Entry-Level Master of Science in Nursing — Family Nurse Practitioner

Samuel Merritt University

Post Expires


Master's programs

Entry-Level Master of Science in Nursing — Family Nurse Practitioner

Family nurse practitioners care for patients over their lifespans and in just about every care setting. Samuel Merritt's ELMSN-FNP program trains nurses to be primary care providers in primarily outpatient settings.  

Campus Location

Care for Families

The ELMSN program is designed for those who have already earned a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field and seek to shift careers or pursue a new academic goal. Currently, SMU offers two career training paths for ELMSN students: Family Nurse Practitioner and Case Management. Family nurse practitioners provide primary care across a patient's life span, focusing on health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, and management of health problems. Nurse practitioners work in a variety of clinical settings, including outpatient clinics, ambulatory care settings, emergency departments, inpatient care units, community health agencies, and private practice settings as co-owners and operators with other nurse practitioners, physicians, and health care providers.

The program requires three calendar years plus one semester (10 semesters, including summer terms) to complete, for a total of 109-semester units. Students must enroll in the first four semesters full-time. It is possible to reduce the course load to part-time after the fourth semester.

This program is offered in Oakland and Sacramento. Admission is for the fall semester in Oakland and for the spring semester in Sacramento.

What We Look For

  • Admission to the ELMSN program is competitive. Applicants are considered based upon the criteria outlined in the Admission requirements. The ELMSN FNP program uses a Holistic admissions approach.

Contact Information

  • Baccalaureate from a regionally accredited institution AND all prerequisites completed before beginning the program. See table below for a list of prerequisites, which must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.
  • A recommended minimum 3.0 GPA on the last 60 semester/90 quarter units of coursework.
  • A recommended minimum 3.0 GPA in the four science pre-requisite courses.
  • Acceptable scores on HESI A2. See “Test Scores” below for more information.
  • Two letters of reference. One letter should be from an academic source addressing your academic preparedness for graduate study. The second should be from a healthcare professional addressing your clinical expertise preferably from an NP, RN, or a volunteer coordinator from a healthcare setting .
  • For those applying to the FNP track, conversational skill in a second language is highly desirable.
  • Students who have attended a nursing program at another college/university will need to submit a statement supported by a letter from the dean of your current nursing program explaining the reasons for the transfer. Students must be in good standing and eligible for continued enrollment in the current program.
  • Goal statement that reflects an understanding of the FNP role in healthcare settings today as well as where the applicant sees them self in practice as an FNP .
  • Results of in-person or telephone interview as described below. 

All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better by the start of the program. Although it is acceptable to have courses planned or in progress, it is in the students best interest to have as many courses completed as possible at the time of application. It is not possible to complete any prerequisites concurrently with the ELMSN program.

Prerequisite Course Articulation Tool

Wondering if you took the right courses as a local CSU, UC or community college? Use our Prerequisite Course Articulation Tool to see which courses meet the prerequisite requirements for ABSN, BSN and ELMSN programs. 

Required Courses, Units

Interpersonal Communication (courses in public speaking are not acceptable), 3.0 Introduction to Sociology or Cultural Anthropology (biological anthropology is not acceptable), 3.0 Social Science Elective (anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, ethnic studies, political science, history, etc.), 3.0  Lifespan Developmental Psychology (content must cover birth to death), 3.0 Nutrition, 3.0 Human Anatomy with Lab, 4.0 Human Physiology with Lab, 4.0 Chemistry with Lab, 4.0 semester or 6.0 quarter units Microbiology with Lab, 4.0

Anatomy & Physiology Courses

SMU offers prerequisite coursework in Human Anatomy & Human Physiology. The courses are taught in the fall, spring, and summer terms and are designed for prospective students. More information can be found on the Undergraduate Prerequisite Courses website.

AP and IB Credit

AP exam scores of 3, 4 or 5 and IB exam scores of 5, 6 or 7 may be used to meet prerequisite requirements, but are only acceptable if the exams scores are clearly noted on NursingCAS and/or university transcript. Please send an AP or IB test score report to Samuel Merritt University. 

HESI A2 Test Scores

HESI A2 scores must be available at the time you submit your application for admission. You will be asked to self-report your HESI A2 scores and upload a copy of the score report in the application.

