RN to BSN Program

Samuel Merritt University
Posted on


Bachelor's programs

RN to BSN Program

At Samuel Merritt University, you can earn your BSN in less than two years while continuing to work in the field.

Campus Location

Advance Your Nursing Career

Nurses with bachelor’s degrees often have higher earning potential than their counterparts with an associate degree. As demand for nurse leaders continues to rise, a BSN could make you more desirable for supervisory roles and other increased responsibilities. 

SMU’s RN to BSN program was created with working nurses in mind. Our 20-month program allows you to earn your degree part-time, while also maintaining your career. As a current nurse, you already have a solid foundation, and you’ll be able to use your previous academic and professional experience as you continue your education. 

In our BSN program, you’ll deepen your knowledge of evidence-based care, broaden your understanding of public health issues, build your teamwork and communication skills, and strengthen your self-care practices. Learning alongside other nurses at SMU, you’ll also get to expand your professional network. 

Another benefit of earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing is that it sets you up for continued career growth. With a BSN, you’re within reach of a master’s of science in nursing degree, which could open doors to advanced practice nursing.   

  • An associate degree in nursing

  • 70 transferable semester credits—all credits counting toward the associate degree in nursing are transferable

  • Minimum recommended GPA of 2.5 (4-point scale)

  • An unencumbered California RN license

  • Employment as a registered nurse

  • Two letters of recommendation (one from your chief nursing executive, another from your manager) attesting to your readiness to enroll in an RN-BSN program.

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.

Samuel Merritt University, through a partnership with Kaiser Permanente, is pleased to be able to offer scholarships to assist nurses in covering the costs of the RN to BSN program. Scholarships are available first-come, first-served. Nurses who are currently working for Kaiser Permanente, public hospitals and clinics, federally qualified health centers, and public health departments will be awarded a scholarship that covers 80% of the tuition. Student Body, health insurance, books, transportation, and other fees are not included. Scholarships are renewable each term based upon satisfactory academic performance and continued progress towards the degree.

Scholarships are not available to nurses who are employed outside of Kaiser Permanente or do not work at a safety net hospital. 

Types of Aid

Scholarships and Grants These are “gift aid” and do not need to be repaid. These can come from the government, private groups and directly from Samuel Merritt University.

Scholarships:  A limited number of scholarships are available for students accepted into the RN to BSN program. Scholarships will be awarded based on the content of the student’s application to Samuel Merritt University. All students are considered for this scholarship. 

Federal Grants:  Up to $5,775 in Pell Grant and up to $1000 in Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG). These are need-based awards, and will not be repaid. 

Students in the RN to BSN program are also eligible for federal student loans.

GENED 431  Applied Research & Statistics I  1 NURSG 460  Quality, Safety & Leadership I  2 GENED 440  Health Policy I  1Total Trimester One:  6 Units

Trimester TWO NURSG 470/ 470L  Community/ Public Health Nursing I (with Clinical Lab)  2 GENED 456  Genetics & Genomics  2 GENED 442  Health Policy II  1Total Trimester Two:  6 Units

Trimester THREE NURSG 472/ 472L  Community/ Public Health Nursing II (with Clinical Lab)  2 NURSG 450  Nursing Science I  1 NURSG 464  Quality, Safety & Leadership II  2Total Trimester Three:  6 Units

Trimester FOUR NURSG  452  Nursing Science II  2 NURSG 466  Quality, Safety & Leadership III  2Total Trimester Four:  6 Units

Trimester FIVE GENED 490  Humanities in Health & Illness  2 NURSG 468  Quality, Safety & Leadership IV  2Total Trimester Five:  6 Units

Program length and class structure

  • 20 months, a little less than half-time study with 6 credits each semester; 15-week semesters
  • Face-to-face classes are four hours each week plus one Saturday each semester
  • Labs are about 3 hours per week in semesters 2 & 3

Through a partnership with Kaiser Permanente, we are pleased to offer a scholarship covering 80% of the tuition to nurses currently working for Kaiser Permanente public hospitals and clinics, federally qualified health centers, and public health departments.

Scholarships are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Scholarships are renewable each term based upon satisfactory academic performance and continued progress towards the degree.

Graduation Rate*

The RN to BSN program at Samuel Merritt University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001.  Direct contact information for CCNE staff is accessed via the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Staff Directory.

