The doctorate in nurse anesthesia practice is a comprehensive 36-month program in which registered nurses receive extensive education in both the academic and clinical components of nurse anesthesia. Students learn to administer anesthesia to all patient populations in a variety of clinical settings using all current anesthesia techniques, and graduates are prepared to take the national certification examination required to become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. The program is fully accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, and the Kansas State Board of Nursing

The Department of Nurse Anesthesia Education is part of the KU School of Health Professions located on the KU Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kan.

Goals of the program

This program prepares the registered nurse to become a nurse anesthesia practitioner with the capability to deliver competent nurse anesthesia services, engage in research, and assume leadership roles in the profession. Strongly rooted in science, the program is designed for the most ambitious and brightest professionals. The basic science and clinical education opportunities help graduates succeed as advanced practice nurses with increased esteem, independence, and earning power.

  • Academic
    Obtain an advanced body of specialized knowledge necessary to integrate didactic information and clinical data and formulate a comprehensive individualized care plan.

  • Clinical
    Demonstrate ability to plan and administer a safe and physiologic anesthetic based on knowledge and synthesis of anesthetic principles and basic science study.

  • Research
    Demonstrate an appreciation for the role, nature, and conduct of research modalities and their application to practice and professional growth.

  • Professionalism
    Integrate ethical, legal, and cultural considerations with personal and professional value systems in nurse anesthesia.

Faculty and Clinical Instruction
Full-time CRNA faculty, each averaging 10 years of experience as nurse anesthetists, serve as advisors, teach classes and supervise students in the clinical setting. Anesthesiologists and CRNAs at The University of Kansas Hospital provide advanced clinical instruction. The specialty areas in which KU anesthesiologists have completed fellowships is diverse and impressive.  Adjunct faculty at additional affiliate sites provide invaluable clinical instruction.

Applications for this program are accepted online. Detailed instructions on how to apply are posted on the KU Department of Nurse Anesthesia website. The application period begins March 15 and closes July 15 each year. All prerequisites must be completed before the program start date.

Admission to the program is increasingly competitive, and applicants who have completed all prerequisites by the application deadline are given priority in the selection process.  Decisions about interviews will be made in the fall. Qualified applicants who are invited to attend a personal interview must attend their interview to be considered. Applicants receive notification of their acceptance to the program in the fall.

