Frequently Asked Questions


What are the admission requirements?

To see the minimum requirements for our online degree programs, please visit the admission requirements page.

How many start dates are there each year?

There are six start dates per calendar year. See the CSUSM Start Dates Calendar for more information.

Where do I send transcripts and test scores?

Electronic delivery is the preferred transcript delivery method. Verify with your school if an electronic transcript is available. Electronic transcripts can be provided through external or third party vendors (Credential Solutions, eTranscriptCA, National Student Clearinghouse, Parchment, etc.). When ordering your transcript, please choose California State University San Marcos as the intended recipient from the school name dropdown. If California State University San Marcos is not listed, please use as the recipient email address.

If you select to mail your transcript, please ensure the transcript is in an envelope sealed by your school and addressed to:

Office of Admissions & Student Outreach
California State University San Marcos
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road
San Marcos, CA 92096-0001
Are international students eligible to apply for this program?

Yes. Applicants must submit academic records from foreign institutions. The original foreign transcript must be on file (with certified English translation if not in English). Transcripts must also be evaluated, course-by-course, by an approved foreign transcript evaluation agency. Original foreign transcripts, with English translations, and the transcript evaluation must be submitted to CSUSM's Extended Learning.

Applicants must also provide documentation establishing English competence. English proficiency is typically proven through standardized test scores such as TOEFL or IELTS.

  • Applicants who have not attended a secondary-level (or beyond) education institution where English is the principal language of instruction must establish English proficiency via:
    • Minimum TOEFL Scores
    • Paper-based: 500
    • Computer-based: 173
    • Internet-based: 61
    • Minimum IELTS Score: 5.5
How do I know I have been accepted?

Once your file has been evaluated and approved by Admissions, you will receive an acceptance letter via email. You may also view your admission status via the student portal at:

Do you accept transfer credits into your program?

General course transfer credits will be accepted, without expiration, for College of Nursing degrees, as long as the courses meet the university's criteria. Nursing course transfer credits will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis; faculty approval is needed. Course syllabi and course description(s) are needed for the review process.

If I am currently enrolled in an on-campus program, can I transfer into the online program for the remaining classes?

Nursing course transfer credits will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis; faculty approval is needed. Course syllabi and course description(s) are needed for the review process.

Coursework & Grading

What is the format for online courses? Will there be case studies, discussion forums, etc.?

Format for online courses includes case studies, student-developed videos, discussion, library exercises with online journals, and community and leadership practice experiences.

Can I toggle in and out of my exams?

Once you begin, you cannot stop and start or navigate out of the exam.

Are textbooks required?

Once you are officially admitted, you can access your book list through MyCSUSM or Canvas. Books may be purchased online.

For more information, contact the bookstore at 760-750-4730 or

Can I email assignments directly to my RN academic coach?

No, the university requires a record of your course assignments. Submitting your assignments through the course documents your participation.

How many hours will it take me per week to complete my work?

Plan on allocating seven to nine hours per week for a three-semester hour course and 12-14 hours per week for a four-semester hour course.

This time will be spent reading, viewing lectures, participating in discussion boards and accessing information in the online library. This does not include the time needed to complete and submit assignments in the course.

How will tests be administered?

Tests will be administered online as part of the Canvas program and YouTube video presentations.

Who are the RN Academic Coaches, and what do they do?

Each Academic Coach is a highly qualified, experienced practitioner in their field of study who has earned a graduate or doctoral degree from an accredited university. These individuals possess a strong educational, instructional, and leadership background, bringing value to the overall student learning experience. They help students make learning connections, increase depth and complexity in the discussion forum, and encourage students as they progress through the program. Academic Coaches can grade assignments, manage discussion threads, handle announcements, and manage the day-to-day issues as directed by the faculty. This enables the faculty to focus on delivery of course curriculum. The exact qualifications and requirements of an Academic Coach are tailored to individual program and course needs.

How will clinicals work? Do they have to be completed in a hospital? Do I need to keep a log of my hours?

