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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

School of Health Professions – Midwifery Program


The SUNY Downstate Midwifery Program consists of a 38 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 which spans five semesters. Candidates for a MS degree in midwifery must complete the same midwifery core curriculum plus the master's component which is interspersed throughout the five semesters. A seven semester study option is also available. (See Program of Study).

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, but not  student nurse-midwives:

  • Basic Health Skills (3 undergraduate credits)

DE students who have previously completed equivalent introductory courses that focus upon medical, surgical, psychiatric, and pediatric theoretical concepts may seek one or more course waivers for the curricular supplements. Opportunities for RN students to audit these courses are also provided.

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)
  • Physical Assessment of Women (Didactic)
  • Physical Assessment of Women (Clinical)
  • Pelvic Assessment of Women (Didactic)
  • Pelvic Assessment of Women (Clinical)
  • 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
  • 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
  • Introduction to Teaching
  • Health Care Policy and Community Assessment OR
  • International Women's Health Care Policy

The Program admits students once a year in the Fall semester for a 5 semester or 7 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 HMO ambulatory health clinics, private midwifery practices, inner city hospitals, private and community hospitals, and freestanding birthing centers as available. Supervised primary care, well woman gynecologic care, 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 academic faculty at a ratio of 1:2. 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, prepared by the midwifery faculty, 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.

Please note: All SUNY Downstate midwifery students must possess a baccalaureate degree.

All SUNY Downstate midwifery students must possess a baccalaureate degree. In addition, direct entry candidates are required to have successfully completed college level courses in:

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

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.

It is the midwifery faculty's belief that, effective education takes place when students assume major responsibility for their own learning. In addition, the midwifery curriculum is particularly effective for adult learners who enter the Program with diverse backgrounds and needs, enabling them to work independently. 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 topics related to women's health. Students are also encouraged to attend the 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 Delivery and Postpartum 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, a practice that has always been in effect at SUNY Downstate.

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 three undergraduate courses (Basic Health Skills, Integrated Medical Sciences I and Integrated Medical Sciences II) which carry 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 38 graduate credits while master's degree candidates will have earned 50 graduate credits. Currently, the certificate option is available to those students who already have a master's 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:


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