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The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing



Master of Science — Nurse Practitioner Track Degree Program

The Master of Science — Nurse Practitioner Degree Program prepares graduates to deliver care as nurse practitioners. In alignment with the school's vision to advance health, a primary goal of the nurse practitioner program is to improve the availability of culturally relevant primary care to underserved populations and educate clinicians to deliver care as a member of a health care team.

Preparing primary-care providers

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who are prepared, through advanced education and clinical training, to provide a wide range of preventive and acute health care services to individuals of all ages. They complete health histories and provide physical examinations, diagnose and treat many common acute and chronic problems, interpret laboratory results and X-rays, prescribe and manage medications and other therapies, provide health teaching and supportive counseling with an emphasis on prevention of illness and health maintenance, and refer patients to other health professionals as needed.

Sara Marchessault, R.N., Nurse Practitioner Student, Class of 2015

Programs at the School of Nursing both prepare advanced practice nurses with the knowledge and skills needed to serve in those capacities and meet the needs of a constantly changing health care system. Rooted in a growing body of research and nurtured by visionary faculty who seek to transform health care, the curricula embrace integrative case-based learning, technology and systems-wide perspectives. Instruction is also designed to be “more inspiring…and create an atmosphere of a community of learners,” as identified in a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

As a result of health care reforms and an increasingly aging population with advanced chronic illnesses, millions more people require primary-care services, exceeding the number of providers currently available. The nurse practitioner program at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing provides a partial solution to this growing problem by educating and preparing primary-care providers versed in preventive measures, who advance health through health promotion and disease prevention, practice in ambulatory and community-based settings and enhance the existing workforce. A key to that preparation is learning in a collaborative environment, rather than in the absence of other health professions.

In the 2010 landmark report, “The Future of Nursing,” researchers with the Institute of Medicine determined “nursing education needs to be transformed in a number of ways to prepare nursing graduates to work collaboratively and effectively with other health professionals in a complex and evolving health care system in a variety of settings.” Leaders of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation expand upon that premise recognizing health educators and professionals must break out of their silos and “work in tandem with others to transform what it means to be a healthy nation.” Furthermore, a “Culture of Health” looks at health from a bird’s-eye view, recognizing the bigger picture of health care, but also taking into effect how health extends to family and community life.

The nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs at the School of Nursing are the only ones in the country where students in these different disciplines learn alongside each other. Together, they discover how to interpret different perspectives, collaborate and lead as members of health care teams. The experience fosters awareness and appreciation of other cultures, promotes qualities that transcend the classroom and shapes how students provide care once in practice. With a focus on primary-care serving rural, diverse and aging populations, the UC Davis programs enable students to experience serving underserved populations during clinical rotations and prepare clinicians to fill the gap of providers that continues to grow.

Growing a community of learners

Like the school’s other four graduate-degree programs, the Master of Science — Nurse Practitioner program is led by the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group, an interprofessional team of more than 50 faculty from disciplines including nursing, medicine, health informatics, nutrition, biostatistics, pharmacy, sociology and public health.

While the nurse practitioner program is full-time, the schedule allows students to maintain employment while they pursue their education. This professional degree program includes academic courses, clinical skills courses and supervised clinical practice. Academic courses provide a broad education that includes advanced skills in understanding complex problems and generating solutions, how health systems and health care work, how to improve quality, as well as how to lead teams and manage business aspects of care, including informatics and reimbursement. Together, students in the nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs benefit from an enriched primary-care curriculum, in-depth pharmacology curriculum and interprofessional preparation.

Graduates are prepared to work as leaders of health care teams and learn methods to continually critique and improve care, provide care that is evidence-based, and establish systems of care to address population health issues. All students must complete core academic courses and a scholarly project as well as 720 hours of supervised clinical practice.

The nurse practitioner program is a 24-month, year-round program. Core courses are offered summer, fall, winter and spring quarters. A mandatory Leadership Immersion Experience serves as an orientation for students. This full-time, three-day experience runs the week prior to the first summer quarter. Throughout their time together, students interact with School of Nursing leadership, participate in team building and develop one-on-one faculty relationships. The week serves as the foundation for the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate program curriculum.

