School of Nursing

DNP in Nursing

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) 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 D.N.P. program emphasizes practice-related consideration beyond what a student typically acquired during their master's level education. The D.N.P. is designed to prepare experts in specialized advanced nursing practice and focuses heavily on practice that is innovative and evidence-based, reflecting the application of credible research findings. Students in the D.N.P. program generally carry out a practice application-oriented final project. Time spent on the project constitute the clinical hours for this program and generally total about 500 hours.

The D.N.P. 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 D.N.P through additional entry options including B.S. in Nursing to D.N.P. and Option (second degree) to D.N.P.

The D.N.P. 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 D.N.P. 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 D.N.P. 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)
or
NUR 701 Ethical Approaches to Practice Dilemmas

NUR 702 Informatics Technology
NUR 703 Professional Communication and Leadership
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 D.N.P. 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.

Please note: The GRE or MAT exam requirement is waived for applicants who have a master's or doctoral degree.

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, or 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
  • 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 specific career goals for pursuing the DNP
    • Identify prior experiences that have contributed to the decision to apply to a DNP program
    • Discuss how the goals, objectives, and curriculum of USM's program will meet post-DNP career goals
    • Identify a specific clinical problem or issue that could be the focus of the capstone project
  • Current resumé
  • 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.

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 Procedures and Required Materials

Application Deadline:  Admission to the DNP program is on hold until the Fall 2020 semester.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: $65.00 paid through the online application.
  • 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.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • 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 (maximum three typed double-spaced pages).
    • Discuss specific career goals for pursuing the D.N.P.
    • Identify prior experiences that have contributed to the decision to apply to a D.N.P. program
    • Discuss how the goals, objectives, and curriculum of USM's program will meet post-D.N.P career goals
    • Identify a specific clinical problem or issue that could be the focus of the capstone project
  • Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of reference reflecting professional practice and/or academic achievement. Recommendations should be from individuals who are qualified, through direct experience with your academic or professional work, to comment on your ability to undertake graduate study and your chosen profession.  
  • 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 this form: Verification of Post-Baccalaureate Clinical and Practice Hours 
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

Expedited application process for University of Maine System graduates of Advanced Nursing Programs
If you have graduated with a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Maine System within two years, you will receive an expedited application process.

Applicants meeting the above qualification will need to submit:

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: $65.00 paid through the online application.
  • 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 this form: Verification of Post-Baccalaureate Clinical and Practice Hours 
  • Letter of Recommendation: One letter of recommendation from a faculty member
  • Transcripts - if you have taken college coursework outside of a UMS institution since your graduation from a UMS Advanced Practice degree, you will need to send the official transcripts for those courses.

International Applicants

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Applicants whose first language is not English

Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Where to send transcripts and application materials

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.

The School of Nursing offers monthly Graduate Programs Information Sessions. Prospective students can meet with an Admissions counselor to discuss their questions. Register today.

Questions?