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 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, 8403 Colesville Rd., Suite 1550, Silver Spring, MD 20910, (240) 485-1800.

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 admission 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 nursing Master of Science (MS) degree (for post-master's DNP) from a nationally accredited program (NLNAC or CCNE)
  2. Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for BSN-DNP application; for post-master's 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 areas
  5. New BSN graduates must obtain RN licensure prior to the first fall semester of enrollment
  6. Minimum of one year of clinical work experience as a registered nurse is recommended
  7. National certification in specialty area (post-master's Advanced Practice DNP)
  8. A graduate-level statistics course (may be completed prior to admission or during first semester of enrollment)
  9. A background check and drug screen are required during the admission process and may affect the student's eligibility to enter the program.

English Language Requirements:  All applicants for study at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) whose native language is not English must demonstrate an established level of English language proficiency through either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the academic format of the EILTS (International English Language Testing System). The test must have been taken within two years of the first semester of enrollment.

Applicants who do not meet the admission criteria for regular admission status may be considered on an individual basis for provisional admission status as either degree-seeking or nondegree-seeking students.

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

Post-Baccalaureate DNP Degree Requirements

The post-baccalaureate DNP curriculum is designed for registered nurses who have completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The program for these students is divided into two components. The first consists of courses focusing on initial preparation for advanced practice clinical or leadership roles. The second component includes courses for doctoral level preparation for advanced practice clinical or leadership roles.

Advanced-Practice Major

The advanced-practice nursing major prepares nurses for nurse practitioner or nurse-midwife specialty areas.

  • 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 through the life span. (76 credit hours)

Leadership Major

The leadership major prepares nurses for leadership roles in nursing informatics (71 credit hours), organizational leadership (74 credit hours), or public health nursing (75 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 research 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 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 79, depending on the specialization. Although curricular changes may occur, examples of core courses include:

  • Common Core (Post-Baccalaureate):  NRSG 748 Theories for Practice and Research, 754 Health Care Research, 755 Professionalism in Advanced Nursing Practice
  • DNP Core (Post-Baccalaureate and Post-Masters): PRVM 800 Principles of Epidemiology, NRSG 804 Interpreting Research for Applied Science, 911 Tools for Practice Doctorate Scholarship, 941 Preparing for Doctoral Leadership
  • Advanced Practice Core:  NRSG 731 Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics for AP Nursing, 801 Advanced Health Assessment and Clinical Reasoning, 806 Advanced Physiology, 809 Health Promotion and Complementary Therapeutics, 812 Advanced Pathophysiology, 813 Applied Drug Therapy
  • Leadership Core:  NRSG 808 The Social Context for Health Care Policy, 820 Program, Project, and Communication Planning, 826 Global Perspective and Diversity in Healthcare, 857 Transforming Health Care through Use of Information Systems and Technology, 880 Organizational Foundations for Leading Change, 885 Evaluation and Analysis for Healthcare Effectiveness, 919 Foundations for Leading and Communicating, 920 Microsystems in Healthcare Operations
  • Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Specialty Core:  NRSG 901 Primary Care I: Adult-Gerontology Health, 902 Primary Care II: Adult-Gerontology Health, 903 Primary Care Practicum I: Adult/Gerontology - Nurse Practitioner, 904 Primary Care Practicum II: Adult/Gerontology - Nurse Practitioner, 905 Primary Care Practicum III: Adult/Gerontology - Nurse Practitioner 
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty Core:  NRSG 914 Primary Care I: Family Health, 915 Primary Care II: Family Health, 916 Primary Care Practicum I: Family Nurse, 917 Primary Care Practicum II: Family Nurse Practitioner, 918 Primary Care Practicum III: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Midwifery Specialty Core:  NRSG 831 Care of Women in The Antepartal Period Practicum, 833 Managing Clinical Research Projects, 837 Childbearing Family Practicum: Intrapartum, Postpartum, and Newborn, 838 Primary Care of Women Across the Lifespan Practicum, 840 Nurse-Midwifery Integration Practicum, 841 Reproductive Endocrinology, 921 Primary Care of Women Across the Lifespan, 922 Care of Women in the Antepartal Period, 923 Nurse Midwifery in the Postpartum and Newborn Period, 924 Nurse Midwifery in the Intrapartum Period
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty Core:  NRSG 842 Topics in Mental Health Nursing, 844 Advanced Psychiatric Assessment, 850 Mental Health Assessment of Infants, Children and Adolescents, 851 Psychopharmacology for Advanced Nursing Practice, 929 Psychotherapeutic Interventions I: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, 930 Psychotherapeutic Interventions II: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, 931 Psychotherapeutics Practicum I: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, 932 Psychotherapeutics Practicum II: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, 933 Psychotherapeutics Practicum III: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Organizational Leadership Specialty Core:  HP&M 822 Health Care Economics, NRSG 881 Applied Budgeting and Finance, 882 Introduction to Operations or 883 Complexity Science Approaches to Improve Organizational Effectiveness, 886 Organizational Leadership Practicum, 891 Human Resources and Workforce Development
  • Public Health Nursing Specialty Core:  NRSG 809 Health Promotion and Complementary Therapeutics, 827 Advanced Concepts Public Health Nursing, 828 Public Health Nursing: Practicum I, 829 Public Health Practicum, PRVM 830 Environmental Health
  • Nursing Informatics Specialty Core:  NRSG 853 Abstraction and Modeling of Healthcare Information, 854 Knowledge Management in Healthcare, 856 Health Informatics Practicum, 857 Transforming Health Care through Use of Information Systems and Technology, 858 Health Data: Theory and Practice

