DNP Prerequisites and Admissions


  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above. Find out if your institution is regionally accredited here.

  • Master of Science (MS) in Nursing degree, cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above
  • Advanced practice national certification
  • Informatics Specialty can only be taken via this track
  • Applicants must hold a Master’s Degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above. Find out if your institution is regionally accredited here.
  • Applicants must have a 3.0 minimum science grade point average (GPA). Be sure to include all biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology courses in your calculation. Click here to calculate.
  • Applicants must have at least one year (two years preferred) of current and continuous full-time critical care nursing experience in an adult or pediatric critical care setting (ICU).
  • Critical care experience must be obtained in a critical care area within the United States, its territories or a U.S. military hospital outside of the United States.
  • During this experience, the registered nurse has developed critical decision-making and psychomotor skills, competency in patient assessment and the ability to use and interpret advanced monitoring techniques.
  • A critical care area is defined as one where, on a routine basis, the registered nurse manages one or more of the following: invasive hemodynamic monitors (such as pulmonary artery catheter, CVP, arterial), cardiac assist devices, mechanical ventilation and vasoactive infusions.
  • Examples of critical care units may include, but are not limited to: surgical intensive care, cardiothoracic intensive care, coronary intensive care, medical intensive care, pediatric intensive care and neonatal intensive care.
  • Those who have experience in other areas may be considered if they can demonstrate competence in managing unstable patients, invasive monitoring, ventilators and critical care pharmacology.
  • Applicants must possess current Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and CCRN certification.
  • Advanced practice national certification for MS-DNP pathway (for current Nurse Practitioners only)

The program will begin with students who are MS prepared, registered nurses with experience in informatics. Students will be expected to attend part time.

Students will be eligible to attend if they meet the following:

  • Masters degree in nursing informatics, leadership, public health or related
  • Active registered nurse licensure
  • Three years of experience in informatics, two in health care setting

RN Licensure

Enrollment in the DNP program requires registered nurse licensure. Admission is conditional upon the individual obtaining and maintaining the license in active and good standing.

International students applying to the Informatics or Executive Health Systems Leadership (EHSL) specialties please see RN licensure requirements below in information for International Applicants.

Admission Requirements

  • 2 Recommendations (References) - references should be from professional colleagues (supervisors, faculty, etc.) who can comment on the applicant's desire to enroll in the doctoral program
  • Complete the online University of Arizona Graduate College application.
  • Transcripts
  • Current CV/Resume (PDF format preferred) to be uploaded to NursingCAS
  • Computer literacy
  • Additional documentation will be required if offered admission into the program

Applicants may submit other credentials which they believe reflect their abilities. An interview (may be telephone) is required for post-master’s and nurse anesthetist applicants. Interviews are not required for BSN-DNP applicants with NP specialty.

After applying via NursingCAS, you are required to send all official transcripts directly to NursingCAS by the issuing institution’s registrar’s office. Once received, NursingCAS will validate all received transcripts. Transcripts should be mailed to the address below:

P.O. Box 9201
Watertown, MA 02471

Please note: NursingCAS also accepts official transcripts sent electronically from Credentials Solutions, Parchment, and National Student Clearinghouse.

When completing the second step and filling out the Graduate College application you will be asked to upload unofficial transcripts.

International Transcripts – Nursing/Medical Related

All international nursing or medical-related transcripts must be evaluated through World Education Services or CFGNS International. The evaluation service report must then be submitted to NursingCAS by following the same instructions above.

*If you studied abroad through a program from a previous U.S. Institution you attended and the courses are listed on your U.S. transcript as receiving US Institutional credit, you do not need to submit an evaluation report. Otherwise, an evaluation report will be required. For example, an international course listed on one of your U.S. Institution transcripts as a transfer credit will require a separate evaluation report.  Please contact us at with questions.

