School of Nursing

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How is the EL MSN program designed?

A: This program gives students credit for having completed their liberal arts requirements and allows them to complete an abbreviated schedule of undergraduate nursing coursework before moving directly into graduate nursing courses –combining preparation for RN-licensure with advanced training in a master's specialty area.

Q: Does the EL MSN program prepare me to become a licensed RN (Registered Nurse)?

A: Yes. The program provides Board of Registered Nurses (BRN) approved coursework and clinical experiences needed in preparation for the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) to practice as a registered nurse in California only.

Q: How will a graduate nursing degree make me more competitive in the job market?

A: Graduate nursing students are highly sought after by employers for their maturity, adaptability, initiative, attitude, resourcefulness, and excellent critical thinking skills. With their diverse work experience and varied educational background, EL MSN graduates bring a wealth of insights and perspectives to the nursing profession.

Q: When will I become a nurse?

A: The first four semesters of the EL MSN program (approximately 16 months) will prepare you for the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX). Upon passing this exam, you will be licensed as a registered nurse prepared to practice nursing at the bedside in a hospital setting. Once licensed and employed as a Registered Nurse, students continue part-time to complete the post-licensure coursework to earn a Master of Science in Nursing in a specialty area.

Q: What is the difference between the BSN and the EL MSN?

A: The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is an undergraduate program that allows students to complete a bachelor’s degree as they prepare to become registered nurses (RNs). Typically these students are first-time freshmen and/or transfer students. The EL MSN program is a graduate program designed for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree and are looking to transition into nurse leadership roles.

Q: What is the difference between the MSN and the EL MSN program?

A: Both programs are graduate nursing programs; however, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is designed for students who already have a bachelors of science degree in Nursing (BSN) and are looking to further their nursing education. The EL MSN program is designed for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in another discipline who are looking to transition into nursing.

Q: What is the program's NCLEX pass rate?

A: EL MSN students have consistently high pass rates. Updated pass rates can be found at the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) website at

Q: What are the admission requirements for the EL MSN program?

A: For the Summer 2015 program: All applicants are required to submit an application via nursingCAS and follow the program specific requirements, application fee, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a personal essay, RN Pre-Entrance Exam (PAX-RN) results, a GRE score is recommended, however not required. In addition, an interview is required. Not all qualified applicants will be invited for an interview.

Q: Do you offer the program part-time or online?

A: Currently, the pre-licensure portion of the program (4 semesters) is offered as a full time/day time program; the post-licensure courses (7-8 semesters) are offered part time/one night per week. Neither of these programs offers an online option.

Q: Is the EL MSN program accelerated?

A: Yes. Students complete all pre-licensure nursing coursework in an accelerated format (full time, day time, 4 semesters) in preparation for a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Then the program shifts to a part time schedule for the Master’s degree courses (post-licensure).

Q: How do you determine who is selected for the program?

A: The Graduate Nursing Admissions Committee reviews all applicants and students are selected based on various criteria including GPA, science GPA, essay, recommendations, entrance exam and practical experience.

Q: How can I position myself as a strong applicant?

A: Given the competitive applicant pool, we recommend you submit a thorough and complete application packet prior to the deadline. Your ability to articulate why you want to be a nurse weighs heavily in the evaluation process. This should be clearly communicated in your essay and interview. Volunteer or work experience in a hospital/healthcare facility provides an added advantage.

Q: Do I have to have hospital/healthcare experience before I can apply to the EL MSN program?

A: Some exposure to hospital/healthcare settings is highly recommended. Interacting with patients and healthcare professionals is essential to creating a foundation that promotes the critical thinking and clinical decision making necessary for the development and practice of sound nursing skills.

Q: Can I complete the pre-licensure portion of the program only?

A: No. The EL MSN is a graduate program designed for those who desire to transition professionally into the field of nursing and desire to earn a Master of Science in Nursing.

Q: Do I have to complete a bachelor degree in nursing (BSN) before I can enter the EL MSN program?

A: No. Applicants may enter the program with a bachelor degree in arts or science from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants are, however required to complete certain prerequisites and admission requirements to be eligible for the EL MSN program.

Q: How long is the program?

A: It takes approximately 3 ½ to 4 years to complete the pre and post licensure EL MSN program.

Q: How much does the program cost?

A: For current tuition information please click here.

The EL MSN program consists of 109-125 units (pre and post licensure); the MSN program is 45-61 units. The number of units varies depending on the concentration.

Q: What concentrations do you offer?

