Master's Programs

General information and requirements

The Decker School's Master of Science (MS) programs in nursing are organized into a four-semester sequence of courses requiring 46 or 48 credits (depending on area of specialization and functional role). 

The curriculum has five components:

  • Core courses taken by all students address nursing theory, advanced physical health assessment, advanced pathophysiology across the lifespan, advanced pharmacology for clinical practice, nursing research, professional issues and the healthcare delivery system.
  • Clinical specialization courses prepare nurses for family nursing, community health nursing, family psychiatric mental health or adult-gerontological nursing (primary care). 
  • Role development courses address socialization and implementation of the role of nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse educator or nurse administrator. 
  • Supporting courses are tailored to degree requirements per MS specialization of study (e.g., psycho-pharmacology is required only for those students enrolled in the family psychiatric mental health specialization). The courses in the first semester of study for all MS curricula provide the foundation for courses in subsequent semesters. 
  • Elective courses may be taken either in nursing or related areas of study. Courses may be taken in other Binghamton University schools. Students are encouraged to select electives that will enhance their special interests and career goals. Independent study is an option.

Specializations

Students will pursue a master's degree in one of four areas of specialization:

  • MS in adult-gerontological primary care nursing
    • This program provides students with an in-depth understanding of health and illness in the adult and older-adult populations. Graduates are prepared to provide advanced nursing care to well adults/elders, acutely and chronically ill adults/elders, and frail older persons in community or institutional settings.
    • Graduates of the Adult Gerontological (primary care) NP program will be eligible to apply for New York state licensure as an adult gerontological primary care nurse practitioner. They will also be eligible for national certification as an adult gerontological primary care nurse practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP).
  • MS in community health primary care nursing
    • Graduates assess and diagnose actual and potential health problems of the community and work with individuals, families, groups and communities to improve and maintain health. Students choosing this specialization and the nurse administrator role who also wish to pursue a master of public administration degree may enroll in a MPA-MS nursing dual-degree program (details below under Curricula).
    • Graduates of the Community Health Primary Care NP program will be eligible to apply for New York state licensure as a community health primary care nurse practitioner. They will also be eligible for national certification as a family nurse practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP).
  • MS in family health nursing
    • This program prepares nurses for advanced practice with families by addressing individual and family health problems, family functioning and complex families. Certified nurse midwives who have a bachelor's degree in nursing may enroll in this program.
    • Graduates of the Family NP program will be eligible to apply for New York state licensure as a family nurse practitioner. They will also be eligible for national certification as a family nurse practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP).
  • MS in family psychiatric mental health nursing
    • Graduates of the program in family psychiatric mental health nursing are prepared to provide comprehensive, client-centered mental health care to individuals, families and groups across the lifespan. Students acquire in-depth knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illness, as well as the promotion of mental health.
    • Graduates of the Family Psychiatric Mental Health NP program will be eligible to apply for New York state licensure as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. They will also be eligible for national certification as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (across the lifespan) through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

If you already have a master's degree in nursing, you may enroll in one of our post-master's certificate programs. Available are: Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Community Health Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner programs.

Functional role options

MS students will select a functional role to pursue; see chart for availability in conjunction with area of specialization; dual roles are available and require additional credit.

  Nurse practitioner Clinical nurse specialist Nurse educator Nurse administrator
Adult-gerontological nursing (primary care) available available available available
Community health nursing available not available available available
Family health nursing available not available available available
Family psychiatric mental health nursing available not available available available

Considering the community health specialization and nurse administrator role? If so, you may want to explore Binghamton's dual-degree MS-MPA program that leads to a master's degree in nursing AND a master of public administration degree.

Curricula

Below are sample curriculum plans for Decker's full-time, part-time and spring-start programs. Download printer friendly versions of the full-time plan, part-time plan or spring-start plan. Use these plans in conjunction with these curriculum worksheets [adult-gerontological, community, family or psychiatric mental health] to plan your course sequence.

If you have questions about the worksheets or the curriculum plans, contact Decker's Academic Advising and Student Services Office.

Note: Binghamton University Graduate School policy states that a master's degree curriculum must be completed within five years from date of matriculation to remain eligible for award of degree.

