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Veteran to BSN Pathway



The skills and knowledge you have acquired during your service in the military have uniquely prepared you to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)—and to launch a rewarding civilian career helping others!

At CSUSM, we have provided an on ramp to our BSN program specifically for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Your military expertise, training and education may even translate into transferable credits, simplifying your path to a BSN.

The Veteran BSN Pathway Program is an intensive five-semester, cohort-based bachelor’s degree program that will prepare you to earn your RN license and quickly start your nursing career.

Discover CSUSM's extensive benefits, services and funding options tailored to our military and veteran students.

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New BSN cohorts begin every Fall and Spring semester in San Marcos with an additional Summer term start in Temecula.

Application and document deadline:

  • Spring 2025: June 26, 2024
  • Summer 2025: Nov. 6, 2024

View application instructions.

Spring 2025 ApplicationSummer 2025 Application

Program Details


    How to Apply

    Admission Requirements

    • Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA (or 2.5 in the last 60 units completed)
    • Passage of the TEAS exam version 7 with a minimum 71.0 percent composite score
    • Minimum 2.75 GPA in the pre-nursing core
    • Completion of all lower-division General Education Requirements
    • Completion of the U.S. History, Constitution, and American Ideals Requirement

    Pre-Nursing Core

    You are required to fulfill the pre-nursing core prior to admission. The pre-nursing core can be fulfilled through coursework taken at other universities or community colleges. For a list of articulated courses at other institutions, please visit the Assist Website (CA Community Colleges only) OR TES also provides some course articulation information for many schools across the US. For more details about how we assess courses to meet the Pre-Nursing Core.

    Pre-Nursing Core Courses
    Course (CSU GE area) Course (units) Co-requisite (C)
    Prerequisite (P)
    BIOL 175 (B2) Intro to Anatomy/Physiology I (4) None
    BIOL 176 (B2) Intro to Anatomy/Physiology II (4) P - BIOL 175
    BIOL 160 (B2) Microbiology (4) None
    CHEM 105 (B1) General, Organic & Biochemistry for Life (4) P
    CHEM 105L (B3) General, Organic & Biochemistry for Life Laboratory (1) C - CHEM 105
    MATH (B4)  Any CSU B4 Statistical Mathematics Course (3) P
    GEO 102 (A1) Oral Communication (3) None
    GEW 101 (A2) Written Communication (3) None
    Choose One (A3) LTWR 115 - Critical Reading & Thinking (3) P - GEW 101
    MATH 110 - Critical Thinking (3) None
    PHIL 110 - Critical Thinking (3) None
    PSYC 110 - Critical Thinking in Psychology (3) None

    Please note: All science courses completed must include labs. CSUSM will accept online courses (for all requirements) from Regionally Accredited Institutions.

    International Applicants: Oral Communication, Written Communication and Critical Thinking must be taken in the United States.

    Special Requirements

    Health Insurance

    All students must provide proof of current healthcare insurance to the School of Nursing by the designated deadline. The deadline information will be provided at the School of Nursing orientation session. This is a mandatory requirement.

    Background Check and Drug Screening

    Additionally, you will be required to complete a background check upon conditional admission to the School of Nursing. Below is the background check and drug screen policy:

    • The Office of Extended Learning will email each student in the cohort a letter of conditional admission. Once offer is accepted, students will receive an email with instructions on how to place an order for a background check/drug screen. Students will have approximately two weeks to order their background check online and complete the drug screen. If this deadline is not met, the student will not be guaranteed a seat in the cohort.
    • Students who have a flagged background check will not be admitted to the nursing program. Students will be able to join a later cohort pending space available when their background check is unflagged.
    • In addition, some clinical sites will require students to complete a Live Scan clearance. If the student does not clear the Live Scan process, then s/he may not be permitted to attend the clinical rotation. The student risks dismissal from the program should this occur.

    View Catalog Page

    California State University programs for professions that require licensure or certification are intended to prepare the student to meet California licensure and certification requirements. Admission into programs for professions that require licensure and certification does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or certificate. Licensure and certification requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the California State University and licensure and certification requirements can change at any time.The California State University has not determined whether its programs meet other states’ educational or professional requirements for licensure and certification. Students enrolled in a California State University program who are planning to pursue licensure or certification in other states are responsible for determining whether they will meet their state’s requirements for licensure or certification. This disclosure is made pursuant to 34 CFR §668.43(a)(5)(v)(C).

