School of Nursing

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

The Master of Science 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. Both full-time and part-time studies are available. 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 FPMHNP 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 
NUR 601 Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics
NUR 602 Advanced Health Assessment
NUR 603 Nursing Theory and Knowledge Development
NUR 604 Nursing Research 
NUR 606 Leadership, Health Policy, and Role
NUR 658 Graduate Clinical Project
NUR 660 Continuing Advanced Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Supervision
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 II
NUR 687 Advanced Psychiatric-Mental Health Care of Groups and Vulnerable Populations 
NUR 688 Clinical Practicum and Seminar III 
NUR 690 Role Seminar

Graduate Nursing Policies

Application Deadlines
  • Spring semester admission – October 1
  • Fall semester admission – April 1
Admission Information

Because the master of science 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 and Adult Gerontology Primary 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 which includes descriptive and inferential statistics completed within the past five years
  • An undergraduate course in total health assessment
  • Test Scores: MAT or GRE taken within 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
  • Evidence (photocopy) of unencumbered current licensure as a registered professional nurse in Maine
  • A 500 word essay that addresses the following topics:
  1. Understanding of the nurse practitioner role and reasons for becoming a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  2. Professional goals that will be supported by the Master of Science degree
  3. The experiences, capacity and abilities brought to a master’s program
  4. Reasons for choosing USM for this program

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


The School of Nursing offers monthly Graduate Programs Information Sessions. Interested students can meet with an Admissions counselor to discuss questions. Register today.

Prospective students also can contact the Office of Admissions for application information.

Apply Now!

Review deadlines and requirements in the Admission Information section above.

Along with the required materials outlined above, applicants need to complete the Graduate Nursing Program Selection Form.