Master of Science in Nursing online

The online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Department of Nursing, is an evidence-based program that prepares family nurse practitioners (FNPs) to provide comprehensive care to individuals and communities.

Designed for registered nurses (RNs) who hold a bachelor’s degree and have at least one year of clinical experience as an RN, the MSN program trains aspiring FNPs to address the physical, social and environmental factors that affect patient well-being. Graduates are prepared to offer integrative care to infants, children, adolescents and adults throughout their lives.

With the online MSN program, you can balance your personal and professional obligations with your education. The online FNP program is offered on both a full-time and part-time basis, allowing you to determine how you want to manage your time and lifestyle. With our online delivery, you will be able to earn a USC degree from anywhere in the country.

  • Full-time track can be completed in 21 months
  • Part-time track can be completed in 33 months

As a student, you will explore the biomedical, psychological, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on health care through an understanding of clinical research and evidence-based practice. Students learn the skills FNPs need to deliver high-level health care services including:

  • Diagnosing and treating common health problems
  • Interpreting lab results and X-rays
  • Prescribing medications
  • Initiating and managing treatment plans
  • Providing patient education and counseling to promote wellness
  • Referring patients to other health professionals as needed


Our evidence-based curriculum is aimed at helping aspiring FNPs develop comprehensive skills in advanced nursing practice to deliver effective treatment and preventive care to patients and communities. You’ll also learn aspects of research, policy and social work that will give you a strong foundation in social factors related to health.

Your coursework will integrate the following subject areas:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis and Research Methods
  • Community-Based Research
  • Health Care Technology and Innovation
  • Health Care Policy
  • Health Care Management

Bridge Course

You may be required to complete a two-unit, graduate-level bridge course before beginning the program to prepare for pathophysiology and pharmacology, two of the most challenging courses in the program.

The course will be required for admitted students who have one or more of the following:

  • A grade of C+ or lower in undergraduate anatomy and physiology
  • A grade of C+ or lower in undergraduate microbiology and chemistry
  • A cumulative average grade of C+ or lower in undergraduate science courses
  • An undergraduate/BSN completed overseas
  • Academic transcripts more than five years old
  • No undergraduate science courses beyond anatomy and physiology

Clinical Placement

Clinical experience is integral to any nursing curriculum, and at USC, we prioritize hands-on learning because it provides our students with the confidence and skills they need to succeed as family nurse practitioners (FNPs). Explore our MSN-FNP clinical placement process — how to prepare, where you will practice, who you will learn from during rotations and what skills you will gain by completion.

On-Campus Intensives

As an online MSN-FNP student, you will be required to attend two on-campus intensives (OCIs) in Los Angeles. OCIs test your classroom education with skill assessment exercises and exams with faculty.

Students in the five semester track will attend their first OCI at the end of their first term and the second OCI at the end of their third semester. Students in the eight semester track will attend their first OCI at the end of their first term and their second OCI at the end of their fourth term.

Credentialing Information

Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible for examination to earn national certification as a FNP via the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) which will allow graduates to apply for state specific licensure. Scope of practice, exam eligibility, background checks and even coursework requirements outside the scope of the program may vary by state. Prospective and current students are encouraged to research the requirements for licensure specific to their current or intended state of practice to ensure that our program meets their state licensure requirements.

Career Outcomes

The online Master of Science in Nursing program is designed to train aspiring family nurse practitioners (FNPs) to address the physical, social and environmental factors that affect patient well-being. The University of Southern California is recognized by both the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). Per CCNE guidelines, the graduate level courses address advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) care content specific to the role and population focus of the program.