Each clinical course has clinical objective guidelines and information on sites appropriate to that course. Information about how to track your clinical hours will also be provided. If you have questions, please speak to an Enrollment Specialist.

Are books available in an electronic format?

Some textbooks may be available as Ebooks. Please see the book list for each course to check availability.

General Education Pre-Nursing Core Courses

Our program allows students to complete general education courses concurrently with lower-division nursing courses. These courses include the "Golden Four" courses mandated by the State of California, along with other courses needed for a well-rounded education. Courses may be taken in any order, but must be completed within one year of initial enrollment into CSUSM's online RN to BSN program. Not all General Education courses are offered by CSUSM.
  • GEO 102: Oral Communication**†
  • GEW 101: Principles of Written Communication**†
  • PHIL 110: Critical Thinking**†
  • MATH 200: Mathematical Statistics for Nursing**†
  • BIOL 175: Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BIOL 176: Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • BIOL 160: Microbiology for Health Sciences
  • CHEM 106: Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry

General Education Graduation Requirements

  • C1: Arts
  • C2: Humanities
  • C3: Arts and Humanities
  • D7: Interdisciplinary Social Science-ANTH 200
  • DH: US History - History 130 or 131
  • DC: DG - US Constitution and California Governments - PSCI 100
  • E: Lifelong Learning and Information Literacy
  • Language Other Than English Requirement (LOTER): Please visit to find ways to satisfy LOTER
How do I know which general education courses to take?

After your transcript(s) have been evaluated, an advisor will help you select the courses you need.

Is there a time limit on the general courses you accept when I enter the program?

There is no expiration on courses approved by faculty for transfer credits.

If the school of nursing I attended has closed, how do I get an official transcript?

An online search of the college's name may reveal it is operating under a new name or has merged with another school. In that case, all you have to do is contact the school under its new name. If the college was a public institution, information on obtaining a transcript can usually be found by contacting the department of education in the state where the school was located. In many cases, the department of education will be in possession of the documents you need. Information on private schools is available through the National Association of State Administrators and Supervisors of Private Schools (NASASPS). In addition to information on private schools, this association's website has information on many public schools as well. It can provide details on how to contact the organization that can provide access to the needed transcript. For schools outside the U.S., you will need to contact the governing body of education within the country where the school was located.

Do I have to take General Education courses or the Golden Four?

Yes, all General Education and Graduation Requirements courses must be taken in order to receive the BSN.

If you don't offer the General Education courses, will the cost be less?

The total cost of our RN to BSN program is $11,495; this does not include general education courses. General Education Pre-Nursing Core courses are $295 per credit hour. Total cost for General Education courses will vary according to the number of credit hours. See our online tuition page for tuition and fees.

RN to BSN Nursing

How many nursing courses and credit hours are in the program?

16 courses (13 core Nursing courses, plus 3 upper-division General Education courses) and 39 credit hours.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The program can be completed in as few as 14 months.

Where can I see the course descriptions?

Please refer to the RN to BSN Online program page for course descriptions.

Are there clinical requirements for the RN to BSN degree?

Please see course listing for applicable practicum courses. For questions, speak with an Enrollment Specialist.

What grades are required to graduate from the program?

Students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate.

Can you take breaks between classes if needed? Is there an option to take a semester off if needing to enroll in other classes?

Consult the university to determine if you are allowed to take a break or leave of absence while enrolled in the program.

An "out-one term" is a regular semester (spring or fall) of any calendar year in which an undergraduate student does not enroll in any course or drops from all courses by the end of the add/drop period, and which immediately follows a semester in which the student was enrolled in at least one course beyond the add/drop period. A student maintains catalog rights during the out-one term. After exhausting the out-one allowance, if a student does not enroll and attend the subsequent term, the student must reapply for admission and may forfeit catalog rights, unless granted an Educational Leave of Absence. Absence due to an approved educational leave shall not be considered an interruption in attendance if the absence does not exceed two years.