Post-Master's DNP Degree Requirements

The post-master's DNP curriculum is designed for nurses who have already earned a nursing Master of Science 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.

  • 15 credit hours of post-master's common core courses
  • A minimum of 6 credit hours of doctoral research project
  • 11 credit hours of specialty courses
  • Satisfactory completion of the University's Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement
  • Advanced Practice students are required to be licensed in both Kansas and Missouri prior to the start of the second year of enrollment

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

University of Kansas School of Nursing

I.  Introduction

All individuals admitted to the University of Kansas School of Nursing will be asked to verify that they can meet the following Technical Standards, with or without accommodation(s). In courses or programs without clinical components, or involving no direct client care, the Technical Standards may be modified by the Student Admission and Progression Committee (SAPC). After acceptance, but before admission to the School of Nursing, students in all programs must be able to document current certification/evidence of completion of a course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation for healthcare providers. This requires being able to successfully complete both the written and practical test for certification. In addition, with or without accommodation, the following abilities and expectations must be met by all students, undergraduate and graduate, admitted to the School of Nursing.

II.  Standards

A.  Observation/Sensory-motor:  Applicants must be able to observe demonstrations and learn from experiences in the basic sciences, including but not limited to, physiology and pharmacology, microbiology and pathophysiology laboratory situations. Applicants must be able to observe and learn from experiences in the clinical nursing laboratory such as the following examples: accurately read gradients/calibrations on a syringe; measure medications accurately; accurately recognize color changes on chemical reaction strips; assess heart, breath, abdominal sounds; assess normal and abnormal color changes in the skin; observe pupil changes; and observe digital or waveform readings.

B.  Communication:  Communications include not only speech but also reading, writing, and computer usage, including handheld digital access. Applicants must be able to communicate accurately and effectively with patients, caregivers, physicians, other health professionals, clinical facility staff, faculty and staff, peers, and the community in general in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications.

C.  Psychomotor:  Applicants should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. Applicants should be physically able to collect specimens and perform basic tests (such as glucose finger stick, urine dipstick). Applicants should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of nurses are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding, and assist in moving and lifting patients using proper body mechanics. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and using tactile and visual senses.

D.  Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative:  Applicants must be able to comprehend and interpret documents written in English. Applicants should have cognitive abilities including measurements, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis.  Critical thinking is the ability to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a client’s history, physical exam findings and diagnostic studies. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of nurses, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the applicant should be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures in order to understand normal and abnormal anatomy and physiology.

E.  Behavioral and Social Attributes:  Applicants must possess the emotional health required to utilize their intellectual abilities fully, exercise good judgment, complete all responsibilities attendant to the nursing diagnosis and care of patients promptly, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and their families. Applicants must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal communication skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that should be assessed during the admissions and education process. As a component of nursing education, a student must demonstrate ethical behavior including adherence to the professional nursing and student honor codes. The honor code at the KU School of Nursing is the Professional Integrity System (PROFITS). KU PROFITS is a peer-oriented integrity system to promote an environment where academic honesty is valued and expected.

III.  Reasonable Accommodation

Applicants who disclose a disability are considered for admission if they are otherwise qualified so long as such accommodation does not significantly alter the essential requirements of the curriculum and the educational program, or significantly affect the safety of patient care or others. When applicants or students disclose a disability, the provision of reasonable accommodations will be considered in an attempt to assist these individuals in meeting these required technical standards. Applicants whose response indicates that they cannot meet one or more of the expectations will be reviewed further by the University’s Office for Academic Accommodations, with applicant and faculty input, to determine if any reasonable accommodations are possible to facilitate successful completion of the nursing curriculum and preparation for the national registry examination.

It is important to give persons interested in enrolling in nursing a realistic view of the vigorous demands of the School of Nursing’s theoretical and practicum curriculum while at the same time investigating reasonable accommodations. Whether or not a requested accommodation is reasonable will be determined on a case by case basis. Interested individuals may schedule an orientation visit to the nursing skills laboratory and actual sites of the University of Kansas Hospital and/or University of Kansas Medical Center. These orientation visits enable persons to assess their interest and ability to function in the actual clinical areas and in learning and demonstrating manual skills.

Revised:  May 9, 2014