration. Admissions will notify the applicants of admission status based on the selection committee and space availability.

Incomplete applications will be rejected after seven (7) business days (M-F exclusive of University Holidays), and applicants will be notified by admissions that they no longer are considered for admission.

Applicants are required to complete the financial aid process within a timeframe outlined by admissions.

MSN Nursing Transfer Credits

Students who request transfer credits for courses must submit sealed official transcripts to the Registrar’s Office from originating institutions prior to their first day of class. All nursing transferred courses in which a grade of B or better was received will be evaluated for transfer credit. If students are unable to submit transcripts or transcripts are unavailable, students may submit unofficial transcripts by the student’s first day of the first course. Official transcripts must be received by the end of the first term. In addition to official transcripts, copies of course descriptions, school catalogs, and course syllabi may be requested for evaluation purposes.

APRN Transfer Credit Gap Analysis

  1. All Post Masters Certificates and transfers of credit into the nurse practitioner programs must have an APRN Transfer Credit Gap Analysis completed prior to admission acceptance. Students will be required to submit transcripts and may be required to submit course syllabi to determine transfer credit equivalency.
  2. Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, and Advanced Health/Physical Assessment course(s) [3P] must have been completed within the last five (5) years with a grade of "B" or better.
  3. Any 3P courses that are population specific (e.g., Advanced Pediatric Assessment, Advanced Pathophysiology for the CRNA, Advanced Pathophysiology for the Neonate, Advanced Psychopharmacology, etc.) are not transferable.
  4. If courses were taken more than five (5) years from the date of program application, applicants must repeat the course(s).
    1. For Post-Masters Certificate applicants who have taken an equivalent 3P course(s) that is more than five (5) years from the date of program application, transfer of credit may be considered for those who have an active NP certification.
  5. Applicants who hold an MSN degree with a focus on education, leadership, informatics, or another area will be required to take essential APRN core courses including Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, and Advanced Physical Assessment prior to the desired focused specialty track courses.
  6. APRN specialty courses will not be considered for transfer of credit. APRN specialization coursework must be completed at West Coast University.

Note: Students enrolled in the RN-MSN program must have earned/transferred 72 credits to be eligible for federal Title IV financial aid.

Note: CA BRN related to prescriptive authority may have additional requirements. Some applicants may be required to take additional courses or continuing education equivalence based on licensure board of nursing.

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 (SAP) policy. 

  1. Maintain an active, unencumbered RN license throughout the program.
  2. An active, unencumbered license is required up to degree completion and will be verified throughout the program.
  3. Failure to present a valid RN license may result in dismissal from the university until such a time an active, unencumbered license is obtained.
  4. A student in the APRN tracks must participate in two (2) mandatory On-site Intensives (OSI). The OSI brings students to campus or other locations to learn, practice, and demonstrate essential hands-on skills and competencies required by nurse practitioners. Students who do not attend the OSI automatically fail the course that is associated with the missed OSI, and the student must retake the course and complete the OSI to progress in the program.
  5. All course and clinical educational program requirements must be successfully completed to meet graduation requirements. All course and practicum requirements are published in the course syllabi and expanded upon in the Post-Licensure Nursing Student Handbook. Students will have access to course syllabi one week prior to the term start date. Students will have access to the Post-Licensure Nursing Student Handbook after acceptance into the nursing program.
  6. Students in good standing are required to meet the academic progression standards as stated in the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy. Failure to meet the SAP standards will result in dismissal from the nursing program.  
  7. Students in the nursing graduate program must earn a B or better in all post-licensure nursing courses. Students will be required to repeat any course for which they achieved less than a "B" the next term the course is offered. (Minimum passing grade of “B” will be in effect Summer 1 2023 and beyond) Probationally admitted students are required to adhere to the Probational Admission Policy. 
    1. Fully admitted students in specialty tracks other than nurse practitioner tracks who receive a third grade less than a "B" in any nurse course will be dismissed from the nurse program.  
    2. Fully admitted students in a nurse practitioner track who receive a second grade less than a "B" in any nurse course will be dismissed from the nursing program.  
  8. Students who fail 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 to the next course and must follow the University's Incomplete policy.
  9. Student Conduct from a Clinical Site
    1. Students in clinical sites will be held to the University’s Student Conduct Code. Incidents reported to the student’s Program Dean will be reported to the Campus Director of Student Affairs for investigation and potential adjudication and disciplinary sanctions.

Program Information and Disclosures

APRN Program RN Licensure Disclosure

Students must hold an active, unencumbered RN license from a WCU State-approved program and complete their clinical practicum in their State of residence [California, Texas, or Florida]. Students must identify a clinical site in their State of residence with which the university can execute a clinical affiliation agreement.


APRN Program Predictor Exam


Each student within the APRN program will take a predictor exam within their final course prior to graduation. Each student will have TWO (2) attempts to meet the benchmark which is graded on a Pass/No Pass scale. Only students who meet the benchmark will be given a "Pass" (P) for the course.


Students who achieve a No Pass" (NP) grade will retake their final course at no additional cost or units the following term. Additionally, students that need to retake will not be impacted by the max fail policy.