An undergraduate student who has exhausted his or her "out-one term" in the prior semester and who needs to remain unenrolled for an additional semester may, under some circumstances and subject to certain restrictions, apply for an Educational Leave of Absence, which may be granted for the following documented reasons:

  1. Attendance at another accredited institution of higher learning
  2. The health condition of the student prohibits attendance
  3. Military duty/deployment

Requests for leave of absence must be documented and submitted to Extended Learning so your advisor can submit the form to Cougar Central prior to the first day of class for the semester requested.

Leave of Absence Form

To request the form, send an email to Once completed, the form must be submitted to Extended Learning; an academic advisor will deliver the completed Leave of Absence form to Cougar Central.

  • Maximum length of time allowed before being dropped from the program: two 16-week terms.
  • To request readmission to the program, students must reapply and meet admissions requirements.
What is the minimum/maximum amount of nursing courses that can be taken each semester?

One to two courses per eight-week session is typical. Schedules of fewer or more courses should be discussed with your advisor or program coordinator.

Do RN to BSN classes need to be taken in a specific order?

All students should take NURS 350 and NURS 351 courses in order as their first two courses. Lower-division nursing courses may be taken in any order; all Pre-Nursing Core Courses must be satisfied within the first year of starting the program and prior to taking upper-level nursing courses. Courses will be offered on a rotation schedule throughout the year. NURS 440 and NURS 445 are co-requisites and must be taken together.

Can you take a semester off if needing to enroll in other classes?

Consult the university to determine if you are allowed to take a temporary leave of absence while enrolled in the program.


How are payments submitted to the university?
  • Mail checks or money orders to:
    Attn: Cashiers
    333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road
    San Marcos, CA 92096-0001
  • Online – Pay via the student portal, MyCSUSM, in the student center.
Is financial aid available?

Yes, you may qualify for assistance based on your circumstances. To find out, contact an Enrollment Specialist or follow these steps:

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. The California State University San Marcos financial aid school code is 030113.
  2. Complete the admission process for your intended degree program.
  3. Complete checklist items in student center.
Are refunds given for courses?

A student must cancel registration or drop all courses prior to the first day of the session to receive a full refund and not owe any fees to the university. Students withdrawing or dropping courses after 11:59 p.m. on the 7th day of the session start date are not entitled to a refund of fees or tuition.

What does "Dropped for Non-Pay" mean?

It means you have been dropped from all of your courses as a result of non-payment. Please contact if you need to be registered for course(s). Please note, upon registration, payment is typically due within 24 hours of re-registration.

What are the consequences of missing the course enrollment/registration deadline?

You will not be enrolled or able to take courses. If late registration is desired, you may contact Bonnie Miller at:, but late registration is at the university's discretion.

Do I have access to CSUSM services and facilities as part of this online degree program?

No, students can opt into additional student fees if they would like to utilize additional campus services.

What is the enrollment deposit, and when is it due?

This is a fee that is due in order to register for courses. This fee is applied toward tuition. It is due once a student is accepted into the program and advised. CSUSM's enrollment deposit is $150.

When a student is admitted, does he receive a degree plan showing the General Education courses needed, prior to submitting the $150 enrollment deposit?

The student receives counseling from an advisor first so he can have an understanding of course requirements before the enrollment deposit is paid.


How can I get technology support?

For technical questions regarding Canvas, use the "Help" link inside of the LMS.

LMS 'Help' link

For questions regarding username and log-in, contact the CSUSM at 760-750-6505 or

I don't remember the exact dates I attended certain schools. Can I estimate?

No, you will need an official transcript from all schools attended.

Do I need to send the university a copy of my RN license?

You do not need to provide a copy of your RN license—just fill in the RN license number on your application.


When are degrees conferred?

Diplomas are mailed three months after the date all requirements for your degree have been met. Your diploma will include your name as it appears in your official academic record and will be mailed to the address listed in your Student Center. To ensure receipt of your diploma, verify your mailing address in the student portal, MyCSUSM.

*Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
**Designates a "Golden Four" course.
†International students must take these courses in the United States.

Request Information
*All fields required.
or call 844-221-5368