DNP Admission Requirements

Two major areas considered in admissions decisions; Academic Preparation and Achievement, and Personal Qualities.

Apply Early

Please don't wait until the night before a program deadline to submit your application. You should apply before the earliest deadline of the program(s) that you are applying to. This will allow the necessary time to verify and process your application.

DNP admissions: DNP applicants without APN licensure or those with APN licensure seeking new certification will need to reside in the tri-state area (TN, MS, AR) during their enrollment in the DNP program and complete clinical in those states. DNP students with APN license who are not seeking new certification should refer to their State Board of Nursing regulations regarding completion of clinical in their states.

Application Guidelines


Academic Preparation and Achievement

Only applicants with 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 applicant’s most recently completed degree program will be considered for admission. 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.

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.

Work Experience

The College of Nursing requires work experience only for DNP NNP and Nurse Anesthesia applicants at the time of interview. It is expected that all applicants can clearly articulate understanding of the advanced practice role for their select specialty.

  • The DNP NNP program requires applicants to have a minimum of one (1) year full-time, recent (within the last 5 years) practice experience as a registered nurse (RN) in the care of critically ill newborns, infants, or children in an acute inpatient setting.
  • The DNP Nurse Anesthesia program requires applicants to have a minimum of one (1) year full-time, recent (within the last 2 years) practice experience as a registered nurse (RN) in the care of critically ill adults, children, or newborns in an intensive care setting.

Personal Qualities

An applicant’s personal qualities are assessed in three ways: (1) through an essay; (2) through Recommendation Forms; and (3) through interviews.

  1. Essay - The purpose of the essay is to provide the College of Nursing Admissions Committee further insight into the professional goals, motivation, and expectations of the applicant and to evaluate written communication skills.
  2. Recommendation Forms - Applicants must submit at least three (3) Recommendation Forms from graduate prepared nurses or faculty members who can address their potential or ability for functioning in the advanced practice or research role (clinical skills, critical thinking, independent decision making, collaborative skills with other health professionals, and nursing leadership). Two (2) academic and one (1) professional nursing work related reference are required. 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.
  3. Interview - In order to assess the personal qualities of an applicant, selected individuals are invited to campus for interviews. Academic achievement, GPA ranking, previous experience, and written essay are considered in determining who will be invited to interview. Match of applicant’s educational goals with faculty programs of practice or research is an important factor assessed during the interview process. The interview will be in-person and face to face unless extraordinary circumstances warrant other arrangements. The DNP Program Director is charged with decision responsibility related to “extraordinary circumstances.”

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Have earned either a bachelor of science in nursing or a master of science in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university.
  3. 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 applicant’s 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. Submit three (3) recommendation forms. The recommendation forms are required to be from graduate prepared nurses or faculty members who can address the applicant’s potential or ability for functioning in the advanced practice or research role (clinical skills, critical thinking, independent decision making, collaborative skills with other health professionals, and nursing leadership). Two (2) recommendation forms are required from faculty members who can address academic ability and one (1) recommendation form is required to be completed by an employer or professional who can address professional performance.
  7. Submit an essay of the applicant’s expectation of how a DNP will affect their practice and complete a brief essay during the interview process to demonstrate written communication skills.
  8. Provide a copy of a current certification in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR/BCLS) or advanced life support prior to enrollment; students enrolled in the MSN or DNP program are expected to maintain current certification throughout their enrollment in the program. Some advanced practice options (e.g., Nurse Anesthesia) may have additional certification requirements.
  9. Have ready access to a Web-connected, laptop personal computer. Computer literacy and adequate computer skills are required.
  10. Provide evidence of having met the experience requirements for certain advanced practice options (e.g., Nurse Anesthetist and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner) prior to admission.
  11. 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.
  12. 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 student’s 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 web-connected laptop.
  • Computer/web-based literacy skills expected.
  • Once accepted, students will referred to the UTHSC College of Nursing Computer and Software Requirements.

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 for DNP. After acceptance, students are required to submit a $75 Application Processing Fee and a $200 Guaranteed Enrollment Deposit (GED). The GED, 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 $1500. The GED for all other DNP students is $200.

Apply to CAS

Future Student
Contact Information

Jamie Overton, M.A.Ed.
Director of Student Affairs
920 Madison, #1021
Memphis, TN 38163
901-448-6139
joverton@uthsc.edu

Shawn Boyd
Coordinator
920 Madison, #1033
Memphis, TN 38163
901-448-6141
sboyd15@uthsc.edu

Roylynn Germain
Student Affairs - Admin Coordinator
920 Madison, #1020
Memphis, TN 38163
901-448-6125
rgermain@uthsc.edu

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