Midwifery (M.S.)

Program Director: Dana Perlman, MSN CNM

Campus Location: 222 Hayward Hall
The Midwifery Institute at Philadelphia University offers distance-learning programs with and without on-campus requirements. The Master of Science in Midwifery requires two on-campus visits.


The mission of the Midwifery Institute at Philadelphia University is to offer quality educational preparation of midwives who will advance the profession of midwifery for the betterment of the health of women and their families.

The Midwifery Institute at Philadelphia University believes:

  • Midwifery care is the exemplary health care standard for all women.
  • Midwifery education models midwifery practice.
  • Distributive (distance) learning provides user-friendly access to quality midwifery education.
  • It is desirable to educate students who reflect the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity of the country.
  • Learning is individualized through use of a wide variety of teaching/learning methodologies.
  • Master’s preparation for entry-level midwifery practice and research is optimum in the United States for the 21st century’s increasingly complex health care environment.
  • It is important for midwifery students and practicing midwives to pursue advanced education with a discipline-specific focus in midwifery.

Master of Science Program Goals

  1. Graduates of the Midwifery Institute at Philadelphia University will practice as safe beginning-level midwifery practitioners according to the Core Competencies of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). 
  2. Graduates of the Midwifery Institute will be prepared to practice effectively in a multidisciplinary health care environment according to the Core Competencies of the ACNM. 
  3. Graduates of the Midwifery Institute will have the necessary research and critical thinking skills to be lifelong learners ensuring safe practice.
  4. After completion of the midwifery program graduates will provide midwifery care that demonstrates cultural humility and competence.
  5. After completion of the midwifery program graduates will be prepared to practice according to the Code of Ethics and Standards of ACNM.

Program Learning Outcomes

After completion of the program, the graduates of the Midwifery Institute will be able to:

  • Integrate theory, clinical knowledge, reasoning and skills to provide high-quality midwifery care.
  • Contribute midwifery care effectively within interdisciplinary teams (clear communication, professional affect, skillful care).
  • Critically reflect on midwifery practice in a variety of healthcare environments.
  • Evaluate research to engage in ongoing evidence-based clinical practice.
  • Describe diversity issues inherent in the lives of women they serve and the effects of these issues on women’s health care.
  • Understand past and present professional issues in Midwifery.


Program Description

Philadelphia University provides an exciting way to earn the Master of Science in Midwifery through online learning in the fundamentals of the art and science of midwifery, research, health policy, and selected advanced clinical and professional competencies. Initiated in 1998, this program prepares qualified individuals with a bachelor’s degree and qualified individuals with a Bachelor’s degree and an RN (Registered Nurse) credential in the practice of midwifery and prepares them to sit for the American Midwifery Certification Board’s (AMCB’s) national certification exam. Upon successful completion of the board exam, they earn the right to use the title Certified Midwife (CM) or Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM).

The Midwifery Institute at Philadelphia University offers a 62-credit, 6-semester, 2-year, graduate-level, distance-education program for midwifery. Students can be admitted with a class cohort in either the fall or spring semesters. For those who prefer, this program can also be completed over 3 years. Students admitted without a registered nursing credential have additional required prerequisites and take an additional 10 credits in the first term of study and attend a week-long additional basic skills lab intensive on-campus, or near a contracted hospital for supervised basic skills experiential learning prior to beginning the MS course sequence. Admission to the M.S. in Midwifery is conditional pending successful completion of this additional semester.  This additional semester of study and basic skills intensive requirement is waived for students matriculating with a current United States registered nurse license in addition to a bachelor’s degree.

From the beginning, the Midwifery Institute’s education program was designed for distance learning and values and builds upon the student’s previous education and life experience. State-of-the-art communication technology coupled with the professional expertise of an accomplished and caring faculty maximizes the educational experience. The program model focuses on graduate-level skills of inquiry and critical thinking.

The program integrates theory and practice into six semesters (2 years) or nine semesters (3 years) of primarily asynchronous study, clinical experience, and two week-long on-campus intensives. The theoretical components of midwifery are learned through readings, seminar room discussions, problem-based learning seminars, writing assignments, projects, quizzes, and examinations. The practice components are learned through a clinical practicum under the direction of a qualified preceptor. The vast majority of student clinical practicum must be under the direction of a CM/CNM, though some components of clinical may be completed under the direction of a qualified preceptor such as a nurse practitioner, physician, or certified professional midwife. 

The program is modeled on midwifery-practice principles. Our course tutors use educational approaches based on the midwifery model of care: students are treated with respect as individuals and provided a personalized approach that encompasses all aspects of the education process including advising, evaluation and supervision. Students take an active role in their own learning throughout their course of study. Students have program advisors who follow them from admission through graduation establishing continuity across the length of the program.

