Nursing, MSN

College of Nursing

Program Description:


Graduate programs offer baccalaureate RN students the opportunity to continue their education. The CoN offers a graduate program in nursing leading to the MSN. You'll prepare to serve as a nurse educator, nurse leader, or in the advanced practice roles of nurse practitioner or nurse-midwife.

Benefits of Master's in Nursing Degree

While earning an MSN degree, you can expect to gain the following in your chosen specialization:

  • Advanced theoretical knowledge
  • Assessment skills
  • Role/leadership development

The curriculum offers opportunities to critique and apply nursing theory and research as a scientific basis for nursing practice. Courses in each program of study are sequential, with the curriculum building on content.

MSN Concentrations

Choose the MSN specialization that matches your interests and career goals:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nurse-Midwifery
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Administration

** For more information, including the Post Master’s certificate, curriculum and application deadline, check the website at

At the completion of the Master of Science and Post-Master’s Certificate programs in nursing, the graduate is prepared to:

  • Analyze theoretical formulations as a basis for nursing practice, education, and administration.
  • Apply and/or participate in research about the nature of health/illness and the practice of nursing.
  • Utilize advanced clinical knowledge and skill to promote, maintain, and/or restore optimum wellness to client systems.
  • Assume leadership roles in nursing practice, education, or administration.
  • Assume responsibility for developing health care policy relative to social, ethical, legal, economic, and political issues that affect nursing.
  • Organize and develop collaborative relationships for the improvement of health care on an agency, organization, or legislative level.
  • Synthesize knowledge from the biophysical, social, and nursing sciences that affects health/illness behavior or client systems as a basis for nursing practice, education, and administration.

Admission Requirements:

      Because applicants are seeking admission to graduate studies at the University level, they must complete the UNM application for graduate studies and meet the minimum entry requirements set forth by the University. They must hold a bachelor’s degree, and in general must present a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (B) in their last two undergraduate years and in their major field (UNM Catalog, 2007-2008). Graduate units may establish additional requirements for applicants to their programs.

Applicants to the master’s degree program in nursing with less than a 3.0 GPA for both the bachelor’s cumulative and nursing major must specifically petition the College of Nursing Admissions Committee to review their materials for admission. The petition must accompany the application. It should address the reasons for the low grade point average and provide evidence of potential for academic success, which the Admissions Committee will consider when making admission decisions. Such applicants may be required to complete coursework in non-degree status prior to consideration for admission to the graduate program.
Applicants to the master’s degree program in nursing are evaluated for their potential to meet program goals as well as for success in their desired concentration within the College of Nursing. Their applications are therefore reviewed within the context of both degree (i.e., MSN) and concentration (e.g., Nursing Administration, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, etc.) goals.

There are different application deadlines for the concentrations within the MSN degree program. All required application materials must be received by the application deadline. These include (but are not limited to) the application, registration form, transcripts, petition (if GPA less than 3.0), three letters of reference, letter of intent (must specify the concentration and should address the “Other Factors” included under the admission criteria), and evidence of passing the Community Health test (non-BSN applicants).

The Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner admit a limited number of new students each year. They utilize screening criteria specific to each of their concentrations when making admission decisions.

The Nursing Administration and Nursing Education concentrations utilize screening criteria specific to each concentration.

Admission decisions for the MSN degree program are made by the College of Nursing Admissions Committee, after applications have been reviewed by a screening committee. The screening committee consists of at least one member from the concentration to which the applicant is requesting admission, plus at least one additional member. The screening committee forwards their admission recommendations to the Graduate Committee for review and consideration, with final College approval given by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Career Opportunities:

Nursing combines science and technology with the desire to help people. Nurses assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients. Nurses may advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required. Includes advance practice nurses such as: nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. Advanced practice nursing is practiced by RNs who have specialized formal, post-basic education and who function in highly autonomous and varied roles. 

In all states, the District of Columbia, and U.S territories, students must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass a national licensing examination, known as the NCLEX-RN, in order to obtain a nursing license. Nurses may be licensed in more than one State, either by examination or by the endorsement of a licensed issued by another State. Nursing programs range from associate degrees to graduate level programs; higher degrees typically involve a broader and more complex scope of patient care. UNM offers a variety of degree options at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. 

Contact Information:

Jeri Belsher: Academic Advisement Specialist
(505) 272-4223