Entry-Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELM)

The Entry-Level Master's 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. Students are admitted into the graduate program in the School of Nursing and complete all prelicensure courses, both theoretical and clinical, in an accelerated format. For the first four semesters, students take all prelicensure theory and clinical courses and selected graduate nursing courses, followed by a clinical residency, in preparation for the RN licensure examination. Students then continue with courses and preparation in advanced practice leading to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a clinical or nursing education or nursing administration specialty.

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 apply for national certification by examination in advanced practice specialties upon successful completion of the required post-licensure classes.

Admission Requirements

University graduate admission and program-specific requirements must be met before an application is complete. (See Admission to the University.)

View additional program-specific application requirements.

International students have a separate application procedure. Contact the International Center at +1-626-812-3055 or visit apu.edu/international/.

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. Please refer to the Student Handbook and specific program manuals or course syllabi for details.

Program Requirements

The four-semester and 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 Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) requirements for registered nurse licensure.

Semester 1
GNRS 500Conceptual Foundations of Professional Nursing3
GNRS 555Medical Surgical Care of the Adult and Geriatric Patient7
GNRS 578Health Assessment3
GNRS 582APathophysiology2
Semester 2
GNRS 556Intermediate Medical Surgical Care of the Adult7
GNRS 564Nutrition and Therapeutics2
GNRS 576Pharmacology2
GNRS 582BPathophysiology2
GNRS 584Mental Health Nursing4
Semester 3
GNRS 504Bioethics and Health Policy3
GNRS 505Christian Formation for Holistic Care3
GNRS 507Scientific Writing3
GNRS 575Nursing Care in Maternal, Newborn, and Women's Health4
GNRS 583Nursing Care of Children and Young Adults4
Semester 4
GNRS 508AResearch and Theory in Advanced Practice Nursing4
GNRS 586Leadership and Management in Professional Practice2
GNRS 587Community Health Nursing5
GNRS 588Advanced Nursing Care of Adults - Leadership6
Clinical Residency/Internship 1
GNRS 573Clinical Residency4
Total Units70

This intensive period of clinical education and continuing preparation for practice takes place in a health care agency under the direct supervision of a clinical preceptor and supported by clinical faculty in the graduate program. Upon completion of this seven-week internship, students will have completed 252 hours in an acute-care setting. This usually consists of three 12-hour shifts per week for seven weeks. At the same time, students review prelicensure subject matter in preparation for NCLEX examination (RN licensing exam). Successful completion of the clinical residency is required to complete the prelicensure portion of the program. The BSN is awarded at completion of the prelicensure portion of program.

NOTE: Before taking advanced practice clinical courses for completion of the MSN degree, the student must successfully complete the clinical residency and achieve the passing score required by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) on the NCLEX exam.


In addition to coursework and clinical practicums, postlicensure students are expected to have outside clinical work experience. Students should request approval prior to taking coursework at outside institutions to ensure credit will be given. 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.
  • Elect 9-15 units of additional courses to earn a secondary specialty in nursing education or nursing administration.

Any student who elects to write a thesis must take GNRS 514.