Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

“Now that I have my DNP, not only do I still get to help families, but I also get to focus on improving the process at a higher level for our team. I’m able to perform literature reviews, data collection, and change our process using my clinical background.”

Adam Schneider, DNP ’17, Senior Organ Procurement Coordinator, UW Organ and Tissue Donation

2–4
Years to graduate

500–1000
Practicum hours in clinical leadership

7
Specialty tracks

How to Get In

Post-BS

Post-BS applicants have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Applicants who have a non-APRN master’s degree (i.e., nurse education) are considered Post-BS applicants and are able to waive up to 18 credits based on previous graduate coursework, pending review of syllabi.

Post-BS Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduation from an accredited baccalaureate program
  • RN license
  • GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 credits for the baccalaureate degree
  • One year of professional nursing experience
  • Grade of B or better in a graduate level statistics course within the last 5 years. (Note: The course does not need to be taken before applying, but must be successfully completed prior to the start of the fall term.)

Post-MS

For certified advance practice nurses (APRNs) with a master’s degree, there is a post-MS option to complete the DNP degree. Post-MS applicants have a master’s degree in a specialty track and are certified (or eligible for certification) as advanced practice nurses.

Post-MS Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduation from an accredited baccalaureate program
  • RN license
  • Master’s degree in a specialty track from an accredited nursing program
  • GPA of 3.5 for the master’s degree
  • Certification as an advanced practice nurse
  • One year of professional nursing experience
  • Grade of B or better in a graduate level statistics course within the last 5 years. (Note: The course does not need to be taken before applying, but must be successfully completed prior to the start of the fall term.)

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

  • CGFNS Certification
  • Minimum English proficiency scores in one of the following:
    • TOEFL (600 PBT, 100 iBT)
    • IELTS (8)
    • MELAB (85)

Applies to Population Health and Systems Leadership and Innovation Specialties

Post-BS

Post-BS applicants have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Applicants who have a non-APN master’s degree (i.e., nurse education) are considered Post-BS applicants and are able to waive up to 18 credits based on previous graduate coursework, pending review of syllabi.

Post-BS Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduation from an accredited baccalaureate program
  • RN license
  • GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 credits for the baccalaureate degree
  • At least one year of experience in nursing, public health, or a health-related field
  • Grade of B or better in a graduate level statistics course within the last 5 years. (Note: The course does not need to be taken before applying, but must be successfully completed prior to the start of the fall term.)

Post-MS

For certified advanced practice nurses (APRNs) with a masters degree, there is a post-MS option to complete the DNP degree.

Post-MS applicants have a master’s degree in a specialty track and are certified (or eligible for certification) as advanced practice nurses.

Post-MS Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduation from an accredited baccalaureate program
  • RN license
  • Master’s degree in a specialty track from an accredited nursing program
  • GPA of 3.5 for the master’s degree
  • Certification as an advanced practice nurse
  • At least one year of experience in nursing, public health, or a health-related field
  • Grade of B or better in a graduate level statistics course within the last 5 years. (Note: The course does not need to be taken before applying, but must be successfully completed prior to the start of the fall term.)

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

  • CGFNS Certification
  • Minimum English proficiency scores in one of the following:
    • TOEFL (600 PBT, 100 iBT)
    • IELTS (8)
    • MELAB (85)

DNP students pay a differential tuition. Rates are subject to change by term.

For APRN tracks, see Tuition Costs Per Credit  (select Doctor of Nursing Practice from the ‘Choose a program’ menu). The Graduate School Cost of Attendance may help in estimating costs—you will need to substitute the DNP tuition rate.

For non-APRN tracks (Population Health, Systems Leadership and Innovation), the tuition rate is $1,150 per credit (online/distance tuition rate). The Graduate School Cost of Attendance may help in estimating costs—you will need to substitute the DNP online/distance tuition rate. Please note that DNP online/distance students will not be assessed the segregated fees and will not have access to the associated services, programs and facilities.

Financial Support

Graduate students in the School of Nursing have access to traineeships, fellowships, scholarships, loans, and research and teaching assistantship positions that may come with full tuition remission. The majority of funding decisions are made in the Spring for the following academic year. All students are encouraged to apply for funding.

