MS in Nursing - RN to Master of Science Degree Program for Registered Nurses
The R.N. to M.S. degree program has been created specifically for registered nurses whose career goals will be enhanced through graduate study. The program facilitates and supports educational mobility and strengthens the leadership abilities of nurses who already have a foundation of professional experience. When required undergraduate courses have been completed, students in this program proceed directly into the master's program, bypassing the baccalaureate degree.
Full time students may complete the required junior and senior undergraduate nursing courses in 12-18 months. Part-time study is also possible. The R.N. completes courses in new areas of content, and credit may be given for previously attained knowledge and skills.
The R.N. to M.S. program is built upon prerequisites to the nursing major that include courses in the natural and behavioral sciences and core courses required of all undergraduate students at USM.
The following areas of specialization are offered in the graduate program for R.N. to M.S. applicants:
- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GACNP)
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GPCNP)
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the lifespan; PMHNP)
The R.N. to M.S. program is built upon prerequisites to the nursing major: Microbiology with lab, Pathophysiology, Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, Multicultural Human Development, and Statistics. In addition, the student must complete the USM Core curriculum, unless they have completed a prior baccalaureate degree.
The graduate portion of the RN to MS program in nursing is 4-6 academic semesters for full time study with students taking an average of 9-15 credits per semester. A part-time study option is also available. Students must complete the program, including both undergraduate and graduate courses, within six years.
Required Undergraduate Nursing Courses
CON 356 Concepts in Community Health (3 cr)
NUR 308 Concepts of Professional Nursing Practice* (3 cr)
NUR 309 Health Assessment for RNs (3 cr)
NUR 310 Health Assessment for RNs Lab (1 cr)
NUR 314 RN Credit Option (30 cr)
NUR 321 Health-Related Research (3 cr)
NUR 419 Community Nursing Partnerships for RNs Clinical** (2 cr)
*Not required if RN has completed a baccalaureate degree in another field.
**NUR 419 may not be taken unless RN credit options have been completed and posted.
Credits-by-examination may be earned in select non-nursing courses. These include College Writing, Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, Multicultural Human Development, Statistics, and Microbiology. Contact the Office for Prior Learning Assessment, (207) 780-4663, for an appointment or information.
Sequencing of Courses
Some courses and credits-by-examination have prerequisites that must be completed prior to enrollment. Some prerequisites may transfer into USM from another accredited institution; others may be taken at USM.
Upon completion of all undergraduate courses, the RN to MS student enrolls in graduate courses. All graduate courses are required, and concentrations total 38 to 55 credits. Please refer to the MS degree pages for sample plans of study for each concentration.
Basic Nursing Credits
The School of Nursing recognizes 30 credits (NUR 314) for basic nursing courses transferred from an associate degree (ADN) program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing at the time the degree was awarded. These credits are applied toward fulfillment of the undergraduate requirements for RN students who have successfully completed NUR 308 Concepts of Professional Nursing Practice.
RNs graduating from a diploma program will be awarded the basic nursing credits (30) upon successful completion of NUR 308 Concepts of Professional Nursing Practice. Additional information may be obtained through the Office for Prior Learning Assessment.
Because the M.S. 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 Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care 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 associate degree/diploma 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
- A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or a B average
- An undergraduate course in introductory statistics that includes descriptive and inferential statistics completed within the past five years with a grade of B- or better
- Test Scores: MAT or GRE taken within five years of application submission; not required for applicants with an advanced degree (Master's or Doctorate) or students who have received a 3.0 or higher in their bachelors degree
- Miller Analogy Test (MAT): A score that ranks in the 45th percentile or higher for intended major
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Verbal reasoning score of 153 or higher; quantitative reasoning score of 147 or higher; and minimum of 4.0 on the analytic writing sample
- Current resumé or CV
- 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.
A personal interview with graduate faculty of the School of Nursing may be requested following a preliminary review of all required admission materials.
Application Procedures and Required Materials
Application Deadline: April 1 for Fall semester
Applicants are required to provide the following materials:
- Application: Online Application
- 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.
- A resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
- 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 M.S. degree
- The experiences, capacity, and abilities brought to a master’s program
- Reasons for choosing USM for this program
- Two letters of recommendation reflecting professional practice and academic achievement Recommendations should be from individuals who are qualified, through direct experience with your academic or professional work, to comment on your ability to undertake graduate study and your chosen profession.
- MAT or GRE taken within five years of application submission; not required for applicants with an advanced degree (Master's or Doctorate) or students who have received a 3.0 or higher in their bachelors degree
- Evidence (photocopy) of unencumbered current licensure as a registered professional nurse in Maine
- TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.
In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:
- Official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
- Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
- International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.
Applicants whose first language is not English
Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.
Where to send transcripts and application materials
Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:
Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412
Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to firstname.lastname@example.org. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to email@example.com.
For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.