Master of Science in Midwifery

Quick Facts


Kenmore, Washington campus

General Requirements

Students have two entry options for the Master of Science in Midwifery program.

  • Option 1: Students may enter with a completed bachelor’s degree and the required basic proficiency prerequisites.
  • Option 2: Students may enter the program without a bachelor’s degree, but must complete the basic proficiency prerequisites, in addition to the general education prerequisites, totaling a minimum of 90 quarter credits. 

Length of Program

3 years (11 quarters), full-time

Tuition and Financial Aid

Professional Titles

  • Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)
  • Licensed Midwife
  • Registered Midwife

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.

Download the 2019 Performance Fact Sheet


Bastyr University's three-year Master of Science in Midwifery program trains students in all aspects of midwifery care, from preconception through pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period for parent and newborn. It is the only Master of Science in Midwifery that is both regionally accredited and MEAC-accredited and prepares graduates to become leaders in the profession.

The rigorous, proven curriculum – based on the competencies established by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and the combined expertise of Bastyr University and the renowned Seattle Midwifery School – is taught by exemplary classroom and clinical faculty. Students choose between developing expertise in an independent master’s project or in botanical medicine for midwifery care.

The Master of Science in Midwifery program is intended for people who desire to serve childbearing families in the home or freestanding birth center settings. Completion of the three-year program prepares 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 addresses both the art and science of midwifery by integrating theory with clinical experience. Academic 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 core midwifery curriculum is enhanced by studies in related fields, such as epidemiology, nutrition, pharmacology, genetics, embryology and counseling. All students build a solid foundation in professional issues through courses in understanding and addressing racism, a deep history of the midwifery profession, health policy, legal and ethical frameworks, and how to build a midwifery practice. Students are given the option of completing either an independent master’s project or, for equivalent credits, a specialty track in botanical medicine for midwifery care.

In the Spring quarter of the first year of the program, students layer practicum experience on top of their continuing academic studies. Students hone clinical skills and develop midwifery judgment during clinical rotations with practicing midwives throughout the second and third years of the program. This layering of academic theory with clinical experience creates unparalleled learning opportunities for students in our program.

The attached PDF is the proposed curriculum for students starting in Fall 2019. Please note that changes to the curriculum may still occur before the start of the Fall 2019 academic year. For the 2019-2020 course catalog, click here.

Expected Learning Outcomes

At the completion of Bastyr’s Midwifery Program, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to autonomously provide care to clients with normal, low-risk pregnancies, labors, births and postpartum periods, as well as normal newborn care, in a variety of settings with a primary focus in home and birth center locations.  Provide this care in alignment with the Midwives Model of Care™ that promotes birth as a healthy and normal physiologic process.

  2. Assess, diagnose and appropriately manage common complications in the antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum periods.

  3. Recognize complications that require consultation, referral or transfer of care to other providers within the healthcare system, and collaborate effectively for positive client outcomes.

  4. Utilize critical thinking abilities by referencing evidence-informed practice principles and by integrating ethical and legal issues into their care of clients.

  5. Demonstrate integration of the principles of  reproductive justice by acting as advocates and agents for racial and cultural equity.

  6. Communicate with clients in a way that validates the client’s knowledge and experience while encouraging personal responsibility in shared decision-making and informed choice.

  7. Exercise information literacy skills through research activities, policy development, involvement in political processes and the promotion of midwifery through state, provincial and national professional organizations.

  8. Qualify for certification by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), and may qualify for licensure or registration in a variety of jurisdictions.


Blended Learning Format

The midwifery program combines the best of online and face-to-face learning methods to allow students flexibility in their geographic location 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 Canva online learning platform, along with other collaborative tools such as Google Docs and Zoom. 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 comes together at Bastyr's Kenmore campus, which facilitates the face-to-face learning that is vital to midwifery training. 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 practicing midwives who are also excellent teachers, and all supplies (other than personal student tools and equipment) are provided by the school. Students also learn in Bastyr’s extensive herb garden, anatomy laboratory, and expansive health sciences library.

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, bookstore, a counseling department, and many more student services.

PDF icon 2019-20 MW.pdf

Clinical Training

At Bastyr, students 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(midwives who are legally practicing in their jurisdiction) and other healthcare professionals.  Clinical practicum rotations begin in the third quarter of the program and continue throughout the second and third years of the program. Clinical time with preceptorsand student involvement in skills 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, intravenous lines, physical/pelvic exams, and cytology tests, are first taught in the classroom with qualified instructors and practiced and refined in clinical sites.  Prior to being assigned to a clinical training site, students will be required to obtain certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for healthcare providers and neonatal resuscitation, have a negative tuberculosis (TB) test and demonstrate immunity or vaccination for hepatitis B per university policy, demonstrate immunity or vaccination for other health conditions per specific state law or as required by their clinical site (which may include but is not limited to rubella, pertussis, varicella, and influenza),  and pass a criminal background check.

Where Students Get Clinical Experience

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 provides ongoing support to students throughout the practicum experience; 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 require flexibility and the support of the student's family, as it may mean separation and economic challenges.

In our program preceptors are also known as Community Faculty who meet criteria established by the Department of Midwifery to supervise students. Community Faculty must be practicing legally, 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 change frequently and prospective students are invited to contact the Department for more information.


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.

College Algebra or Statistics

4 quarter credits


3 quarter credits

Introductory Nutrition

3 quarter credits

General Chemistry (allied-health-major level) with lab

4 quarter credits


4 quarter credits

Anatomy and Physiology SERIES

8 quarter credits

Doula Training (DONA or toLabor approved)

Not college course

Childbirth Educator Training (ICEA or Lamaze approved)

Not college course

Undergraduate Entry Option

Applicants who plan to start the program without an awarded bachelor’s degree must also complete the following General Education Requirements:

English Literature or Composition

9 quarter credits

Public Speaking

3 quarter credits

Natural Sciences

4 quarter credits

Arts and Humanities

15 quarter credits

Social Sciences

15 quarter credits


17 quarter credits

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.

Graduation Requirements can be found in the current catalog.


Modern North American midwives are independent healthcare providers who facilitate 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. Certified professional midwives most often provide prenatal care in an office setting and attend births in the home and freestanding birth center settings. Professional options include:

  • Owning a private practice focusing on birth center and/or home births
  • Qualifying for registration in Canada as a midwife who practices in homes, birth centers and hospitals
  • Developing or working in a community birth center
  • Participating as part of an integrated maternity care team
  • Acting as a consultant to conventional medical practices
  • Working internationally to teach and provide care
  • Serving as a national policy advocate

Midwifery is regulated in more than 30 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. Some states require midwifery education from a MEAC-accredited program in order to be eligible for licensure; be sure to investigate what is needed in the area where you hope to practice.

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