The DNP charts a course for master's prepared nurses to achieve the highest level of nursing practice, and all the personal, financial and professional benefits a doctoral degree confers.
Who is the DNP program for?
The DNP prepares nurses for specialty practice at the most expert level. Nurses who earn DNPs practice across a broad spectrum of health care settings, teaching in nursing education programs, as unit managers or assuming upper-level nurse administrator roles.
Applicants to the post-master's DNP should have advanced education in a clinical specialty. Candidates who are eligible for clinical certification as APRNs should have valid APN licenses. Graduates from other advanced specialty areas such as public health or health administration do not need these certifications.
MSN-prepared individuals with generalist/non-specialty MSNs (such as in education or Clinical Nurse Leader) should pursue a post-master's program to obtain clinical specialization before pursuing a DNP. A BSN to DNP pathway is also available, and includes preparation for NP or CNS certification.
To be considered for the post-master's DNP, applicants must submit a completed application and:
A competitive applicant has:
*Submission of GRE scores is optional. If you wish to submit your scores, UVA's Institutional Code is R-5820. The School of Nursing accepts GRE scores that are more than five years old (please submit a copy of the student report).
**The University is in transition as it establishes regulations to support out-of-state students for distance-learning. If you are a non-Virginian interested in enrolling in a distace-learning program, please contact the Office of Admissions & Student Services (434-924-2743), for eligibility.
Students applying for or enrolled in either DNP or PhD programs may apply for the Virginia Doctoral Nursing Student Loan Assistance Repayment Program administered by UVA. Full-time doctoral students are eligible to borrow up to $25,000 per year during the coursework phase of their programs (years 1 and 2), loans that are cancelled if a teaching position at a public or private nursing program in Virginia for four years (two years of teaching for each year of loan) is assumed after graduation.
Additionally, DNP students are eligible for other School of Nursing-specific aid (teaching assistantships, scholarships, nurse traineeship funds, and the Nurse Faculty Loan Program); Visit our tuition and financial aid website for more information.
All graduate nursing students are required to have a laptop; Information about these requirements will be sent to enrolling students in the summer before classes begin.
All DNP students pursue some courses in common - the 'core curriculum' - and select six credits of cognates (with guidance from their faculty mentors) drawn from nursing and non-nursing courses that contribute to the student's final scholarly project. Required core classes are offered in a variety of ways: some are online while others meet face to face in Charlottesville once a month or at the beginning and end of each semester.
Professional nursing standards and guidelines incorporated in the curriculum are guided by The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006).
The DNP program culminates in the successful completion of a scholarly project - a significant, evidence-based contribution to existing nursing knowledge suitable for publication in a peer reviewed journal or a book - designed by the student in collaboration with a three-member committee. Previous projects have focused on needs assessment with program development and evaluation, evaluation of an existing program, development of an assessment instrument or protocol, and a cost/benefit analysis of program models.
The length of time requires to complete the program depends on several factors: whether you have a BSN or MSN degree; whether you are a full-time/part-time student; the number of practica hours required; and your final scholarly project. Students are encouraged to discuss concepts for the capstone project early in their study, and could incorporate elements of the project in their clinical preceptorship.
Students will also complete additional clinical requirements to meet the mandated 1,000 hours of specialty training that is one of the hallmarks of a DNP graduate.
Plan of study
The American Academy of Colleges of Nursing mandates that all DNP graduates complete at least 1,000 hours of precepted clinical experiences in their specialty area. As most MSN programs and advanced practice certifications require only 500 hours, most DNP students in the post-MSN entry track need to complete 500 additional practica hours. DNP faculty mentors help students create individualized clinical plans to meet their professional, specialty and geographic goals.
Clinical requirements do not need to be met at the UVA Medical Center; the School has existing clinical contracts across the Commonwealth and beyond and students may also ‘bring their own’ clinical sites from the area or outside of Virginia (those wishing to establish new practica sites must communicate their intentions to faculty mentors well in advance to meet the two to three months it takes to establish new contractual arrangements). Clinical/practicum activities are generally conducted within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Clinical/practice activities may be conducted in a different state as long as that state participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. A list of participating states can be accessed at http://nc-sara.org/.
The DNP at the UVA School of Nursing builds upon the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice as ratified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The DNP is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington DC 20036, (202) 887-6791.