California State University, Fresno Nursing School Review

Founded in 1911, California State University-Fresno (Fresno State) has gained considerable reputation with its Pulitzer Prize-winning achievements and other major gifts to the school. Originally known as Fresno State Normal School, the university has 59 undergraduate degree programs and 44 master degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences. This university is one of the 23 campuses that make up the California State University (CSU) system.

All courses are administered across the eight colleges and schools that are part of the institution. The University is fully accredited by the California State Board of Education and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The Department of Nursing offers a wide range of courses to students with different goals and aspirations. Students also enjoy a wide variety of clinical placements across various health care settings to hone their practical skills in every aspect. The degree and programs are:

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

This is a three year course that prepares students to sit the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and the California Public Health Nurse Certificate. Students that get into the program are either accepted as basic of advanced applicants.

Basic applicants are classified as those that do not have any prior education in nursing. Admission to the program is competitive and preference is given to U.S. military veterans that meet the requirements established by the school. All other applicants are chosen according to academic performance in prerequisite courses.

Advanced applicants are students that have prior education in nursing. These can range from registered nurses (RNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). Students that are within these categories must complete the necessary prerequisite courses to be considered for advance placement.


This course is designed for registered nurses that wish to complete their Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN). It focuses on theory-based practice and students will be able to take any of the advancement placement courses:

a) Public Health Nurse

b) School Nurse

c) Nurse Practitioner

d) Clinical Nurse Specialist

LVN 30-Unit Option

Students that complete this program are eligible to apply for licensure as a registered nurses. They must also meet the necessary requirements outlined in section 2728 of the code. Academic merit is not used as placement criteria in the program. Students are accepted based on the number of available space that is available. Those that are awarded a 30 Unit Option RN license do not receive any degree after the course. In addition to this, they must also be aware of the limitations they may encounter if they wish to practice outside of California.

Entry Level Masters

Students that have a baccalaureate degree in a field unrelated to nursing are eligible to apply to this program. Upon successful completion they will be awarded a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and can sit the registered nurse (RN) licensure examination. They can work as Clinical Nurse Specialist / Nurse Educator.

This is an intense course that requires full dedication to be successful. Practical experience will be gained through various health care settings.

Family Nurse Practitioner

Students are trained to work with different types of patients and age groups in this course. The aim of the program is to equip students with the necessary knowledge to provide cutting-edge primary care to their patients. A combination of clinical and classroom courses prepare students to assess, maintain, promote, counsel, educate and manage all aspects related to health. Upon successful completion, students are eligible to apply for national certification. They may undertake roles as a Pediatric and Geriatric practitioners. They may also work as Family Nurse Practitioners in California.

There is also the possibility of waiver on certain coursework. This, however, will depend on the individual evaluation that is performed on each student’s academic accomplishments and experience.

Post-Master Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Students are trained in this course to provide primary health care to children. During the course, they are taught how to assess, maintain, promote, counsel, educate and manage aspects of children’s health. Upon successful completion, they are recognized as Pediatric Nurse Practitioners in California after passing the national certification exams. They are awarded with a post-master’s nurse practitioner certificate after graduation.

Post-Master Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Educator

Students that want to capitalize on their own abilities and enter different aspects of nursing can choose the Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Educator Option. They will be trained in specific areas in clinical nursing and will be able to take the specialist certification through the California Board of Registered Nursing. The course also places emphasis on leadership skills and advanced training in specific areas in nursing. They are awarded with a post-master’s clinical nurse specialist/nurse educator certificate after graduation.

School Nurse Services Credential

This is a basic course with some of its units offered online. After successful completion, students are trained to perform basic duties as a school nurse and receive a Professional Clear School Nurse Services Credential. The course is divided into two phases. Both phases are approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Only applicants with a baccalaureate degree in nursing or a two year associate degree with a baccalaureate degree in another field can apply to the program.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program is aimed at nurse practitioners that want to gain specialized knowledge to be health care providers that have various psychiatric skills. The one year program is built on the partnership between Division of Continuing and Global Education and California State University-Fresno. After successful completion, graduates will be recognized as Adult or Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner according to the requirements established by the American Nurse Credentialing Center. At the end of the course graduates receive a Certificate of Advanced Study for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners. Only students that have done their master’s can enter the program.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (DNP)

Fresno State and San José State University have partnered to offer the California State University, Northern Consortium Doctor of Nursing Practice (NorCal DNP). This is a joint post-masters Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. This doctoral program aims is to prepare nurses to undertake leadership and educational roles in the health care sector. It is aimed at both advanced nurses and nurse leaders.

Admission to this program is accepted once each year. Online training materials will be used to transmit information to working professionals that are interested in this full time program. A few intensive classes will however be held at the Fresno State and San José campuses. This jooint DNP program is a 5 semester, 37 unit program that can be completed in 21 months of full-time study.

California State University-Fresno
5241 North Maple Avenue
Fresno, CA 93740

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