School of Nursing

MS in Nursing - Option for Non-Nurses with Baccalaureate Degrees

This program allows students who hold a baccalaureate degree in another field to earn a master's degree in nursing in three years of full-time study. Students enrolled in this program build their undergraduate and graduate nursing courses upon previous academic and life experiences. Admission is competitive and limited. This program requires full-time enrollment in the planned sequence of study.

During the first year, students admitted to the Option program must successfully complete a specified series of basic nursing courses. Upon completion of the 9 graduate credits taken in the summer of the second year, students must sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and become licensed as a registered nurse in Maine.  Failure to pass the NCLEX-RN prior to the first graduate clinical practicum will stop progression in the program. Upon successful completion of all graduate courses, a Master of Science in Nursing is conferred.

Prerequisite Course Requirements

Due to the intensity of the MS Option Program, every applicant is required to have completed an undergraduate statistics course with a grade of B- or above prior to their May matriculation. In order to reduce the number of credits during the first summer (Summer I), it is strongly recommended that students complete an undergraduate pathophysiology course with a grade of B- or above (USM course or comparable). At the time of admission to the program, students who completed a research course other than CON 521 at USM, must submit an electronic copy of the course syllabus for review to determine content equivalency

  • If course(s) are taken at an institution other than USM, transcripts must be requested by student at completion of course(s) and forwarded to the School of Nursing to be placed in their academic file.
  • All remaining courses not completed prior to matriculation will be incorporated into the first summer course schedule (Summer I).
  • All courses completed prior to matriculation and considered for transfer must have a grade of B- or above.
  • Completion of a course in anatomy and physiology is highly recommended.

The Graduate Admissions Committee will review each individual's undergraduate coursework and make individual prerequisite requirements if any one or more areas are significantly under represented. (For instance, an individual whose major includes no social sciences may be required to take sociology/psychology courses.)

Graduate Nursing Policies


Application Deadlines

Second Degree Direct-Entry MS-Option Program – November 1.

Admission Information

Admission to the Master of Science degree Option program is on a competitive basis. The graduate program in nursing seeks candidates whose baccalaureate preparation, scholastic achievement, professional experience, interest, motivation, and references are predictive of successful graduate study.

Each student's application for admission will be evaluated based on a composite of the following recommended standards.

  • A minimum of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A minimum undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or a B average.
  • An undergraduate course in introductory statistics which includes descriptive and inferential statistics, with a minimum grade of B.
  • Test Scores: MAT or GRE taken with five years of application submission
    • Miller Analogy Test (MAT): A score that ranks in the 45th percentile or higher for intended major.
    • Graduate Record Examination (GRE):
    • Taken prior to August 1, 2011 - combined aptitude scores of 1,000 (V.Q.) or higher.
    • Taken after August 1, 2011 - a verbal reasoning score of 153 or higher; a quantitative reasoning score of 147 or higher; and, a minimum of 4.0 on the analytic writing sample.
  • Submission of official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS scores in addition to GRE scores (if English is not first language).
    • Applicants whose native language is not English must have earned a TOEFL score of at least 550 on the paper-based test, 79 or higher on the Internet-based test, or 213 on the computer-based test, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher.
  • Current resume.
  • A personal interview with graduate faculty of the School of Nursing may be requested following a preliminary review of all required admission materials.
Application material

In addition to the materials described on the USM Graduate Admissions General  Application Instructions page, applicants for this program must submit:

  • Completed program selection form
  • Two letters of recommendation reflecting professional practice and academic achievement
  • Please develop a 500 word essay which addresses the following topics:

    1. Your understanding of the nurse practitioner role, and your reasons for becoming a nurse practitioner.
    2. Your professional goals that will be supported by the Master of Science degree.
    3. The experiences, capacity and abilities you bring to a master’s program.

