2017-18 Catalogs

DNP in Nursing

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree prepares graduates to provide the most advanced level of nursing care for individuals and communities. This care includes the direct care of individual patients, management of care for individuals and populations, administration of nursing systems, and development and implementation of health policy. The DNP program emphasizes practice-related consideration beyond what a student typically acquired during their master's level education. The DNP is designed to prepare experts in specialized advanced nursing practice and focuses heavily on practice that is innovative and evidenced-based, reflecting the application of credible research findings. Students in the DNP program generally carry out a practice application-oriented final project. Hours spent on the project constitute the clinical hours for this program and generally total about 500 hours.

The DNP course of study is targeted to individuals with a master's degree in nursing (e.g., advanced practice nurses [nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist], nursing management and administration, clinical nurse leader). In the future, students will enter the DNP through additional entry options including BS in Nursing to DNP and Option (second degree) to DNP.

The DNP program is an online program with two Saturday on campus sessions each semester. A total of 36 credits are required for completion of the program; total credit hours may increase if additional credit hours are needed to complete the DNP project. The number of required residency hours (contact hours) in the doctoral program is a minimum of 500 hours. Residency hours are accrued while working on the DNP project. When added to the clinical hours obtained in the applicant's master's program, the total should be a minimum of 1,000 contact hours. 


Required Courses:

MPH 535 Introduction to Epidemiological Research
MPH 545 Applied Biostatistical Analysis
MPH 683 Patient Safety
NUR 628 Health Systems, Policy, and Economics

NUR 693 Ethical Inquiry in Health Care (online from the University of Maine)
NUR 701 Ethical Approaches to Practice Dilemmas

NUR 702 Informatics Technology
NUR 703 Professional Communication
NUR 704 Models of Care: Transforming the Practice Environment
NUR 705 Clinical Residency and DNP Project I
NUR 706 Clinical Residency and DNP Project II
NUR 710 Seminar I
NUR 711 Seminar II
NUR 712 Seminar III
NUR 713 Seminar IV
NUR 714 Seminar V
NUR 715 Seminar VI

Total credits: 36

Note: In the event the DNP project is not completed by the end of the program, the student may take GRS 701-Doctoral Continuation (1-3 credits) to complete the project.

Application Deadline: May 31 for fall semester

Admission to the DNP program is competitive. The doctoral program in nursing seeks candidates whose master's preparation, scholastic achievement, professional experience, interest, motivation, and references are predictive of successful doctoral study. Applicants with a master's degree in advanced practice nursing (e.g., nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist) are eligible to apply to the DNP program. Each student's application for admission will be evaluated based on a composite of the following recommended standards.

  • A master's degree in nursing from a degree program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing
  • A minimum graduate cumulative grade point average of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale
  • A graduate course in statistics taken within five years at time of application with a minimum grade of B or taken during the first year of matriculation into the DNP program
  • Submission of official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS scores in addition to GRE scores if English is not first language.
    • Applicants whose native language is not English must have earned a TOEFL score of at least 550 on the paper-based test, 79 or higher on the Internet-based test, or 213 on the computer-based test, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher.
  • The completed DNP application must include an essay describing the candidate's motivation for pursuing this degree and the vision he/she has for the role. The essay is an important part of the application because it demonstrates the applicant's ability to think, organize ideas, and express him/herself well in writing.
  • Special essay instructions: maximum three typed double-spaced pages
    • Discuss your specific career goals for pursuing the DNP
    • Identify prior experiences that have contributed to your decision to apply to a DNP program
    • Discuss how the goals, objectives, and curriculum of USM's program will enable you to meet your post-DNP career goals
    • Identify a specific clinical problem or issue that could be the focus of your capstone project
  • Current resume
  • A scheduled formal interview with graduate faculty from the School of Nursing will be required following a preliminary review of all required admission materials. Individual consideration will be given to each applicant based upon the total profile presented.
Application material
  • A completed online USM graduate application and application fee
  • Three letters of reference reflecting professional practice and/or academic achievement
  • Evidence (photocopy) of unencumbered current RN licensure as a registered professional nurse
  • Evidence (photocopy) of current national certification in advanced practice specialty and state certification in which currently practicing if applicable
  • Completion of the "Verification of Post-Baccalaureate Clinical and Practice Hours" form
  • Two sets of official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, including USM if applicable

Admission Information and Links

See the Application Checklist for details regarding the expedited application process that is available to applicants who meet the following conditions:

  • Graduated with a master's in advanced practice nursing from either USM or University of Maine
  • Graduated with a GPA of 3.5 or better
  • Graduated within two years of applying to this program

 For forms and additional application information, please visit the Graduate Admissions web page