Master of Science in Nursing

MS Students

Program Overview

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. Clinical content in the theory and practice of either adult health or community health nursing is selected based on previous experience and future goals.

The MS in Nursing program prepares nurse leaders who:

  • Synthesize specialized and diverse knowledge for application in nursing practice.
  • Apply principles of organization and system leadership to promote high quality and safe patient care to individuals, families, groups, and populations.
  • Apply quality principles within an organization.
  • Use evidence to guide nursing practice, address patient problems, and disseminate results.
  • Interpret information from a variety of healthcare technologies to integrate and coordinate care.
  • Influence health system and health policy to shape care delivery to individuals, families, groups, and populations across the lifespan.
  • Engage in inter-professional collaboration to promote health, guide clients through the illness experience, and improve the health system.
  • Apply the principles of culturally appropriate care to plan, deliver, manage, and evaluate healthcare individuals, families, groups, and populations.
  • Influence healthcare outcomes through nursing practice by integrating advanced scientific, clinical, and systems knowledge.

Faculty and principal area of expertise

  • Deborah Armstrong, Assistant Professor; PhD, University of Massachusetts Worcester; Spinal cord injury, Pathophysiology
  • Marilyn Asselin,  Associate Professor; PhD, University of Rhode Island; Reflection in practice, knowledge, utilization, leadership, reflective teaching practice, qualitative methodology
  • Maryellen Brisbois, Assistant Professor; PhD, APHN-BC, University of Massachusetts Worcester; Breast cancer among Latinas, disparities
  • Elizabeth Chin, Assistant Professor; PhD, University of Massachusetts Worcester; COPD, self-management, symptom management, qualitative methodology, learning differences
  • Susan Hunter Revell, Associate Professor; PhD, University of Rhode Island; Spinal cord injury, technology in the classroom, theory
  • Mary McCurry, DNP Graduate Program Director, Associate Professor; PhD,RNC, ANP, ACNP, Boston College; Decision making, family care givers,technology in the classroom, theory and philosophy of nursing science
  • Gail Russell, Professor Emeritus; EdD, NEA-BC, Columbia University; Leadership in health systems
  • Kristen Sethares, Graduate Program Director of PhD, Professor; PhD, CNE, Boston College; Chronic cardiac illness, self care, symptom management, quantitative methodology
  • Janet Sobczak, Associate Professor; PhD, PMHNP-BC, PPCNS-BC, Medical School of Georgia; Substance addictions, Eating disorders, Trauma, Women's mental health, Sexuality Qualitative methods, Mixed methods
  • Caitlin Stover, Interim Graduate Program Director of MS, Assistant Professor; PhD, RN, PHCNS-BC, CNE, University of Massachusetts Worcester; Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender health care, community program planning and evaluation

 Degree and certificate options

The Master of Science in Nursing offers the choice of two clinical practice areas; adult health or community health nursing—and two functional role 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 Transitions Advancing Nursing Practice 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,  or 547) 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 MS 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, or be eligible for licensure; Please submit a copy of your license.
  • 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 between 200-300 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
  • the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education
  • professional groups and community agencies

Faculty have numerous small grants from internal and external sources. Dr. Kristen Sethares’ is widely published for her work on congestive heart failure and patient self-care.

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, Associate 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

Caitlin Stover, PhD, RN, PHCNS-BC, CNE
MS Interim Program Director

Please forward all credentials to:

Office of Graduate Studies

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

508.999.8604 voice
508.999.8183 fax