Baccalaureate Accreditation

Most Recent Accreditation Date: October 11, 2010 Accreditation Term Expires: June 30, 2021 Last On-Site Evaluation: October 2010 Next On-Site Evaluation: Fall 2020

RN to BSN Program Technical Standards

The mission of Samuel Merritt University is to produce highly skilled and compassionate nursing professionals. Students are expected to develop a robust healthcare knowledge base and requisite clinical skills, with the ability to appropriately apply knowledge and skills, effectively interpret information, and contribute to patient-centered decisions across a broad spectrum of clinical situations in all settings. The following technical standards, in conjunction with the academic standards, are requirements for admission, promotion, and graduation. The term “candidate” refers to candidates for admission to any of the prelicensure nursing programs well as current students who are candidates for retention, progression, or graduation.

These requirements may be achieved with or without reasonable accommodations, the cost of which will be borne by the institution. These standards should not serve as a deterrent to any candidate with disabilities who desires to pursue baccalaureate level education. Candidates with disabilities bring unique perspectives which contribute to the diversity of the student population and will create a diverse health care workforce of culturally competent practitioners who can meet the needs of their patients. Candidates with disabilities are encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Center immediately to begin a confidential conversation about possible accommodations necessary to meet these standards. Fulfillment of the technical standards for graduation from any prelicensure nursing program does not guarantee that a graduate will be able to fulfill the technical requirements of any specific clinical position.

Observational Skills

A candidate must acquire information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in foundational sciences. In addition, a candidate must be able to evaluate a patient accurately and assess relevant health, behavioral and medical information.  Candidates must be able to obtain and interpret information through comprehensive bio-psycho-social assessment of patients, correctly interpret diagnostic representations of patient data, and accurately evaluate patient conditions and responses in all clinical settings. 

Communication Skills

Candidates must exhibit interpersonal skills to enable effective care and collaboration for patients, including the ability to communicate effectively in English with all members of a multidisciplinary health care team, patients, their families, faculty, and staff.  Candidates must be able to clearly and accurately communicate verbal and written information and accurately interpret verbal and non-verbal communication in a timely manner.

Patient Care Skills 

Candidates must be able to perform health assessment and physical examination skills.  A candidate should be able to perform or direct basic laboratory tests (e.g., urinalysis), diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (e.g., venipuncture, placement of urinary catheters, electrocardiogram), and interpret findings.  A candidate must be able to provide or direct general and emergency treatment for patients, and respond to emergency situations in a timely manner (e.g., cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medications, application of pressure to arrest bleeding).  Candidates must meet applicable safety standards for the environment and follow universal precaution procedures.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Cognitive Skills

Candidates must be able to learn through a variety of modalities, including but not limited to: lecture; group or team and collaborative activities; simulation; individual study; preparation and and use of computer technology.  A candidate must effectively interpret, assimilate and understand the complex information required to function within the prelicensure nursing program’s curriculum. The candidate must be able to synthesize information both in person and technology; interpret causal connections and make accurate, fact-based conclusions based on available data and information; formulate a plan of care, investigate the potential answers and outcomes; and reach appropriate and accurate practice decisions. A candidate must be able to find sources of knowledge and possess the ability to be a life-long learner.

Behavioral Attributes, Social Skills and Professional Expectations

A candidate must be able to exercise good judgment, promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the care of patients, and develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients, faculty, and fellow students in the learning community. The skills required to do so include the ability to effectively handle and manage heavy workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice and academia.  Candidates are expected to exhibit professionalism, personal accountability, compassion, integrity, concern for others, and interpersonal skills including the ability to accept and apply feedback and to respect boundaries and care for all individuals in a respectful and effective manner regardless of gender identity, age, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or any other protected status. Candidates should understand, and function within, the legal and ethical aspects of the nursing practice, including patient advocacy, and maintain and display ethical and moral behaviors commensurate with the role of a registered nurse and a Samuel Merritt University student in all interactions with patients, faculty, staff, students and the public. Interest and motivation throughout the educational process are expected of all candidates.


One Day Per Week & One Saturday Per Semester

Classes are offered in a hybrid format, both face-to-face and online to accommodate your schedule.


Higher Earning Potential

Our Campuses

Samuel Merritt University offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and nursing certificate programs at three campuses in Northern California and online.

Sacramento, California 95833

San Mateo, California 94402

More Information

Posted on


Bachelor's programs


Oakland , United States