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Frequently Asked Questions

Traditional BSN Application

1.  How are grades in the Pre-Nursing Core calculated?

All applicants must have completed the Cal State San Marcos Pre-Nursing Core required courses with a C or better (grade of C- is not acceptable), or equivalents, by no later than the Spring term (May to mid June) prior to Fall admission to the program.  This includes all separately listed equivalent courses on transcripts, including science labs, if they are listed separately.  If you are enrolled in courses to be used for the Pre-Nursing Core and/or Language other than English points, and will complete these courses after May or mid June, we will do our best to review and process your Spring transcripts, but cannot make any guarantees, if the transcripts are received after the deadline.

Pre-Nursing Core courses in which substandard grades (C- or below) were earned can be repeated only once and grades earned in repeated courses will be averaged.  The University does not allow for the repeating of courses in which a grade of C or better was earned initially.  If you have retaken a course in which you initially earned a grade of C or better, we must use the first earned grade and will disregard any subsequent attempts.  A cumulative GPA of 2.75 is required in the Pre-Nursing Core courses, or equivalents, to be considered for entry into the program.  Courses as applied to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing should not be taken Credit/No Credit.  If you take a Pre-Nursing Core course, or equivalent, as Credit/No Credit, we will award you a grade of C for such credit when computing your GPA points.  AP and IB Credit will not be counted into the School of Nursing Core GPA.  All other courses to be applied toward the BSN degree must be completed with a C or better grade, including all specifically-required, lower- and upper-division GE.  For any science Core courses in which labs are completed separately, we will weight average the lecture and lab courses by units and grades earned.  We will equally average your grade (or weighted grade) for the eight Pre-Nursing Core course requirement areas.

2.  If you applied to our Fall Traditional BSN Program the previous year, are new official transcripts required to be sent again?  And what about previously submitted TEAS scores or verification letters for volunteer/work experience?

Yes, please submit new transcripts with your Fall application. We have access to your TEAS score only if you took it here at CSUSM. Please be aware, that we only accept TEAS version 5.0 or higher.  We retain volunteer/work experience verification letters for one year. Please submit any new letters that apply to successive academic terms. 

3.  How can AP, IB or CLEP 'Transcripts' be requested?

For AP, IB, CLEP or Military --  Please have these official transcript/scores be sent to the University's Office of Admissions & Recruitment.  We will obtain a copy of such transcripts/scores from that office. You must, however, indicate on your School of Nursing application that you have received such course credit, so that we will know to look for your transcript/scores.

AP (Advanced Placement)
To request a score, call (609) 771-7300 or (888) 225-5427, or for more information. CSUSM's institution code is 5677.
CLEP (College Level Examination Program)
To request a score report, call (800) 257-9558, if ordering with a credit card, or download a Transcript Request Form. Visit

There is a fee to request a CLEP transcript be sent to our University.  The transcript will show scores all CLEP exams taken over the last 20 years (unless you ask for some scores to be excluded). Students will be asked to provide name (as it was at testing time), date of birth, social security number, address and phone, exam title(s), test date(s), testing location(s) or center(s), and where they want scores sent.
IB (International Baccalaureate)
To learn how to request a score, visit:  You will need to provide: your full name as it appears on your IB diploma or certificate; the month and year of examination sessions; your candidate number if available; your date of birth; the name of your high school; and your e-mail address or phone number.

 4.  How can applicants be sure of having completed the equivalent courses for our Pre-Nursing Core?

If you are attending a California Community College, use the ASSIST Web site ( to determine the course equivalency for the Nursing major.  Do no use course-to-course articulations, but search for the articulation agreements for the Nursing Major.  Assist Web Instructions.

If you are attending another CSU campus with a Nursing program, we will honor the science courses completed at that institution, which are required as part of the Pre-Nursing Core at that institution (including required pre-requisites, per the University Catalog). If in doubt, consult with a Counselor at the school you are currently attending.

For those attending other California and Out of State schools, we see the greatest confusion over what constitutes a CSU A3 Critical Thinking course and/or what is equivalent to the Pre-Nursing Core integrated Chemistry course and lab.  We recommend using the CSU Mentor Web site ( to research the definition of a CSU A3 Critical Thinking course.  Typically, but not all, courses which qualify as an A3 course include a 2nd semester of college-level English, as part of a 1-year sequence, or a 'Logic' course.  For the Chemistry requirement, we will accept a general, organic, inorganic, or integrated chemistry course with associated lab (if required at the institution where the course was taken). 

For coursework completed in another country, the University does not accept such courses for meeting Areas A1 (Oral Communication ), A2 (Written Communication) or A3 (Critical Thinking). 

5.  How many points from the Supplemental Admission Criteria are needed to be admitted to the Program?

Our 'Point System' is not designed for students to get all of the available points.  It has been common for students to be admitted into the program and be missing points in one or more criteria areas.  Please refer to the Admitted Cohort Statistics, as linked at the top of these online Application Instructions, to find out how many points are typically needed to get admitted to our Traditional BSN program.

6.  How and when will students be notified of admission to the program?

Because we allow Pre-Nursing Core coursework to be completed through the Spring semester, we notify applicants the beginning of the month of July, if they have been admitted.  It takes us time to receive the official Spring transcripts, and we cannot rank order applicants until materials for all applicants have been received by the deadlines. We will notify accepted applicants by both telephone and email; all other applicants will be notified by email and letter only. 

7.   Please explain the required Criminal Background Check.

For those students who are admitted into the Traditional BSN program, you will be provisionally admitted, and will be required to immediately pay for and complete a criminal background check within 10 days of your offer of admission to the program.  The background check will include county, statewide, and federal screening.  We will provide you with full instructions on how and where to complete this background check once you are provisionally admitted to the program. You will not be allowed into the program if you should not receive a clear background check. Students who have reason to believe that a background check would reveal a prior misdemeanor or felony, must get these matters expunged from their record prior to being admitted into the Nursing program, or seek another career path.  If you have questions about a prior offense, please send an email to  It is always better to inquire up front to see if there might be a problem.

8.  Physical/Emotional Requirements of Program

For those students who are admitted into the Traditional BSN program, you will be provisionally admitted, and will be required to obtain the necessary physical/emotional clearance from a Primary Physician.  Please refer to the Nursing Expectations link on the Application Instructions Web page for more details.  The necessary paperwork will be distributed to you, for the Physician to complete, once you are admitted to the program.  If you should have any questions, please send an email to