Nursing (M.S.)

Nursing (M.S.)

Nursing student with patient at clinical site

The M.S. Nursing program at UNH allows you to pursue one of three options: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP); Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL); or Evidence Based Nursing (EBN).


Why get your master’s degree in nursing?

The demand for nursing professionals is increasing with the growing emphasis on preventive care; the rise in chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity; and the needs of the active baby-boom generation as its members age. The nursing M.S. at UNH will help you advance your career while ensuring the delivery of safe, cost-effective, quality healthcare. We offer three tracks in the Master of Nursing degree program, each preparing you for work that meets your interests and professional goals: clinical nurse leader (CNL), evidence-based nursing (EBN) and family nurse practitioner (FNP).

Why choose UNH’s graduate nursing program?

Our clinical nursing practice tracks are designed to be completed in three to four semesters of full-time study, including one summer. Individual plans of study also are available for those wishing to pursue part-time study. As a graduate of the clinical nurse leader or family nurse practitioner program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the national CNL or FNP exams. The evidence-based nursing track will prepare you for advanced generalist nursing practice, with emphasis on leadership; the cultural, social and political context of health and illness; and quality improvement methodologies.

Potential career areas

  • Clinical nurse leader (CNL) 
  • Community and public health facilities 
  • Education 
  • Family nurse practitioner (FNP) 
  • Healthcare administration 
  • Home healthcare services 
  • Outpatient care 
  • Research


Department of Nursing
Hewitt Hall, 4 Library Way
Durham, NH 03824
Phone: (603) 862-2271

Curriculum & Requirements

Clinical Nurse Leader Track

Students graduate as an advanced generalist as a clinical nurse leader (CNL) with a master of science degree. Graduates are eligible to sit for the clinical nurse leader national certification examination. The CNL is a role in the field of nursing designed to provide master's­-prepared, point-of-care nurse leaders with the ability to manage and solve complex patient problems within a systems framework.

Evidence-Based Nursing Track

The evidence-based nursing track focuses on developing advanced generalist nursing practice in a focused area of study, promoting interdisciplinary collaboration, fostering life-long learning, and preparing students for the leading edge of health care knowledge and delivery. Students strengthen knowledge and skills in clinical decision making, the application of nursing interventions, and their ability to critique and appropriately use evidence as a foundation for practice. In this graduate track, students study nursing as an applied discipline, advancing their knowledge of theoretical perspectives for clinical practice, with an emphasis on leadership; the cultural, social, and political context of health and illness; and quality improvement methodologies. Students are mentored in the enactment of leadership strategies to improve quality care in nursing practice through an intensive clinical practicum.

Family Nurse Practitioner Track

This program prepares family nurse practitioners (FNPs) with specialized knowledge and clinical competency to practice as licensed independent practitioners across the life span. FNPs practice in ambulatory and long-term care as primary providers to individuals, families, and groups. The UNH program prepares these advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to diagnose and manage acute episodic and chronic illnesses across the life span and simple-to-complex continuum. Health promotion, disease prevention, teaching, counseling, and coaching are emphasized. At the completion of the program, students are eligible to sit for national certification as a family nurse practitioner. Students are also prepared to enter doctoral study. Upon licensure, FNPs may practice autonomously as well as in collaboration with other health professionals.

Clinical Nurse Leader Track

Degree Requirements

NURS 901Health Policy3
NURS 902Advanced Physical Assessment2
NURS 908Advanced Pathophysiology3
NURS 925Health Care Systems and Leadership3
NURS 952Clinical Nursing Leadership2
NURS 952CClinical Nursing Leadership Clinical6
NURS 953Promoting Quality Management3
NURS 958Clinical Nurse Leader Capstone6
NURS 963Advanced Clinical Epidemiology3
NURS 968Nursing Science and Evidence Based Practice3
Total Credits34

Evidence-Based Nursing Track

Degree Requirements

NURS 901Health Policy3
NURS 908Advanced Pathophysiology3
NURS 909Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning3
NURS 925Health Care Systems and Leadership3
NURS 944Population Health Promotion and Risk Reduction3
NURS 953Promoting Quality Management3
NURS 955Practicum in Advanced Nursing Practice3
NURS 956Capstone Project Seminar3
NURS 963Advanced Clinical Epidemiology3
NURS 968Nursing Science and Evidence Based Practice3
Total Credits30

Family Nurse Practitioner Track

Degree Requirements

NURS 810Families in Health and Illness3
NURS 901Health Policy3
NURS 907Advanced Pharmacology3
NURS 908Advanced Pathophysiology3
NURS 909Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning3
NURS 925Health Care Systems and Leadership3
NURS 935Primary Care of Families I3
NURS 936Practicum in the Primary Care Families I3
NURS 937Primary Care of Families II3
NURS 938Practicum in the Primary Care of Families II3
NURS 939Seminar and Practicum in the Primary Care of Families III6
NURS 944Population Health Promotion and Risk Reduction3
NURS 963Advanced Clinical Epidemiology3
NURS 968Nursing Science and Evidence Based Practice3
Total Credits45

Capstone Experience for All Master's and Post­-Master's Nursing Tracks

For clinical nurse leader (CNL), the capstone course, NURS 958 Clinical Nurse Leader Capstone, requires students to complete 200 clinical hours plus a scholarly project, which synthesizes advanced practice knowledge and skills to address substantive nursing practice issues. For evidenced-based nursing (EBN), the capstone course, NURS 956 Capstone Project Seminar, requires students to complete a scholarly project.

CNL and FNP students may elect to complete NURS 899 Master's Thesis (6 credits). EBN students may elect to complete a thesis and register for 6 credits of NURS 899 Master's Thesis as the capstone in place of NURS 956 Capstone Project Seminar. If a student opts to do a thesis, the student should discuss this option with a faculty adviser early in the program of study.

For family nurse practitioner (FNP and PM-FNP), the capstone course, NURS 939 Seminar and Practicum in the Primary Care of Families III, is the final integrated clinical practicum.

For post­-master's psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PM-PMHNP), the capstone course, NURS 985 Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Practicum II, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Practicum II, is the final integrated clinical practicum.


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: April 1 (Extended to July 1 for Fall 2020)
  • Spring: Nov. 1
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters: Yes (for more details see the accelerated masters information page)

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

References should be substantial with one academic, if available, and two current nursing professionals with graduate education background.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Additional Department Requirements

Applicants are required to have an unencumbered RN license in the United States, degree in nursing or outside nursing, and successful completion of undergraduate statistics and research to be eligible to apply to this program. 

Non-BSN Admission Requirements:
RNs whose baccalaureate degree is in a discipline other than nursing may apply to the master of science degree in nursing (M.S.) program and will be considered for the track that is commensurate with their clinical experience based on faculty discretion.

  1. Unencumbered, active RN license in the United States
  2. Baccalaureate degree in another field
  3. Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in associate and baccalaureate programs
  4. Nursing experience preferred but not required
  5. Successful completion of undergraduate statistics course and undergraduate research course
  6. Interview may be requested

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

The University of New Hampshire recommends that international applicants who are living outside of the United States, and are planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit a preapplication form before submitting a full application. Your preapplication request will be carefully reviewed and a decision usually provided within 3 weeks. If your preapplication is approved then it is recommended you then submit a full application. If you are currently living in the United States (on a H1B visa, etc.), or you plan on pursuing a professional master’s degree, then you do not need to submit a preapplication.

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

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