DNP Admission Requirements
Two major areas considered in admissions decisions; Academic Preparation and Achievement, and Personal Qualities.
The application process involves a number of different components. Please begin your application early in the cycle, well before the earliest deadline. This will allow the necessary time to verify and process your application. There are different deadlines for some programs so be sure and check the dates.
Please note, we accept applications from two types of students – those who are seeking initial APRN licensure and those who already hold APRN licensure. Individuals seeking initial APRN licensure must reside in the Tri-State area of Tennessee, Mississippi or Arkansas and must complete their clinical training in those states. DNP applicants who already hold an APRN license should contact the Office of Student Affairs at 901-448-6139 or firstname.lastname@example.org for questions on state authorization as the rules concerning distant education for each state can vary.
Academic Preparation and Achievement
A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 based on all collegiate work, or a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 earned during your most recently completed degree program, is required to be considered for admission. The GPA calculation for the most recently completed degree is based only on grades earned at the degree-granting institution. Applicants may submit additional documents to demonstrate professional scholarship and leadership abilities that could make them more competitive.
Applicants to the DNP program are considered for admission to their selected specialty options within the College of Nursing. The total number of students admitted to the DNP program will vary depending on the number of positions available in each specialty option. Additionally, applicants may be more or less competitive within an option based on previous performance in selected course work. Faculty in the Nurse Anesthesia Option, for example, review applicant performance in basic sciences in addition to the cumulative GPA necessary for application.
The accreditation standards for Nurse Anesthesia and Neonatal Nursing require that students admitted to these specialties have specific work experiences prior to admission. Other options do not have prior work requirements but all applicants are expected to fully understand and be able to speak to the full-scope advanced practice expectations of their selected specialty.
- Admission to the DNP Nurse Anesthesia option requires a minimum of one year full-time, practice experience within the last 2 years as a registered nurse in the care of critically ill adults, children, or newborns in an intensive care setting.
- Admission to the DNP Neonatal Nurse Practitioner option requires a minimum of one year full-time, practice experience within the last 5 years as a registered nurse in the care of critically ill newborns, infants, or children in an acute inpatient setting.
- The DNP Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner option gives preference to applicants who have a clinical background in caring for acutely ill children and their families.
- The Dual Concentration DNP programs – Adult-Gerontology Acute Care/Family Nursing and Psychiatric Mental Health/Family Nursing – represent very intensive learning programs. Preference may be given to applicants with a balance of intellectual ability, time management skills, emotional fortitude and personal and financial support. Prior work experience may be considered as well.
Personal qualities are assessed in three ways: (1) through an essay; (2) through required recommendations; and (3) through interviews.
- Essay - The essay provides the College of Nursing Admissions Committee further insight into the professional goals, motivation, and expectations of the applicant and to evaluate written communication skills.
- Recommendation Forms - Applicants must submit at least three Recommendation Forms from doctorally prepared nurses or faculty members who can address the applicant’s potential or ability for functioning as an APRN in the areas of clinical skills, critical thinking, independent decision making, leadership, and collaboration skills with other health professionals. Two (2) academic and one (1) professional nursing work related reference are required if the applicant has been working in nursing since graduation. Applicants currently enrolled in a nursing program are required to submit at least one (1) Recommendation Form submitted by a faculty member in that program.
- Interview - Selected applicants are invited for interviews to further assess their personal qualities. Academic achievement, GPA ranking, previous experiences, and written essay are considered in determining who will be invited to interview. The interview will be in-person or either face to face or through the use of virtual conference technology such as Zoom®. Each interview has a written component that will be arranged prior to the interview. Each option has specific personal qualities to be assessed. An important characteristic of all programs is the applicant’s ability to plan for and undertake a rigorous plan of study, including time management, determination, and emotional fortitude as well as personal and financial support sufficient to complete the program.
Part 1: The Application Process
Prospective students MUST apply to the DNP program through NursingCAS, a national nursing centralized application service endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Specific instructions are provided on the UTHSC NursingCAS Info page.
Part 2: Minimum Requirements for DNP Admission
The DNP applicant must:
- Submit official copies of transcripts for all college and university work to NursingCAS. Submit of a copy of an unencumbered Tennessee RN license or have unencumbered authority to practice as an RN via the multi-state privilege at the time of application. Accepted students must maintain an unencumbered RN license for the duration of their program.
- Have earned either a bachelor of science in nursing or a master of science in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university.
