The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree prepares graduates for nursing practice at the highest level. The DNP offers sophisticated, cutting-edge experiences that help nurses actively engage in a complex, dynamic and demanding health care field. Skills in collaboration, innovation, and evaluation — complemented by advanced nursing practice skills — prepare nurses to shape the future of health care. Graduates of the DNP program provide patient-centered care that is evidence-based, contribute to the development of evidence-based practice, and pursue leadership roles in a variety of health care and educational settings. All DNP graduates must have completed at least 1,000 hours of supervised, post-baccalaureate, practice experiences.

The School of Nursing is one of 3 schools at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. Academic programs at KU Medical Center are offered through the Schools of Health Professions, Medicine, and Nursing. The Office of Graduate Studies at KUMC handles matters related to graduate programs in Health Professions, Medicine, and Nursing.

The KU School of Nursing's baccalaureate, master's, and doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 887-6791. This organization is a nationally recognized professional accrediting body for collegiate nursing programs. The baccalaureate, master’s, and DNP programs also are approved by the Kansas State Board of Nursing. The Nurse Midwifery Program is accredited by the Accreditation Division of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, 818 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20006, (202) 728-9860.

DNP Admission

New students are accepted to the DNP degree program once a year, for study that begins during the summer semester. The application deadline is December 1st for the following summer (June). Prospective students can apply using the KU Medical Center online application at

DNP Program Admission Criteria

  1. Completion of a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree (for BSN to DNP), or completion of a master’s degree in nursing (for post-master’s DNP) from a nationally accredited program.
  2. Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for BSN-DNP application; for post-MS DNP, preference is given to applicants with a 3.25 graduate GPA in the master’s program.
  3. Potential for leadership and application of scholarship in nursing.
  4. Potential to provide expert advanced clinical care or expert service in functional area.
  5. Current registered nurse licensure in at least one state in the United States is preferred; upon admission, advanced practice students are required to be licensed in both Kansas and Missouri prior to first fall semester enrollment.  New BSN graduates must obtain RN licensure prior to the first fall semester enrollment.
  6. Minimum of one year of clinical work experience as a registered nurse is recommended.
  7. National certification in a specialty area (post-master’s Advanced Practice DNP).
  8. A graduate-level statistics course
  9. A background check and drug screen are required during the admission process and may affect the student's eligibility to enter the program.
  10. For international applicants, a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language or the International English Language Testing System taken within the last 2 years is required. Visit KUMC Graduate Studies for information.

Admission Process

Application deadlines are:

  • Post-master’s entry:
    December 1st for summer semester
  • Post-baccalaureate entry:
    December 1st for summer semester

All applicants must submit the following:

  • Completed application for graduate study;
  • Official transcripts of all academic work toward the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing (KUMC provides the University of Kansas record);
  • 3 references from advanced-practice nurses, nurse leaders, nursing faculty, or physicians who are able to attest to the applicant’s potential ability to practice at the highest level of advanced nursing practice and to engage in scholarly activity and leadership roles;
  • A statement of career goals and practice interests;
  • A résumé;
  • Evidence of current licensure as a professional nurse in 1 state;
  • Nonrefundable application fee. See the School of Nursing website for the fee.

The admissions committee of the School of Nursing reviews application materials. Specialty area faculty may request an interview with a student.

See also Admission in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.


The post-baccalaureate DNP curriculum is designed for registered nurses with a BSN degree. DNP graduates will have knowledge, skills and expertise to become clinical scholars and transformational leaders. The BSN to DNP program offers nurses a variety of specializations in two majors: Advanced Practice and Leadership.

Advanced-Practice Major

The advanced-practice nursing major prepares nurses for clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, or nurse-midwife role specializations.

  • The clinical nurse specialist specialization includes adult/gerontological nursing. It prepares nurses to perform in the expanded role of caring for a particular kind of patient/client or to function in a particular kind of setting. (75 credit hours)
  • The nurse practitioner specialization prepares nurses to provide primary health care to clients and families across the life span. Family nurse practitioner, adult/gerontological nurse practitioner, and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner options are available. The nurse practitioner is prepared to provide primary health care in a variety of settings. (75 - 79 credit hours)
  • The nurse-midwife specialization focuses on the support and management of well-women’s primary and reproductive health care needs throughout the life span. (76 credit hours)

Leadership Major

  • Clinical Research Management (74 total credit hours)
  • Nursing Informatics (71 total credit hours)
  • Organizational Leadership (74 total credit hours)
  • Public Health Nursing (74 total credit hours)


The post-baccalaureate DNP program requires the following:

  • 22-24 credit hours of post-baccalaureate common core courses
  • A minimum of 6 credit hours of doctoral capstone project
  • 12-23 credit hours of Advanced-Practice or Leadership core
  • 12-23 credit hours of specialization courses
  • 11 credit hours of specialty area support courses and practicum courses
  • Satisfactory completion of the university's research skills and responsible scholarship requirement

Total required DNP program credit hours vary from 71 to 81, depending on the specialization. Although curricular changes may occur, some examples of core courses include:

  • Common Core (NRSG 748, 754, 755)
  • Advanced Practice Core (NRSG 731, 801, 806, 809, 812, 813)
  • Leadership Core (NRSG 808, 820, 826, 880, 885)
  • DNP Core (PRVM 800, NRSG 804, 911, 941)
  • DNP Specialty Area (NRSG 857, 919, 920)
  • Adult/Genrontological Nurse Practictioner Specialty Core (NRSG 862, 864, 865, 867, 869)
  • Adult/Genrontological Clinical Nurse Specialist Specialty Core (NRSG 862, 863, 865, 866, 868)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty Core (NRSG 814, 815, 816, 817, 818)
  • Nurse Midwifery Specialty Core (NRSG 830, 831, 832, 833, 835, 836, 837, 838, 840, 841)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty Core (NRSG 842, 844, 845, 846, 847, 848, 849, 850, 851)
  • Organizational Leadership Specialty Core (HP&M 822, NRSG 881, 882 or 883, 886, 891)
  • Public Health Nursing Specialty Core (NRSG 809, 827, 828, 829, PRVM 830)
  • Nursing Informatics Specialty Core (NRSG 853, 854, 856, 857, 858)
  • Clinical Research Management Specialty Core (NRSG 823, 824, 825, 833)

The post-master’s DNP program requires the following:

  • 15 credit hours of post-master's common core courses
  • A minimum of 6 credit hours of doctoral capstone project
  • 11 credit hours of specialty courses
  • Satisfactory completion of the university's Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement

The post-master’s DNP curriculum is designed for nurses who have already earned a Master of Science in Nursing degree. The DNP degree allows nurses to serve at a higher level as an advanced practice nurse or leader in their specialty. Two majors are offered in the post-master’s DNP program: 1) Advanced Practice and 2) Leadership.  A total of 32 credit hours is required for the post-master’s DNP.

For further information, visit the Doctor of Nursing Practice section of the school's website.