  • Full-time master's degree (all specializations and roles)

     Key:

    • AG = adult-gerontological specialization
    • CH = community health specialization
    • FAM = family health specialization
    • PSYC = family psychiatric mental health specialization
    • EDUC = nurse educator role
    • CNS = clinical nurse specialist role

    Year 1, fall semester

    Specialization

    Clinical hours

    Credits

    NURS 502: Concepts in Health Assessment for Nurses in Advanced Clinical Practice  

    All

    60

    3

    NURS 518: Advanced Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan

    All

     

    3

    NURS 600: Advanced Research Methods and Quantitative Analyses

    All

     

    3

    NURS 532: Nursing and Community Healthcare Delivery Systems

    AG, FAM

     

    3

    NURS 540: Elements of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

    CH

     

    3

    Elective

    PSYC

     

    3

    Semester total

        12

    Year 1, spring semester

       

     

    NURS 503: Scientific Inquiry: Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing 

    All

     

    2–3

    NURS 519: Advanced Pharmacology for Clinical Practice

    All

     

    3

    Role I

    NP

    120

    4

    Role I

    EDUC

    60

    4

    Role I

    CNS (AG only)

    120

    4

    Practice I

    AG, CH, FAM

    60

    3

    NURS 532: Community and Healthcare Delivery Systems

    PSYC

     

    3

    Semester total

       

    12–13

    Year 2, fall semester

       

     

    NURS 535: Scientific Inquiry: Application of Research Methods

    All

     

    2

    Role II

    NP

    120

    4

    Role II

    EDUC

    60

    4

    Role II

    CNS (AG only)

    120

    4

    NURS 562: Psychopharmacology

    PSYC

     

    2

    Specialization I

    PSYC

    120

    4

    Practice II

    AG, CH, FAM

    60

    3

    Elective

    AG, CH, FAM

     

    3

    Semester total

       

    12

    Year 2, spring semester

       

     

    NURS 570: Proseminar

    All

     

    2

    Role III

    NP

    120

    4

    Role III

    EDUC

    120

    4

    Role III

    CNS (AG only)

    120

    4

    Specialization II

    PSYC

    120

    4

    Practice III

    AG, FAM

    120

    3

    Practice III

    CH

    60

    3

    NURS 532: Community and Healthcare Delivery Systems

    CH

     

    3

    Elective

    AG, FAM   3

    Semester total

       

    10–12

    TOTAL REQUIRED FOR DEGREE COMPLETION

     Specialization

    Clinical hours

    Credits

      AG 540–660 48
      CH 480–600 48
      FAM 540–660 48
      PSYC 540–660 46

    Matriculated students may petition to have credits earned at other institutions transferred toward the Binghamton University Decker School of Nursing graduate degree. Learn about Decker's policy for transferring graduate credit.

  • Part-time master's degree (all specializations and roles)

     Key:

    • AG = adult-gerontological specialization
    • CH = community health specialization
    • FAM = family health specialization
    • PSYC = family psychiatric mental health specialization
    • EDUC = nurse educator role
    • CNS = clinical nurse specialist role

    Year 1, fall semester

    Specialization

    Clinical hours

    Credits

    NURS 600: Advanced Research Methods and Quantitative Analyses

    All

     

    3

    NURS 532: Nursing and Community Healthcare Delivery Systems

    AG, FAM

     

    3

    NURS 540: Elements of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

    CH

     

    3

    Elective

    PSYC

     

    3

    Semester total

       

    6

    Year 1, spring semester

       

     

    NURS 503: Scientific Inquiry: Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing 

    All

     

    2–3

    NURS 532: Nursing and Community Healthcare Delivery Systems

    CH, PSYC

     

    3

    Elective

    AG, FAM

     

    3

    Semester total

       

    5–6

    Year 2, fall semester

       

     

    NURS 502: Concepts in Health Assessment for Nursing in Advanced Clinical Practice

    All

    60 

    3

    NURS 518: Advanced Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan

    Al

     

    3

    Elective

    AG, CH, FAM

     

    3

    Semester total

       

    9

    Year 2, spring semester

       

     

    NURS 519: Advanced Pharmacology for Clinical Practice

    All

     

    3

    Role I

    NP

    120

    4

    Role I

    EDUC

    60

    4

    Role I

    CNS (AG only)

    120

    4

    Practice I

    AG, CH, FAM

    60

    3

    Semester total

       

    7–10

    Year 3, fall semester

         

    NURS 535: Scientific Inquiry: Application of Research Methods

    All  

    2

    Role II

    NP 120

    4

    Role II

    EDUC 60

    4

    Role II

    CNS (AG only) 120

    4

    NURS 562: Psychopharmacology

    PSYC  

    2

    Specialization I

    PSYC 120

    4

    Practice II

    AG, CH, FAM 60

    3

    Semester total

       

