Jun 19, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Nursing, RN-to-BSN Program Option, B.S.N.*

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Program of Study

The purpose of the nursing profession is to help patients/clients achieve health goals. Nurses provide health care for individuals, families and communities by performing supportive, preventive, therapeutic, and restorative interventions. Nurses are employed in institutional and community-based healthcare settings. They can provide health-related interventions through independent action or as a collaborating member of a healthcare team.

The nursing curriculum at Cal State San Marcos is built on a self-care model. This model assumes that people are usually capable of providing their own needs related to health. Sometimes people cannot take care of themselves because of injury, disease, or insufficient health-related knowledge. Nursing care helps such people recover their self-care abilities through health promotion, health maintenance and health restoration.

The Nursing program at CSUSM places strong emphasis on delivering skillful, culturally sensitive nursing care. Each student will be proficient in a language-other-than-English and be aware of culturally driven healthcare practices. Students will be able to provide nursing care to diverse individuals and communities. Students take advantage of clinical experiences in a variety of acute care and community settings, and are able to provide nursing case management interventions for a variety of vulnerable populations.

The Nursing Program at CSUSM prepares students for multiple career tracks within the profession. Students who complete the undergraduate program will have knowledge and skills for general nursing practice, will be well prepared for entry into graduate level nursing programs, and will be qualified to assume leadership roles in healthcare organizations, clinics, and community agencies.

The baccalaureate degree program is designed for three groups of students with different options. Students who have had no previous nursing education follow the traditional BSN option. Students who have completed an undergraduate degree in another discipline but who wish a second degree in Nursing complete the accelerated BSN (ABSN) option. Students who have completed an associate degree program in nursing (ADN) at a community college and seek completion of their baccalaureate degree follow TBSN or accelerated (ABSN) option depending on their previous course of study. The traditional program is a full-time program designed to be completed in five years (including the three intervening summers).

*The RN-to-BSN Program is offered entirely on-line through Extended Learning.

Program Approval

The pre-licensure components of the CSUSM nursing program (traditional and accelerated BSN have been approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).

Program Accreditation

All undergraduate nursing programs (traditional, accelerated BSN and RN-to-BSN) have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Impacted Status

The Nursing major is an impacted program and more qualified applicants apply than can be accepted into the major. All students desiring to enter the traditional BSN program must submit a supplemental application to the School of Nursing between October 1 and November 30 for the subsequent academic year beginning each Fall semester. In order to meet admission eligibility, students must complete and document all supplemental criteria by the end of the Spring semester prior to the Fall semester in which they are seeking admission. Students will then be rank ordered according to a 7-item point system and selected for admission to the major based on the following supplemental criteria:

  • GPA in pre-nursing core requisites (25 points)
  • Overall cumulative GPA (5 points)
  • Composite Score on the TEAS standardized exam (12 points)
  • Proficiency in a second language (up to 10 points)
  • Applicable work and volunteer experience (5 points)
  • Residency, based on college attended for the last 60 units (8 points)
  • Completed 4 core science requirements in consecutive 12-month period (3 points)

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing will be able to:

  1. Apply the nursing process through critical thinking and professional nursing judgment to provide and evaluate nursing care in acute and long-term care, and community settings.
  2. Utilize the research process, its application to the discipline of nursing and its essential relationship to evidence-based nursing practice.
  3. Function within the specific professional nursing roles to provide care, coordinate care, deliver health education, and advocate for individuals, families, groups, and communities.


High school students are encouraged to take algebra or college preparatory math, Spanish, chemistry and biology. A familiarity with computers is also encouraged.

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Students (ABSN)

Admission requirements for the ABSN program are:

  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than nursing
  • GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester units of completed courses
  • Completion of courses listed in the catalog as preparation for the major (44 units) including pre-nursing core (29 units) and other supporting course work (15 units) required of other BSN students

The ABSN option is offered through Extended Learning and students are admitted to the self-support special sessions. Students will pay extended education fees for this option.