A:  Healthcare Systems Management, Teaching-Learning (Education), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)-Adult-Gerontology, or Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).

Q: Are you on a semester or quarter system?

A: CBU has three semesters: fall, spring, and summer.

Q: How many students do you accept per year?

A: We admit 40 students to the EL MSN program per year.

Q: How many inquiries do you receive per year?

A: We receive a large volume of inquiries and applications for this program. However, we typically have 75-80 qualified applicants by the application deadline.

Q: What are the program entry dates?

A: The EL MSN program offers one start date per year in early May (summer semester).

Q: When is the application deadline?

A: Summer 2015 applicants: Friday, December 5, 2014 is the deadline; however we recommend you submit your application materials by September 30th to be invited to our applicant workshop in early October. All final transcripts must be received by Friday, January 15, 2015.

Q: Can I take prerequisite courses in the spring semester?

A: Applicants applying for the summer 2015 start date must complete all prerequisite courses by the end of the fall 2014 semester (mid-December). Final transcripts with grades posted must be received and verified by NursingCAS by January 30, 2015. Prerequisites may be taken at CBU.

Q: What is the minimum GPA for the EL MSN program?

A: The minimum GPA is 3.0. GPA calculations are based on cumulative, last 60 semester units or 90 quarter units (whichever is higher). Coursework taken after your bachelor’s degree is also included in the calculation.

Q: Once I apply, when will I find out if I am accepted to the program?

A: A complete application means that ALL required application materials have been received, including completion of all prerequisites, letters of recommendation, essay, transcripts, and test scores. All admission documents must be received and verified by NursingCAS. Upon completion of a successful interview, applicants will be selected and a letter will be sent within a couple of weeks.

Q: Can I work while I am in the EL MSN program?

A: Applicants are advised that the pre-licensure portion of the program requires a very intensive, full-time commitment from students. It is recommended they not work or entertain other commitments outside of the program while preparing for licensure. Once the pre-licensure portion is completed, the MSN post-licensure portion is part-time and designed for the working professional.

Q: Will I be required to complete a practicum (clinical rotation hours) as part of the program?

A: Yes, all pre-licensure and MSN specialty courses require clinical practicum hours as mandated by the California Board of Registered Nurses (BRN). The CBU School of Nursing meets or exceeds all clinical hour requirements.

Q: What are the prerequisites for the program?

A: Prerequisite courses required for the EL MSN program include:

Abnormal Psychology
Anatomy/Physiology with lab* (2 semesters)
Human Microbiology with lab*
Intermediate Composition
Interpersonal Communication
Lifespan or Developmental Psychology
Organic & Biochemistry with lab*
Sociology (General)or Cultural Anthropology

EL MSN applicants must also demonstrate computer literacy as demonstrated by a degree completed (within the last five years), exam or coursework.

*Please note, CBU does not accept online labs with the exception of our online science courses.

Q: Can I take my prerequisites online?

A: Yes; however, online science classes (labs) are not acceptable, with the exception of the courses offered at CBU.

Q: What if I do not have all of the prerequisites?

A: Students have several options for completing outstanding prerequisites including CLEP, DANTES, some AP courses, accredited community colleges and universities. All prerequisites must be completed prior to acceptance to the program with a grade of "C" or better.

Q: Can I take prerequisites at CBU?

A: Yes, students may take prerequisite courses at CBU as a pre-nursing graduate student (prior to applying to the EL MSN program). You may apply for this option via our online application.

Q: Do I have to apply to undergraduate admissions to take prerequisites?

A: No, CBU has a graduate pre-nursing option that allows students to take undergraduate courses as a graduate student and receive graduate financial aid. You can submit an application at via nursingCAS.

Q: What are the admissions requirements for the graduate pre-nursing program?

A: You will need to complete the NursingCAS application as well as the program specific requirements.

Q: Do you offer prerequisite courses in the evening?

A: Yes, prerequisite courses are offered in both the Traditional (daytime) program and the Online and Professional Studies (OPS) program (evening and weekends). Please note: tuition costs will vary by program.

Q: Do you accept prerequisite coursework from community colleges?

A: Yes, however the college must be accredited. For a list of equivalent courses from other colleges, please see the articulation agreement webpage.

Q: Can I take prerequisites at another college/university?

A: Yes. However, please ensure the college is accredited prior to enrollment. Coursework must be comparable and may require a course description and syllabus. 

Q: Do you offer science classes at CBU?

A: Yes, our science department continues to meet the demand for students who require these courses.

Q: What is the format for the science courses and prerequisites?

