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*Please note that UC Merced does not offer a degree program leading to nursing licensure. The information below is intended to show the various possibilities for attaining nursing licensure outside of UC Merced.

You must have a registered nurse (RN) license to practice nursing. There are several ways in which you can obtain an RN license:

  • Community colleges offer associate's degrees in nursing, which take approximately two years to complete. Community colleges often have a long waiting list for prospective students.
  • Bachelor's of Science in nursing degrees are available at several schools, and some schools offer second degrees in an accelerated setting. These accelerated programs range anywhere from 11 to 18 months.
  • Another option for people with non-nursing bachelor's degrees is a master's in nursing.

Make sure the program you are interested in includes an RN licensure component. Programs such as these are called Entry-Level MSN or Direct Entry MSN programs. Most MSN programs prepare students to acquire their nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist licenses. Entry-Level MSN programs take about three years to complete.

Possible Pathways to a Registered Nurse (RN) License after Earning a BA or BS from UC Merced


Program Type: Community college Traditional BSN Accelerated BSN Entry Level MSN
Degree Earned: Associate degree in nursing Bachelor of Science in nursing Bachelor of Science in nursing Master of Science in nursing
Program Duration: about two years about two years (apply for second degree and enter at the Junior level, approximately) about 11 - 18 months (very fast paced; designed for people with a non-nursing B.A./B.S.) about three years (most clinical programs also prepare you for NP exams)
Testing Required:  none for admission TEAS required by some program TEAS required by some programs GRE required for most programs


The most important part of the preparation for a nursing program of any kind is the completion of pre-requisite courses. Any major is acceptable as long as your coursework includes the required classes for the programs to which you intend to apply. Although each school has different requirements, some of the most common (with the UC Merced equivalents) are listed.

Chemistry CHEM 2 – General Chemistry I and
CHEM 10 – General Chemistry II

Effective Fall 2023:
BIO 11/11L - Introduction to Molecular Biology (with lab) and
BIO 12/12L - Introduction to Introduction to Organismal Biology (with lab)

Prior to Fall 2023:
BIO 1/L –  Contemporary Biology (must take lab) and
BIO 2/L – Introduction to Molecular Biology (must take lab)

Human anatomy with lab BIO 164 - Human Anatomy (includes lab)^
Human physiology with lab BIO 161 - Human Physiology (includes lab)
Microbiology with lab BIO 120 – General Microbiology and
BIO 120L – General Microbiology Lab
Statistics MATH 18 – Statistical Analysis of Scientific Data or
MATH 32 – Statistics or
PSY 10 – Analysis of Psychological Data
College composition WRI 10 - College Reading and Composition
General psychology PSY 1 - Introduction to Psychology
General sociology SOC 1 - Introduction to Sociology
Nutrition BIO 60 - Nutrition

*This list is not comprehensive, and each school in which you are interested should be contacted for a complete description of its requirements.

^Course currently unavailable at UC Merced. May be taken at community college.  Check with intended schools for more information.

GPA Calculator 

Professional and graduate schools, and the application services they use, expect you to report all attempted classes as part of your overall GPA calculation. Please refer to the "course work" sections of the instruction manuals -- available below -- for how to accurately compute your Math-Science or Science GPA and overall GPA based on your professional goals.

Please refer to the GPA calculation guidelines through their respective application services.


For most master's programs and some second bachelor's programs, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required. This test is similar to the SAT and can be taken virtually any day Monday through Saturday.

Extracurricular Activities

Internships in clinical settings are helpful for clarifying your desires to enter the nursing profession, and show the schools you apply to that you understand the role of a nurse. For more information, visit the Center for Career & Professional Advancement.

California Schools Offering Programs in Professional Nursing Leading to RN Licensure

The California Board of Registered Nursing maintains an online database detailing the schools in California that offer RN programs.