The SUNY Downstate Midwifery Program consists of a 40 graduate credit midwifery core curriculum and a 12 graduate credit master's component. Candidates for an advanced certificate in midwifery must complete the midwifery core curriculum. Candidates for a MS degree in midwifery must complete the same midwifery core curriculum plus the master's component which is interspersed throughout seven or eight semesters.

Nurse students and students from a variety of backgrounds are fully integrated into one single Midwifery Program and demonstrate comparable theoretical and clinical competencies prior to graduation. Every effort is made to develop creative ways to individualize the course content for those who demonstrate strengths and/or weaknesses, from any professional background. However, the following curricular supplement is required of student midwives, (those without a nursing background), but not  student nurse-midwives:

  • Basic Health Skills (3 undergraduate credits)

Student midwives who have previously completed equivalent introductory courses that focus on these skills, or who are health professionals in fields other than nursing and therefore competent in these skills may seek a course waiver for this course.

The SUNY Downstate midwifery core curriculum consists of the following graduate level courses:

  • Antepartum Care (Didactic)
  • Antepartum Care (Clinical)
  • Intrapartum Care (Didactic)
  • Intrapartum Care (Clinical)
  • Medical and Obstetric Complications of Pregnancy
  • Medical Complications of Pregnancy
  • Neonatology (Didactic)
  • Neonatology (Clinical)
  • Obstetric Complications of Pregnancy
  • Postpartum Care (Didactic)
  • Postpartum Care (Clinical)
  • Gynecologic, Reproductive and Sexual Health (Didactic)
  • Gynecologic, Reproductive and Sexual Health (Clinical)
  • Advanced Physical Assessment of Women (Didactic)
  • Advanced Physical Assessment of Women (Clinical)
  • Pelvic Assessment of Women (Didactic)
  • Pelvic Assessment of Women (Clinical)
  • Advanced Pathophysiology of Acute and Chronic Conditions in Women and Their Primary Care
  • Clinical Practicum in Primary Care
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Obstetric Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Professional Issues & Leadership in Midwifery
  • Toward Racial and Social Justice and Equity in Midwifery Practice and Education
  • Preparation for Midwifery Practice
  • Integration of Clinical Studies

In addition to the above, the SUNY Downstate MS degree in midwifery track integrates the following courses -12 credits

  • Research I & II
  • Educational Theories, Philosophies, and Practices for Didactic and Clinical Teaching
  • Health Care Policy and Community Assessment OR
  • International Women's Health Care Policy (currently suspended)

In addition to these required courses, the program offers a 3-semester elective sequence, Continuity of Care. In these observational courses, open to first year students in the MS track, students have the opportunity to follow a family planning a home birth throughout their prenatal care, birth, and postpartum care, with mentorship from a community midwife. 

The Program admits students once a year in the Fall semester for a 5 to 6 semester or 7 to 8 semester program of study. The advanced certificate in midwifery program of study consists of approximately 328 hours of didactic instruction and an average of 875 hours of supervised laboratory and clinical practice; the MS degree in midwifery track consists of an additional 180 hours of didactic instruction.

Many and varied clinical facilities are utilized to provide the student with midwifery experience in settings such as ambulatory health clinics, private midwifery practices, inner city hospitals, private and community hospitals, and freestanding birthing centers as available. Supervised primary care, gynecologic , reproductive and sexual health family planning, antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum clinical experiences are planned for all students at a faculty: student ratio of 1:1 or 1:2. Neonatal clinical experiences are supervised by faculty in the Center for Simulation Education with in-person clinical experiences achieved during the Intrapartum and Integration clinical experiences. Academic and clinical faculty collaborate closely in evaluating student progress in the application of theory to practice, assessing specific learning needs, individualizing clinical assignments, and monitoring performance levels.

Each student is expected to achieve the theoretical competency outcomes of all courses by passing with a score of 80% (B) or higher; in addition, students must satisfactorily achieve the clinical competencies in courses with a clinical component in order to advance within the Program and, ultimately, to graduate. A written comprehensive examination is administered to the students during their Integration of Clinical Studies course. This examination is a summative evaluation of the student's ability to apply and integrate knowledge and theory of the midwifery management process. Upon passing the comprehensive examination and meeting all of the clinical requirements of the program, the student is eligible to take the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) national certification examination.

All SUNY Downstate midwifery students must possess a baccalaureate degree. Registered nurses are exempt from prerequisite courses, but others are required to have successfully completed college level courses in:

  • biology or genetics; general  chemistry; microbiology; anatomy and physiology (2 semesters with lab); developmental (life-span) psychology; general psychology; general sociology or cultural anthropology, pathophysiology; nutrition; and statistics.

Nurses are exempt from these prerequisite courses. 

Evidence of successful completion of each prerequisite course with a grade of "C" or better and attainment of the baccalaureate degree must be reflected in official transcripts from college(s)/university(ies) attended. The transcripts are reviewed by the Admissions Office. Specific questions regarding the required courses or their equivalency should be directed to the Admissions Office.

The midwifery curriculum is designed for adult learners who enter the Program with diverse educational, professional, and cultural backgrounds. Effective education occurs when students assume responsibility for their own learning. Midwifery seminars, web-enhanced courses, teleconferences, web-based references, clinical simulation and case presentations further reinforce course content while promoting student-centered learning. A variety of health care professionals are invited to speak on health-related topics. Students are also encouraged to attend weekly Ob/Gyn conferences held at SUNY Downstate and/or at their clinical site(s).

Other resources available to students include: learning guides, bibliographies, computer-assisted instruction programs, audio-visual aids, high fidelity simulators and task trainers in the Center for Healthcare Simulation (CHS) and library materials. Students are encouraged to attend professional workshops and continuing education programs, as well as meetings of the local ACNM chapter where they reside.

Clinical experiences are coordinated to correspond to the appropriate theoretical learning going on in the classroom setting. Thus, for example, students who are working on the Intrapartum and Postpartum courses gain Labor and Birth, Postpartum and Newborn experiences. In addition to their primary clinical assignments, students are offered opportunities to experience midwifery practice in a variety of settings: academic health science center, community hospitals, birth centers, private practice, and midwife/MD partnerships, as available. While not every student has the opportunity to practice in every setting, efforts are made to accommodate student learning needs and to consider student preferences.

During the Integration of Clinical Studies course, clinical faculty assume the major responsibility for the supervision of students. Academic faculty remain involved in a liaison capacity to assist with the transition from basic to advanced student; this helps to ensure that students' learning needs are met and to support the clinical faculty members as they precept the students.

SUNY Downstate's Midwifery Program was designated an Advanced Certificate Program and Masters program; as such, all credit offerings were approved on a graduate level by SUNY and are recognized by the New York State Education Department. Thus, all of the midwifery courses carry a 500 number which is a designation used only for graduate level courses; this is true except for the undergraduate course Basic Health Skills which carries a 400 number.

In 1998, the Program was redesigned to retain a certificate option and to initiate a master's degree in midwifery option. Upon successful completion of this program of study, certificate candidates will have earned 40 graduate credits while master's degree candidates will have earned 52 graduate credits. Currently, the certificate option is available to those students who already have a graduate degree in a related discipline.

Students Progression Policies, Graduation Requirements, Required Texts, can be found in the Midwifery Student Handbook.

Transfer credit policy, grievance, complaints and appeals policy can be found at: Student Handbook