Priority consideration is given to applicants with scores above 80 percent on each of the following exams: Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and General Knowledge, Grammar, Math, and Anatomy & Physiology. Additionally, applicants must take the Learning Style and Personality Profile assessments.


Students are selected for an interview based upon the content of the application they submit to NursingCAS. Not all candidates who meet minimum qualifications will be granted an interview. An in-person or phone interview is required to be selected for admission, depending on the program.

Students who need disability accommodations may request them by emailing Disability Resource Center Director Elisa Laird-Metke at drc@samuelmerritt.edu. Please give as much notice as you can to allow time to set them up.

Application Fees Application fees are payable to Nursing’s Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS). Samuel Merritt University does not charge an additional admission fee.

Non-Refundable Deposits and Fees Students offered admission pay a non-refundable tuition deposit of $350 to secure their seat in the class.

Application fees and tuition deposits are non-refundable, whether or not the student withdraws in the first week of the term.

Tuition Calculator There is a tuition calculator that provides a detailed summary of annual tuition, all fees for the program, and a cost estimator for the entire program.

Your nursing education at Samuel Merritt University is an important and valuable investment in your future.  Not only will you have the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career in health care, but Samuel Merritt University graduates have a loan default rate of less than one percent.  This means that students who borrowed to attend Samuel Merritt University have found employment in their chosen field that allows them to pay off their loans. 

Samuel Merritt University is proud to offer a variety of ways to assist in funding your education including scholarships, work study and student loans. The first step in applying for financial aid at SMU is to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

SMU offers scholarships and an assortment of resources for funding opportunities outside of the program. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need. A limited number are awarded for academic merit. Scholarships for Nurses include:

  • Sharon Clark Diaz
  • William Breslin

In addition to the cost of tuition, books and fees, financial aid can also cover other indirect educational costs, so the total cost of attendance includes:

  • Books and Supplies
  • Other fees as determined by program/college

Once you receive your financial aid package, check this budget against your actual living expenses and we can make necessary adjustments to meet your needs.

Detailed information about financial aid, budgeting, total cost and application processes are available on the webpage.

We realize that the financial aid process can be difficult and overwhelming.  We are here to help.  Financial Aid staff can assist with budgeting, understanding your awards and understanding the process.  The SMU staff is committed to each and every prospective student and enrolled student.  We have an open door policy and are available via phone or email.

N520 Integration of Pathophysiology and Pharmacology, 5.0 N524/524L Health Assessment, 3.0 N542L Nursing Skills I, 1.0 Total units 16.0

N543L Nursing Skills II, 1.0 N562 Professional, Legal and Ethical Issues, 3.0 N550 Consumer of Research, 2.0 Total units 16.0

N556/N556L Nursing Care of Pediatric & Youth Populations, 5.0 N540/N540L Reproductive Health Care, 5.0 Total units 15.0

N570/570L Community Health, 5.0

Total pre-licensure units 60 units

Upon completion of the first four semesters, students are eligible to take the RN licensure examination (NCLEX).

Semester V

Total units 6.0

Upon completion of this semester the student achieves an equivalent of a BSN.  However, no BSN degree is conferred. 

Semester VI

N670 Family Centered Advanced Practice Nsng, 2.0 N672 Professional Role Development for APNs, 1.0 Total units, 6.0

N671L Advanced Physical Assessment Lab, 1.0 Total units 6.0

N677 Advanced Pharmacology, 3.0 Total units, 8.0

N675L Care of Acute & Episodic Conditions Lab 1.0 N679L Clinical Practicum (270 hours), 6.0 Total units 10.0

N676 Care of Chronic & Complex Conditions, 3.0 N680L Internship (270 hours), 6.0 Total units 13.0

Licensure Exams, Graduation, and Employment Rates

Licensure Pass Rates (First-Time Takers Only) 2018 Pass Rate (NCLEX)      93% 2017 Pass Rate (NCLEX)      86% 2016 Pass Rate (NCLEX)      93%

Graduation Rate*        

Employment Rate in the Profession (within six months of graduation)** 2016-2017 graduating class     100% 2014-2015 graduating class       85%

**Employment data only includes graduates who responded to SMU Alumni Survey; employment rate not necessarily representative of graduates who did not respond to SMU Alumni Survey.