    Cost Breakdown
    Semester Units* Subtotal**

    Fall Semester 1

    16 $10,720
    Spring Semester 1 13 $8,710
    Summer Semester 1 13 $8,710
    Fall Semester 2 15 $10,050
    Spring Semester 2 10 $6,700
    Total 67 $44,890

    *Unit rate for this program is $670 (Effective Fall 2023) (discounts available for active duty military, view details)

    **University semester fees not included. View complete breakdown of Extended Learning fees. Semester tuition subtotals based on sample program sequence. All quoted tuition rates are based on previous academic years and are subject to change without notice.

    Funding and Financial Aid

    • This program is eligible for financial aid
    • Visit the Extended Learning funding page or call 760-750-4850 to learn more about your funding options
    • Federal VA educational benefits can be used for this program (not eligible for Cal Vet fee waiver)
    • Active duty military, veterans and dependents should visit the military services page or call 760-750-8705

    Veteran students will integrate into a standard cohort alongside other BSN students, following the same course sequence throughout the program.

     Sample Schedule for Fall Start (effective Fall 2023)

    Example Semester
    Semester Course (units)

    Fall Semester 1

    NURS 300 (4)

    NURS 301 (2)

    NURS 314 (3)

    NURS 315 (2)

    NURS 352 (3)

    NURS 304 (2)

    Spring Semester 1

    NURS 316A (2)

    NURS 322 (4)

    NURS 323 (3)

    NURS 360 (2)

    NURS 361 (2)

    Summer Semester 1

    NURS 332 (2)

    NURS 333 (2)

    NURS 480 (2)

    NURS 330 (2)

    NURS 331 (2)

    PHIL 345 (3)

    Fall Semester 2

    NURS 316B (2)

    NURS 324 (4)

    NURS 325 (3)

    NURS 450 (2)

    NURS 451 (1)

    ANTH 301 (3)

    Spring Semester 2

    NURS 440 (4)

    NURS 445 (3)

    NURS 490 (1)

    NURS 491 (2)


    Schedule is subject to change.

     Time Commitment

    • This is a full-time program and will require a major commitment of time to complete. You should consider the demanding nature of this program prior to submitting an application.
    • You will be required to complete approximately 67 units of study within the five-academic term program including one summer term.
    • Approximately 27 units of the program consist of clinical study, which begins as early as 7:00 a.m. or extends as late as 11:00 p.m.
    • Students admitted to the BSN cohort will enter with a pre-designated course of study and are guaranteed a space in every class.
    • Clinical rotations may vary by day and time each month, so you should not plan on working while enrolled in this program.
    • Classes and clinicals may be scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays.

    Please note: you may not take courses independently or fulfill program course requirements by taking courses at other institutions.

    All CSUSM nursing students must:

    Additional Required Courses

    You are required to fulfill the following BRN specific courses by the end of the third semester in the program. Some may have been done as part of your first degree. For a list of articulated courses at other institutions, visit the Assist Website. For courses taken out-of-state, please consult your Extended Learning academic advisor.

    • Social Science
    • Behavioral Science (must be in Psychology department)

    Upper-division General Education Courses

    You are required to take program the following courses in residence at CSUSM. These courses are considered part of the BSN program and will be scheduled through Extended Learning for your scheduled cohort. For more information, please consult your Extended Learning academic advisor.

    • PHIL 345: Bioethics and Medical Ethics (3 units)
    • ANTH 301: Culture and Medicine Healers and Healing Practices (3 units)
    • BIOL 316:  Biology of Cancer (3 units) - currently not offered as part of the program but can be taken through Open University or the ADN/RN-to-BSN program.  It is the student's responsibility to ensure this course is taken to graduate from the program.
  • FAQ

    How can I check if my military experience and education can be used for transfer credit to the VBSN program?

    CSUSM grants undergraduate or graduate credit for learning acquired through education, training and service provided by the Armed Forces of the United States as recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE) Military Guide. Please review the credit list for ACE-recommended courses and the equivalent courses/requirements at CSUSM.

    Where can I learn more about military services and funding options at CSUSM?

    Explore our Military & Veteran Services page to learn more about how we work with our active duty and veteran students.

    What is a cohort?

