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Credit Hour Requirements for all students

The School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing each fulfill the federal definition of a credit hour. Each school determines the appropriate number of credit hours for each course, consistent with the federal definition. Students must be enrolled for a minimum of nine credit hours each semester to be considered a fulltime student.

Programs Offered

The Graduate Entry Pathway (GEP) is designed as an alternate pathway into Advanced Practice Nursing for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing, who are not registered nurses, and who seek a graduate degree in nursing as a professional registered nurse, nurse practitioner or nurse researcher. 

The Master’s and the Post-Graduate Certificate Programs prepare registered nurses as Nurse Educators, Nurses with Population Health experience and Nurse Practitioners (Family Nurse Practitioners, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Tracks.) 

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program is designed to prepare graduates in advanced practice nursing specialties for careers in clinical practice with diverse populations, organizational and systems leadership in health care systems, and clinical nursing education in professional nursing programs

The PhD in Nursing program focuses on the development and transformation of scholars who will lead the discipline of nursing.   

Program Design

The mission, goals, and expected program outcomes of the Graduate School of Nursing and the UMass Medical School  are congruent. 

The goals of the GSN are to:

1. Prepare advanced practice nurses, leaders, educators, and scientists to shape health care delivery through the integration of education, research, practice, and service; and

2. Create a dynamic research environment to conduct multi-method research where findings are translated into practice; and integrate faculty and student practice to meet mutually prioritized health needs through innovative education, practice, public service, and research.


Courses offered at the Graduate School of Nursing re listed below by program.

Graduate Entry Pathway Program

NG508: Pharmacology for Nursing I

NG509: Pharmacology for Nursing II

NG510: Concepts in Professional Nursing

NG511: Biomedical Sciences I

NG512: Biomedical Sciences II

NG513: Health Assessment and Skills I

NG514: Health Assessment and Skills II

NG516A/B: Nursing I: Care of Persons with Acute and Chronic Conditions/Clinical

NG517A/B: Nursing II: Care of Persons with Acute and Chronic Conditions/Clinical

NG518A/B: Nursing III: Care of the Childbearing and Child Rearing Family/Clinical

NG519A/B: Nursing IV: Clinical Capstone/Leadership & Management

NG522: Transitions to Professional Practice


Master's Program

N/NG603A: Societal Forces Influencing Graduate Nursing Education and Practice

N/NG603B: Inter-professional and Population Health Community Service Learning Practicum

N/NG604: Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice

N/NG704: Principles of Epidemiology

N/NG719: Genetics, Genomics and Pharmacogenomics


Advanced Practice Core Courses

N/NG613: Advanced Pathophysiology

N/NG614: Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics

N/NG615A/B: Advanced Health Assessment/Practicum


Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Courses

N/NG630A/B: Advanced Nursing Science: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Theory I/Practicum

N/NG631A/B: Advanced Nursing Science: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Theory II/Practicum


Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Courses

N/NG640A/B: Advanced Nursing Science: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Theory I/Practicum

N/NG641A/B: Advanced Nursing Science: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Theory II/Practicum


Family Nurse Practitioner Courses

N/NG659: Advanced Nursing Science: Maternal and Child Care for the FNP

N/NG660A/B: Advanced Nursing Science:  Family Nurse Practitioner Theory I/Practicum

N/NG661A/B: Advanced Nursing Science:  Family Nurse Practitioner Theory II/Practicum


Nurse Educator Courses

N/NG620: Advanced Nursing Science: Teaching and Curriculum Development for Nurse Educators

N/NG621B: Clinical Practicum for Nurse Educators

N/NG622: Advanced Nursing Science: Advanced Instructional Methods for Nurse Educators

N/NG623: Advanced Nursinsg Science: Identifying and Measuring Outcomes for Nurse Educators

