Nurse with patient in simulation lab

RN to BSN Program

At Samuel Merritt University, you can earn your BSN in less than two years while continuing to work in the field.

Format

  • On Campus

Program Duration

  • 20 Months (Five Semesters)

Deadlines

Advance Your Nursing Career

Nurses with bachelor’s degrees often have higher earning potential than their counterparts with an associate degree. As demand for nurse leaders continues to rise, a BSN could make you more desirable for supervisory roles and other increased responsibilities. 

SMU’s RN to BSN program was created with working nurses in mind. Our 20-month program allows you to earn your degree part-time, while also maintaining your career. As a current nurse, you already have a solid foundation, and you’ll be able to use your previous academic and professional experience as you continue your education. 

In our BSN program, you’ll deepen your knowledge of evidence-based care, broaden your understanding of public health issues, build your teamwork and communication skills, and strengthen your self-care practices. Learning alongside other nurses at SMU, you’ll also get to expand your professional network. 

Another benefit of earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing is that it sets you up for continued career growth. With a BSN, you’re within reach of a master’s of science in nursing degree, which could open doors to advanced practice nursing. 

What we look for:

  • Compassion
  • Interpersonal/interprofessional communication
  • Teamwork
  • Critical thinking
  • Responsibility

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Program Requirements & Info

Admission to the RN to BSN program is based upon the following criteria:

  • An associate degree in nursing

  • 70 transferable semester credits—all credits counting toward the associate degree in nursing are transferable

  • Minimum recommended GPA of 2.5 (4-point scale)

  • An unencumbered California RN license

  • Employment as a registered nurse

  • Two letters of recommendation (one from your chief nursing executive, another from your manager) attesting to your readiness to enroll in an RN-BSN program.

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.

Tuition Calculator

Samuel Merritt University, through a partnership with Kaiser Permanente, is pleased to be able to offer scholarships to assist nurses in covering the costs of the RN to BSN program. Scholarships are available first-come, first-served. Nurses who are currently working for Kaiser Permanente, public hospitals and clinics, federally qualified health centers, and public health departments will be awarded a scholarship that covers 80% of the tuition. Student Body, health insurance, books, transportation, and other fees are not included. Scholarships are renewable each term based upon satisfactory academic performance and continued progress towards the degree.

Scholarships are not available to nurses who are employed outside of Kaiser Permanente or do not work at a safety net hospital. 

Types of Aid

Scholarships and Grants
These are “gift aid” and do not need to be repaid. These can come from the government, private groups and directly from Samuel Merritt University.

Scholarships:  A limited number of scholarships are available for students accepted into the RN to BSN program. Scholarships will be awarded based on the content of the student’s application to Samuel Merritt University. All students are considered for this scholarship. 

Federal Grants:  Up to $5,775 in Pell Grant and up to $1000 in Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG). These are need-based awards, and will not be repaid. 

Students in the RN to BSN program are also eligible for federal student loans.

RN-BSN Curriculum Overview*

Term I
GENED 400 MBSR & Neuroscience of Change 3.0
GENED 435 Applied Research & Statistics I 3.0
Term Total:  6.0 units

Term II
GENED 444 Health Policy 2.0
NURSG 436 Applied Research & Statistics II 2.0
NURSG 460 Quality, Safety & Leadership I 2.0
Term Total: 6.0 units

Term III
GENED 490 Humanities and Healing Arts 2.0
NURSG 464 Quality, Safety & Leadership II 2.0
NURSG 475 Community/Public Health Nursing 2.0
Term Total: 6.0 units

Term IV

NURSG 452 Caring Science I 2.0
NURSG 466 Quality, Safety & Leadership III 2.0
NURSG 475L Community/Public Health Nursing Practicum 2.0
Term Total: 6.0 units

Term V
GENED 456 Genetics & Genomics 2.0
NURSG 454 Caring Science II 2.0
NURSG 468 Quality, Safety & Leadership IV 2.0
Term Total 6.0 units

Program Total: 30.0 units

* For cohorts starting Spring 2020

Program length and class structure

  • 20 months, a little less than half-time study with 6 credits each term; 15-week terms
  • Face-to-face classes are four hours each week plus one Saturday class in terms 1 & 3
  • Community Health clinical hours are an additional 8 hours per week in term 4

Spring 2020 RN to BSN Course Schedule
Fresno Campus: Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Oakland Campus: Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Sacramento Campus: Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Program length and class structure

  • 20 months, a little less than half-time study with 6 credits each term; 15-week terms
  • Face-to-face classes are four hours each week plus one Saturday class in terms 1 & 3
  • Community Health clinical hours are an additional 8 hours per week in term 4

Through a partnership with Kaiser Permanente, we are pleased to offer a scholarship covering 80% of the tuition to nurses currently working for Kaiser Permanente public hospitals and clinics, federally qualified health centers, and public health departments.