Visit the Costs & Financial Aid page for full information about financial support.

The faculty admissions committee will review applications once each year for fall admission. All DNP program applicants must complete the Graduate School’s online application and submit the required supplementary materials.

  • Application opens: Early September
  • Deadline: December 1 (APRN tracks), April 1 (non-APRN tracks)
  • In-person interview: January 14-15, 2021 (APRN tracks). Interview dates and times will be assigned by the School of Nursing. For non-APRN tracks, interviews will be scheduled individually with applicants.

For the purposes of application review, unofficial transcripts may be uploaded directly to the application. Official records will be requested by the Graduate School for all candidates who are recommended for admission.

Applicants may only apply to one specialty track and must indicate whether or not they intend to follow the three- or four-year program plan as part of the application. Requests to switch population focus areas after starting the program are only seldom possible and considered on a case by case basis.

After an initial application review, eligible applicants will be invited for an interview in mid-January through late-February. All applicants must participate in an interview in order to be considered for this program. Interview dates and times will be assigned by the School of Nursing.

Application Materials

Supplemental application materials:
  • Transcripts from all previously attended and currently attending institutions
  • Copy of nursing license
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • CGFNS Certification,  if you are an international applicant
  • Official TOEFL, ILETS, or MELAB scores,  if you are an international applicant
  • Reasons for Graduate Study/Statement of Purpose
    Note
    : Within the Graduate School online application, there are two locations to upload a Statement of Purpose document. Please upload your Statement of Purpose document in both locations within the application: the Supplemental Apps tab and the Statements & CV tab.

    Share your experiences and motivation for pursing a DNP degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing. Your statement must address ALL of the following in 1,600 words or less (5 pages maximum, double-spaced, PDF format):

    Please note that DNP students must possess strong writing abilities. The Statement of Purpose is an important component of the application process and serves as evidence of your ability to communicate your thoughts and ideas in a logical and analytical manner. Your Statement of Purpose will be assessed in the following areas:

a.    Ability to address the entire prompt
b.    Ability to write in a logical, analytical, and meaningful manner
c.    Ability to be concise and utilize proper grammar and syntax
d.    Prior to writing your Statement of Purpose, please review the Essentials of DNP Education.

  1. Share your motivation for pursuing a practice doctorate in nursing. Describe your professional goals and the specific skills and knowledge you hope to gain from this program.
  2. What has inspired and prepared you to pursue your chosen specialty track (i.e., Adult/Gerontology Acute Care, Adult/Gerontology Primary Care, Adult/Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pediatric Primary Care, Psychiatric Mental Health, Population Health, Systems Leadership & Innovation)?
  3. A key role of the DNP-prepared nurse is to translate evidence into practice. Describe a significant clinical, population health, and/or system problem in healthcare that you have encountered firsthand. Address the following questions in your response.
    1. What was the problem?
    2. Who was most impacted?
    3. What research, best practice guidelines or innovations could provide potential solutions to the problem?
    4. Identify how the role of a DNP could impact change for this problem.
  4. Each student will bring a unique set of personal attributes, characteristics, culture, and experiences to contribute to a diverse and inclusive environment.
    1. What have you done to further your knowledge about diversity, equity, and inclusion?
    2. How have you demonstrated what you have learned?
    3. What are your greatest opportunities for growth in this area?

Optional statement
If you believe that your academic record or test scores do not accurately reflect your ability to be successful in graduate work, you may submit a statement that describes additional factors that you feel merit consideration. This optional statement must be 250 words or less (1 page maximum, double-spaced, PDF format).

Connect with Us

If you have any questions, would like to discuss visit options, or want to be connected with faculty members, please contact us. We are happy to arrange connections with current students as well. They can often provide special insight into the program, academic services, and life at the University and in Madison.

Kate Beggs

Graduate Admissions & Recruitment Coordinator

katherine.beggs@wisc.edu

608-263-5183

Mandi Moy

Director of Admissions & Recruitment

mandi.moy@wisc.edu

608-263-5261