International Applicants

Samuel Merritt University welcomes international medical graduates and other students educated abroad to apply for admission. Internationally educated nurses may also enroll in select courses they need to prepare for licensure in California. 

Thank you for your interest in SMU.  We receive many inquiries from internationally educated health care professionals who have been instructed by the California Licensing Boards to contact us about taking one or more classes to be eligible to take the licensure exam in California.  Over the years, we have been able to accommodate some students in our classes.  In order to assist you in getting the required courses, please we've developed a step-by-step process.

Request Information

Application Process

  1. Please click here for the application to use if you are an internationally trained nurse who needs to take classes to meet BRN requirements to take the NCLEX.  Please print the application, complete it, and return it to the address indicated on the form.
  2. Attach a copy of the letter from the Board of Registered Nursing or other licensing boards.
  3. See answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Once we have authorized you to take classes you will need to complete the additional steps below in preparation for clinical rotations. Please note that as a non-matriculated student you will not be eligible for financial aid.

Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen: A criminal background check and a drug screening are required to participate in clinical rotations. To initiate your background check and drug screening, visit this website and complete the process as required within 30 days. If you have questions about the process, please call customer service at 888.666.7788.

Health Insurance: All students are required to have medical insurance coverage in effect by their program’s first day of orientation. You can either enroll in one of Samuel Merritt University’s plans or waive SMU insurance if you have a plan of your own. Enroll or register for a waiver here. If you have not received a confirmation email within five days of your submission, please contact our insurance consultant, Trish Ivey at 888.978.8355.

CPR Certification: Certification must be from the American Heart Association and you must complete the Basic Life Support BLS module (adults, infants, and children). You may go to any provider for these classes but the University has a partnership with HeartStart CPR that includes discounted pricing.

Required Health Forms: Every student must complete the Student Health Forms, which lists the health requirements for incoming students. Please visit the Student Health Portal to enter your health information, as well as upload all the required supporting documents. In order to avoid a registration hold, please submit all your health requirements as soon as possible after being accepted into the program, but no later than 30 days before your program start date. All health information must be submitted online. Documents submitted by mail, fax, or email will not be accepted and your documents will not be returned.

If you have any questions please contact us.

If you may have a disability-related reason that prevents you from fulfilling any of these requirements, please contact the Disability Resource Center at drc@samuelmerritt.eduto schedule a private conversation

International Student Eligibility

By federal law, Samuel Merritt University is authorized to enroll nonimmigrant students. International students may only apply for admission to programs offered at our Oakland campus. 

Student Visas & Timeline for International Applications

We strongly encourage international applicants, including Canadian citizens, to observe the admissions deadlines for their program of interest as it can take up to three months to obtain a student visa. 


The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all international medical graduates applying for the Master of Physician Assistant program, Doctor of Physical Therapy program, and Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. TOEFL scores may also be required for some applicants seeking to enroll in nursing courses.

For the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine program, international students must have taken the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).  


All international academic transcripts must be evaluated by a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluations Services (NACES) for degree, course content, semester unit equivalencies, and science and cumulative GPAs prior to the application deadline. 

Learn more about NACES

Coursework in the United States

While not required, Samuel Merritt University strongly encourages international graduate and doctoral applicants to complete one semester of graduate or undergraduate work at a U.S.-based college or university before beginning studies at SMU. 

Acquiring Special Student Status for Nursing Courses

Samuel Merritt University offers internationally educated nurses the ability to take courses needed to meet licensure exam (NCLEX) eligibility requirements, as required by the Board of Registered Nursing.

Learn more.

Program Costs & Financial Aid

Financial aid is not available for international students, and a certification of finances verifying the ability to provide for the costs associated with the chosen course of study must be provided by all accepted applicants.

Information & Resources for International Applicants

Here are a few helpful links for international applicants who would like to apply to SMU. 

ProgramSupportMail Transcripts to:Link to Apply Through CAS