A: 16 week format (traditional semester-daytime); 8 week online lecture and Saturday lab; and 8 week hybrid courses (combination of online and in class)

Q: How do I find out when prerequisites are offered at CBU?

A: Review the course schedule on the website (academics; course schedules). View the schedule for UNDERGRADUATE classes and then select the appropriate semester.

Q: When can I start taking prerequisite courses for the EL MSN program?

A: You can begin taking prerequisites in the fall (September), spring (January), or summer (May). Please see the UNDERGRADUATE course schedule to determine the dates and times classes are being offered.

Q: Is there a minimum GPA to take prerequisites at CBU?

A: The minimum GPA for pre-nursing graduate students is 2.75 (either cumulative, last 60 semester units or 90 quarter units).

Q: Can I start taking prerequisites at CBU if my degree has not posted?

A: You may be conditionally accepted as a graduate pre-nursing student if your degree will post by the last day to withdraw with a refund as outlined in the university calendar.

Q: Does admission as a pre-nursing student guarantee acceptance to the EL MSN program?

A: No, once the pre-nursing courses are complete, the other admission documents must be submitted for the review process. The program is competitive and acceptance is based on the review of all of the admissions requirements.

Q: If I am accepted as a pre-nursing student, do I have to reapply or resubmit any documents for the EL MSN program?

A: If you submitted a graduate pre-nursing packet prior to Sept. 30, 2013 a separate graduate nursing paper application and recommendations must be submitted.

If you applied to the graduate pre-nursing program via NursingCAS, then you do not need to reapply if you do not change the program date you are apply for. For example, if you chose the graduate pre-nursing application in preparation for the summer 2015 EL MSN cohort, but decide to apply to the summer 2016 program instead, a new application in its entirety must be completed.

Q: Can you evaluate my prerequisites for the EL MSN program?

A: Yes, however first you will need to complete a prerequisite evaluation form and provide the course descriptions for each course. You will upload these items to the documents section of your NursingCAS account. Upon receipt of your completed application and verified transcripts from NursingCAS, we will confirm your completed and outstanding prerequisites.

Q: When should I have my prerequisites evaluated?

A: We recommend you submit the appropriate documents at least 3-6 months prior to the deadline to ensure your prerequisite coursework is approved. This will allow time for you to complete any outstanding prerequisites prior to the deadline.

Q: Do my prerequisites have to be completed within the last five years?

A: No, there is no recency requirement; however, you may want to take a refresher course or audit a class if you believe you need to strengthen your knowledge in a particular subject.

Q: Do I have to complete prerequisites prior to starting the EL MSN program?

A: All prerequisite coursework must be completed by the end of the fall semester. Final transcripts must be received by the first week of January.

Q: Is there a certain grade requirement for the prerequisite courses?

A: Yes, you must receive a grade of "C" or better or the course must be repeated.

Entrance Exam

Q: Which entrance exam is required?

A: We require that all students applying to the EL MSN program take an entrance exam. Summer 2015 and all future applicants will take the RN Pre-Entrance Exam (PAX) Third Edition administered by the National League for Nursing (NLN). Both exams measure your verbal, mathematics and science aptitude.

Q: What is the minimum entrance exam score I need to be eligible to apply to the School of Nursing?

A: We do not require a minimum score in order to apply to the EL MSN program. Your score is compared to other applicants and it is important to be prepared and score as high as possible as this is a competitive program.

Q: When is the entrance exam offered?

A: The entrance exam is offered for EL MSN applicants in July and August and again in October and November. Applicants may take the exam at an official test site and send the official score report to CBU.

The test dates for the summer 2015 program (July/Aug 2014 & Nov. 2014) will posted in June 2014 and registration will be online only.

Q: Who is eligible to take the entrance exam at CBU?

A: You may take the entrance exam at CBU if you have an application packet on file.

Space is limited for each testing date so it is recommended that you sign up early to secure your desired date. Once a test date is filled no other registration will be accepted for that date.

Q: Is there a cost for the entrance exam?

A: The exam costs $45 and you must pay at the time of online registration.

Q: How can I prepare for the PAX exam?

A: You can purchase a study guide online. We are currently using the third edition.

Q: How many times may I take the PAX exam?

A: You may take the exam once every six months.

Q: How long does it take to complete the exam?

A: The test takes approximately 3 hours to complete.

Q: When do I take the entrance exam?

A: We recommend you take the exam after you complete all of the prerequisite courses or during your final semester of prerequisites.

Q: Does my entrance exam expire?

A: Scores are valid for one year from the date of the exam.


