Bastyr University's direct-entry Master of Science in Midwifery program trains students in all aspects of midwifery care, preparing them to greatly improve the quality and breadth of maternity care offered to women and their families. It is the only Master of Science in Midwifery that is both regionally accredited and MEAC-accredited and qualifies graduates to become state (or provincially) licensed and nationally certified midwives.
The rigorous, proven curriculum – based on the competencies established by the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) and the combined expertise of Bastyr University and the former Seattle Midwifery School – uses state-of-the-art technologies and an extensive network of clinical training sites around the globe.
The program is intended for entry-level midwifery students and is three years in length (11 quarters), culminating in a Master of Science in Midwifery. Completion of the program qualifies graduates to sit for examinations to become licensed as a midwife in Washington or other states, registered in Canadian provinces, and nationally certified by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) as a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM).
The midwifery program combines the best of online and face-to-face learning methods to allow students to remain in their communities for learning and clinical training and commute three times each quarter for on-site intensives with their classmates. All midwifery students participate in this blended learning model.
Online courses provide structured learning experiences each week. Courses are not self-paced; there are learning activities for each week that must be completed on schedule. The Department of Midwifery uses the Moodle online learning platform, along with other collaborative tools, such as Google Docs, Skype and Google Hangouts. Typical weekly activities include extensive reading, watching online videos and/or lectures, collaborative and individual writing assignments, group research projects, worksheets, quizzes and online discussions. Although most activities during online weeks can be accomplished at any time of the day or night, assignments are due on a regular schedule. In the first two years of the program, students should plan on spending a minimum of 30 hours studying during online weeks.
Three times per quarter (generally for one week per month), each student cohort is together at Bastyr's Kenmore campus, which allows the face-to-face learning that is vital to midwifery training. This time allows students to build strong relationships with classmates and faculty. Students are typically in a dedicated midwifery classroom for 8-12 hours per day during these weeks, while professors and faculty rotate through, engaging in face-to-face learning activities. Classroom weeks often include practicing skills, role plays, problem solving, group activities, case studies, student presentations, lectures, guest speakers and hands-on workshops.
The dedicated classroom is comfortably furnished and includes state-of-the art technology for instructor and student presentations. Clinical skills courses are taught by qualified instructors and all supplies (other than personal student tools and equipment) are provided by the school. The Department of Midwifery has a dedicated staff person who maintains an organized and plentiful inventory of supplies for student learning experiences.
Campus amenities include a dining commons for the purchase of natural and organic foods, student study spaces, overnight accommodations (at an additional charge to the student), a student lounge, exercise room, a library, a counseling department, and many more student services.
All entering students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 to be considered for admission. A grade of C or better is also required in all basic proficiency courses. Required microbiology, nutrition and anatomy and physiology courses not taken within seven years of matriculation into the program are subject to review by the admissions committee. Students may apply to the program while completing prerequisite coursework but must have a plan for completing prerequisites before the start of the program in the fall.
Applicants who plan to start the program without an awarded bachelor’s degree must also complete the following General Education Requirements:
Admitted students must have access to a laptop computer with high speed internet, a webcam, and a headset.
Want to know which classes fulfill these prerequisites? Check these lists:
Interested in completing some prerequisite courses online? Learn more about which lower-division courses can be fulfilled through the Alternative Credit Project.
The midwifery program addresses both the art and science of midwifery by integrating theory with clinical experience. The Midwifery Care courses are the foundation of the program. All courses build knowledge and skills that are necessary for the practice of midwifery through the use of case questions, skills practice labs, role-plays, discussion, student presentations and research projects. The midwifery curriculum is enhanced by studies in related fields, such as epidemiology, nutrition, pharmacology, genetics, embryology and counseling. Students are given the option of completing an independent master’s project or, for equivalent credits, a specialty track in botanical medicine for midwifery care.
Students hone clinical skills and judgment during practicum with practicing midwives.
