Sonoma State University Nursing School Review

Sonoma State University (SSU) is located one hour north of San Francisco, in the heart of California’s wine country. Sonoma State is a small university and many classes have fewer than 40 students enrolled. The University offers 45 bachelors degree level majors and 15 masters degree level majors.

Nursing Programs

Undergraduate Programs

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Students with no prior experience in nursing may apply for the pre-licensure BSN option. They will spend the first two years of the program as Pre-Nursing majors, completing science and general education courses. After completing all of the Pre-Nursing requirements, students may then apply for acceptance into the Nursing major.

The prerequisites for Pre-Nursing are high school or college level Biology and Chemistry courses at a B or better, an overall GPA of 3.5, and an SAT score of 4000. The Nursing major requirements are: overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, a 3.0 or better in Anatomy, Physiology, and Chemistry classes, Certified Nurse Assistant certification, an essay, and an acceptable score on the TEAS exam.

The Nursing program at Sonoma State University is highly competitive, with only 24 students being admitted into the BSN program each fall semester.

Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN

The RN to BSN program is for post-licensure students (now called the Post-Licensure BSN Program). It is structured to allow students to transfer credits from their community college Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program in order to meet degree requirements for the BSN. The curriculum will expand upon what the student has already learned and will result in successful completion of a baccalaureate degree.

The courses for the RN to BSN program are designed to be flexible and are offered either as a combination of classroom and online (hybrid format) or exclusively online.

Nurses that have graduated an ADN program and have completed all general education requirements before starting the RN to BSN program can complete the program in as little as two semesters at Sonoma State, if enrolled full time.

To apply for the RN to BSN program, students must have at least 60 hours of transfer credit with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 30 units of this should meet Sonoma State General Education requirements, including English Composition, Speech, Critical Thinking and Statistics. Another 30 units must be nursing courses. Students must also be currently licensed in California as an RN, have at least 3 credit hours of Chemistry with a C or higher, direct patient care experience within the last two years or Anatomy and Physiology taken within the last 10 years, and have been admitted to Sonoma State University.

Priority placement within the program will be given to students who live in Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Marin, Lake, and Mendocino Counties.

Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) to BSN

Sonoma State University offers an LVN to BSN program in partnership with Indiana State University, in order to make sure that all California LVNs had access to a quality BSN program. Students take the program online from anywhere.

LVN 30 Unit Option

The LVN 30 Unit option is a state-mandated program that allows LVNs to become licensed as RNs. This program meets the requirements for LVNs to take the state RN licensing exam, although they will not earn a degree. Students seeking this option should be aware that spots are awarded when space is available, and there is no guarantee of placement.

Masters Programs

Master of Science in Nursing

The MSN program is for graduate level nurses who wish to influence the delivery and practice of health care. To apply to the program, students must have a BSN degree or other bachelors degree, be a licensed California RN, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their last 60 credits, and have taken a statistics course at the college level.

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

The FNP option of the MSN program has an emphasis on an advanced level of primary care practice in a clinical setting. Applicants for this program must meet the MSN requirements above and have completed an upper-division physical assessments course (within the last three years), have completed a course in community health nursing, and preferably have two years experience as an RN.

Graduates are qualified to take the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner (AANP) exam or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) exam for national certification.

Sonoma State University also offers a post graduate certificate in FNP.

Leadership and Management

The Leadership and Management option of the MSN program has specialties in Administration, Education, and Clinical Nurse Leader. This course of study focuses on concepts of financial management, leadership and organization and research application and use. Students applying for this option must meet the same requirements as the generic MSN program listed above.

Direct Entry MSN Program

The Direct Entry MSN program is for non-RNs with bachelor’s degrees. This program requires 18 months of continuous study, online classes, and studying undergraduate and graduate coursework at the same time.

To apply, students must earn a 3.0 in the undergraduate courses of Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Statistics, and Human Growth and Development. Students must also become a certified CNA before starting the program.

Upon graduation, students will be awarded an MSN degree and be eligible to take the exam for RN licensing.

ADN to MSN Pathways Program

The ADN to MSN program is for licensed RNs in California with a bachelor’s degree or higher to earn their MSN degree and be eligible for the California Public Health Nurse Certification. Students who complete this program will earn an MSN degree, but not a BSN degree.

Students will be assessed based on their nursing practice and educational background to determine which courses are still required for the master’s option they wish to pursue. Students may attend classes full or part time.

To apply to the program, students must be currently licensed RNs in California or scheduled to graduate from an ADN program and be licensed prior to the fall admission to the ADN-MSN program. They must also be admitted conditionally to the University as a graduate student, hold a bachelor’s degree, have a 3.0 GPA in their last 60 units of coursework, and show they’ve completed a college level Statistics course and the Development Across the Lifespan course.


Sonoma State University

1801 East Cotati Ave.

Rohnert Park, CA 94928

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