Program Type
Doctoral Program
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Credit hours

30-33 required credit hours. Most courses are equal to 3 credit hours. Browse courses

Financial aid

Over 150 graduate assistantships available with stipend & tuition assistance, plus scholarship & fellowship opportunities. Explore aid


No GRE required. Apply for fall, spring, or summer term. View application process & deadlines

Program highlights

  • Earn your Doctor of Nursing Practice on your terms: Study full-time and finish in as few as 2 years, or study part-time and take up to 4 years.
  • Continue working while earning your degree: Our program is designed for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), such as Nurse Practitioners, and other master’s-prepared nurses.
  • Prepare to provide the most advanced level of nursing care for individuals and communities.
  • Benefit from a curriculum aligned with American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Essentials.
  • Transfer 200-600 direct contact hours from your nursing master’s studies, depending on your degree type.
  • Study in a program that is nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
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Program requirements

Develop the skillset to assess research, apply evidence to practice, and enhance care quality through our cohort-based program. Through a culminating DNP project, you’ll apply evidence-based knowledge to improve healthcare outcomes, create a more equitable and sustainable care delivery model, strengthen leadership, guide complex care delivery, or enhance nursing education.

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Dedicated faculty

Our faculty are active in research and policy issues at the state and national level, are board members of state and national nursing associations, and frequently publish in leading nursing journals.

The accreditation logo for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

National accreditation

Our nursing doctorate program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Graduate students attend their orientation in a lecture hall, with a staff member speaking at a podium.

Graduate student support

Our Office of Graduate Studies connects you with opportunities for professional development, scholarships, and graduate assistantships. They also foster our graduate student community through Peer Mentorship and the Graduate Student Board.

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Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety certificate option

Our DNP curriculum aligns with the requirements for the Certificate of Graduate Study in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety, offered by the Muskie School of Public Service. Through careful course planning, you can earn the certificate along with your DNP.

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Scholarship opportunities

Scholarships offer financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. We encourage students in graduate degree programs to apply for scholarship opportunities.

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Do you live in New England?

You may be eligible for a special reduced tuition rate, as part of the New England Regional Student Program (RSP).

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Connect with us

Our monthly Graduate Information Sessions are an excellent way to learn more about the benefits of our program, as well as our admissions and financial process.

Register today
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Next steps

Our graduate admissions counselors are here to answer your questions about the admissions process, our academic programs, and student support services.

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Meet us

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Admission information: DNP in Nursing

Application deadlines

We accept applications on a rolling basis and review them continuously.

Application deadlineFall term startSpring term startSummer term start
FinalAugust 1December 15April 15

This practice doctorate provides graduates with the skills and tools necessary to assess the evidence gained through nursing research, to evaluate the impact of that research on their practice and, as necessary, make changes to enhance quality of care. Because this practice doctorate degree offers the highest level of educational and practice preparation, the nursing faculty reserves the right to limit enrollment. The number of students accepted is based on clinical cohorts. Admission to the program is holistic and focused on inclusive excellence. The DNP graduate program seeks candidates whose preparation in advanced practice nursing, scholastic achievement, professional experience, interest, motivation, and references are predictive of successful terminal degree study.

Each student’s application for admission will be evaluated based on a composite of the following recommended standards:

  • Nurses with a master’s degree in advanced practice nursing (nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife), education or leadership accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing.
  • Minimum undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or a B average.
  • Resume or CV.
  • Verification of clinical practicum hours (minimum of 500 hours for advanced practice degrees) or Portfolio (minimum of 200 clinical practicum hours and documentation of practice experience for non-advanced practice nurses).
  • Proof of unencumbered RN licensure before the start of the graduate program. Students who do not hold this at the time of application can be considered for conditional admission.
  • Students with a GPA less than 3.3 are encouraged to submit GRE or MAT scores.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

General requirements

  • Application: Online application
  • Application fee:
    • In-state, out-of-state, and Canadian applicants: Free to apply
    • International applicants: Submit US $50 fee to apply
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Students whose first language is not English may be required to take one of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) or Duolingo. Applicants must submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information regarding test scores and requirements.

Additional requirements

  • Completion of a 750-word essay that addresses the following elements:
    • The applicant’s understanding of the DNP role and how it will be applied in future professional, academic, or leadership settings.
    • Professional aspirations and goals that will be supported by the DNP program of study.
    • The unique experiences, capacity and abilities the applicant brings to this role.
    • A statement outlining how the applicant intends to develop their scholarship capacity and integrate DNP practice competencies into practice settings.
  • Two letters of recommendation reflecting professional practice and academic achievement. These recommendations should come from individuals who are highly qualified in their own field of study and through direct experience with the applicant’s academic or professional work, to comment on the applicant’s ability to undertake doctoral study.
  • Evidence (photocopy or PDF) of an unencumbered registered nurse license.

International student instructions

View additional application requirements

English proficiency test scores

View test requirements

Where to send application materials

Get our mailing address and email address