National Certification Pass Rates (First-Time Takers Only) 2017-2018 graduating classes  66%

The Entry-level Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner program at Samuel Merritt University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001.  Direct contact information for CCNE staff is accessed via the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Staff Directory.

Master's Accreditation Most Recent Accreditation Date: October 11, 2010 Accreditation Term Expires: June 30, 2021 Last On-Site Evaluation: October 2010 Next On-Site Evaluation: Fall 2020

Entry-level Master of Science in Nursing– Family Nurse Practitioner Program Technical Standards

The mission of Samuel Merritt University is to produce highly skilled and compassionate family nurse practitioners (FNP). Students are expected to develop a robust healthcare knowledge base and requisite clinical skills, with the ability to appropriately apply knowledge and skills, effectively interpret information, and contribute to patient-centered decisions across a broad spectrum of clinical situations in all settings. The following technical standards, in conjunction with the academic standards, are requirements for admission, promotion, and graduation. The term “candidate” refers to candidates for admission to the FNP Program as well as current FNP students who are candidates for retention, promotion, or graduation.

These requirements may be achieved with or without reasonable accommodations, the cost of which will be borne by the institution. These standards should not serve as a deterrent to any candidate with disabilities who desires to pursue FNP education. Candidates with disabilities bring unique perspectives which contribute to the diversity of the student population and will create a diverse health care workforce of culturally competent practitioners who can meet the needs of their patients. Candidates with disabilities are encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Center immediately to begin a confidential conversation about possible accommodations necessary to meet these standards. Fulfillment of the technical standards for graduation from the FNP Program does not guarantee that a graduate will be able to fulfill the technical requirements of any specific clinical position.

Observational Skills A candidate must acquire information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in foundational sciences. In addition, a candidate must be able to evaluate a patient accurately and assess relevant health, behavioral and medical information. Candidates must be able to obtain and interpret information through comprehensive bio-psycho-social assessment of patients, correctly interpret diagnostic representations of patient physiologic data, and accurately evaluate patient conditions and responses.

Communication Skills Candidates must exhibit interpersonal skills to enable effective care and collaboration for patients, including the ability to communicate effectively in English with all members of a multidisciplinary health care team, patients and their families in person and in writing. Candidates must be able to clearly and accurately record information and accurately interpret verbal and non-verbal communication.

Patient Care Skills Candidates must perform bio-psycho-social patient assessments. A candidate must be able to perform patient education related to the care coordination/discharge plan to enable a safe, effective, and patient centered transition. A candidate must be able to provide general care and emergency treatment required of a case manager. Candidates must meet applicable safety standards for the environment and follow standard precaution procedures.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Cognitive Skills Candidates must be able to learn through a variety of modalities, including but not limited to, classroom instruction; laboratory, including small group, team and collaborative activities; individual study; preparation and presentation of reports; and use of computer technology. A candidate must effectively interpret, assimilate and understand the complex information required to function within the CM Program curriculum including, but not limited to, the ability to comprehend and effectively participate in individual, small group, and lecture learning modalities in the classroom, clinical and community settings; learn, participate, collaborate and contribute as a part of a team; synthesize information both in person and via remote technology; interpret causal connections and make accurate, fact-based conclusions based on available data and information; formulate a hypothesis, investigate the potential answers and outcomes; and reach appropriate and accurate conclusions. A candidate must be able to find sources of knowledge and acquire the knowledge through various modalities, and possess the ability to be a life-long learner.

Behavioral Attributes, Social Skills and Professional Expectations A candidate must be able to exercise good judgment, promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the care of patients, and develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. The skills required to do so include the ability to effectively handle and manage heavy workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. Candidates are expected to exhibit professionalism, personal accountability, compassion, integrity, concern for others, and interpersonal skills including the ability to accept and apply feedback and to respect boundaries and care for all individuals in a respectful and effective manner regardless of gender identity, age, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or any other protected status. Candidates should understand, and function within, the legal and ethical aspects of the FNP practice, including patient advocacy, and maintain and display ethical and moral behaviors commensurate with the role of a family nurse practitioner in all interactions with patients, faculty, staff, students and the public. Interest and motivation throughout the educational processes are expected of all candidates.

Our Campuses

Samuel Merritt University offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and nursing certificate programs at three campuses in Northern California and online.

Sacramento, California 95833

San Mateo, California 94402

More Information


Post Expires


Master's programs


Oakland , United States