Course tutors focus on facilitation of learning through a process similar to the midwife’s role during labor. Both roles require the ability to challenge, assess, confront, encourage, provide feedback, assist, listen, and problem-solve. This process meets the challenge of distance education and facilitates learning in an environment where students and faculty share the responsibility for lifelong learning. Online seminar rooms are full of thoughtful discussions about the art and science of midwifery practice, reflections on the role transition to midwife, midwifery research, education, and health policy. As adult learners, students are able to reach their professional goals while building relationships within their online learning communities. This national networking is an asset as graduates enter the work world. The faculty sees the midwife within each student and is able to facilitate individual growth and development into the role of midwife, assuring the vitality and vision for the future of midwifery. The midwifery program remains on the cutting edge of a rapidly changing world by weaving tradition with technology.

The 21st-century midwife supports practice with research and respects both the art and science of midwifery. Changes in the healthcare environment require midwives to be advocates for health care of women and families at a policy level as well as at the bedside. Frequently, midwives act as administrators, teachers, and advanced clinical practitioners. This program facilitates professional development in these areas through excellent teaching, innovative technologies, and engaging project-based learning activities.

The program is fortunate to have a diverse, experienced faculty in midwifery education, clinical practice, research, policy, education, and international midwifery. A career in midwifery requires lifelong learning and the faculty continues to be partners in the professional growth and development of midwives, students and the profession of midwifery.


Unique Program Requirements

Successful students of distance-learning programs are self-motivated and disciplined. Midwifery education at Philadelphia University requires extensive reading of primary-source materials in professional journals. Students are expected to demonstrate their ability to think and write critically. They use the written word to express themselves electronically in virtual seminar room discussions, communicating through emails and in the preparation of learning activities.

All students must have access to a computer (either PC or Mac), a USB port headset and an Internet Service Provider, with a DSL connection recommended. Webcam transmission capability is also required. A telephone headset is strongly encouraged. As technology is continually being updated, before purchasing a computer, please contact the program director for up-to-date information on hardware and software required. A mobile device, such as a smart phone, for clinical rotations is also strongly recommended. 

At the Midwifery Institute at Philadelphia University, instruction is provided through the use of course management software that delivers the curriculum and facilitates faculty/student discussion, communication and electronic submission of assignments. Orientation to the software is provided prior to and during the online orientation to the program. Readings and frequent interaction with faculty and classmates complement electronic courses, which include problem-based learning. Experienced faculty members work closely with students and are accessible by email, telephone, or web-meeting. Students can access library resources online through the Gutman Library website.

Our computer environment is intuitive and easy to use. However, students must have basic computer skills, including familiarity with Windows-based applications, word processing and Internet use. During orientation students learn how they will use the computer during their program of study and how they will communicate with both their faculty and classmates. Students with minimal computer skills are encouraged to enroll in a computer course prior to orientation.

Technical and Professional Standards

For admission to the program, candidates must:

  • Be self-motivated learners, have good study habits and be able to organize life commitments to set aside sufficient time for study and learning. We estimate this requires at least 40 hours per week for full-time students, in an environment conducive to study. 
  • Possess the emotional maturity and stability to approach stressful clinical situations in a calm and rational manner. 
  • Have the ability to communicate effectively with women and families from a wide diversity of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds in an empathetic and sensitive way. 
  • Have well-developed oral and written communication skills. 
  • Have the ability to make independent clinical decisions within the scope of midwifery practice and within the guidelines for relationships established with collaborating health care providers. 
  • Display strong ethical integrity consistent with academic expectations and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Code of Ethics. 
  • Have sufficient mental abilities and physical capabilities, including but not limited to sensory function (vision, hearing and touch sensation), hand-eye coordination, neurologic and muscular coordination and control to competently perform physical assessments, and the technical procedures necessary for midwifery practice.

Clinical Preceptorship

Initial clinical experiences occur in the office providing prenatal, well-woman and primary care approximately two days per week for two semesters. During the student’s final two semesters, clinical experience is full scope and adds all phases of labor, birth, postpartum and newborn care. A student may spend up to 40 hours per week in clinical during the final semester. Only part-time employment should be considered while undertaking this full-time program. 

Clinical Requirements

Students are required to meet and document the following practicum requirements during their clinical experience: 10 preconception care visits; 40 new antepartum visits; 130 return antepartum visits; 40 labor management experiences; 40 births; 20 postpartum visits (0-5 days); 40 newborn assessments; 10 breast-feeding support visits; 20 postpartum visits (4-8 weeks); 40 primary care visits; 30 family planning visits; 30 gynecologic care visits; 20 peri/postmenopausal visits. Students document clinical outcomes in a web-based tracking system for a minimal monthly subscription (comparable to postage). Students must develop their critical thinking and clinical skills to a safe, beginning level of competency during their clinical practicum. A Declaration of Safety, indicating a student has achieved beginning level of competency necessary for entry into practice, must be signed by the clinical preceptor prior to program completion and in order to sit for the national certification exam given by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).