N/NG624: Advanced Nursing Science: Systems Leadership for Nurse Educators

N/NG625B:  Advanced Nursing Science Teaching Practicum for Nurse Educators


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Courses

N705: Trends Influencing the Doctor of Nursing Practice

N706: Health Policy for Health Care Professionals

N707: Biomedical Informatics

N708: Organizational Systems and Health Care Financing

N709: Capstone Projects Prospectus

N710: Clinical Scholarship and Analytic Methods

N723: Quality and Patient Safety in Health Care Organizations

N770: Doctor of Nursing Practice Residency I

N771: Doctor of Nursing Practice Residency II

N772: Doctor of Nursing Practice Capstone Project I

N773: Doctor of Nursing Practice Capstone Project II

N774: Doctor of Nursing Practice Advanced Practice Residency I

N775: Doctor of Nursing Practice Advacned Practice Residency II


PhD Courses

N800: Health and Philosophy of Nursing Science

N801: Qualitative Research Methods

N802: Quantitative Research Methods

N803: Theory

N804: Measurement and Instrumentation in Clinical Research

N809 Dissertation Seminar

N810: Doctoral Practicum

N812: Health Literacy in Research and Practice

N813: Grant & Proposal Writing

N814: Genomics for Clinical Practice and Research

N815: Statistical Analysis of data

N816: Scholarly Writing in Nursing

N820: Essentials for Academic Health Educators

N890: Advanced Statistics

Foundations of Medicine 1 (FOM1)

Foundations of Medicine 1 (FOM1) courses introduce students to the concepts that lay the foundation for their medical school learning and professional practice. Courses are co-led by teams of scientists and clinicians in order to support concept integration and balance of learning the science and art of medicine. Topics build from the microscopic with basics of genes, cell structure and function through gross organ systems and imaging, to core concepts of pharmacology to address pathophysiologic, oncologic and infectious processes. Threaded throughout are principles of patient communication, physical exam, problem-solving and the impact of social determinants of health on wellness.   Students work with their Learning Communities mentor to begin to identify a Capstone project. All grading in this year is credit/no credit and courses are reviewed annually.   

For more information on specific FOM1 courses, click here (FOM1)

Foundations of Medicine 2 (FOM2)

Foundations of Medicine 2 (FOM2) courses build on the foundations laid in FOM1 and expand student knowledge and experience to detailed understanding of pathophysiologic states through a spiral curriculum.  This model allows a return to organ systems with a focus on scientific underpinnings of the clinical manifestations of illness, including assessment and treatment modalities. Courses are co-led by teams of scientists and clinicians, as in FOM1, and are closely aligned with their FOM1 counterparts. The year culminates in a course called ‘Patients’ designed as a final integration of FOM 1 and 2 content supported by clinical problem solving in order to prepare students for success in the clinical clerkships and on Step 1 of the boards. After completing Step 1 students return for the two-week Transition to Core Clinical Experiences crafted as hands-on large and small group problem-solving, simulation and consultation sessions to launch core clerkship learning. Threaded throughout are principles of patient communication, physical exam, problem-solving and the impact of social determinants of health on wellness. Students transition work on their Capstone project from their Learning Communities mentor to a specific project advisor. All grading in this year is credit/no credit and courses are reviewed annually.   

For detailed descriptions of the FOM2 courses, click here (FOM2).

Core Clinical Experience (CCE)

Core Clinical Experiences (CCE) is the primary clerkship year and is organized into three coordinated thematic sections to help students build knowledge across disciplines. These sections are: Care of Adults (Medicine and Neurology), Care of Families (Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Family Medicine), Perioperative and Maternal Care (Surgery and Obstetrics-Gynecology). Students are provided with four one-week electives called Flexible Clinical Experiences that allow career exploration and skills development in all areas of medical practice, research, leadership and service.  An Interstitial Course brings students together on campus from their placement sites throughout the year for hands-on learning on topics that cross all fields such as Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, Health Equity, Domestic Violence and Disaster management. CCE also integrates translational curriculum that revisits principles taught in FOM1 and FOM2.  Clerkships are graded in a tiered fashion. Students continue their Capstone work with their project advisor throughout the year.

