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The mission of the Nurse-Midwifery concentration is to educate graduates to serve the needs of rural and under served populations. To meet this mission, students must expect to be placed outside of the Albuquerque metropolitan area for 2/3 of the clinical rotations.

The Nurse-Midwifery concentration is a sequential 6-term, full-time graduate program of studies consisting of 55 credit hours including more than 1000 hours of clinical experience. The degree to be awarded at completion of the program is the Master of Science in Nursing. Graduates will be eligible for national nurse midwifery certification and licensure in New Mexico and all other U.S. states after successful completion of the American Midwifery Certification Board’s certification exam.

Because graduate education in nursing builds on the baccalaureate curriculum, students are expected to enter the program with prerequisite coursework and clinical nursing competence. Specific areas that will be built upon, but not repeated at the graduate level include: basic anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology; introductory pharmacology; basic growth and development; basic physical and psychosocial assessment; basic statistics; interviewing and development of therapeutic relationships; and community health nursing. Students who seek admission without some of these competencies will need to take personal responsibility for acquiring them. The College of Nursing and the University of New Mexico have coursework, clinical opportunities, and faculty available to assist students, if necessary, prior to entering the program.


At the completion of the program, the graduate will be able to:

  • Analyze theoretical and empirical knowledge from the sciences and humanities, and apply this knowledge to the care of women and their infants within a family and community context.
  •  Identify the influence of economic, social, and political trends on the effectiveness of health care delivery to women and infants.
  • Provide safe and satisfying primary health care that supports individual rights and self-determination in a variety of settings, with emphasis on underserved and rural client populations. This includes clinical management of normal labor and delivery, care of the neonate, and well-woman care.
  • Apply skills in health assessment, teaching, and counseling, with emphasis on self-help, wellness, and the prevention of illness and disability.
  • Communicate both verbally and in writing with various members of the health care delivery system, including keeping adequate documentation of nurse-midwifery care.
  • Demonstrate collaborative relationships with other health team members and with community groups for the planning, management, and provision of health care for women and their infants.
  • Demonstrate the socialization and conceptual awareness of the role and responsibilities of the nurse-midwife.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to personal and professional growth and the growth of the profession through participation in professional organizations, community, and scholarly activities, such as research, writing, and teaching.
  • Participate in quality assurance activities in the health care setting.
  • Exemplify the ethical and moral obligations of professional service while interacting with clients and society in general.

Admission Requirements

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree (e.g., B.S.N.) from an accredited college or university, with an upper-division major in nursing. (Graduates from non-accredited programs [N.L.N. or C.C.N.E.] and RN’s with baccalaureate degree in non-nursing fields are considered on an individual basis.)
  • At least one year of experience as a registered nurse.
  • Have a minimum grade point average for baccalaureate work of B (3.0) or better.
  • Be registered in or eligible for nursing licensure in New Mexico with a New Mexico R.N. license obtained within the first term enrolled.
  • Complete the online application. The online application can be accessed by clicking on the link. Letters of recommendation, letter of intent, and a professional resume are required as part of the application process. See the online application guidelines for further information.
  • An interview is required as part of the admissions process.
  • Students who seek admission with existing graduate degrees in Nursing (Master's or Doctorate) will be able to pursue the FNP curriculum as a Post Master's certificate. However, their applications are considered along with all other applications.



The UNM midwifery program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME), 8403 Colesville Road, Suite 1550, Silver Spring, MD 20910; (240) 485 - 1802.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is your graduation rate?

100% of our students are full-time. Nine out of nine full-time students graduated in 2017.

How do Nurse-Midwifery graduates perform on the national certification examination?

Over the past three years UNM has had a 100% American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) pass rate. In 2017, 8 of 9 students have taken the AMCB certification exam with a 100% first time pass rate.

What is the typical class size?

The average class size of a nurse-midwifery class is 8 - 10 students.

I need to continue to work and be a part-time student in this program. How can I do this?

This is only a full-time program. Admitted students commit to finishing their course and clinical work in two years (six terms.) The program is very rigorous and students are strongly encouraged to NOT work in order to make themselves available for all learning experiences. Since the program requires rural site clinical placements, travel and a flexible student schedule preclude employment. Some applicants tell us "I worked while I did my undergraduate nursing program and got married and had kids. I'm sure this won't be much different. I've been blessed with a good brain, so I'm sure I'll be able to do it with a lot of planning and organization. " However, they state later they really had no idea of the challenges posed by graduate school and the taking-on of an independent practitioner role. Most quit work by Term 2 if not earlier. Successful students rally their personal, academic and financial support systems.

What kind of financial aid is available for Midwifery?

We are one of only a few totally state supported programs in the US. Because we are a state institution, tuition for a UNM nurse-midwifery education is one of the most reasonable in the country.

However, total educational costs should also include housing costs accrued in distant clinical sites. Occasionally, free student housing is provided in a community, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Students in this program are discouraged from working during the school year because of clinical commitments and the very full time nature of this program. However, students who have clinical commitments in or close to Albuquerque sometimes are Teaching or Research Assistants. Many nurse-midwifery students are also eligible for the Federal nursing loan program, which pays a monthly educational stipend. Other financial aid opportunities include the New Mexico Health Service Corps and the US Public Health Service Corps, both of which have loan for service programs. The American College of Nurse Midwives also awards very competitive scholarships. Employees of local hospitals are also sometimes eligible for awards.