How to apply

Applications for the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Master of Science — Nurse Practitioner program for enrollment in summer 2016 are now closed. Applications are expected to open around about April 2016 for summer 2017 enrollment. 

Students applying for the Nurse Practitioner program must complete a Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application and meet selection criteria for an invitation to apply through the UC Davis Graduate Studies. Nurse practitioner applicants apply through CASPA; however, this is not considered an application to the physician assistant program. CASPA is a mechanism used to collect applications within the same cycle as the physician assistant applicants. Applicants specify which program they are interested in as part of the CASPA application. Click here to learn how to apply.

Click  here to link to the CASPA site with additional application information. The FAQ page below provides essential information needed to complete the application process. Follow the detailed instructions and note the helpful tips.

Admission requirements

All admission requirements must be completed and submitted to CASPA by the application deadline of July 15.

  • Current registered nurse (R.N.) licensure
  • A bachelor’s degree
  • A minimum bachelor's-degree G.P.A. of 3.0
  • A minimum 2.7 G.P.A. in all science prerequisite coursework is required
  • Statement of purpose, personal history and research professional history
  • The application process may require an interview
  • The G.R.E. is not required
  • TOEFL (international applicants only)
  • Three letters of recommendation; refer to CASPA website for more information
  • Official transcripts from each institution attended (submitted on-line through CASPA website)

Admission is competitive. Students applying for the M.S. — Nurse Practitioner Track must complete a Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application and meet selection criteria. Following that process, a select pool of qualified applicants will receive an invitation to apply for UC Davis graduate admissions. All invited applicants must meet UC Davis graduate admissions requirements.  Click here for more on the application process.

Nurse practitioner prerequisites

All prerequisites are required at the college level from an accredited school and must be included on the submitted transcript as part of the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application process. Each prerequisite is expected to be one full course, either a quarter or a semester, and a minimum of three units, depending on the location where it was completed. Completion of prerequisite course work online is acceptable; however, prerequisite course work with a lab component must be completed at an accredited academic institution. No online lab work is acceptable. Advanced Placement Scores awarded in high school do NOT fulfill prerequisites. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of C or better:

  • One course in human anatomy with lab
  • One course in human physiology with lab
  • Or human anatomy and physiology series: Part I and Part II with lab
    (NOTE: Nurse practitioner or physician assistant programs applicants may complete a combined human anatomy and human physiology series course. Series courses are offered in two parts and are completed over the course of two quarters or two semesters. Series courses must be completed in full, and must include an in-person lab component. If applicant only completes one part of the series course, he or she must additionally complete a course in either human anatomy or human physiology to fulfill the requirement. Mammalian or animal anatomy will not fulfill this requirement.)
  • One course in general chemistry with lab
    (NOTE: Seminar courses will not fulfill this requirement.)
  • One course in microbiology or bacteriology with lab
  • One course in algebra, calculus or statistics (basic or advanced)
  • One course in English composition
  • Two courses in social sciences. Ideal courses provide exposure to human or organizational behavior — such as psychology, sociology, ethnic studies, women’s studies or cultural anthropology.
    (NOTE: Social science courses may be completed in two different subject areas or within the same subject area.)

* It is desired that the human anatomy and human physiology prerequisite courses be completed within the past five years of when you plan to apply. Competitive applicants should self-assess their strengths. If it has been a number of years since courses were completed, applicants may want to consider retaking them.

Visit the FAQ page for additional details about the Nurse Practitioner program requirements and prerequisites. 

To view sample prerequisites, click here

Degree program requirements

  • Full-time enrollment (at least 12 units per quarter) is required
  • Required courses for the master’s-degree program include a combination of core courses and electives.
  • A master’s thesis is required
  • Nurse practitioner track students are expected to complete the program in 24 months

Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Studies Dual-Track Program option

Nurse practitioner students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing can simultaneously prepare for both the nurse practitioner and physician assistant professions through the unique Master of Science– Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Dual-Track Program. This dual-track program is the only one in the nation where nurses are prepared to work as both nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Click here to learn more.

Additional links

Contact us

Still have questions? The fastest way to get answers about School of Nursing programs, admission requirements and the application process is to direct all questions to HS-BettyIreneMooreSON@ucdavis.edu.