Advanced Studies

Advanced Studies (AS) education provides students with the opportunity to have higher levels of supervised learning and practice through required sub-internships and to explore professional growth in-depth through individualized schedules crafted from robust elective offerings. Learning is hands-on and experiential. Required courses include Emergency Clinical Problem-Solver and Advanced Biomedical and Translational Sciences. Clinical experiences are graded in a tiered fashion. Students complete and present their Capstone Project in a public forum.

Electives offered by the School of Medicine are catalogued here.

Student Goals

Students are expected to actively engage with nursing faculty to shape their learning and development.  The aim of the GSN is to provide high quality affordable education of advanced practice nurses, leaders and scientists in an environment that fosters personal and professional development within the nursing community.

The Goals of the Graduate School of Nursing are to:

  1. Prepare advance practice nurses, leaders, educators and scientists to shape nursing and health care delivery through the integration of education research, practice and public service.
  2. Create a dynamic research environment to conduct multi-method research where findings are translated into practice.
  3. Integrate faculty and student practice to meet mutually prioritized health needs through innovative education, practice, public service and research.

Degree and Graduation Requirements

Students admitted into the Graduate School of Nursing will complete graduation requirements within a specified number of years (not counting time away for an approved leave of absence) depending on their specific educational program.

Requirements for graduation

  • GEP students are required to complete 1000 RN hours prior to graduation.
  • Successful completion of all required coursework. 
  • Successful completion of the required clinical hours. 
  • Demonstration of the ability to perform the skills in the GSN Technical Standards with or without reasonable accommodations consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Completion of Certification for Graduation with the GSN Office of Student Affairs and any additional administrative requirements such as payment of all fines including library and parking, returning all books, payment of any outstanding bills, course evaluations, etc. 

Grading and Assessments

Minimum passing grades in the Graduate School of Nursing along with cumulative semester GPAs for program progression are shown below.

Course level

Minimum passing grade for individual courses

Cumulative semester GPA for program progression

500 Didactic



600 Didactic



700 Didactic



800 Didactic



Clinical courses, OSCE, practicum, practicum




Student Promotion

Student Promotion, or academic progression, is defined in the Graduate School of Nursing (GSN) as a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and progression through the program as defined in particular programs of study.  If a student is required to repeat a specific course, the initial grade will be replaced by the grade earned the second time the course is taken. Transfer credits, incompletes, and withdrawals do not factor into the GPA but are included when evaluating progress towards degree completion. Satisfactory Academic Progress will be monitored by the Program Coordinator or Program Director minimally twice a year.

Academic Opportunities

Optional Enrichment Electives (OEE) are elective courses offered in addition to the regular, required and elective/selective curriculum, which the student elects to take. OEE are offered through the School of Medicine with GSN students participating in some courses. Participation in these courses appears on the transcript by name of course.

An example of an OEE that GSN students participate in is Correctional Health. The Correctional Health optional enrichment elective provides students a greater understanding of the basic principles of correctional health and unique health concerns for incarcerated populations, in both adult and youth correctional settings. The course aims to decrease stigma surrounding the correctional population and increase future providers' comfort working with this population.

International Opportunities

Graduate School of Nursing faculty and students participate in international practice and research where they gain experience that they can apply to their work and patients.  Each year the GSN along with the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences plan an inter-professional educational experience during spring recess where nursing and medical students visit La Romana, the Dominican Republic capital, providing care and aid to more than 1000 patients.

Learning Objectives

Student outcomes associated with the Master’s Program are to:

  1. Demonstrate background for practice sciences and humanities
  2. Demonstrate organizational and systems leadership
  3. Demonstrate understanding of quality improvement and safety
  4. Demonstrate translation and integrating of scholarship into practice
  5. Demonstrate understanding and usage of information systems and technology
  6. Demonstrate understanding of health policy and advocacy
  7. Demonstrate interprofessional collaboration for improving patient and population health outcomes
  8. Demonstrate health promotion and prevention
  9. Demonstrate master’s level nursing practice