University of Southern Maine School of Nursing (USM)

The University of Southern Maine (USM) School of Nursing offers several undergraduate and graduate nursing programs including the BSN, MSN, and DNP degree programs. They also offer the ABSN, RN to BSN and RN to MSN degree programs as well as several Nurse Practitioner (NP) pathways. Students Schools Scholarships

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  • Accreditations CCNE Accredited
  • Location Portland, Maine
  • Programs BSN, DNP, MSN, RN-to-MSN, RN-to-BSN, Entry-Level BSN, MSN-to-DNP, NP, Accelerated BSN, Post-grad Certificate, Other
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The University of Southern Maine (USM), founded in 1878, is a public institution.


BS in Nursing

Graduates will have completed the minimum 120 credits of study and are then eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Accelerated BS in Nursing

At a 15-month full time study, students who hold a bachelor's degree in a discipline other than nursing can complete the nursing program. Previous academic and life experiences are considered for credit. Graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN.

Accelerated BS Program Requirements (not all inclusive)

  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university or college
  • Anatomy & Physiology I, II (all body systems)
  • College/university statistics
  • Minimum GPA of 3.3 in prior baccalaureate or higher degree

RN to BS

There are two options available. One leads to a Bachelor of Science degree and the other leads to a Master of Science degree.

Admission Requirements (not all inclusive)

  • Graduate of diploma or associate degree nursing program
  • Current RN licensure in Maine
  • 2.5 GPA or better


MS in Nursing

The Master of Science in Nursing program is a challenging program that builds upon the undergraduate foundation of nursing.

MS in Nursing (A-GPCNP)

The Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GPCNP) track is for those interested in functioning as a primary care practitioner to adolescents, adults, and older adults. Upon successful graduation of the program, students are eligible to sit for the national certification as an adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner.

MS in Nursing (Education)

The Nursing Education track is designed for nurses who would like to teach in an entry-level nursing program. The educator is eligible to teach didactic and clinical courses. Successful graduates are eligible to take the Nurse Educator Certification as well as meet the educational criteria for the National League for Nursing (NLN).

MS in Nursing (FNP)

The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) track prepares nurses to practice as an advanced practitioner for individuals, families, groups, and communities. Successful completion of the program leads to national certification as a family nurse practitioner.

Master of Science for Certified or State-Approved Advanced Practice Nurses

The Master of Science degree program is designed for nurses who do not hold a baccalaureate degree or master's degree in nursing. The length of the program varies.

Program Requirements (not all inclusive)

Students without a baccalaureate degree must complete additional undergraduate coursework required in the RN to MS program.  Certified and state approved Advanced Practice RN to MS students are not required to take undergraduate health assessment, Microbiology, pathophysiology, or NUR 419 Community Nursing Partnerships for RNs Clinical.

For women's health nurse practitioners, an articulation agreement regarding course credit review has been established with Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Graduates of other programs will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Option for Non-Nurses with Baccalaureate Degrees

Students who hold a baccalaureate degree in another field have an option to complete a master's degree in nursing in three years, at a full time study.  Previous academic and life experiences are considered.  Students must successfully complete a specified series of basic nursing courses including 9 graduate credits taken in the Summer of the second year.  Students then must take the NCLEX-RN and become licensed as a registered nurse in Maine. Those who do not pass the NCLEX-RN prior to the first graduate clinical practicum will stop program progression. Upon successful completion of all graduate courses, a Master of Science in Nursing is awarded.

MS in Nursing (PMHNP)

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program focuses on therapeutic interventions and introduces medication management.  Successful graduates are eligible to sit for national certification as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the lifespan).

RN to Master of Science for Registered Nurses

The RN to Master of Science degree focuses on leadership for nurses who already have professional experience. When undergraduate courses are complete, students proceed into the master's program, bypassing the baccalaureate degree.

The program can be completed at a full time status in about 12-18 months. Part-time study is an option. Credit may be given to nurses who have previously attained knowledge and skills.

Areas of Specialization

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GPCNP)


Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Program Requirements (not all inclusive)

The student is required to have Microbiology with lab, Pathophysiology, General Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, Multicultural Human Development, and Statistics; complete USM core curriculum (unless student possesses a baccalaureate degree previously).

Admission Information (not all inclusive)

The MSN program includes supervised clinical experiences.  Enrollment is limited and the number of students accepted varies, based on clinical cohorts. 

  • Associate degree or diploma in nursing from CCNE or NLN
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average 3.0 or B average
  • Undergraduate introductory statistics completed within the past five years
  • MAT or GRE taken within five years
  • Current resume
  • Personal interview (upon faculty request)

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Students with an MSN are required to participate and complete a final project that consists of approximately 500 hours. Additional entry options are slated for the future.

Program Requirements (not all inclusive)

The DNP program is an online program with two Saturday on-campus sessions each semester. 36 credits are required for completion.  Residency hours (500 minimum) are accrued while working on the DNP project.  When added to the clinical hours obtained in the applicant's master's program, the total should be a minimum of 1,000 contact hours.

Admission Information (not all inclusive)

  • Applicants with a master's degree as an advanced practice nurse (NP, CNS, CNM, CRNA) are eligible to apply.  Each application for admission will be evaluated based on the following recommended standards:
  • A master's degree in nursing from a degree program accredited by CCNE or NLN
  • Graduate minimum cumulative 3.25 GPA
  • Graduate Statistics taken within 5 years (or during 1st year of DNP matriculation); minimum grade of B
  • Essay
  • 3 letters of reference
  • Unencumbered RN license
  • National certification as APRN including state certification (if applicable)
  • Verification of post-baccalaureate clinical practice hours
  • Official transcripts from previous educational institutions
  • Current resume
  • Formal interview (upon faculty request)

Certificate of Advanced Study in Nursing - Post-Masters

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Family Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Admission Requirements (no all inclusive)

Admission requirements are the same as the admission criteria and process of all other graduate applicants.  Students must submit copies of all syllabi from initial master's program in nursing, documentation of total clinical hours, and identification of individual courses to which clinical practicum are imbedded.

Each application will be evaluated based on the following recommended standards:

  • Master's degree in nursing from a program accredited by the CCNE or NLN
  • Minimum graduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or a B average
  • Current resume
  • Personal interview (upon faculty request)

Certificate in Foundations of Holistic Health

The Foundations of Holistic Health certificate program is a unique certification for those interested in exploring the realm of complementary healing. Most courses are available online, and required courses must be completed in a maximum of three years.


US News & World Report (2019)

  • #142-#187 in Regional Universities North
  • #201 (tie) in Best Nursing Schools: Master's

Niche (2019)

  • Best College Locations in America #145 of 1,553
  • Most Liberal Colleges in America #472 of 687
  • Most Diverse Colleges in America #1,204 of 1,592
  • Best College Locations in Maine #1 of 15
  • Most Liberal Colleges in Maine #5 of 8
  • Most Diverse Colleges in Maine #8 of 12


The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited the baccalaureate and master's programs.

The University of Southern Maine is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

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