    9–12

    Year 3, spring semester

         

    NURS 570: Proseminar

    All  

    2

    Role III

    NP 120

    4

    Role III

    EDUC 120

    4

    Role III

    CNS (AG only) 120

    4

    Specialization II

    PSYC 120

    4

    Practice III

    AG, FAM 120

    3

    Practice III

    CH 60

    3

    Semester total

       

    9–10

    TOTAL REQUIRED FOR DEGREE COMPLETION

    Specialization Clinical hours Credits
      AG 540–660 48
      CH 480–600 48
      FAM 540–660 48
      PSYC 540–660 46

    Matriculated students may petition to have credits earned at other institutions transferred toward the Binghamton University Decker School of Nursing graduate degree. Learn about Decker's policy for transferring graduate credit.

  • Spring-start master's degree (all specializations and roles)

     Key:

    • AG = adult-gerontological specialization
    • CH = community health specialization
    • FAM = family health specialization
    • PSYC = family psychiatric mental health specialization
    • EDUC = nurse educator role
    • CNS = clinical nurse specialist role

    Year 1, spring semester

    Specialization

    Clinical hours

    Credits

    NURS 600: Advanced Research Methods and Quantitative Analyses

    All

     

    3

    NURS 532: Nursing and Community Healthcare Delivery Systems

    All

     

    3

    Semester total

       

    6

    Year 2, fall semester

       

     

    NURS 502: Concepts in Health Assessment for Nurses in Advanced Clinical Practice

    All

    60

    3

    NURS 503: Scientific Inquiry: Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing 

    All

     

    2–3

    NURS 518: Advanced Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan

    All

     

    3

    Semester total

       

    8–9

    Year 2, spring semester

       

     

    NURS 519: Advanced Pharmacology for Clinical Practice

    All

     

    3

    Role I

    NP 120 4
    Role I EDUC 60 4
    Role I CNS (AG only) 120 4
    Practice I AG, CH, FAM 60 3

    Semester total

       

    7–10

    Year 3, fall semester

         

    NURS 535: Scientific Inquiry: Application of Research Methods

    All  

    2

    Role II

    NP 120

    4

    Role II

    EDUC 60

    4

    Role II

    CNS (AG only) 120

    4

    NURS 540: Elements of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

    CH  

    3

    NURS 562: Psychopharmacology

    PSYC  

    2

    Specialization I

    PSYC 120

    4

    Practice II

    AG, CH, FAM 60

    3

    Semester total

       

    9–12

    Year 3, spring semester

         

    NURS 570: Proseminar

    All  

    2

    Role III

    NP 120

    4

    Role III

    EDUC 120

    4

    Role III

    CNS (AG only) 120

    4

    Specialization II

    PSYC 120

    4

    Practice III

    AG, FAM 120

    3

    Practice III

    CH 60

    3

    Semester total

       

    9–10

    Note: Graduate-level elective credit is required for MS in nursing students. AG and FAM need 6 total credits of elective credit. CH and PSYC need 3 total credits of elective credit. Electives can be taken in any semester, but Summer Session may be convenient to offset credit load in major fall/spring terms.

    TOTAL REQUIRED FOR DEGREE COMPLETION

    Specialization 

    Clinical hours

    Credits

      AG 540–660 48
      CH 480–600 48
      FAM 540–660 48
      PSYC 540–660 46

    Matriculated students may petition to have credits earned at other institutions transferred toward the Binghamton University Decker School of Nursing graduate degree. Learn about Decker's policy for transferring graduate credit.

Application criteria

All students wishing to pursue a master's degree in nursing must satisfy the general conditions and procedures for admission to Binghamton University's Graduate School.

In addition, the following will be evaluated for admission:

NOTE: For complete information about application criteria, clinical practice requirements and additional requirements, applicants should review the University Bulletin (select "Nursing-Graduate" under "Graduate Fields of Study by Department"). The rules and regulations posted in the University Bulletin at the time of a student's matriculation into the University are the ones to which that student is held.

