3 Best Accelerated Nursing Programs in San Diego (2024)

Are you looking for the best accelerated nursing programs in San Diego? We’ve done the research for you!

There’s 1 top accelerated BSN program in San Diego currently and 2 accredited accelerated MSN/Direct Entry/Entry Level Master in Nursing programs that you can consider. These programs will transform you into a nurse in 21-36 months.

Read: Guide to Accelerated Nursing Programs: What are they?

Best Accelerated BSN Program in San Diego

1. Cal State San Marcos’s Accelerated BSN

Program Overview

At CSUSM, the Accelerated BSN is an intensive, 24-month program created specifically for students like you, who’ve pursued a degree outside of nursing and haven’t ventured into any LVN or RN coursework.

Duration: 24 months

Format: In-person

Location: San Marcos, CA (Approximately 30 miles from San Diego)

Flexible Start Dates

With cohorts kicking off every Fall and Spring in San Marcos and every Summer in Temecula, you have options. There are two cohorts, each accommodating 60 students, in San Marcos during the Fall and Spring. Meanwhile, Temecula welcomes a single cohort of 60 students every summer.

Diverse Clinical Rotations

You’ll do clinical rotations across prominent medical centers in San Diego and Riverside Counties. Places like Alvarado Hospital, Aurora Behavioral Health, and Escondido Public Health are just a few of the esteemed institutions where you’ll get hands-on experience.

CSUSM ABSN Prerequisites

The prerequisites include courses in Anatomy, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Statistics, and essential communication skills. The science courses need to come with lab sessions.


For this program, each unit costs $670. The total tuition stands at $44,890. But check the official website to stay updated on the latest rates.

2 Best Direct Entry MSN Programs in San Diego

1. University of San Diego Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (MENP)

Program Overview

The USD Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN) is a 21-month program, consisting of 5 terms and 71 units. It’s designed to offer you a solid foundation in nursing, along with advanced master’s level courses to develop your leadership skills.

Duration: 21 months

Format: In-person

Location: San Diego, CA

Graduate as an Advanced Nurse Generalist

Upon successful completion of the program, you’ll not only gain an MSN but also be prepared as an Advanced Nurse Generalist. This prepares you to take on more complex roles in the ever-evolving healthcare sector.

Real-world Nursing Simulation Experience

During the MEPN program, you’ll have the chance to build confidence and gain hands-on experience at the Dickinson Nursing Simulation Center. In this state-of-the-art facility, professional actors simulate real-life situations, giving you a glimpse of what to expect in your nursing career.

Clinical Teaching Sites

You’ll be assigned to clinical teaching sites at major medical centers across San Diego County. These placements expose you to renowned patient care centers, including Kaiser Permanente, UCSD Medical Center, Rady Children’s Hospital, and many others. Plus, you’ll also get to visit a variety of community settings.

USD MEPN Prerequisites

To start your MEPN journey, you’ll need to complete some prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of “B”, including Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Microbiology, Psychology, and others; pass/no pass scores are not accepted.

USD MEPN Tuition

The estimated total tuition for the USD MEPN program is $116,440. Check the most current tuition on the university’s website.

2. Azusa Pacific University Entry-Level Master’s in Nursing (ELM) program

Program Overview

APU’s Entry-Level Master’s in Nursing (ELM) program is a great pathway to kickstart your career in nursing.

Duration: 2.5-3 years

Format: In-person

Location: San Diego, CA & other campus locations

You can opt to begin your journey in September, January, or May at the main campus in Azusa, or at the Inland Empire or San Diego Regional Campuses.

Full-time to Part-time

The program begins with 4 full-time terms, during which you’ll dive into theory and clinical courses. Then, you can choose between full or part-time study for the rest of the program.

From Internship to Licensure: A Comprehensive Learning Journey

The APU ELM program incorporates an internship following the first 4 terms. This hands-on experience prepares you to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam and sets you on the path for advanced nursing practice.

Choose Your Specialty, Gain Your Master’s

Upon passing the NCLEX-RN exam, you can select a nursing specialty to pursue. After successfully completing all the graduate coursework, you’ll receive your Master of Science in Nursing.

Licensure and Certification: Broadening Your Horizons

This program’s MSN graduates are not only prepared to take the licensure examination but are also eligible to apply for certification as a clinical nurse specialist and/or a nurse practitioner in the state of California.

APU ELM Prerequisites

To start your APU ELM journey, you need to complete prerequisites in Human Anatomy and Physiology, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Verbal and Written Communication Skills, General Psychology, Human Growth and Development, Statistics, and Research Methods.

APU ELM Tuition

The total tuition for the ELM program is estimated to be between $92,880 and $103,200. For the most up-to-date rates, visit the university’s website.

Since the pandemic, there’s been a great shortage of nurses in San Diego, with hospitals desperately trying everything to attract and retain nurses. And with RNs’ annual median salaries in the neighborhood of $133,340 across California, it is an opportune time to consider a career in nursing.

With any of the three listed accelerated nursing programs in San Diego, you can completely transform your non-nursing background into an advanced generalist nursing career.

No, UC San Diego does not have an accelerated nursing program.


  • Information on these programs may change without notice. So, we cannot guarantee their authenticity and accuracy. You’d have to check with the school and do further research. Our review list is simply for guidance and cannot be relied upon exclusively without research on your part.
  • Before enrollment, check with your state regarding licensing rules or whether your desired program meets your home state’s certification requirements and licensure.
  • If you are an administrator/staff for one of the schools listed in this article, and you would like to issue corrections or updates on your program’s information, please contact us here.

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