Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Online Program

Earn Your MSN FNP Online

for RN s with a Bachelor s Degree


Earn Your Degree Online

from a university that’s been training superior nurses and health professionals for over 100 years

Personalized instruction from clinically experienced, academically distinguished faculty.

Advanced interactive online learning experiences.

A curriculum that challenges you to extend your capabilities as an evidence-based nurse practitioner.

A focus on meeting the healthcare needs of underserved and multicultural populations and recruiting nurses from diverse backgrounds.

Comprehensive clinical, practical, and professional preparation for new responsibilities as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Our online Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner degree program, with clinical training in your community, offers you the rigorous, patient-oriented curriculum we teach on campus in a convenient format that fits your life. Samuel Merritt University MSN-FNP students in the online program are required to attend two on-campus intensives at the Sacramento campus.

  • Access from wherever you are
  • Interactive learning experiences
  • A national network of colleagues
  • Personalized Instruction
  • More control over your schedule
  • Full-time or part-time learning options


increase in FNP openings between 2021 and 2031!


in Best Healthcare Jobs as Ranked by the “US News & World Report”.


Admission to online MSN FNP program is competitive. Applicants are considered for admission based upon the following criteria:

  • Must be an unencumbered RN (registered nurse) with a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) in an SMU approved state. 

  • RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing may still apply and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

  • A minimum of a 3.0 GPA in BSN and/or Bachelor coursework is recommended, but not required.  A GPA less than 3.0 will require a letter of explanation.  

  • Prior RN experience is preferred, but not required.   

  • Proficiency in English (both spoken and written) is mandatory for success in the program.

  • If you are an international student, you may be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination. You must achieve a minimum score of 100 on the internet-based TOEFL. 

Samuel Merritt University Alumni students are invited to apply using the Alumni Application Academic Year 2023-2024. If you have questions regarding this application contact Rudy Torres, Assistant Dean of Admissions,


If you don’t have an active SMU Email Account, please complete the PDF form with attachments and send directly to


You can apply to SMU through the Central Application Service for Nursing Schools (NursingCAS). With your application you will also need to submit:

  • Official transcripts from other educational institutions

  • Two letters of reference

Application Deadlines
We offer three start dates per year for the online MSN FNP. Application deadlines for each term are as follows:

  • Summer term – Apply by March 1
  • Fall term – July 1
  • Spring term – November 1

Where You Can Study With Us
Our online program is approved for nurses licensed and residing in:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Texas*
  • Virginia

*Samuel Merritt University (SMU) is not regulated in Texas under Chapter 178 of the Texas Education Code; the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) approves and regulates SMU’s programs in California where the University is physically located and where it has legal authorization to operate; SMU’s student grievance policy, process, and procedures can be found on page 146 of the Student Handbook.

Due to clinical and state compliance requirements, authorization for offering this online program is being sought on a state by state basis. If the state you reside in is not on the previous list, it means authorization is not yet in place. Check back periodically for state approvals.

Application Fees Application fees are payable to Nursing’s Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS). Samuel Merritt University does not charge an additional admission fee. Non-Refundable Deposits and Fees Students offered admission pay a non-refundable tuition deposit of $350 to secure their seat in the class. Application fees and tuition deposits are non-refundable, whether or not the student withdraws in the first week of the term. Tuition Calculator There is a tuition calculator that provides a detailed summary of annual tuition, all fees for the program, and a cost estimator for the entire program.


Your nursing education at Samuel Merritt University is an important and valuable investment in your future.  Not only will you have the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career in health care, but Samuel Merritt University graduates have a loan default rate of less than one percent.  This means that students who borrowed to attend Samuel Merritt University have found employment in their chosen field that allows them to pay off their loans. 

Samuel Merritt University is proud to offer a variety of ways to assist in funding your education including scholarships and student loans. The first step in applying for financial aid at SMU is to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

SMU offers scholarships and an assortment of resources for funding opportunities outside of the program. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need. A limited number are awarded for academic merit. Scholarships for Nurses include:

  • Sharon Clark Diaz
  • Employee Campaign
  • Marshall Steele, Jr.
  • Hitchcock Heydman
  • Henry & Bernice Bigge
  • Faculty Scholarship
  • Alumni Scholarship
  • Elks of the Year
  • William Breslin
Take Advantage of our Advance Your Practice $10,000 Scholarship

Enroll in MSN-FNP program and receive a $10,000 scholarship. This scholarship was created to help support nurses that are interested in advancing their practice and careers. The Advance Your Practice Scholarship is available to full-time students in the Online MSN-FNP and is awarded evenly across each term.

In addition to the cost of tuition, books and fees, financial aid can also cover other indirect educational costs, so the total cost of attendance includes:

  • Books and Supplies
  • Room and Board
  • Personal Expenses
  • Other fees as determined by program/college

Once you receive your financial aid package, check this budget against your actual living expenses and we can make necessary adjustments to meet your needs.

Detailed information about financial aid, budgeting, total cost and application processes are available on the webpage.

We realize that the financial aid process can be difficult and overwhelming.  We are here to help.  Financial Aid staff can assist with budgeting, understanding your awards and understanding the process.  The SMU staff is committed to each and every prospective student and enrolled student.  We have an open door policy and are available via phone or email. or 510-879-9200

Curriculum, Courses, and Clinicals

The MSN FNP with online coursework and clinicals in your community consists of 49 units, available in a full-time (20 months) and part-time (24 months) formats.

The program combines interdisciplinary core courses, specialty courses, and hands-on experience. Course content aligns with the highest national standards, including those established by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Clinical Experience

In addition to online coursework, you will complete three semesters of precepted clinical practicum hours. You are also required to attend two on-campus intensives at the Sacramento campus.

You will work with our clinical coordinator to secure appropriate practicum and internship sites in your community. You’ll also have access to our network of qualified clinical preceptors (MDs, DOs, NPs, PAs, Midwives).


Graduation and Employment Rates

Please refer to the university’s Student Success Measures webpage for graduation rates, employment rates, and additional success indicators.