Graduates must demonstrate proficiency in the midwifery program's Core Competencies as shown by:
Participation in 60 births, including at least:
Participation in 1,500 hours (the equivalent of 50 credits) of clinical work, including at least:
Participation in 720 client contacts, including at least:
Clinical training for at least one year at a minimum of two clinical sites in the U.S. or the student's home country. All clinical training is with preceptors who are practicing legally in their region and will incorporate:
Demonstration of continuity of care by providing these continuous care services as the primary midwife under supervision to at least 15 women:
The Department of Midwifery educates midwives to conform to national and international standards of midwifery competence and to do the following:
At Bastyr, you'll learn through hands-on training that overlaps with classroom theory. We use a time-tested apprenticeship model in which students work side-by-side with experienced preceptors (who are licensed midwives) and other women’s health-care professionals. Students typically start off slowly at their clinical sites, mainly observing while continuing to learn midwifery theory and skills in their courses. Experience has shown us that students learn more deeply and quickly when they observe and apply lessons simultaneously in clinical settings. Clinical practicum rotations begin in the third quarter of the program and continue through the second and third years of the program. Clinical time with preceptors increases as classroom time decreases, preparing students to integrate their knowledge and skills in preparation for entry-level practice.
Basic clinical skills, such as performing blood draws, IVs, physical/pelvic exams, pap tests, and neonatal resuscitation, are all learned by students in the classroom with qualified instructors as well as in their clinical sites. Prior to being assigned to a clinical training site, students will be required to obtain training in adult CPR, have a negative TB test, be rubella immune and pass a criminal background check and demonstrate immunity or vaccination for Hepatitis B, Rubella, Pertussis, Varicella and Influenza.
Students obtain their clinical experience in gynecology/family planning clinics, prenatal/postpartum clinics, homebirth settings, birth centers, and hospitals in North America. Students may work with licensed midwives, registered midwives, certified professional midwives, certified nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners, naturopathic doctors, physician assistants or physicians during these rotations.
The Department of Midwifery places all students in qualified clinical training sites and students do not pay preceptors for their clinical experiences. Students must live within a one-hour commute of an approved clinical training site and must be prepared to relocate temporarily if the community where they reside does not have adequate clinical training opportunities. This may requires flexibility and the support of the student's family, as it may mean separation and economic challenges.
Preceptors are also known as Community Faculty in this program and must meet criteria established by the Department of Midwifery to supervise students. Community Faculty must be practicing legally and attending births as a licensed, certified or registered midwife for at least three years and have sufficient obstetrical/gynecological volume to adequately instruct, supervise, and evaluate the student's clinical training. The Department of Midwifery screens and approves all potential preceptors and Community Faculty. Students work closely with the Clinical Education Supervisor in the process of being assigned to their clinical rotations. Clinical training sites changes frequently and prospective students are invited to contact the Department for more information.
Modern North American midwives are health professionals who focus on the natural processes of pregnancy, labor and birth. They combine traditional skills and modern medical techniques to safeguard normal childbirth, while ensuring access to appropriate interventions when needed. Direct-entry midwives are generally self-employed and most often practice in homes and freestanding birth centers. Professional options include:
Midwifery is regulated in more than 25 states through licensure, certification and registration. See a map showing the legal status of midwives across the country.
Graduates of our program are eligible to take the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) exam for registration as a certified professional midwife (CPM). Although the CPM is a national certification, licensure of the practice of midwifery (as with most professions) occurs on a state-by-state basis. In the states that license direct-entry midwives, the CPM credential or the NARM exam is part of the licensure process.
Kenmore, Washington campus
Students have two entry options for the Master of Science in Midwifery program.
3 years (11 quarters), full-time
For more information on titles and licensure, visit the North American Registry of Midwives.
Transfer credit disclosure:
Bastyr University is currently accredited by Midwifery Education and Accreditation Council (MEAC) as well as the regional accrediting agency, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). While many institutions require that a transfer student’s credits are accredited (either regionally or programmatically) to transfer credits, it is not safe to assume the credits earned at Bastyr University will be transferrable to another institution’s program solely because its accreditation status. Transferability of credit is determined by receiving institution. A student must contact the institution in which the student wishes to enroll to determine which Bastyr credits, if any, will transfer.
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