  • A baccalaureate degree in nursing from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited school of nursing program
  • A descriptive statistics course with a grade of C or better
  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better
  • A current, unencumbered license to practice as a registered professional nurse in the U.S.
  • Students must take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination prior to the start of clinical courses and/or by a specified date set by Decker's director of graduate nursing programs
  • Prior to beginning clinical experiences in a New York clinical facility, students must submit a copy of their current, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse in New York; this is required by the New York State Department of Education Office of the Professions
  • Two satisfactory academic or professional references
  • Submission of a 500-word personal statement that addresses: why the student is seeking advanced education in general and specifically at Binghamton University; unique aspects of the student's background that will contribute to the DSON graduate community (for example, extracurricular, work or volunteer experiences); and goals the student hopes to achieve upon completion of the program
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Graduate record examination (GRE) scores are not routinely required, but may be requested based on evaluation of official transcripts
  • For international students:
  • Notes about admissions requirements above
    • A student may consider applying for non-degree/non-matriculated status in lieu of matriculation in order to complete up to a maximum of 12 graduate nursing credits as a non-degree student; after this time, the student, may apply to be considered for regular matriculated admission. The director of graduate nursing programs provides advisement regarding appropriate courses for enrollment by non-degree students attempting to prove their ability to be successful at the graduate nursing level, and in anticipation of students applying for future matriculated status.
    • Required letters of recommendation from professional referents may not be personal friends or family members of the applicant. It is expected that a professional referent is a current or former supervisor to the applicant.
    • Any U.S. student applicant may be admitted "regular admit-additional advising" (formerly known as "conditional admission") by the Decker School. By definition, this category of admission means the applicant lacks required application criteria. 
    • U.S. students who do not advance from a regular-additional advising ("conditional") to regular admission status in a timely manner (i.e., failure to meet the department's conditional admission requirements) will find their registration blocked and possibly risk program dismissal.
    • International student applicants cannot be admitted "conditionally" based on changes to federal regulations implemented in 2016 by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
    • International student applicants who have not met minimum TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic score requirements may be recommended for an offer of admission from the Decker School of Nursing, but will be granted only provisional admission by the Graduate School.
    • A provisional admission status related to these test scores requires the applicant provide sufficient proof of English proficiency.
    • Once sufficient proof has been provided by the applicant, the Graduate School will default the admissions decision back to that assigned by the department and the student will receive a regular letter of admission and an I-20.
    • In such an admissions case, the student will be required to take an English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment exam. Exam results assist the department in determining which ESL courses will be completed by the student preliminary to or concurrently with core graduate nursing course requirements in the first and/or subsequent semesters, and at the discretion of the graduate nursing program director.
    • U.S. students enrolling immediately after graduation from a Bachelor of Science program in nursing must pass the national licensing examination (NCLEX-RN) before beginning any clinical coursework. Students who are granted full-time admission in a fall semester are scheduled to take NURS 502: Advanced Physical Health Assessment in the first semester of study. NURS 502 has a clinical component requiring those students to pass the NCLEX-RN examination and provide proof of passing the exam by August 15 of the first fall semester of admission.
    • Students who have already completed a master's degree in nursing from an accredited program, but wish to pursue a different clinical specialty and/or advanced practice role may be admitted to the post-master's program. (GREs are not required for the post-master's program.)
    • Graduates of nursing schools outside the U.S. must hold a baccalaureate degree in nursing or its equivalent. World Education Services (WES) transcripts must be submitted as proof of a baccalaureate degree. Licensure (or eligibility) to practice in the U.S. is required.
    • One year of full-time employment as a professional registered nurse is strongly recommended prior to application for admission to a graduate nursing program of study, but it is not required. At the discretion of the director of  graduate nursing programs, students may be admitted to begin the master's degree program on a part-time basis to allow them time to gain confidence in their nursing skills while working in a hospital setting as an RN.
    • Students admitted to a graduate nursing program must be computer literate before beginning their studies. They must possess: the ability to use various software applications, use email, conduct web searches, download and upload files and communicate through instant messaging and chatting.

Application procedures

Information on admissions, financial aid, housing, program costs and visiting Binghamton University's campus (including a virtual tour) is presented on the Graduate School website.

Complete instructions for applying to Binghamton University are available on the Graduate School's how to apply webpage. If you have questions regarding application submission, contact the Graduate School at 607–777–2151 or gradadmission@binghamton.edu.

If you have a felony or child abuse conviction
Students who have a felony or child abuse conviction are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of the Decker School of Nursing and/or to meet licensure requirements for nursing or advanced-practice licensure. If you have concerns about this, you are advised to contact the Decker Academic Advising and Student Services Office, the undergraduate or graduate program director or the Dean's Office. You are required to report felony convictions while enrolled in the Decker School of Nursing as it may change your progression and ability to be placed in a clinical agency. To learn if felony/child abuse convictions will negatively impact your ability for licensure, check with the State Board of Nursing in the state in which you plan to practice.