This page contains answers to questions most frequently asked by MSN-FNP applicants. If you cannot find the answer to your question here, contact us directly.


What is the Master of Science in Nursing program?
The MSN-FNP program is the online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. The Family Nurse Practitioner program prepares nurses to treat patients across the life span in primary care settings. The program is delivered online and is available to registered nurses across the country.

How is this program different from other online programs?
USC uniquely pairs nursing with social work to offer students a perspective on the role of social factors on patient health and how this knowledge might influence practice and health policy.

In USC’s MSN-FNP program, students attend live classes that are kept small to encourage collaboration and connection with peers and faculty. Students apply what they learn in class during in-person clinical placements. Clinical placement coordinators work with students to find placements in or near their own communities.

Is the program accredited?
Our master’s degree program in nursing is accredited by both the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).

Will my transcript or diploma indicate I was enrolled in an online program?
No. When you graduate, your diploma and transcript will show that you earned a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from the University of Southern California. You will receive the same diploma as students who attend USC on campus.

I’m an employer, who should I contact for graduate degree verification?
If you are an employer working to hire a graduate of the USC MS in Nursing program, please email Michelle Zappas, FNP Program Director, at She is available to fill out degree verification forms or confirm degree completion.

Earning Your Degree

How long will it take to complete the program?
The program can be completed in 21 to 33 months, depending on whether you attend as a full-time (5 semesters) or part-time (8 semesters) student.

How many credits is the program?
As a MSN-FNP student, you will complete 50 credit hours to earn your degree. If you are required to complete the bridge course before admission to the program, you will complete a total of 52 credit hours.

Are there full-time and part-time options for the program?
Yes. You can complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis. For more information, refer to the Course Schedules page.

Will I be required to visit the USC campus?
As a USC student, you may choose to visit the campus at any time. You will be required to travel to campus for the on-campus intensives (OCIs) with USC faculty. Learn more about the OCI requirement.

Can international students apply to the MSN-FNP program?
International students are welcome to apply, however, you must reside within the United States upon application and throughout the duration of the program.


What is the cost of attending the MSN-FNP program?
Refer to the Tuition & Financial Aid page for information about the cost of attendance.

How do I apply for financial aid?
You can find detailed information about applying for financial aid on the USC Financial Aid Office website.

Applying to the MS in Nursing program

What are the admissions requirements?
You must hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and have at least one year of clinical experience as a registered nurse to be eligible to apply to the MS in Nursing program. Applicants who are still earning a BSN will not be considered; you must graduate from your program before applying. For more information, visit the Admissions Requirements page.

I hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, but I work as an RN. Am I eligible to apply?
No. You must hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to apply for the MS in Nursing program.

What is the application fee?
The MSN application fee is $90.

Are Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores required for admission?
No, but if you believe submitting test scores will strengthen your application, contact your admissions counselor.

On-Campus Intensives (OCIs) and Clinical Placement

What are on-campus intensives, and how many OCIs am I required to attend?
On-campus intensives are academic on-site visits where students complete in-person assessments under the supervision of USC faculty. They provide the opportunity to practice and demonstrate your skills in real time. You are required to attend two OCIs. The first OCI (OCI 1) will take place when you are enrolled in NURS-502. The second OCI (OCI 2) will take place when you are enrolled in NURS-601. Visit our OCI page to learn more about the experience.

Can I choose my clinical placement?
No. Our team will match you with a qualified clinical placement. If you have a specific provider who has indicated that they are willing to host you, you can fill out a student referral form and our team will make every effort to secure the most appropriate placement for you. Student referrals need to be submitted at least 16 weeks in advance of the semester that they are to take place.

What types of facilities may be chosen for my placement?
You will complete your placement requirement in an ambulatory care setting or outpatient clinic.

How will I be notified about my assigned clinical placement site?
A dedicated placement specialist will contact you approximately six months before your placement begins. At that time, you can provide referrals and suggestions for your placement location, and once confirmed, a placement specialist will notify you directly.

Can I work full time while I complete my clinical placement?
While in school, your clinical requirement should be your first priority. Placement staff will take your class schedule into consideration in securing your clinical placement, but not your work schedule. It will be your responsibility to ensure that your work schedule does not conflict with your school schedule. Working full time brings additional challenges to you, the student.

Where can I find information about the clinical placement process?
For information about the clinical placement requirement, visit our Clinical Placement page.

How many hours of clinical placement are required in the MSN-FNP program?
680 hours. Students will complete clinical placements in four settings, working with (1) adult patients, (2) child-bearing and pediatric patients, (3) adults with complex conditions, and (4) an integrated family practice experience. Each placement rotation will be 14 weeks long, and will require 12 to 13 hours of placement time per week, with each weekly requirement completed in at least two separate stretches of placement. Note: the summer semester is 12 weeks.

In what semesters/terms of the program do clinical hours take place?

Placement NameTerm in Five-Term Track Term in Eight-Term Track
Adult PatientsWill take place when you are enrolled in NURS-502Will take place when you are enrolled in NURS-502
Childbearing & ChildrearingWill take place when you are enrolled in NURS-601Will take place when you are enrolled in NURS-601
Adult Patients With Complex Issues46
Family Primary Care58