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Frequently Asked Questions

How does the acceptance process work?
Students are selected based on completion of the required prerequisite courses and a number of other criteria. See "criteria for selection" in the nursing information page. If there are more qualified students than spaces available, then a random number selection is done.

How much can a student expect to work and still be successful?
Each student must decide how much time to budget for work. The faculty does not recommend working more than 20 hours a week, generally speaking.  Full time employment is not recommended.

How many hours per week should a student budget for study?
The student should budget at least 3 or 4 hours a day for reading, studying, and completing assignments.

What is the cost of the program, including fees, books, and supplies?
Approximate $8,000 for the 1st year (including tutions, books and required supplies) and $7,000 for the 2nd year.

How long should it take to complete the prerequisite courses?
A student should plan to spend at least 2 years completing prerequisite course Information Sheet 2024.
What are the requirements for the A.S. degree?
The student should consult the College of San Mateo catalog and the Nursing Degree Worksheet.

I already have a college degree or master's degree. Do I have to complete the A.S. degree requirements at CSM?
You don't have to receive another degree from CSM. You do have to complete the Nursing program requirement.

What salary can I expect to receive as a registered nurse (RN)?
In the Bay Area, the current salary is $120,560 per year as of May 2020.

Where should I go if I have questions about prerequisite courses?
The nursing department can answer general questions about prerequisite courses: 650-574-6218. We are located in building 5-361 (when campus is OPEN). If you need counseling services, please be advised that the Counseling Department will only counsel students who are “matriculated”, who have been through the process of application, placement testing, and a 1.5 hr orientation. 

How can I make a counseling appointment?
Please call the counseling department at 650-574-6400. They are located in Building 10-340.

What courses should I take to facilitate my acceptance in a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BRN) program after I graduate from CSM?
Generally speaking, the student should complete statistics and nutrition. The student should consult the student handbook for programs with articulation agreements with CSM for nursing students. For programs in the California State University system, can be helpful in explaining each university's program requirements.

Do you have a refresher course for RNs?
No, but the California Board of Registered Nursing web site lists programs that offer Review/Refresher Courses.

What is your success rate?
Check out the BRN web site at

What hospitals do you work with?
We work with most of the hospitals in San Mateo County.

Do you offer financial aid?
There are scholarships available for students in the program. Visit the Scholarships web site or Contact the Financial Aid office for more information.

Why do you only accept students once a year?
Acceptance once a year fits our curriculum best.

Why do I need to submit course descriptions with my application?
To receive credit for courses taken previously that are not on the Articulation Grid, course substitution petition forms require course descriptions and transcripts.

As an older student, can I still apply?
There are no age restrictions for the nursing program.

How many applications were received?
Information concerning applications is considered confidential.

What bus can I take to get to CSM?
Sam Trans maps are available in the bookstore and Student Services Building 10. However, since many clinical agencies are involved in the program, students should have a car and not depend on public transportation.

What are the hours and days for the nursing program?
Nursing theory classes, clinical days, and lab hours vary. As a result, you may need to change your work schedule each semester.

Do you have weekend and evening classes?
A good portion of classes are offered during daytime hours from Monday through Friday. There are some theory classes offered in the evening hours as well as evening and weekend clinical lab sections.

Can I take the program part-time?
The program is full-time.

Do nursing students get paid during hospital rotations?

How do I make an appointment with one of your nursing counselors?
Go to the drop-in counseling center in Building 10, Room 340, and take your transcripts and course descriptions.

I'm still in high school. What are my options?
See your guidance counselor. You still need to complete the prerequisites.

If I miss the deadline, can I still apply and would you consider my application?
No. You will need to wait until next year. Until then, you can take any missing prerequisite courses.

I took prerequisites 10 years ago. Do I need to take them again?
There is no expiration date on prerequisite courses taken, EXCEPT Each of the biology courses; BIOL 240, 250 and 260 must be completed after January 1st, 2019 for Fall 2024 admissions. Any coursework taken before will not be accepted.  If a passing grade is received in any of the prerequisite courses that are repeated, the FIRST grade will be the one used.

I am currently attending a nursing school, and want to relocate. What are my options?
Please contact our office

According to the BRN, I need to take only one section to get my license in California. Do you offer certain sections?
Unfortunately, due to clinical constraints, the program does not offer sections required for license by the BRN for foreign RNs.

What is it like to be an RN?
Check out NURS 666 Careers in Nursing; it is recommended, not mandatory.

If I took courses in another country, how do I obtain credit for them?
The college requires a detailed evaluation from an approved transcript evaluation service. Any courses taken in another country must go through this special international evaluation before you can begin the process of course substitution.

If I have a question that can not be answered here, who do I contact?