School of Nursing

MS in Nursing - Option for Non-Nurses with Baccalaureate or Higher Degrees

This program allows students who hold a baccalaureate or higher degree in another field to earn a master's degree in nursing in three years of full-time study. Students enrolled in this program build their undergraduate and graduate nursing courses upon previous academic and life experiences. Admission is competitive and limited. This program requires full-time enrollment in the planned sequence of study.

During the first year, students admitted to the Option program must successfully complete a specified series of basic nursing courses. Upon completion of the 9 graduate credits taken in the summer of the second year, students must sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and become licensed as a registered nurse in Maine. Failure to pass the NCLEX-RN prior to the first graduate clinical practicum will stop progression in the program. Upon successful completion of all graduate courses, a Master of Science in Nursing is conferred.

Prerequisite Course Requirements

The following courses must be completed with a minimum grade of B-, prior to beginning the program in May:
     Introductory Statistics course completed within the past five years
     Anatomy and Physiology I and II or equivalent
     Microbiology

Due to the intensity of the MS Option Program, and to reduce the number of credits during the first summer (Summer I), it is strongly recommended that students complete one or more of the following undergraduate courses with a grade of B- or above (USM course or equivalent); Pathophysiology, Health-Related Research, Concepts in Community Health, and Pharmacology.

  • If courses are taken at an institution other than USM, transcripts must be requested by the student at the completion of the course(s) and forwarded to the School of Nursing to be placed in the student's academic file.
  • All remaining courses not completed prior to matriculation will be incorporated into the first summer course schedule (Summer I).
  • All courses completed prior to matriculation and considered for transfer must have a grade of B- or above.

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 Practitioner, 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 minimum of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • A minimum undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 3.3 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; Anatomy and Physiology I and II or equivalent; and Microbiology. These courses must be completed with a minimum grade of B-.
  • 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
  • Current resumé
  • 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: November 1 for Summer semester entry

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 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)
  • 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.

Sample: Full-time 3-year program sequence

Year 1, Summer Semester
BIO 345 Pathophysiology
CON 521 Health-Related Research for MS Option Students
CON 556 Concepts in Community Health for MS Option Students
NUR 502 Pharmacology for MS Option Students
NUR 508 Health Assessment Lab for MS Option Students
NUR 509 Health Assessment for MS Option Students
NUR 511 Nursing Role for MS Option Students
NUR 512 Nursing Arts and Science for MS Option Students
NUR 514 Fundamentals in Nursing Lab for MS Option Students
Total Credits: 23

Year 1, Fall Semester
NUR 530/531 Mental Health Nursing for MS Option Students and Clinical
NUR 532 Nursing Care of the Older Adult in the Community for MS Option Students
NUR 538 Community Nursing Partnership Clinical for MS Option Students
NUR 541/542 Adult/Older Adult Health Nursing for MS Option Students and Clinical
NUR 507 Intermediate Nursing Skills Lab for MS Option Students
Total Credits: 17
 
Year 1, Spring Semester
NUR 513 Advanced Nursing Skills Lab for MS Option Students
NUR 516 Child Health Nursing Clinical for MS Option Students
NUR 523/526 Management of the Critically Ill Adult/Older Adult for MS Option Students and Clinical
NUR 543/544 Reproductive and Sexual Health Nursing for MS Option Students and Clinical
NUR 545 Child Health Nursing for MS Option Students
NUR 520 Reproductive and Pediatric Skills and Simulation
Total Credits: 18

Year 1 Total Credits - 58

Year 2
Begin study in one of the following advanced practice nursing concentrations:
     Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
     Family Nurse Practitioner
     Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the lifespan)

See appropriate sections below for sample program sequences

Year 2, Summer Semester – All Concentrations
NUR 601 Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics
NUR 603 Nursing Theory and Knowledge Development
NUR 606 Leadership, Health Policy, and Role
Total credits: 9

Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration (FNP) and
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Concentration (A-GPCNP)

Year 2, Fall Semester
BIO 545 Advanced Pathophysiology
NUR 602 Advanced Health Assessment
NUR 604 Nursing Research
NUR 608 Applied Theories of Advanced Interpersonal Skills
Total credits: 13

Year 2, Spring Semester
NUR 650 Primary Care of the Adolescent
NUR 651 Women’s Health
NUR 652 Primary Care Management of the Well Child (FNP only)
NUR 654 Prenatal Care in Primary Care (FNP only)
NUR 664 Primary Health Care of the Adult I
NUR 667 Clinical Practicum and Seminar I
Total credits: 10 for FNP, 10 for A-GPCNP

Year 3, Summer Semester
Elective NUR 500/600 level course (can be taken in any semester)
Total credits: 3

Year 3, Fall Semester 
NUR 653 Primary Care of the Child with Episodic Illness (FNP only)
NUR 658 Graduate Clinical Project
NUR 665 Primary Health Care of the Adult II
NUR 668 Clinical Practicum and Seminar II
Total credits: 11 for FNP, 9 for A-GPCNP

Year 3, Spring Semester
NUR 666 Primary Health Care of the Adult III 
NUR 669 Clinical Practicum and Seminar III 
NUR 690 Role Seminar
Total credits: 7

Years 2 and 3 Total Credits: 53-55
Total Program Credits: 111-113


Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the lifespan)

Year 2, Fall Semester
BIO 545 Advanced Pathophysiology
NUR 671 Foundations of Advanced Practice Mental Health Nursing
NUR 672 Biological and Behavioral Components of Mental Health and Illness
NUR 680 Advanced Psychopharmacology
Total credits: 12

Year 2, Spring Semester
NUR 602 Advanced Health Assessment
NUR 604 Nursing Research
NUR 673 Clinical Practicum and Seminar I
NUR 674 Advanced Psychiatric-Mental Health Care of Adults and Older Adults
Total credits: 13

Year 3, Summer Semester
Elective NUR 500/600 level course
Total credits: 3

Year 3, Fall Semester
NUR 658 Graduate Clinical Project
NUR 687 Advanced Psychiatric-Mental Health Care of Groups and Vulnerable Populations
NUR 688 Clinical Practicum and Seminar II
Total credits: 9

Year 3, Spring Semester
NUR 685 Advanced Psychiatric-Mental Health Care of Children, Adolescents, and Families
NUR 686 Clinical Practicum and Seminar III
NUR 690 Role Seminar
Total credits: 7

Years 2 and 3 Total Credits: 53
Total Program Credits: 111

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