Entry-Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELM)

APU’s Entry-Level Master’s in Nursing (ELM) program is designed for students who hold baccalaureate or higher degrees in other disciplines but want to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing.

The Entry-Level Master of Science in Nursing is an accelerated graduate nursing program designed for students who desire to enter the nursing profession and hold a baccalaureate or higher degree in other disciplines. During their first four semesters, admitted students complete all prelicensure courses (theoretical and clinical) in an accelerated format, as well as selected graduate nursing courses, followed by a clinical residency, in preparation for the RN licensure examination. Students then continue with courses and preparation leading to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

This program meets the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) requirements for licensure and is available at the Azusa campus and at APU’s regional locations in Monrovia, San Diego, and the Inland Empire (San Bernardino).

Mission Statement

The ELM program prepares nurses to enter professional nursing and, subsequently, advanced practice roles. Students are prepared to take the NCLEX for RN licensure, to apply for a California PHN certificate, and to be eligible to apply for state certification, and may also apply for national certification by examination in advanced practice specialties upon successful completion of the required postlicensure courses.

Additional Requirements

At the beginning of clinical coursework, graduate students are required to provide documentation concerning certifications, results of background checks, screening tests, and immunizations. Refer to the Student Handbook and specific program manuals or course syllabi for details.

Program Requirements

The four-semester clinical residency prelicensure portion of this program is offered in an intensive cohort model format and must be taken in full-time study. Courses are offered in a fixed schedule with required clinical experiences that may be scheduled Monday through Saturday. This program meets California BRN requirements for registered nurse licensure.

Semester 1
GNRS 500Conceptual Foundations of Professional Nursing3
GNRS 555Medical Surgical Care of the Adult and Geriatric Patient 17 (3/4)
GNRS 578Health Assessment3 (2/1)
GNRS 582APathophysiology2
Semester 2
GNRS 556Intermediate Medical Surgical Care of the Adult7 (3/4)
GNRS 564Nutrition and Therapeutics2
GNRS 576Pharmacology2
GNRS 582BPathophysiology2
GNRS 584Mental Health Nursing4 (2/2)
Semester 3
GNRS 504Bioethics and Health Care Policy3
GNRS 505Christian Formation for Holistic Care3
GNRS 507Scientific Writing3
GNRS 575Nursing Care in Maternal, Newborn, and Women's Health4 (2/2)
GNRS 583Nursing Care of Children and Young Adults4 (2/2)
Semester 4
GNRS 508AResearch and Theory in Advanced Practice Nursing4
GNRS 586Leadership and Management in Professional Practice2
GNRS 587Community Health Nursing5 (2/3)
GNRS 588Advanced Nursing Care of Adults - Leadership6 (3/3)
Clinical Residency/Internship 2
GNRS 573Clinical Residency4
Total Units70

NOTE: Before taking advanced practice clinical courses for completion of the MSN degree, the student must achieve the passing score required by the California BRN on the NCLEX exam.


In addition to coursework and clinical practicums, postlicensure students are expected to have outside clinical work experience. To ensure that credit will be given, students should request approval prior to taking coursework at outside institutions. A maximum of 6 units may be transferred in with prior approval.

Students must take 7 units of electives during this component of the program. Students’ programs are planned individually according to course sequencing for their clinical specialty. As an alternative to full-time study, students may elect to complete master’s degree requirements in a part-time format while taking courses each semester.

Students may elect to write a thesis or take a comprehensive exam to complete the degree. Any student who elects to write a thesis must take GNRS 514.


University graduate admission and program-specific requirements must be met before an application is complete (see Admission to the University). Program-specific application requirements are available online.

International students should contact Graduate and Professional Admissions for application procedures.