California Nurse Practitioner Programs with Course Descriptions

California has more than 30 universities that offer nurse practitioner programs. Learn about the degree and certificate programs, tuition info, and program options for the ten largest schools to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

Students in California can gain advanced training through accredited Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and post-master's certificate programs that lead to Nurse Practitioner (NP) licensure. Program specializations may be available in such areas as family and pediatric, adult gerontological or nurse midwifery.

Post-master's certificate programs allow registered nurses with an MSN to become nurse practitioners. Some programs allow students with master's degrees in other majors to enroll. MSN program graduates who want to pursue a doctoral degree can enter into a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.


California State University - Fresno

This university, which is located in Fresno, offers an MSN program that trains aspiring family or pediatric nurse practitioners. Curriculum in both programs emphasizes health assessment, maintenance, and promotion, as well as patient education. An online DNP program designed for working professionals is available, in addition to a psychiatric mental health NP program.

California State University - Fullerton

California State University at the school's Fullerton campus provides an MSN program with nurse practitioner specializations in in women's health and nurse midwifery. Coursework in both specialties cover topics such as pathophysiology, disease prevention, women's health assessment, and pharmacology. A DNP program is also offered.

California State University - Long Beach

Aspiring nurse practitioners at Long Beach's California State University can concentrate in adult to elderly care, family practice, mental health, pediatric care, and women's health through MSN or post-master's certificate programs. Course topics can vary; however, core courses in all the concentrations include pathophysiology, pharmacology, health care economics, human diversity, and research methods. Post-Master's certificate programs are available in the same specialties for individuals who already possess an MSN. A DNP program is also available.

California State University - Los Angeles

In addition to offering a DNP program, this university in Los Angeles has a nurse practitioner master's degree program that currently offer specializations in adult acute care, adult, family, and psychiatric/mental health. Post-master certificate programs in these specializations are also available. Students in all these options study the role of the advanced practice nurse and the types of research methods used in nursing.

San Diego State University

This university in San Diego provides an MSN program with nurse practitioner concentrations in advanced practice nursing of adults and the eldery, nursing leadership in health care systems, and women's health and midwifery. The advanced practice program offers two specializations, while women's health and midwifery program offers three specializations.

San Francisco State University

Located in San Francisco, this university administers a master's degree program with a family nurse practitioner concentration and a post-master's certificate program in the same field of study. The master's degree program requires students to complete 600 clinical hours. Both programs require three practicum courses. Applicants for the certificate program must already have a master's or doctoral degree.

Sonoma State University

The MSN program at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park offers a family nurse practitioner concentration. Students learn to assess the health needs of all family members. Students also gain an understanding of the ethical, economic, legal, and professional issues nurse practitioners deal with in the field. In addition, the school offers a post-master's certificate program.

University of California - Davis

Students at the University of California campus in Davis who choose the nurse practitioner track in the university's MSN program gain NP training specifically geared for underserved populations. Required courses include health informatics, primary health care, and behavioral health. As part of the program, students choose to complete clinical experiences from a wide array of specialties, such as pediatrics, women's health, inpatient surgery, mental health, geriatric, and others.

The school also offers a dual track nurse practitioner and physician assistant degree program. Once enrolled in the NP track, students interested in the dual track must talk to an adviser. Graduates will be able to work as both nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

University of California - Irvine

Based in Irvine, this university provides education for aspiring family and adult gerontological nurse practitioners through a master's degree program or a post-graduate certificate program for those already with a master's degree. Besides completing 72 units in classwork, students in the degree program perform clinical experience totaling 720 hours. Students complete the certificate program in three semesters.

University of California - Los Angeles

Commonly known as UCLA, this university in Los Angeles administers an MSN program with nurse practitioner concentrations in adult/gerontology acute care, adult/gerontology primary care, family, or pediatric. Students in the degree program who choose the family nurse practitioner concentration can select underserved populations as a sub-specialty.

Career Requirements

After graduation, aspiring nurse practitioners must pass a national certification exam before being licensed. The ten California universities profiled below, offer master's and post-master's programs that lead to national certification.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Nurse Practitioner Programs Offered Graduate Tuition & Fees
California State University - Fresno 4-year, public; large city MSN with NP Concentrations in Family or Pediatric,
Post-Master's Certificates in Family or Pediatric NP,
Psychiatric Mental Health NP,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$7,577 in-state, $16,505 out-of-state*
California State University - Fullerton 4-year, public; midsize city MSN with NP Concentrations in Nurse Midwifery and Women's Health,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$7,703 in-state, $16,631 out-of-state*
California State University - Long Beach 4-year, public; large city MSN with Multiple NP Concentrations,
Post-Master's Certificates in Multiple NP Specialties
$7,718 in-state, $16,646 out-of-state*
California State University - Los Angeles 4-year, public; large city MSN with Multiple NP Concentrations,
Post-Master's Certificate in Multiple NP Specialties
$7,621 in-state, $16,549 out-of-state*
San Diego State University 4-year, public; large city MSN with NP Concentrations in Nurse-Midwife or Women's Health,
MSN with Combined Nurse-Midwife and Women's Health Concentration,
MSN with Combined Adult and Elderly Care NP and Clinical Nurse Specialist,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$8,242 in-state, $17,170 out-of-state*
San Francisco State University 4-year, public; large city MSN with a Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration,
Family Nurse Practitioner Post-Master's Certificate
$3,858 per semester for residents,
$7,742 in-state, $17,670 out-of-state*
Sonoma State University 4-year, public; large suburb MSN - Nurse Practitioner Option,
Post-Master's Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate
$8,596 in-state, $17,524 out-of-state*
University of California - Davis 4-year, public; small suburb MSN - Nurse Practitioner Track,
MSN - Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Dual Track
$13,164 in-state, $28,266 out-of-state*
University of California - Irvine 4-year, public; fringe rural MSN - Family and Adult Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Tracks,
Post-Graduate Certificates in Adult Gerontological and Family Nurse Practitioner
$13,010 in-state, $28,112 out-of-state*
University of California - Los Angeles 4-year, pubic; large city MSN with Multiple NP Concentrations $12,629 in-state, $27,731 out-of-state*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.

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