Q: What is the GRE?

A: The Graduate Record Examinations® (GRE®) General Test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking and analytical writing skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that are not related to any specific field of study.

Q: Is the GRE required?

A: The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is highly recommended for the EL MSN summer 2015 applicants and MSN applicants, but is not required.

Q: Is there a minimum score required for the GRE?

A: No, currently there is no minimum score required.

Q: Does the GRE expire?

A: Yes. Current GRE board policy states that scores are reportable for five years.

Q: Where do I take the GRE?

A: For the most up-to-date list of computer-based testing centers, check the online registration system on the GRE website at


Q: What is financial aid?

A: Financial aid is any funding a student receives through grants, scholarships, work-study and loans to assist in paying for college tuition and costs.

Q: Am I eligible for financial aid as a pre-nursing graduate student?

A: Yes, acceptance as a pre-nursing student makes you eligible for graduate financial aid. Visit for more information.

Q: How do I apply for financial aid?

A: You must submit a FAFSA (Free Application for federal Student Aid) online to the Department of Education for the appropriate academic year.

Q: What if I need assistance completing the FAFSA?

A: For guidelines and tips on completing the FAFSA, please visit

Q: What is your school code for FAFSA?

A: Our school code is 001125

Q: Can I receive state grants as a graduate student?

A: Most graduate students are not eligible for state grants. In some cases students may qualify if they are already receiving Cal Grants as an undergraduate student.

Q: Do you offer scholarships to graduate students?

A: Scholarships are not offered through CBU; however you can research scholarship options for graduate nursing students. You may also speak with a financial aid counselor for other options.

Q: How many units do I have to take to get financial aid?

A: Federal loans are offered to graduate students who are enrolled in a minimum of five (5) units (part time status); enrollment in nine (9) units is considered full-time. Your financial aid award amount is in part based on the number of units you are enrolled in.

Q: Can I speak with someone in the Financial Aid Office?

A: Once you apply to the program, file your FAFSA and check the CBU financial aid website for tips, you can contact the Financial Aid Office for further assistance.

Q: When will I know how much financial aid I can receive?
A: You will receive an offer of financial aid once you register for classes and CBU receives an electronic copy of your FAFSA.

Q: Are student loans income or credit based?

A: No, your award amount is based on need as determined by the results of your FAFSA. Other loans (i.e. the grad plus loan) may have different award criteria.


Q: My bachelor's degree is from a foreign university. Do I have to get it evaluated?

A: Yes. Prior to submitting an application to the School of Nursing, applicants must have all foreign transcripts evaluated by a Credential Evaluation Service to confirm their academic equivalency to educational standards of accredited colleges and universities in the United States. Please submit a copy of the evaluation report with your nursing application.

Q: Which international credential evaluation service do you recommend?

A: International Education Research Foundation, Inc (IERF)
P.O. Box 3665, Culver City, CA 90231-3655
Office: 310- 258-9451; Fax: 310-342-7086

Q: I am a registered nurse with a degree from another country. Can I take a class at CBU to fulfill the requirements for RN licensure in California?

A: Currently CBU only allows nursing students who are accepted into the program to take classes. We do not offer any stand-alone courses to individuals who are not accepted into the program.

Q: Where can I find more information about applying to CBU as an international student?

A: Please visit our website at

Q: When should I complete my health clearances?

A: Upon acceptance to the program, instructions will be given with details about health clearances, background check and drug screening.

Q: Can I reapply if I am not admitted this year?

A: Yes. You may re-apply via NursingCAS.

Q: Which clinical affiliations do you work with? (partial list)

A: To ensure students receive a variety of clinical experiences, rotations will take place at various hospitals and healthcare facilities as assigned. Currently we have clinical partnerships in five counties: Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, San Diego and Los Angeles. Some of the partnerships include Corona Regional Medical Center (CRMC); Kaiser Permanente - Fontana, Riverside, Lakeview, Moreno Valley; Loma Linda Veterans Administration (LLVA); Parkview Community Hospital; Patton State Hospital; Riverside Community Hospital (RCH); Riverside County Mental Health In-patient Services; Riverside County Public Health Department; Riverside County Regional Medical Center (RCRMC); San Bernardino County Public Health Department; Arrowhead Regional Medical Center; Ballard Rehab Hospital; Desert Valley Hospital; Eisenhower Medical Center; Menifee Valley Medical Center; Redlands Community Hospital; Saint Mary’s Medical Center; San Antonio Hospital; Riverside Medical Clinic; and San Bernardino Community Hospital.