For forms and additional application information, please visit the Graduate Admissions web page

Sample: Full-time 3-year program sequence

Summer I (Year 1)

BIO 345 Pathophysiology
CON 502 Pharmacology
CON 521 Health Related Research
CON 556 Concepts in Community Health
NUR 509 Health Assessment
NUR 508 Health Assessment Practicum
NUR 511 Transition to Professional Nursing Role for MS Option Students
NUR 514 Fundamentals of Nursing Lab for MS Option Students
NUR 512 Nursing Arts and Science for MS Option Students
Total Credits: 23

Fall I

NUR 530 Mental Health Nursing for MS Option Students
NUR 531 Mental Health Nursing Lab
NUR 532 Nursing Care of the Older Adult in the Community 
NUR 538 Community Nursing Partnership for Option Students
NUR 541 Adult/Older Adult Health Nursing
NUR 542 Adult/Older Adult Health Nursing Lab
Total Credits: 17
Spring I

NUR 513 Advanced Nursing Skills Lab
NUR 516 Child Health Nursing Lab
NUR 523 Management of the Critically Ill Adult/Older Adult for MS Option Students
NUR 526 Management of the Critically Ill Adult/Older Adult Clinical for MS Option Students
NUR 543 Reproductive and Sexual Health Nursing
NUR 544 Reproductive and Sexual Health Nursing Lab
NUR 545 Child Health Nursing
Total Credits: 18

Total  Credits - Year 1 : 58

Summer II (Year 2)
Begin study in one of the following advanced practice nursing concentrations:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the lifespan)

See appropriate sections below for sample program sequences

Summer II – All Concentrations- 9 credits

NUR 601 – Advanced Pharmacotherapy
NUR 604 – Nursing Research
NUR 606 – Leadership, Health Policy, & Role

Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration (FNP)
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Concentration (A-GPCNP)

Fall II – 13 credits

BIO 545- Advanced Pathophysiology
NUR 602 – Advanced Health Assessment
NUR 603 – Nursing Theory & Knowledge Development
NUR 608 - Applied Theories for Advanced Interpersonal Skills

Spring II – 10 credits for FNP, 11 credits for A-GPCNP

GRN 501 – Life Transitions and Health in Aging (online through UM) (A-GPCNP only)
NUR 650 – Primary Care of the Adolescent
NUR 651  - Women’s Health in Primary Care
NUR 652 – Primary Care Management of the Well Child (FNP only)
NUR 654 – Prenatal Care in Primary Care (FNP only)
NUR 664 – Primary Health Care of the Adult I
NUR 667 – Clinical Practicum & Seminar I

Summer III – 3-6 credits (elective can be taken in any semester)

GRN 502 – Interventions for Care of Older Adults in Diverse Settings 
                        (online through UM) (A-GPCNP only)
Graduate elective – 500/600 level  course

Fall III – 11 credits for FNP, 9 credits for A-GPCNP

NUR 653 – Primary Care of the Child with Episodic Illness (FNP only)
NUR 658 – Clinical Project
NUR 665 – Primary Health Care of the Adult II
NUR 668 – Clinical Practicum & Seminar II

Spring III – 7 credits

NUR 666 – Primary Health Care of the Adult III 
NUR 669 – Clinical Practicum & Seminar III 
NUR 690 – Role Seminar

Total Credits - Years 2 & 3: 53-55

Total Program Credits: 111-113

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the lifespan)

Fall II – 13 credits

NUR 602 – Advanced Health Assessment
NUR 671 – Foundations of Advanced Practice Mental Health  Nursing
NUR 672 – Biological & Behavioral Components of Mental Health & Illness
NUR 680 – Advanced Psychopharmacology

Spring II – 12 credits

NUR 601 – Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics
NUR 603 – Nursing Theory & Knowledge Development
NUR 673 – Clinical Practicum & Seminar I
NUR 674 – Advanced Psychiatric Mental Health Care of Adults & Older Adults     

Summer III – 3 credits

Graduate elective – 500/600 level  course
NUR 699 - Continuing Advanced Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Supervision
This course is optional, but may be used for the required elective above

Fall III - 9 credits

NUR 658 – Clinical Project
NUR 685 – Advanced Psychiatric Mental Health Care of Children, adolescents & Families
NUR 686 – Clinical Practicum & Seminar II

Spring III - 7 credits

NUR 676 – Clinical Practicum & Seminar III
NUR 679 – Advanced Psychiatric Mental Health Care of  Groups & Vulnerable Populations
NUR 690 – Role Seminar

Total Credits - Years 2 & 3: 53

Total Program Credits: 111

Deadline: November 1 for summer (May) admission

Admission Information and Links:

Information Sessions about this program are held on a regular basis

USM Office of Graduate Admissions