Scholarships are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Scholarships are renewable each term based upon satisfactory academic performance and continued progress towards the degree.

Graduation Rate*
2016-2017 Cohort      91%
2015-2016 Cohort      89%

*% of Cohort Graduated Within 150%  of Expected Time

The RN to BSN 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.

Baccalaureate Accreditation

Initial Accreditation Date: April 21, 2001
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

RN to BSN Program Technical Standards

The mission of Samuel Merritt University is to produce highly skilled and compassionate nursing professionals. 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 any of the Prelicensure Programs well as current students who are candidates for retention, progression, 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 baccalaureate level 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 any Prelicensure Nursing Program does not guarantee that a graduate will be able to fulfill the technical requirements of any specific clinical position.

Technical Standards

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 data, and accurately evaluate patient conditions and responses in all clinical settings. 

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, their families, faculty, and staff.  Candidates must be able to clearly and accurately communicate verbal and written information and accurately interpret verbal and non-verbal communication in a timely manner.

Patient Care Skills 

Candidates must be able to perform health assessment and physical examination skills.  A candidate should be able to perform or direct basic laboratory tests (e.g., urinalysis), diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (e.g., venipuncture, placement of urinary catheters, electrocardiogram), and interpret findings.  A candidate must be able to provide or direct general and emergency treatment for patients, and respond to emergency situations in a timely manner (e.g., cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medications, application of pressure to arrest bleeding).  Candidates must meet applicable safety standards for the environment and follow universal precaution procedures.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Cognitive Skills

Candidates must be able to learn through a variety of modalities, including but not limited to: lecture; group or team and collaborative activities; simulation; individual study; and use of computer technology.  A candidate must effectively interpret, assimilate and understand the complex information required to function within the Prelicensure Program’s curriculum. The candidate must be able to synthesize information both in person and via technology; interpret causal connections and make accurate, fact-based conclusions based on available data and information; formulate a plan of care, investigate the potential answers and outcomes; and reach appropriate and accurate practice decisions. A candidate must be able to find sources of knowledge 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, faculty, and fellow students in the learning community. 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 clinical practice and academia.  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 nursing practice, including patient advocacy, and maintain and display ethical and moral behaviors commensurate with the role of a nurse and a Samuel Merritt University student in all interactions with patients, faculty, staff, students and the public. Interest and motivation throughout the educational process are expected of all candidates.

RN-to-BSN at SMU

We offer a friendly, flexibly program for working professionals.

One Day Per Week & One Saturday Per Semester

Classes are offered in a hybrid format, both face-to-face and online to accommodate your schedule.

90%

Met or Exceeded

Number of alumni who report their program met or exceeded their expectations.

Higher Earning Potential

RNs with a bachelor's out-earn their counterparts with an associate’s degree.

Faculty

Our nursing faculty prepare more nurses in Northern California than anyone. Their expertise in best practices, outcomes-based health care, and inter-professional simulation is unrivaled. They prepare nurses for careers in all levels of the field, from entry-level clinical positions to advanced careers in primary care and nursing leadership.

richard-macintyre

Richard MacIntyre

Post-Doc, HIV-AIDS, UCSF, 1996; PhD, HIV-AIDS Nursing, UCSF, 1993; MS, Nursing Administration, UCSF, 1982, BS Nursing, Sacramento State University, 1978, AAS, Nursing Santa Barbara City College Professor
marcus-penn

Marcus L. Penn

M.D., 2003 Adjunct Assistant Professor
uzo-nwankpa

Uzo Nwankpa

M.S.N Grand Canyon University Phoenix, AZ. 2015 B.S.N Barry University Miami, FL 2008 A.A Broward College Davie, FL 2004 Instructor
roberta-richards

Roberta Richards

MA, John F. Kennedy University; BS, St. Joseph's School of Nursing RN to BSN Operations Manager

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