Samuel Merritt University Online Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN – FNP) Program

The School of Nursing at Samuel Merritt University (SMU) offers an online Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN – FNP) program with 100% online coursework, two campus visit requirements, and three semesters of practicums at approved facilities local to the student.

This program is designed for BSN-prepared registered nurses with recent clinical experience who wish to become family nurse practitioners. Samuel Merritt University is seeking professionals who are interested in serving in multicultural, urban, and rural settings to underserved populations. Applicants should demonstrate compassion, good interpersonal and interprofessional communication, an ability to work well in teams, personal responsibility, and excellent critical thinking skills. Those with an associate’s degree must first complete the RN to BSN program before applying for the MSN – FNP program.

Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) serve patients from infants and children to adolescents, adults and geriatric patients. Learning outcomes focus on observational skills, communication skills, patient care skills, cognitive and integrative skills, intellectual/conceptual skills, social skills, ethical behavior, and professional expectations.

The MSN – FNP curriculum aligns with the standards set forth by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) as well as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). In addition, the MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Graduates of this program will be eligible to take state and national certification exams to become a licensed FNP, and may then work in primary care clinics, schools, community health services, urgent care clinics, government organizations, home healthcare situations, hospitals, and extended care facilities.

Samuel Merritt University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The university is based in Oakland, California and students attend campus intensives on the campus in Sacramento, CA.

What to Expect from the Samuel Merritt University Online MSN – FNP Program

Admission Requirements: Applicants to the Samuel Merritt University MSN – FNP program must hold a BSN from an accredited institution and an unencumbered RN license in their state of residence. Application materials include the application, application fee, official transcripts, evidence of RN clinical practice experience, and two letters of reference. Prospective students must have an interest in working with underserved populations and a second language is recommended. An undergraduate statistics course with at least a “B” grade is required as a prerequisite. In addition, students must have a completed criminal background check and a drug test (if required). International students who reside in one of the approved states must provide proof of English language proficiency. No GRE or GMAT is required.

State Restrictions: Samuel Merritt University is approved to offer the online MSN – FNP program in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. Students from other states not listed here should check the Samuel Merritt University website to see if their state is approved as state approvals may be in process.

Study Plan: The SMU online MSN – FNP program may be completed in just 20 months or 5 semesters. Students may begin the full-time or part-time program in May, September, or January. Campus requirements include two campus intensives. Students also need to complete practicums at approved sites local to the student. Practicums are completed over three semesters with a preceptor.

MSN – FNP Curriculum: The online MSN – FNP program comprises 49 credits and 630 precepted clinical hours. Courses may include Research Methods; Professional Role Development for APNs; Family Centered Advanced Practice Nursing; Advanced Health Assessment; Advanced Pathophysiology; Health Protection, Promotion, and Screening; Analysis of Health Policy Issues; Care of Acute and Episodic Conditions; Care of Chronic and Complex Conditions; and Theoretical Foundations for APNs.

Students with an RN and an associate’s degree must first complete the RN to BSN completion program and may then apply to enter the MSN – FNP program.

Online Experience: SMU utilizes Canvas as its online Learning Management System (LMS). Key features include multimedia apps such as Panapto, Poll Everywhere, Respondus 4.0, Turnitin, Webex, and more. Faculty can utilize feedback annotation to communicate with students on homework. Coursework includes online lectures, videos, readings, interactive assignments and assessments. Communication includes discussion boards, email, phone, and chat. Online MSN – FNP courses are asynchronous allowing for maximum student flexibility, however, assignments and assessments have set deadlines. Online students have access to academic advising, faculty support, 24/7 technical support, the online bookstore, online library, and career services.

On-Site Requirements: Samuel Merritt FNP students are required to come to the Sacramento, California campus twice for intensives. Students also complete local practicums at approved sites in their area of residence.

Paying for the Samuel Merritt University Online MSN – FNP Program

Samuel Merritt University charges $1,486 per credit plus fees for the online family nurse practitioner program. Interested students should contact the School of Nursing through Samuel Merritt University for total tuition and fee information as costs may change from year to year.

Samuel Merritt University students may be eligible for federal Stafford loans and Graduate PLUS Loans according to the FAFSA. In addition, several scholarships are offered to nurses including Sharon Clark Diaz, Marshall Steele, Jr. Henry & Bernice Bigge, Employee Campaign, Hitchcock Heydman, Elks of the Year, and William Breslin. FNP students are also encouraged to inquire about a tuition reimbursement program with their employers. Other opportunities may also exist outside of the university such as community and religious scholarships.

Samuel Merritt University

Samuel Merritt University is specifically seeking professionals who are interested in serving in multicultural, urban, and rural settings to underserved populations, and who can demonstrate compassion, interpersonal and interprofessional communication skills, and an ability to work well in teams.

APRN Programs

MSN – Online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Campus Address

3100 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, California 94609

Samuel Merritt University – MSN – Online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Program Essentials

Degree Level

MSN – Master of Science in Nursing


FNP – Family Nurse Practitioner

Program Start Dates

May, September, January

100% Online?


Campus Visits Required


Credits Needed to Graduate


Clinical Hours Needed to Graduate


Program Accreditation

CCNE – Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Program Admissions

Level of Education Required?

BSN – Bachelor of Science in Nursing

GRE or GMAT Required?

No GRE Required

GPA Required?


State Restrictions? (Will Not Accept From…)


Program Tuition

Credit Hours


Average Cost Per Credit (state resident)


Estimated Total Tuition (state resident)


Average Cost Per Credit (non-resident)


Estimated Total Tuition (non-resident)


Tuition is calculated based on credits, at the published tuition rate. Rates may change, so please check here for the latest tuition information. For programs with variable tuition rates, we use the rates for part-time students. “Resident” and “non-resident” refer to the student’s school-recognized state residency status. Tuition number represents the cost of tuition for the entire program, not per semester or year. Estimated total tuition does not include additional fees.

Sara Navratil

Sara Navratil


Sara Navratil is a freelance writer and a Certified Canfield Success Principles Trainer. She’s the owner of Sara Liza Life, a company dedicated to helping people rewrite their lives. She enjoys researching and writing about healthcare-related topics, including information on online NP programs. When not working she likes to read, bake, and spend time with her family.