Out of state students can cut costs by:

  • Moving to New Mexico and establishing residency before beginning the program.
  • By taking N526 Pathophysiology in Advanced Practice Nursing and/or N543 Pharmacological Principles of Clinical Therapeutics on a space-available basis. Students may take up to 9 credit hours before declaring a major, and the total course of study can take no longer than 7 years.
  • By becoming a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant during the first year.
  • By taking up to 9 hours of transferable MSN core classes in your home state before attending UNM.
  • The caveat regarding taking classes early is that in order to be eligible for student financial aid, students must take at least 6 credit hours/term. Federal financial aid requires 9 hrs/term. Federal nursing stipends come under this category.

If I live in a rural New Mexico community, do I have to move to Albuquerque to go to school?

Many students from rural areas of New Mexico have attended this program and kept their main residence in their home town. First term classes are web classes enabling students to live at home. All but one Term 2 classes are on the web as well. The one on the ground class and its lab are given on one day so that the student only spends this time in Albuquerque. During the clinical terms, the classroom teaching is grouped into 1-3 week long blocks interspersed with clinical blocks of 4-5 weeks. The faculty tries to provide a least 1/3 of a rural student’s clinical experience near the student's hometown. We believe that students from rural areas will likely start nurse-midwifery practices in these areas. Our students are pioneers.

Nearly a third of all births in New Mexico are attended by midwives. Why are CNMs so successful in New Mexico?

There are many contributing factors:

  • There is a very long history of midwifery in New Mexico beginning in the Spanish Colonial times with the use of traditional Hispanic Midwives (parteras). The first U.S. university-affiliated Nurse-Midwifery education program was the Catholic Maternity Institute (CMI) in Santa Fe.

  • Catholic Maternity Institute
    This building at 417 East Palace Avenue in Santa Fe was the home of the Catholic Maternity Institute. Photo by R. Compeau (left).

    Under the leadership of the CMI midwives, the American College of Nurse-Midwives was incorporated in New Mexico in 1955. Midwifery has been a part of New Mexican cultural heritage for many generations.

    American College of Nurse Midwives Seal
    The seal of the American College of Nurse Midwives showing its incorporation in New Mexico in 1955 (right).

  • The New Mexico Department of Health's Maternal/Child Health Division supports the practices of and licenses Certified Nurse-Midwives and Licensed Midwives.
  • A strong, cohesive CNM presence at the UNM Department of OB/GYN's Division of Midwifery has educated several generations of physicians to support and value CNM care.
  • New Mexico was one of the first states to legislate third-party insurance reimbursement for CNMs, and Medicaid reimbursement for both CNMs and LMs.
  • Indian Health Service CNMs have made a positive impact on the care of this state's American Indians for many years.
  • The state chapter of the ACNM has embraced an inclusionary policy for all CNMs believing that there can never be too many choices for women in New Mexico.
  • Many CNMs are pioneers and understand that jobs are not found in the want ads but are MADE in places where no CNM has gone before.
  • A professional organization (ACNM V/I) that supports a strong nurse-midwifery culture, and where CNMs speak with one voice.
  • A fully funded Nurse-Midwifery education program that educates graduates to solve health care needs in this state.

Regarding the letter of intent for midwifery, what is the faculty looking for?

Please discuss your “midwifery path.” We are looking for applicants who are people of passion for this profession. Our mission is to educate midwives for work with rural or underserved populations. How do YOU meet our mission?

I understand that you prefer Bachelor’s prepared applicants who have a year of nursing experience before applying, but that you occasionally admit a new graduate RN. Should I apply right out of my RN program or should I get experience first?

Generally, we prefer that inexperienced RN applicants have some experience with birth, women's issues, international health, public health etc. prior to obtaining a nursing degree. Other successful applicants have about been CPMs, doulas, lactation consultants, community organizers, Peace Corps volunteers etc. Applicants with decision-making experience and some work history are preferred as well.

Inexperienced applicants should consider whether they are observational/hands-on learners. Such people often do better with some nursing experience before starting the program. Those who are visual (books) and auditory (classroom lecture) learners sometimes elect to apply without RN experience. Important skills acquisition needed by students before starting N550: Intrapartum Care in Term 5 are:

  • Familiarity with the process of birth (observations of childbirth) and the culture of intrapartum care in the hospital (sights, sounds, smells, intensity level).
  • Electronic fetal monitor (EFM) strip interpretation.
  • Medications used in labor for pain, hemorrhage, tocolysis, induction etc.
  • Psychological and physical support of a woman and her family in labor. (Can you labor-sit?)
  • Vaginal examination of the laboring woman (station/ effacement/ dilatation)

It is strongly encouraged that any student without these skills take an independent study credit during Term 4 to acquire them.

Some midwifery preceptors cannot precept a student who is inexperienced or who has no labor and delivery experience, and therefore, these students may have fewer clinical sites from which to choose.

New nurse graduates are often experienced test takers, are more familiar with academics (Internet, word processing, research skills) and they usually qualify for larger financial aid than RNs with a larger income the year before starting the program. They may also more easily embrace the low tech/low intervention model and philosophy of nurse-midwifery care than RNs who have only been employed in high-risk tertiary care centers for most of their careers.

Experienced RNs are usually more adept at routines, use of technology and more understanding and tolerant of the hospital birth culture. Their learning curve may not be as steep in relation to new manual skill acquisition.

How does the UNM midwifery education program rank among other US programs?

US News and World Reports has ranked the UNM nurse-midwifery education program among the top 15 in the US since April 2002