- Have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 based on all collegiate work or a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 earned during the applicants most recently completed degree program. The GPA calculation for the most recently completed degree will be based only on those grades earned at the degree-granting institution. Applicants may submit additional documents to demonstrate professional scholarship and leadership abilities that could make them more competitive.
- Students who were previously enrolled, but did not complete a nursing program, must submit a letter of good standing from the Director of the Nursing Program
- Provide current and relevant documentation of physical, learning, psychological, or other disabilities, if applicable. Documentation guidelines are available in the Student Academic Support Services (SASS) Office, GEB, room BB9. Students should call (901) 448-7746 and schedule an appointment to discuss accommodation needs as soon as possible following entry into the Program.
- Submit three recommendation forms. The recommendation forms are required to be from graduate prepared nurses or faculty members who can address your potential as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse including clinical skills, critical thinking, independent decision making, collaborative skills with other health professionals, and leadership. Two recommendation forms are required from faculty members who can address academic ability and one recommendation form is required to be completed by an employer or doctorally prepared health care professional who can address professional performance.
- Submit an essay about how you expect earning the DNP will affect future practice. A brief, written essay will be completed during the interview process to demonstrate written communication skills.
- Provide evidence of having met the experience requirements for Nurse Anesthetist or Neonatal Nurse Practitioner options prior to admission.
- Have ready access to a Web-connected, laptop personal computer. Computer literacy and adequate computer skills are required.
- Provide evidence of having met the experience requirements for certain advanced practice options (e.g., Nurse Anesthetist, Pediatric Acute Care Nursing, or Neonatal Nurse Practitioner) prior to admission.
- Demonstrate proficiency in the English language. All students matriculating at UTHSC must be proficient in the English language. Applicants will be required to present evidence of proficiency in English if a) their native language is not English, or b) at any time during the application process there is reason to believe the applicant is not proficient in the English language. Students will be required to present evidence of proficiency in English if at any time during matriculation there is reason to believe the student is not proficient in the English language. Evidence of proficiency in the English language is established through the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum acceptable scores are 550 on TOEFL paper version, 213 on TOEFL computer version, and 80 on TOEFL web-based version. TOEFL scores must have been earned within two years prior to application for the current UTHSC program. Any application for exemption from the TOEFL examination requirement must be submitted before the application deadline to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, (901) 448-6125.
- Complete a successful criminal background check and drug screen within 30 days of official acceptance to the program. Background checks may be repeated during the students program of study.
Part 3: Official Transcript
Official transcripts from every college/university you have attended will be needed to complete your on-line application through NursingCAS. In addition, you will need to request that a copy of your transcript also be sent to NursingCAS for verification.
Transcripts from any non-U.S. institution must be sent to and verified by a NACES accredited agency, for example, the World Education Services (WES).
Part 4: Laptop Required & Essential Computer Skills
- Must own a laptop computer with a connection to a high speed internet provider that meets the College of Nursing requirements Computer and Software Requirements.
- Computer/web-based literacy skills including keyboarding skills are expected. DNP students are expected to be able to use the Microsoft Office suite including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Other software is specified in various courses.
Part 5: Native Tongue not English (TOEFL scores required)
- Evidence of English proficiency is mandatory part of application process
- Official minimum TOEFL Score earned within two (2) years prior to application to College of Nursing
- Three versions of TOEFL: Paper-based Test (minimum score 550), Computer-based (minimum score 213), and Internet/web-based (minimum score 80).
Part 6: If Not a U.S. Citizen
- Applicant must provide photocopy of immigration documentation showing “legal immigration status” (e.g., “Green Card”).
- Copy of Immigration Status Doc.
Part 7: Fees
NursingCAS fees are $65 to apply for DNP admission. After acceptance, students are required to submit a $75 Application Processing Fee and a Guaranteed Enrollment Deposit (GED). The GED is a non-refundable fee due within 30 days of acceptance, is held in escrow and applied to the student’s first term of study. The GED for DNP Nurse Anesthesia students is $1,500. The GED for all other DNP students is $200.
Applicants must complete a successful criminal background check and drug screen within 30 days of official acceptance to the DNP Program. The fee is $162 for accepted DNP students. Background checks and drug screens must be repeated throughout the student’s program of study.
For General Inquiries:
Jasmine Osborn, BPS
920 Madison, #1020
Memphis, TN 38163
For BSN Program Inquiries or Transcript Evaluations:
Helen Lu, M.S., M.A.
920 Madison, #1031
Memphis, TN 38163
Jamie Overton, M.A.Ed.
Director of Student Affairs
920 Madison, #1021
Memphis, TN 38163