    A cohort is a group of students who work through a curriculum together to achieve the same academic degree. Because they are accepted into the same program, take their classes together and graduate together, students in cohorts tend to form a strong support system and professional network that benefit them during their degree program and beyond.

    Do I have to wait to apply for the program?

    No. If you feel you have completed many of the required courses and may be eligible to enter the program, we recommend that you submit the program application, the application fee, and official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions you’ve attended.  Each applicant will receive an individualized advising worksheet showing course requirements completed and outstanding requirements that need to be met.

    Can I apply even if I have not completed all of the Pre-Nursing Core coursework?

    Yes, you can apply to this program at any time. However, we encourage you to wait and apply when you have started your final semester of prerequisite courses. Because we operate on a rolling admissions process, your application will stay on file with us for one calendar year from the date you apply. Once your file is complete you can be ranked for admission and you will be considered for all cohorts we admit for during the 12 month period in which your file is active. If you do not complete your prerequisites or are not accepted within the 12 months, you may choose to reapply. When you reapply you will only need to complete a new application and pay the application fee. You do not need to resend transcripts unless you have completed additional coursework. 

    Is there a time limit on how long ago science prerequisite courses have been taken?

    No, there is no time limit. We will accept courses regardless of how long ago they were taken.

    I have completed college coursework or a degree outside of the United States. How will I know which of these credits will be accepted at CSUSM?

    You will need to have your coursework evaluated by an independent evaluation company. You must use a CSUSM approved foreign transcript evaluation agency. You may choose any evaluation company on this list. Once you receive the official evaluation, please send a photocopy of the evaluation to:
    Cal State University San Marcos
    Office of Admissions and Recruitment
    333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road
    San Marcos, CA 92096
    Attn: VBSN
    *The university will not accept Area A courses (A1, A2, and A3) from institutions outside of the country.

    Do I need to take the TEAS exam?

    Yes. The TEAS Exam, or Test of Essential Academic Skills, is one of the admissions criteria and is required for a complete application. The TEAS Exam is designed as a predictor of success for nursing program applicants. Applicants must score a minimum composite score of 71.0% on this exam in order to be eligible for being admitted into the BSN program. Points are awarded from composite scores ranging from 71.0% to 100%, as part of the Supplemental Admission Criteria for admission to the program. Please see ATI Testing for information about review books and online practice exams. Please note the current version of the TEAS exam is version 7.

    Do all bachelors degree students at the university have to complete a Language Other Than English?

    No. A graduation requirement for all bachelor degree students at the university is the Language Other Than English Requirement. However this requirement DOES NOT apply to the second bachelor degree students.

    What are the NCLEX pass rates?

    To view CSUSM’s passing rates for the NCLEX, please visit the California Board of Registered Nursing website and look for CSU San Marcos.

    When does the program begin?

    At this time, the BSN program accepts two cohorts (60 students) to our San Marcos location in the fall (August) and spring (January) and one cohort (60 students) in Temecula each summer.

    May I continue to work during the program?

    We do not recommend working during the program, but we understand that you may need too. Please make sure that your work is flexible as your school schedule will be set each semester. The BSN program is full-time and will require a major commitment of time to complete. You will be required to complete 67 semester units of study within the five-academic-term program. Approximately 22 units of the program consist of clinical study, which begins as early as 7:00 a.m. or extends as late as 11:00 p.m. Prospective students should take into consideration the demanding nature of this program prior to submitting an application for admission. Clinical rotations may vary by day and time each month; therefore, you should not plan on working while enrolled in this program.

    Are classes offered during the day or evening?

    Depending on the semester class schedule and clinical rotations, courses will be held during the day and in the evening.

    How often do I need to come to campus for classes?

    Students are typically asked to come to campus one day per week for lectures, but clinicals will vary.

Specialized Transition

The VBSN track recognizes and values your military experience, providing a smooth pathway to a BSN degree and RN licensure.

Credit Transfer

Your military training and education may qualify for credit transfer, helping you meet pre-nursing core prerequisites more efficiently.

Dedicated Support

CSUSM offers a range of benefits and services specifically designed to support military and veteran students throughout their academic journey.

Rewarding Civilian Career

A CSUSM BSN degree equips you for a fulfilling civilian nursing career, empowering you to apply your unique skills in the healthcare field.


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