Nursing — Post-Master’s

Program Type
Certificate of Advanced Study
Certificate of Advanced Study
Mode of Study

Tuition & fees

Costs include tuition & fees. See cost details

Credit hours

18-40 required credit hours, depending on specialization. Most courses are equal to 3 credit hours. Browse course list

Program duration

Finish in as few as 3 semesters. Explore program requirements


Apply by August 1 for fall term; by December 15 for spring term. View application process & deadlines

Program Highlights

  • Tailor the program to your goals: Choose to specialize in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GACNP); Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP); or Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).
  • Take advantage of a flexible schedule in our blended program, which includes a mix of online and in-person courses.
  • Engage in a variety of clinical experiences at inpatient, outpatient, and community-based facilities.
  • Study with engaged faculty members who are committed to advancing excellence in nursing.
  • Take advantage of our lab facilities, which include a Simulation Center, Physical Assessment Lab, and Fundamentals of Nursing Lab.
A faculty member and a student practice in the nursing lab.

Program requirements

This certificate helps meet the educational needs of the master’s-prepared registered nurse who is interested in practicing in an additional specialty, including Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, or Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

A group of nursing students sit at a table with textbooks and laptops.


Upon graduation, you’ll be eligible to sit for national certification through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and/or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Nursing students practice techniques.

Hands-on learning

Students have the opportunity to interact with and be supervised by expert nurses and providers while assisting patients in health recovery and providing therapeutic treatments.

A view of Masterton Hall on the USM Portland campus.

Dedicated faculty

Our faculty are active in research and policy issues at the state and national level, are board members of state and national nursing associations, and frequently publish in leading nursing journals.

A nursing faculty member demonstrates a technique.

Career opportunities

If you hold an MS in Nursing, our certificate program will prepare you to practice in an additional area of specialty.

The accreditation logo for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)


This program is approved by the Maine State Board of Nursing and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

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Admission information: Certificate of Advanced Study in Nursing — Post-Masters

Application deadlines

Application deadlineFall term startSpring term start
FinalAugust 1December 1
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Admission to the Certificate of Advanced Study in nursing is competitive. The graduate program in nursing seeks candidates whose previous academic 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 master’s degree in nursing from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing.
  • A minimum graduate cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or a B average.
  • For a non-APRN applicant, Pathophysiology, Pharmacotherapeutics, and Physical Assessment coursework must be taken at USM within 2 years of starting clinical practice.
  • Practicing APRN, the transcript must reflect the coursework in Pathophysiology, Pharmacotherapeutics, and Physical Assessment as individual courses.
  • Two years of acute care RN experience required for the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate of Advanced Study program.

A personal interview with graduate faculty of the School of Nursing may be requested following a preliminary review of all required admission materials.

In addition to the application materials, applicants to the post-master’s CAS are required to submit copies of all syllabi from the initial master’s program in nursing, documentation of total clinical hours, and identification of individual courses to which clinical practicum are embedded.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

General requirements

  • Application: Online application
  • Application fee:
    • In-state, out-of-state, and Canadian applicants: Free to apply
    • International applicants: Submit US $50 fee to apply
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Students whose first language is not English may be required to take one of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) or Duolingo. Applicants must submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information regarding test scores and requirements.

Additional requirements

  • Essay: A 500-word essay that addresses the following topics:
    • Understanding of how the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) can enhance one’s clinical practice and benefit the patient population.
    • Professional goals that will be supported by the CAS.
    • Experiences, capacity, and abilities brought to the CAS program.
    • Reasons for choosing the University of Southern Maine for this program.
  • Two letters of recommendation reflecting professional practice and academic achievement. Recommendations should come from individuals who are qualified, through direct experience with the applicant’s academic or professional work, to comment on the applicant’s ability to undertake graduate study and the chosen profession.
  • Evidence (photocopy or PDF) of an unencumbered registered nurse license in Maine.
  • Evidence (photocopy or PDF) of current state and national certification in a specialty (if appropriate).

International student instructions

View additional application requirements

English proficiency test scores

View test requirements

Where to send application materials

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