Admission requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution is required and must be documented by submission of official transcript indicating the degree has been conferred before entering the program. Official transcripts for all course work from all institutions are also required. A bachelor’s degree in an appropriate discipline such as nursing, respiratory care, biological sciences, health care administration, pharmacology, psychology, or sociology, is required. A bachelor's degree in nursing is not required.
    Students with degrees from outside the U.S. may be subject to transcript evaluation indicating the degree is equivalent to a U.S. degree and meets the minimum cumulative grade-point average requirement.
  • Applicants must possess a cumulative grade-point average of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for his or her bachelor's degree program.
  • Applicants who are not native speakers of English, whether domestic or international, must demonstrate they meet the minimum English proficiency requirement.
  • Applicants must be a registered nurse with two years of work experience as a licensed registered nurse. Experience as an LPN does not fulfill this requirement.
  • Applicants must have a minimum one year of recent full-time experience in an intensive care setting as a licensed registered nurse. Experience as an LPN does not fulfill this requirement.
  • License, or eligibility for licensure, as a professional registered nurse in the state of Kansas is required. Students may submit an application without holding a current license, but one must be acquired by February 28 of the year beginning the program. Additional licensing in the states of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Nebraska will be required while in the program.
  • Students must have completed prerequisite courses in the following basic sciences: chemistry, human anatomy, human physiology, microbiology, and one course in statistics. Courses may be taken at an accredited 2-year college but cannot be taken for credit by examination. A pass grade will not be accepted unless the applicant provides written verification from the institution that the pass designation is equivalent to a grade of C or higher.
    Applicants not having met all the prerequisites by the application deadline must submit proof of enrollment for any missing prerequisites. All prerequisites must be complete by the end of the summer semester of the year the applicant is applying to the program.
  • A minimum grade of C is required in all prerequisite courses with the exception of human physiology. For human physiology a minimum grade of B is required and the course must have been taken within ten years of entering this program. Two semesters of combined human anatomy and physiology will also fulfill the human anatomy and human physiology requirements. If combined courses are used for this prerequisite, both must have a minimum grade of B and be taken within ten years of entering this program.
  • Three references are required. The references must be from 1) applicant's nurse manager/supervisor, 2) an advanced-practice nurse or a physician, and 3) a former or current peer or co-worker. The recommendations may not be obtained from family members, friends, etc.
  • A resume or curriculum vitae is required and must include prior employment including details of all RN and ICU experience. It should also include participation in professional and/or voluntary organizations (e.g., hospital, alumni or nonprofit.)
  • A goal statement will be submitted with the online application and will include the applicant's educational and professional goals. The statement is limited to no more than 500 words.
  • Graduate-level writing ability is required. Writing ability will be evaluated based on the goal statement.
  • Shadow experience. Applicants must shadow with either a CRNA or an anesthesiologist to gain a better understanding of the nurse anesthesia profession through both observation and discussion. Applicants are responsible for arranging their own shadow experience and ensuring that the anesthesia provider completes the shadow verification form PDF document (image). The shadow experience may be completed at any hospital, including the student's current employer, or one in which a relationship exists with an anesthesia provider. Arrangements can be made to shadow at The University of Kansas Hospital but are limited by faculty availability.
  • A personal interview will be held for selected applicants.
  • The Joint Commission requires all incoming students to complete and pay for a background check. This one-time fee must be paid directly to the company performing the background investigation. For more information, please see the School of Health Professions background check instructions.
  • Applicants are required to have completed certifications in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support, Basic Life Support, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support prior to starting the program, and must remain certified while in the program.
  • CCRN certification is optional but if certified a copy of the certification card must be uploaded with the application.

Applicants will be assessed based on these requirements. Admission requirements are subject to change. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program. Other years’ catalogs».

The Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) program at the University of Kansas is designed with clinical experiences, class time, and study time.  During the first 2 semesters, courses are mostly classroom-based during regular weekday hours. For the remainder of the program, students are assigned in the clinic with variable schedules, including 12-hour shifts outside of regular business hours. Students continue to take theory, research, and other courses during this time.

Much of the program's course work after the first year is web-based. This design permits more learning methods to be incorporated into the program and allows students to continue to gain knowledge through academic course work while developing their skills in the clinic.

Degree requirements:

