School of Nursing

MS in Nursing - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the lifespan)

The M.S. in Nursing presents a vibrant, challenging, future-oriented program of study that prepares graduates for practice in diverse health care settings. Coursework builds on the baccalaureate degree in nursing and is based on theory and research in nursing and related disciplines. The program provides the foundation for continued professional development and for doctoral study. Students are prepared to provide leadership and initiate collaborative relationships with others for the purposes of improving nursing and health care and influencing health policy. Master's students in nursing gain skill and knowledge that builds on their clinical experience and generalist undergraduate preparation. Graduate students extend their clinical expertise in working with individuals, families, and high risk populations. Master's students gain skills in clinical decision making and differential diagnosis; in case management and consultation; in client/patient teaching; in assessments and interventions; and in program design, implementation, and evaluation.

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) concentration prepares an advanced practice nurse with skills in therapeutic interventions and introduces medication management with individuals, families, and groups across the lifespan. Graduates who complete the PMHNP concentration are eligible to sit for national certification as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the lifespan).

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration is 4-6 semesters in length taking an average of 9-16 credits per semester and 6-8 semesters for students taking 6-9 credits per semester. A total of 53 credit hours is required for the Family Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration.

The number of required clinical hours (contact hours) is based on national certification examination requirements, not on a credit hour to contact hour basis. The PMHNP concentration has a total of 616 clinical hours: 168 hours in clinical semester one, 224 hours in clinical semester two, and 224 hours in clinical semester three.

Required courses (53 credits):
     BIO 545 Advanced Pathophysiology (must be taken prior to starting clinical)
     NUR 601 Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics (must be taken prior to starting clinical)
     NUR 602 Advanced Health Assessment (must be taken prior to starting clinical)
     NUR 603 Nursing Theory and Knowledge Development
     NUR 604 Nursing Research 
     NUR 606 Leadership, Health Policy, and Role
     NUR 658 Graduate Clinical Project
     NUR 671 Foundations of Advanced Practice Mental Health Nursing 
     NUR 672 Biological and Behavioral Components of Mental Health and Illness
     NUR 673 Clinical Practicum and Seminar I
     NUR 674 Advanced Psychiatric-Mental Health Care of Adults and Older Adults
     NUR 680 Advanced Psychopharmacology
     NUR 685 Advanced Psychiatric-Mental Health Care of Children, Adolescents, and Families 
     NUR 686 Clinical Practicum and Seminar III
     NUR 687 Advanced Psychiatric-Mental Health Care of Groups and Vulnerable Populations 
     NUR 688 Clinical Practicum and Seminar II
     NUR 690 Role Seminar
     Elective NUR 500/600 level course

Graduate Nursing Policies

Because the M.S. in nursing program includes supervised clinical experiences and our 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, 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 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 baccalaureate degree with a major in nursing from a degree program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing
  • 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 that includes descriptive and inferential statistics completed within the past five years with a grade of B- or higher
  • An undergraduate course in total health assessment
  • Test Scores: MAT or GRE taken within five years of application submission; not required for applicants with an advanced degree (Master's or Doctorate)
    • 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 resumé

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
  • Application fee: $65.00 paid through the online application.
  • 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.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Essay: A 500-word essay that addresses the following topics:
    • Understanding of the nurse practitioner role and reasons for becoming a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
    • 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
  • Letters of Recommendation: 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)
  • 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.

International Applicants

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: 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 edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.

We offer monthly Graduate Programs Information Sessions. Prospective students can meet with an Admissions counselor to discuss their questions. Register today.