Samuel Merritt University

Founded in 1909, Oakland based Samuel Merritt University offers degree programs in the health sciences fields including nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and podiatric medicine.  The university is an affiliate of the Sutter Health and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.

With three additional campuses in San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Mateo, the university strives to maintain a diverse student body reflecting the multicultural communities it serves in local healthcare systems.

Overview of Programs, Certificates, and Degrees

  • 1 online doctoral degree program in nursing
  • Campus-based bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree offered as well
  • Financial aid is available

Online Nursing and Health Care Degrees Review

Samuel Merritt University has been training nurses for over one hundred years.  All of their programs allow students to become entry-level to advanced nurses in as little as one to three years.

Online Doctoral Degrees in Nursing

Due to increasing changes in health care, including emerging fields of study, the nursing professions is in need of skilled managers who can coordinate and deliver a wide range of patient care programs to standard, while staying on the cutting edge of healthcare development.  While PhD programs tend to focus on research, the online Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Samuel Merritt University focuses on training nurses to develop and implement systems of care.  The Doctor of Nursing program is new to the university and began in spring 2011.  Class sizes are small, with a cohort being admitted each January of approximately 18-20 people.  The DNP program has several learning goals for its graduates including the ability to carry out the following tasks in a healthcare setting:

  • Design locally focused and economic programs of care
  • Change health outcomes for the better
  • Critique and relate clinical scientific findings to practice
  • Transform health care systems through providing top level care to patients and their families
  • Develop aptitude for emerging fields such as genetics, global healthcare, and biomedical advances

Training in the program includes several practicums and the following key courses:

  • Organizational and Systems Leadership in Complex Healthcare Systems
  • Advanced Health Policy and Advocacy
  • Educational Innovations in Healthcare
  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology and Population Health
  • Evidence-Based Research
  • Healthcare Economics and Financial Analysis
  • Outcomes Management and Evaluations
  • Advanced Informatics

Duration and Cost

The program is 36 credits and requires approximately 2 years to complete. Program tuition is $958 per credit.


Most nursing faculty at Samuel Merritt University hold advanced degrees.

Things to consider:

  • The degree program requires students to come to the California campus a minimum of one time each year
  • Students must have completed a statistics course with grade “B” or higher within the past three years
  • Students must complete a clinical component in a supervised setting
  • Doctoral program is not accredited by a nursing body


 SMU is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Samuel Merritt University
3100 Summit Street, 3rd Floor
Oakland, California 94609