Insurance Coverage and Student Clinical Credentialing

Students must show proof of coverage for malpractice liability prior to starting clinical rotations. This insurance is readily available to student midwives through the ACNM. Cost varies year to year and by location. Applicants should ask for current costs during the admission process and know these may change by the time of purchase. Students typically purchase two years of coverage. Students are responsible for their own medical and dental care while enrolled in the program, and for informing the University they have coverage or they will be automatically placed on the University student health plan. Students may need to submit to, and be financially responsible for, any reasonable health screening that is required by a clinical agency beyond that required by the Midwifery Institute at Philadelphia University.  Students are required to have a background check, drug screen, and health clearance on admission and prior to beginning clinical rotations.  Additional competencies, such as patient privacy, infection control, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, are also required prior to beginning clinical rotations.  Please check with the program for a complete list and associated costs.

Accreditation and Certification

The Master’s in Midwifery program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). Their mailing address is: ACME, 8403 Colesville Road, Suite 1550, Silver Springs, MD 20910-6374, (240) 485-1800,

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will receive an M.S. in Midwifery and will be eligible to take the national certification examination for midwives offered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). Completion of the program prepares graduates to work in all practice settings.

Course of Study: Master’s of Science in Midwifery (Fall and Spring starts, varies slightly) 



Course Credits Term Credits

Term 1

MMW-730 Theoretical Foundations for Midwifery




CMW-642 Professional Issues




CMW-699 Advanced Physical Assessment




CMW-643 Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology in Primary Care







Term 2

CMW-645 Health Care of Women




CMW-638 Advanced Pharmacology 1




MMW-731 Evidenced-Based Care:  Evaluating Research







Term 3

CMW-613 Embryology & Genetics




CMW-641 Preparation for Office Based Practice




CMW-610 Antepartum Care




CMW-612 Postpartum/Newborn Care




CMW-631 Clinical i:  Mat & Well Woman Care I







Term 4

MMW-712 Introduction to Health Policy




CMW-611 Intrapartum Care




CMW-644 Advanced Pharmacology 2




CMW-632 Clinical ii: Mat & Well Woman Care II




CMW-640 Preparation for Full-Scope Midwifery Practice







Term 5

CMW-619 Advanced Perinatal Pathophysiology




CMW-633 Clinical iii:  Full-Scope Midwifery I







Term 6

CMW-634 Clinical: iv Full-Scope Midwifery II








CMW-646 Midwifery Nexus Project of MMW-726 Service Learning/ Travel











Total Program Credits:

Didactic credits: 48

Clinical credits: 14


Admission to the M.S. in Midwifery Program

Academic Calendar

Classes are admitted twice a year in the fall and spring. See the Philadelphia University Midwifery Institute website for application deadlines (


Each applicant is evaluated individually. Candidates are expected to meet the following criteria for admission:

  • Submit a professional resume.
  • For the Certified Nurse-Midwife pathway, a candidate must be a registered nurse currently licensed in the state where employed. 
  • For the Certified Midwife pathway, a candidate must complete all prerequisites prior to enrollment. Students must complete the CM Pathway courses. Continuation in the program is conditional upon successful completion of these courses in the first term of study. See the Philadelphia University Midwifery Institute website for prerequisites ( 
  • Hold a baccalaureate or higher degree in any discipline with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher. 
  • Have an interview and a written agreement with a midwifery preceptor at a clinical site. 
  • Own a computer and have Internet access. 
  • Submit two letters of reference. 
  • Submit official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate courses/institutions. 
  • Submit a brief essay, per guidelines, using a word-processing program. 
  • Submit a writing sample—a review of an evidenced-based research article in a recent Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, or take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). 
  • Complete an interview (in-person/telephone/video conference) with a program faculty member. 
  • Submit evidence of completion of a three-credit undergraduate statistics course. 

Transfer of Credits

Students seeking to transfer credit from another program into the Master’s in Midwifery course of study will have their transcripts evaluated on an individual basis. Submission of course description and/ or syllabi may be required.

Other Program Options

Philadelphia University also offers an ACNM-accredited Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Midwifery, a M.S. in Midwifery Completion Program; a re-entry to practice process for CNM/CMs who have been out of clinical practice for a number of years; an advanced placement option for experienced midwives, nurse practitioners, and health care providers.