International Transcripts – Non-Nursing/Medical Related

Non-nursing/medical international transcripts must be translated and evaluated if they: are not in English, do not use a grading scale we recognize, or do not account for course units like US institutions. Translation and evaluation must be completed by a service such as World Education Services. The evaluation report must be officially sealed and submitted to NursingCAS by following the same instructions above.

Once admitted to the DNP program, you must submit an Arizona Department of Public Safety Fingerprint Clearance Card. ARS § 15-1881 is a condition of final acceptance. Complete information about the statute can be found at the following websites:

  • Complete the online University of Arizona Graduate College Application by the international deadline date
  • Submit a minimum TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 550 paper based (PB), 79 internet based (iBT) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) composite score of 7 (no subject area below a 6)
  • Transcripts and Degrees: Submit CGFNS documentation for nursing degrees earned outside of the United States. Please see Transcript Requirements above for complete instructions on submission of international degrees and transcripts
  • International students applying to the Informatics or Executive Health Systems Leadership (EHSL) specialties and completing the program from their home country are required to have a current RN license in the country where you now practice with no restriction, encumbrance, or probationary limitations imposed by the applicable Council or Board of Nursing or any judicial entity associated with yourself, your license or your practice. The RN license must be current upon application and throughout the program. RN licenses that expire before classes begin must be updated before starting the program.

To see an estimated cost of each of our programs and potential financial aid options, see the Costs & Financial Aid page.

Policy for Full and Part Time DNP Admissions

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduate nursing program is rigorous and prepares nurses as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) and for advanced roles in Administration and Informatics.  The DNP program builds on knowledge and skills that a nurse has learned in their bachelor’s (BSN) or masters (MSN) of nursing science program and has continued to develop over time working in a clinical environment. The DNP program requires that all students have the equivalent of 1 year of full-time clinical experience (1,800 hours) prior to starting their clinical year in the DNP program.  The clinical year is full-time (10-14 units) comprised of a rigorous academic course and immersive clinical training schedule during the Spring, Summer and Fall semesters.  

Admission Options: 

  1. Hybrid Part-time (3.5 years) – designed for nurses with less than the equivalent of 1 year of full-time clinical experience (1,800 hours).  The part-time schedule allows nurses the time to work part-time as a nurse (~900 hours a year) and take courses part-time over a 2.5-year time period until their clinical year. The last three semesters are the clinical year and require a full-time schedule. During the clinical year students are strongly advised to only work as a nurse a maximum one day a week (8-12 hours).
  2. Full-time (2.5 years) – only open to and designed for nurses with the equivalent or more of 1 year of full-time clinical experience (1,800 hours). Due to the rigor and pace of the full-time schedule nurses are strongly advised to work as a nurse no more than 1 day a week (8-12 hours) while following the full-time DNP program schedule.

Clinical Placements

Clinical placements for nurse practitioner students are arranged with appropriate preceptors and administrators. Priority is given to arranging clinical placements in the student's geographical area. If clinical placement(s) in the student's geographical area are not available, or if the student needs additional faculty support for skills development, the student can be required to complete their clinical experience(s) in a different approved geographical area.

State Authorizations

Recent changes to the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 include a series of regulations on individual state authorizations concerning distance education programs. The State Authorization Regulations require The University of Arizona and the College of Nursing to comply with individual state higher education authorizations of our programs and thus we may not be able to offer programs in certain locations.

The College of Nursing also complies with state Board of Nursing and/or Nurse Practice Act requirements, which may limit the availability of our programs in certain states where teaching is considered an integral part of nurse practice.

Students living and working in states NOT authorized are NOT encouraged to apply. Should the student move to a non-authorized state following enrollment, he/she will have to transfer to a program authorized in that state.

At present, The University of Arizona College of Nursing is NOT authorized to offer or award the DNP degree as a distance education program in:

  • Alabama
  • Massachusetts
  • North Dakota
  • American Samoa
  • Puerto Rico
  • Georgia
  • New York
  • Tennessee
  • Guam
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Louisiana
  • North Carolina
  • Washington DC
  • Northern Mariana Islands

This does not apply to the MS-DNP.