  • Degree requirements are normally completed within 3 years of admission to the program although a maximum of 8 years is allowed.
  • Successful completion of a minimum of 81 credit hours.
  • Cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 for all KU graduate coursework.
  • Successful completion of the University’s Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement prior to the semester the research practicum is completed.
    • Successful completion of NURA 889 Introduction to Theory, Research Methods and Evidence-Based Practice meets the Research Skills requirement.
    • Successful completion of NURA 901 Evaluation and Application of Evidence-Based Practice in Anesthesia I meets the Responsible Scholarship requirement.
  • Successful completion of a leadership project as indicated in course list below
  • Successful completion of supervised clinical practicum as indicated in course list below. 
  • Successful completion of a capstone project as indicated in course list below.
  • Enrollment in a minimum of one (1) credit hour the semester the student will graduate.
  • Students are required to maintain certifications in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) current throughout the program (at the student's expense.)
  • Students must meet the clinical requirements for practice as required by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.  The requirements are posted on the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs website.
  • Successful completion of a terminal evaluation which will incorporate standards from the "Standards for Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Programs – Practice Doctorate".  The standards document is posted on the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs website.
  • Successful completion of the following courses:
    Core Courses (47)
    NURA 800Professional Aspects of Anesthesia3
    NURA 801Introduction to Clinical Practicum1
    NURA 805Clinical Anatomy4
    NURA 806Advanced Physiology4
    NURA 811Advanced Theory in Anesthesia I2
    NURA 812Advanced Theory in Anesthesia II3
    NURA 813Advanced Theory in Anesthesia III2
    NURA 814Advanced Theory in Anesthesia IV3
    NURA 815Advanced Theory in Anesthesia V3
    NURA 820Information Systems and Data Management in Anesthesia1
    NURA 831Advanced Chemistry and Physics2
    NURA 833Basic Principles of Anesthesia Practice3
    NURA 835Advanced Physical Assessment and Patient Care Technology for Anesthesia3
    NURA 839Regional Anesthesia/Pain Management3
    NURA 889Introduction to Theory, Research Methods and Evidence-Based Practice3
    NURA 892Applied Statistics and Analysis in Health Care3
    NURA 901Evaluation and Application of Evidence-Based Practice in Anesthesia I1
    NURA 902Evaluation and Application of Evidence-Based Practice in Anesthesia II1
    NURA 903Evaluation and Application of Evidence-Based Practice in Anesthesia III1
    NURA 904Evaluation and Application of Evidence-Based Practice in Anesthesia IV1
    Core Courses Outside Department (14)
    NRSG 808The Social Context for Health Care Policy2
    NRSG 812Advanced Pathophysiology3
    PHCL 761General Principles of Pharmacology1
    PHCL 762Pharmacology of the Autonomic Nervous System1
    PHCL 763Cardiovascular-Renal Pharmacology1
    PHCL 764Pharmacology of the Central Nervous System1
    PHCL 765Chemotherapy1
    PHCL 766Blood-Endocrine Pharmacology1
    PRVM 826Epidemiology for Advanced Nursing Practice3
    Leadership Project (2)
    NURA 912Leadership in Nurse Anesthesia I1
    NURA 913Leadership in Nurse Anesthesia II1
    Supervised Clinical Practicum (12)
    NURA 821Advanced Practicum in Anesthesia I2
    NURA 822Advanced Practicum in Anesthesia II2
    NURA 823Advanced Practicum in Anesthesia III2
    NURA 924Advanced Practicum IV2
    NURA 925Advanced Practicum V2
    NURA 926Advanced Practicum VI2
    Capstone Project (6)
    NURA 980NURA 980: Scholarly Project6
    Total Hours81

Degree requirements and course descriptions are subject to change. Any courses taken as an equivalent must be approved by the Graduate Director and the Office of Graduate Studies. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program.  Other years’ catalogs».

The doctorate program in nurse anesthesia practice is a comprehensive 36-month program comprised of 81 credit hours in which registered nurses receive extensive education in both the academic and clinical components of nurse anesthesia. Students learn to administer anesthesia to all patient populations in a variety of clinical settings using all current anesthesia techniques, and graduates are prepared to take the national certification examination required to become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists.

Typical Plan of Study 

Year 1
SummerHoursFallHoursSpringHours
NURA 8054NURA 8064NURA 8011
NURA 8312NURA 8333NURA 8893
 NURA 8353NURA 8923
 PHCL 7611PHCL 7641
 PHCL 7621PHCL 7651
 PHCL 7631PHCL 7661
  NRSG 8123
 6 13 13
Year 2
SummerHoursFallHoursSpringHours
NURA 8112NURA 8003NURA 8232
NURA 8201NURA 8123NURA 8393
NURA 8212NURA 8222NURA 9021
NRSG 8082NURA 9011PRVM 8263
 7 9 9
Year 3
SummerHoursFallHoursSpringHours
NURA 8132NURA 8143NURA 8153
NURA 9242NURA 9031NURA 9041
NURA 9802NURA 9121NURA 9131
 NURA 9252NURA 9262
 NURA 9802NURA 9802
 6 9 9
Total Hours: 81