Nursing — RN to Master of Science Degree Program

Program Type
Master’s Program
Master of Science (MS)
Mode of Study
In Person

Tuition per credit hour

In-state: $432.
Out-of-state: $1,250. New England residents may qualify for tuition break. See details and other costs

Credit hours

Most courses are equal to 3 credit hours. Browse course list

Financial aid

Over 150 graduate assistantships available with stipend & tuition assistance, plus scholarship & fellowship opportunities. Explore aid


No application fee. No GRE required. Apply by April 1 for fall term, November 1 for spring term. View application process & deadlines

Program Highlights

  • Earn your degree on your terms: Study full-time and finish in as few as 12 months or study part-time and finish in 2 years.
  • Tailor the degree to your goals: Choose to specialize in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GACNP); Nursing Administration and Leadership; Nursing Education; Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP); or Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).
  • Save time by transferring up to 30 credits from an associate’s degree in nursing.
  • Gain academic credit for the nursing skills and knowledge you’ve already acquired.
A nursing student smiles while looking over a text book.

Program requirements

This program facilitates and supports educational mobility and strengthens the leadership abilities of nurses who already have professional experience. When required undergraduate courses have been completed, you can proceed directly into the master’s program, bypassing the baccalaureate degree.

A student sits at a table and takes notes during class.

Get credit for what you've learned

Gain academic credit for skills and knowledge you've acquired. We offer qualified students exams, reviews of professional credentials, and an academic portfolio process, all of which can save you time and money as you earn your degree.

A nursing faculty member and student sit with a patient in a medical office.

Career opportunities

Enhance your career through graduate study. Transition to a new career in Nursing Education or as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GACNP), Nursing Administration and Leadership; or Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).

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


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).

A nursing student practices a technique on a simulation mannequin.

Learning spaces

We offer robust learning environments. Expand upon your clinical skill set, using both traditional and state-of-the-art technology in our simulation labs.

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).

A nurse in blue scrubs adjusts an IV bag.

Hands-on learning

Clinical placement varies by your area of academic concentration. Specialty areas include family practice, internal medicine, cardiology, endocrinology, women’s health, pulmonology, dermatology, orthopedics, and pediatrics, to name a few.

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.

Graduate students attend their orientation in a lecture hall, with a staff member speaking at a podium.

Graduate student support

Our Office of Graduate Studies connects you with opportunities for professional development, scholarships, and graduate assistantships. They also foster our graduate student community through Peer Mentorship and the Graduate Student Board.

Two women sit at a table and review paperwork together.

Scholarship opportunities

Scholarships offer financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. We encourage students in graduate degree programs to apply for scholarship opportunities.

A rocky river with mountains in the background and, bordered by tree with autumn-colored leaves.

Do you live in New England?

You may be eligible for a special reduced tuition rate, as part of the New England Regional Student Program (RSP).

A woman in a red sweater sits and works on a laptop.

Connect with us

Our monthly Graduate Information Sessions are an excellent way to learn more about the benefits of our program, as well as our admissions and financial process.

You may also be interested in…
Next Steps

Our graduate admissions counselors are here to answer your questions about the admissions process, our academic programs, and student support services.

Students walk down the sidewalk by Wishcamper Center on the Portland campus on a sunny day.

Admission information: Nursing — RN to Master of Science Degree Program

Application deadlines

Application deadlineFall term start
All applicantsApril 1
Applications will be reviewed after the deadline.

Areas of Specialization:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GACNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the lifespan; PMHNP)

Because the MS in Nursing program includes supervised clinical experiences and the desire to maintain a high-quality program, the nursing faculty reserves the right to limit enrollments. The number of students accepted varies by program (Family Nurse, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner) and is based on clinical cohorts. Admission to the program is highly selective. 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.

  • An associate degree or diploma in nursing from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing.
  • Students with a GPA less than 3.0 may submit GRE/MAT scores to be considered.
  • An undergraduate course in Microbiology with a grade of B- or better.
  • An undergraduate course in introductory statistics that includes descriptive and inferential statistics completed with a grade of B- or better.
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner applicants: Two years of acute care experience as an RN or two years of NP experience.
  • Current and unencumbered registered nurse license in Maine.

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

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

General requirements

  • Application: Online application
  • Application fee: Waived for all applicants
  • 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 the nurse practitioner role, and reasons for becoming a nurse practitioner or nurse educator.
    • Professional goals that will be supported by the Master of Science Degree.
    • The experiences, capacity, and abilities brought to a master’s 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.

International student instructions

View additional application requirements

English proficiency test scores

View test requirements

Where to send application materials

Get our mailing address and email address

Applications in progress

Check the status of your application