Irvine, CA Nursing Programs with Training and Course Summaries

There are roughly five schools within 20 miles of Irvine, CA, that offer nursing degree programs. Read an overview of three of these schools, two of which are only about five miles from downtown, the other close to 20. Learn about their requirements and admission info to find out which school is the right one for you.

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Irvine Nursing Schools

Students in Irvine, California, can find programs at several nearby colleges and universities. This article discusses three schools, all within 30 minutes of downtown Irvine. They include one private, not-for-profit school and two public universities. The article also features a table that compares some important school statistics.

  • Concordia University - Irvine is about four miles from downtown and is associated with the Lutheran Church. It offers students with non-nursing bachelor's degrees an accelerated bachelor's degree program option. Current registered nurses (RNs) can complete a bachelor's degree in the RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.
  • Just over five miles from downtown, The University of California - Irvine provides bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing and a post-master's certificate.
  • California State University - Fullerton offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice program, as well as several undergraduate and master's degree options. It takes about 24 minutes to drive the 18 miles from downtown Irvine to this school.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Clinical Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Direct-Entry Midwifery - LM, CPM
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Neonatal Nursing
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Assistant or Patient Care Assistant
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
  • Nursing Science
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Public Health Nurse or Community Nurse
  • Registered Nurse

Comparison of Schools

The right school can be just as important as the right program. Read below to find out more information about the enrollments, community settings, tuitions and graduation rates for all three universities.

Concordia University - Irvine University of California - Irvine California State University - Fullerton
School Type 4-year; private, not-for-profit 4-year; public 4-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017)* 4,249 35,242 40,905
Campus Setting Large city Large City Large Suburb
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* $34,100 $13,738 in-state; $41,752 out-of-state $6,850 in-state; $18,730 out-of-state
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Any Form of Aid (2016-2017)* 98% 65% 79%
Undergraduate Acceptance Rate (2017)* 58% 37% 46%
Retention Rate (2017)* 75% for full-time students 94% for full-time students; 64% for part-time students 87% for full-time students; 64% for part-time students
Graduation Rate (for students who began in 2011)* 65% 85% 66% (2% transfer-out rate)

Source: *NCES, College Navigator

Concordia University

Concordia University - Irvine is one of ten campuses in the Concordia University System. Concordia's second-degree accelerated nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

LVN to RN Certificate

California licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) who want to qualify to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in California can enroll in Concordia's LVN to RN certificate program. This program is open to LVNs who have completed prerequisite courses in physiology and microbiology. The program consists of 30 units but no degree or college credit is awarded.


This program is designed for students who hold associate's degrees in nursing and California RN licenses. The program is flexible and students may complete the degree in 12 months on a full-time basis or in two years on a part-time basis. Students generally complete all general education requirements during their associate's degree program, so most courses are focused on nursing practice.

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Concordia University - Irvine offers a full-time, accelerated nursing program for those who already hold a bachelor's degree in a different major. In addition to courses in nursing and sciences, students also improve their research, communication and critical-thinking skills through group discussions and homework assignments. The program can be completed in three semesters and includes clinical rotations in pediatrics, psychiatry, medical-surgical care and maternal-child care. In preparation for the California Public Health Certificate application, students spend four credit hours in a public health setting. In order to become licensed registered nurses after graduation, students must pass the NCLEX-RN.

Master of Science in Nursing

For those who want to continue their education and possibly become nurse practitioners, the MSN program can help. There are two concentrations: nursing leadership and nursing education. Over 15-20 months, students will complete 44 credits to earn this degree.

University of California - Irvine

The University of California - Irvine (UCI) is listed among the 2018 U.S. News & World Report rankings of Best Colleges in the national universities category. UCI offers nursing programs at the bachelor, master's and doctoral levels.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Science

Nursing students at the University of California - Irvine fulfill general education requirements and program prerequisites during their first two years. The next two years are spent taking nursing courses in pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, mental health and human diseases. The curriculum also includes the appropriate nursing care for children, adults and older adults. Nursing students put theory into practice through clinical practicum courses, which are typically completed at the UCI Medical Center.

Master of Science in Nursing

Graduate students can major in the community and population health concentration. The Master of Science in Nursing program can be completed in two years for full-time students or three years for those attending on a part-time basis. Students take advanced courses in pharmacology, disease prevention, pathophysiology, clinical procedures and women's health, among others. Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the nurse practitioner certification examination through the California Board of Registered Nursing.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice

The PhD in Nursing program is designed for registered nurses who wish to advance in this field through clinical-translational research methods and scientific inquiry. Students can focus on disease prevention, symptom management, health disparities or health policy. The curriculum requires 60-quarter units of formal coursework, including courses in statistics, research methods and theory. Two examinations and a dissertation are required to earn this degree.

With at least 510 clinical hours, students will be one step closer to earning the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Students will also complete a capstone project to go along with the 53 credit units and clinical practice.

California State University - Fullerton

The College of Health and Human Development at California State University - Fullerton is comprised of seven departments with 20 academic programs. The Health Promotion Research Institute (HPRI) focuses on evidence-based practice in health care and provides students with a place to train, work with the community and conduct health-related research. The CCNE accredits the School of Nursing.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

This program can be completed by entry-level students who do not have any nursing experience and by licensed vocational nurses who can transfer up to 60 semester units to the program. The entry-level program requires 120 units. Prerequisites include courses in biology, psychology, sociology and chemistry. The nursing curriculum includes courses in cultural diversity, research, mental health, reproductive health, complex health alterations and community health. Labs play a prominent role in this program. There are also LVN-BSN and accelerated-BSN options. The ABSN requires just 62 credits, while the LVN-BSN requires 65.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Students have several options for an MSN at California State University - Fullerton. Students complete 24-53 units depending on the concentration, including courses in advanced nursing, pathophysiology, pharmacological concepts, reproductive health and health assessment. Labs and clinical experiences are part of the program. MSN students can specialize in nursing leadership, women's health care, school nursing and nurse educator. Each specialization has specific course requirements.

Other School Options

An RN to BSN degree program is also available at Vanguard University of Southern California located 8.1 miles away. In addition, an associate's degree is available at Santa Ana College, located roughly 10.5 miles from downtown Irvine.

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