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Master of Science In Nursing

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Program Overview

For fall matriculation
Apply by March 15

MS and DNP Programs
Download the fact sheet

Information Sessions

Thurs. July 10
, 2014

Tues. August 19, 2014

Wed. Sept 24, 2014

Mon. October 20, 2014

Tues. November 18, 2014

Mon. December 8
, 2014

Tues. January 21, 2015


Time: 4:00pm-6:00pm
Room: Textile, Lower Level, Room 012A

RSVP to Victoria Vital at 508.910.6487 or by Email

Directions to the campus

Map of the campus

The graduate of the Master of Science Program in Nursing will provide leadership in nursing management and nursing education. The program fosters scholarship, critical thinking and creativity. The program offers clinical content in the theory and practice of either adult health or community health nursing and functional content in either nursing management or nursing education. It lays the foundation for further study in a PhD in Nursing program.

The MS in Nursing program prepares nurse leaders who will:

  • Role model nursing practice that respects human dignity and embodies ethical responsibility and interpersonal connectedness.
  • Collaborate with patients and families to address complex health issues for individual patients and populations across the health care delivery spectrum.
  • Evaluate aggregate outcomes of nursing care using accepted professional standards and evidence-based benchmarks to effect quality of care within and across systems.
  • Implement evidence based nursing strategies that have been developed, tailored and evaluated with clients to maximize health.
  • Synthesize specialized and diverse knowledge for application in nursing practice, nursing management and/or nursing education.
  • Assume a leadership role in advancing, fostering and maintaining nursing values and standards.
  • Influence nursing practices and health policy to shape care delivery to diverse and vulnerable populations.
  • Assume a leadership role in collaboration with interdisciplinary team members and community partners to promote health, guide clients through the illness experiences and to improve the health system.

Faculty and principal area of expertise

  • Deborah Armstrong, Lecturer; PhD, University of Massachusetts Worcester; Spinal cord injury, Pathophysiology
  • Marilyn Asselin, Associate Professor; PhD, University of Rhode Island; Reflection in practice
  • Elizabeth Chin, Lecturer; PhD, University of Massachusetts Worcester; Chronic Illness
  • Kathleen Elliot, Lecturer; Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Kerry Fater, Director, Professor; PhD, CNE, University of Connecticut; Professional competence, professional development, curriculum development, education
  • Kathryn Gramling, Associate Professor; PhD, University of Colorado; Relational ontology, theory, aesthetics
  • Ruth Griffin, Assistant Professor; DNSc, Columbia University; Mental Health, Post-partum depression, chronic mental illness, children’s pain
  • Susan Hunter Revell, Assistant Professor; PhD, University of Rhode Island; Spinal cord injury, technology in the classroom
  • Mary McCurry, Associate Professor; PhD, Boston College; Decision making, family care givers,technology in the classroom
  • Gail Russell, Professor, EdD, NEA-BC, Columbia University; Leadership in health systems
  • Kristen Sethares, Associate Professor; PhD, CNE, Boston College; Congestive heart failure, self care
  • Barbara Weatherford,  Assistant Professor; PhD, University of Massachusetts Worcester; Organizational culture and patient care safety, leadership

 Degree and certificate options

The Master of Science in Nursing offers the choice of two clinical content areas; adult health or community health nursing—and two functional content areas; nursing management or nursing education:

  • Adult Health/Nurse Manager
  • Adult Health/Nurse Educator
  • Community Health/Nurse Manager
  • Community Health/Nurse Educator

In addition, the Graduate Admissions Program (GAP) is open to registered nurses who hold a BS or BA degree in another field. GAP students take NUR 503 Transition to Advanced Practice Nursing in which they complete a portfolio that documents how they attained undergraduate nursing program outcome objectives. With an academic advisor, students review this portfolio and select an additional courses that rounds out their undergraduate preparation.

Finally, an RN-BS student with GPA of 3.3 or better and the recommendation of the RN-BS program director may take up to 9 graduate credits (from among the following courses: NUR 500, 511, 520, 550 or 605) that count as undergraduate electives. If the student applies and is admitted to graduate study immediately after receiving the BS degree, the courses will also count toward the MS degree.

Program Requirements

In addition to UMD admission criteria, applicants to the DNP program must:

  • Have a GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate study.
  • Hold a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from a program accredited by the NLNAC or CCNE. Registered Nurses with a bachelor degree in a related field may seek admission through the GAP program.
  • Hold a current license to practice professional nursing in MA
  • Have at least one year of clinical experience in acute care nursing
  • Submit a sample of professional writing
  • Submit three references that document competence and leadership in professional nursing practice. If possible, one reference should be from a supervisor who is a professional nurse that holds an MS in Nursing and one from a nurse educator.
  • GRE is NOT required.
  • Applications are due March 15 for Fall matriculation.

Degree Requirements

MS students complete 39 academic credits that include over 500 hours of mentored professional practice. In addition, students complete a capstone project that involves the design, implementation and evaluation of an evidence based innovation in nursing practice, nursing education or nursing management.

Program Highlights

The nursing faculty create rich and meaningful student experiences that build on undergraduate education and clinical competencies and address the career aspirations of the student. Classroom, laboratory, and practice-based professional experiences are structured to expand the skills and grow the confidence of the student as nurse leaders. The support and collaboration of community partners—both nurses and health care agencies—are an essential component of this program

Faculty Research

The faculty of the College of Nursing conduct research in two broad areas—living with chronic illness and innovations in nursing education. Support for this work comes from a variety of sources:

  • the US Department of Health Education and Welfare
  • National Science Foundation
  • the National Institutes of Health
  • the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education
  • professional groups and community agencies

Faculty have numerous small grants from internal and external sources. Recently, Dr. Kristen Sethares’ work on heart failure and patient self-care was recognized when she was an invited presenter at the Chancellor’s Colloquium.

The faculty of the College of Nursing are recognized experts and are actively involved in service projects in southeastern Massachusetts and beyond. Our faculty serve as consultants for our practice partners and professional groups. Faculty are frequently invited speakers at professional meetings and give peer-reviewed poster and podium presentations throughout the US. Many faculty volunteer for local, regional, national and international health initiatives.


The UMD graduate nursing program opened in the late 1980s and has produced over 230 MS graduates who work in southeastern Massachusetts and beyond. In 2007, the PhD in Nursing admitted its first cohort of students and has grown steadily. In 2011, the new DNP program will address the new certification requirements for advanced practice nurses. The revised MS program will address the critical shortage of nurse educators and prepare nurse managers to assume a leading role in health care reform.

Many graduates continue their affiliation with the College of Nursing by serving as preceptors, mentors, clinical instructors and guest lecturers for our students. We are very proud of the many accomplishments of our graduates and their continuing commitment to UMD. Some examples are:

  • Dr. Mary McCurry, Assistant Professor and DNP Program Coordinator here at UMass Dartmouth, is a graduate of the ANP track of the MS program.
  • Janine Fontaine, Director, Maternal and Infant Services, SouthCoast Health System graduated from the Community Nursing track.
  • Carol Billington, Vice President, Patient Care Services, St. Anne's Steward Hospital graduated from the Adult Health track.

Contact information

Kerry Fater, PhD, RN, CNE
MS Program Director
Dion 308-C

Please forward all credentials to:

Office of Graduate Studies

UMass Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300


508-999-8604 voice
508-999-8183 fax