Transfer Students

For the returning RN student, it is anticipated that many of the required general education courses may have been completed at a community college. These students will be required to meet the same mandatory standards either by transferable course work, certification of general education requirements by previous academic institutions, or by completion of general education requirements at CSUSM. These courses will be included in the maximum transfer credit of 70 lower-division units from a community college. Imbedded in these 70 units are 35 units, which will be articulated for lower-division nursing courses from a Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) approved, and regionally accredited, community college nursing program. Some prerequisite and required preparatory courses for the nursing major are also imbedded in the 51 units of required general education courses.

Special Requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Completion of all courses in the Pre-Nursing Core (or the equivalent) and with no grade lower than a C (2.0) is required for all NURS courses.

Students in the nursing program must carry their own health insurance, pass a physical health examination, and be in compliance with immunizations consistent with the requirements of the School of Nursing and the healthcare agencies in which they are placed for clinical experiences.

Students are required to complete a background check including statewide, county, and federal screening before placement in a healthcare agency for clinical assignments. Background checks are also required for persons seeking a nursing license in the state of California. Students who have reason to believe that a background check would reveal a prior misdemeanor or felony conviction should seek to have these matters expunged from their record if possible and/or seek another career path.

Students will be expected to perform or with reasonable accommodations, demonstrate proficiency in specific core performance standards in the following five categories:

  1. Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment.
  2. Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups.
  3. Communication abilities sufficient for verbal and written interaction.
  4. Physical ability to move from place to place, demonstrated manual dexterity, and eye-hand coordination.
  5. Demonstrated auditory, visual, tactile, and olfactory ability sufficient to assess and monitor patients safely.

The academic advisor for the School of Nursing, working with the Office of Disabled Student Services, will assist students to determine what accommodations will be needed to enable students to meet these standards.

In order to remain in the Nursing program:

  1. Students in the nursing major must attain grades of C (2.0) or better in all required nursing and preparatory to the major courses. Nursing courses and Pre-Nursing Core courses for which the student earns less than a grade of C (2.0) may be repeated once with consent of instructor, but only on a space-available basis.
  2. Students in the nursing major must maintain good academic standing. Students on academic probation are not permitted to enroll in a nursing course until the probation has been removed.
  3. The same core performance standards required for admission to the nursing major will be required for continuation.

Professional Licensure and Certification 

Notice to Students about Professional Licensure and Certification, please access https://www.csusm.edu/nursing/aboutus/accreditation.html for more information.

General Education (48 Units)

General Education Requirements  

Preparation for the Major (44 Units)


+ MATH 125 , MATH 132 , or MATH 160  may be substituted. This requirement may also be satisfied by any Lower-Division General Education Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (B4) course taken before matriculation at CSUSM if students have already completed the equivalent of CHEM 105 /CHEM 105L .

Other Supporting Coursework (15 Units)


*Up to 36 units of courses taken as Preparation for the Major may also be counted toward General Education  requirements. Most RN transfer students have required growth and development and nutrition content integrated into their previous nursing program. For those who wish additional nutrition content, BIOL 343 is recommended. BIOL 316  is recommended for a BB course.

@ Students who have already met the General Education Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (D7) requirement with an introductory sociology course (SOC 101  equivalent) taken at another institution may substitute that course for ANTH 200 .

^Clears an UDGE requirement if students have earned at least 60 units of baccalaureate-level course work at time of completion.

& Students who have already met the General Education Discipline-Specific or Second Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Course (D) requirement with a course taken at another institution may substitute that course for PSYC 100 .

Students who have met the General Education Lifelong Learning (E) requirement at another institution may substitute a course from the RN-to-BSN Recommended Upper-Division Elective list.

Major Requirements (63 Units)

Lower-Division Nursing Requirements (34 Units)

The lower-division nursing course requirement is met by the nursing course work required for a RN licensure program completed at a BRN-approved nursing program.

Recommended Upper-Division Electives:

RN-to-BSN students who are directed above to substitute a General Education requirement already met at their preceding institution should select courses from the following list of recommended upper-division electives:

Minimum Total (120 Units)

The minimum number of units required for this degree is 120

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