SoNursing_GradDegree_2

The School of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program prepares nurses for leadership roles as advanced practice nurses (clinical nurse specialists or nurse practitioners) who provide direct care and lead practice development and evaluation. Students in the DNP program choose from three population foci: adult/gerontology (acute care or primary care), pediatrics, or psychiatric mental health. Those interested in dual preparation as an advanced practice nurse and nurse educator may add a nursing education focus.

The program is available for nurses with a baccalaureate degree in nursing (post-B.S. option) and nurses with a master’s degree in nursing practice (post-M.S. option). The post-B.S. option can be completed in three years of full-time study or five years on a part-time basis and requires a minimum of 71 credits (68 credits in the program plan plus 3-credit graduate statistics requirement). The post-M.S. option is designed to be completed in three years on a part-time basis and requires a minimum of 51 credits. Up to 18 credits will be accepted from the student’s M.S. degree; a minimum of 32 credits must be completed as a graduate student on the UW–Madison campus. Students admitted to either option follow the course sequence designated in the program plan and progress as a group.

The program of study features a combination of formal course work, clinical practice, and scholarly inquiry. Most coursework is delivered in a hybrid format, utilizing both required in-person class sessions and distance learning technologies.

Admission requirements for the DNP program (post-baccalaureate) are:

  • Graduation from an accredited baccalaureate program in nursing
  • GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 credits for the baccalaureate degree
  • RN license
  • One year of professional nursing experience
  • Grade of B or better in a graduate level statistics course within the last 5 years. (Note: The course does not need to be taken before applying, but must be successfully completed prior to the start of the fall term.)
  • Application essay (see School of Nursing website for specific criteria)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • English proficiency scores: Applicants whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score. Scores are accepted if they are within two years of the start of the admission term. See the Graduate School's Admission Requirements for more information on the English proficiency requirement.

Post-BS applicants have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Applicants who have a non-APN master’s degree (i.e., nurse education) are considered post-B.S. applicants and are able to waive up to 18 credits based on previous graduate coursework, pending review of syllabi.

Admission requirements for the DNP program (post-master's) are:

  • Graduation from an accredited baccalaureate program in nursing
  • Master’s degree in a specialty track from an accredited nursing program
  • GPA of 3.5 for the master’s degree
  • RN license
  • Certification as an advanced practice nurse
  • One year of professional nursing experience
  • Grade of B or better in a graduate level statistics course within the last 5 years. (Note: The course does not need to be taken before applying, but must be successfully completed prior to the start of the fall term.)
  • Application essay (see School of Nursing website for specific criteria)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • English proficiency scores: Applicants whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score. Scores are accepted if they are within two years of the start of the admission term. See the Graduate School's Admission Requirements for more information on the English proficiency requirement.

Additional admission requirements for international applicants are:

  • CGFNS Certification
  • Minimum English proficiency scores in one of the following:
    • TOEFL (600 PBT, 100 iBT)
    • IELTS (8)
    • MELAB (85)

All application materials must be received by February 1 for admission in the fall semester.

Graduate School Admissions

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic degree programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both the program(s) and the Graduate School. Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.  

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

Several forms of financial aid are available for graduate students in the School of Nursing. These include fellowships, scholarships, project and teaching assistantships, and loans. Most graduate assistantships cover the cost of tuition and provide a monthly stipend. Awards are made in the spring for the following academic year.

Graduate Research Scholars (GRS) fellowships are designed to support highly qualified underrepresented students in the doctoral programs. Doctoral students who are preparing to be full-time faculty in nursing programs are also eligible for the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP). These loans, supported by the federal government, are available to cover tuition and other educational expenses. When graduates become full-time faculty members, up to 85 percent of the NFLP loan will be canceled over a four-year period.

Additional information on financial aid including application procedures is available in the School of Nursing Academic Affairs Office.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
No No No Yes No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement Post–B.S.: 71 credits (68 credits in the program plan plus 3-credit graduate statistics requirement)
Post–M.S.: 51 credits (32 credits in the program plan plus 19 credits from Master's degree)
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement Post–B.S.: 54 credits
Post–M.S.: 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (http://my.wisc.edu/CourseGuideRedirect/BrowseByTitle).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements A student may not receive more than one grade below a B (or a U grade) in any 12 month period.
Assessments and Examinations No examinations are required.
Language Requirements No language requirements.
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements DNP students are not required to complete a doctoral minor.

Required COURSES

Post-Baccalaureate Option

Systematic Evaluation of Practice Component
Graduate Statistics Course (prerequisite)0
NURSING 706 Nursing Research3
NURSING 761 Health Program Planning, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement3
NURSING 764 Nursing and Health Informatics3
NURSING 806 Evaluation and Application of Evidence-Based Practice3
NURSING 906 Scholarly Project6
Leadership/Policy Component
NURSING 703 Health Care and Public Policy in the US3
NURSING 704 Leadership in Advanced Practice Nursing I3
NURSING 708 Ethics for Advanced Practice in Health Care2
NURSING 772 Leadership and Organizational Decision-Making in Health Care3
Leadership/Policy Elective3
Practice Component
Advanced Practice Course Core
NURSING 702 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Diverse Communities3
NURSING 601 Advanced Assessment3-4
NURSING/​PHM PRAC  605 Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Practice Nurses3
NURSING 811 Advanced Pathophysiology3
Population Theory Course3
Choose only one population:
Advanced Practice Nursing Theory: Adults and Older Adults
Advanced Practice Nursing Theory: Family Process & Child Development
Advanced Practice Nursing Theory: Psychiatric Mental Health
APN Clinical/Leadership Practicum & Role Core
NURSING 726 Foundations for APN Clinical Practice I3
NURSING 727 Foundations for APN Clinical Practice II3
NURSING 826 Foundations for APN Clinical Practice III3
NURSING 728 Advanced Practice Clinical Application and Role Development I1-4
NURSING 729 Advanced Practice Clinical Application and Role Development II1-4
NURSING 828 Clinical Leadership III 11-4
NURSING 829 Clinical Leadership IV 11-4

Post-Baccalaureate Part-Time Program Plan

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
NURSING 7063NURSING 7023NURSING 7643
NURSING 7043NURSING 7033 
 6 6 3
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
NURSING 8063NURSING 7613NURSING 7082
 Elective13 
 3 6 2
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
NURSING 722, 741, or 7513NURSING 6013NURSING 7723
NURSING 8113NURSING/​PHM PRAC  6053 
 6 6 3
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
NURSING 7263NURSING 7273NURSING 9062
NURSING 7283NURSING 7293 
 6 6 2
Fifth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
NURSING 8263NURSING 8293 
NURSING 8283NURSING 9062 
NURSING 9062  
 8 5 
Total Credits 68

Post-Baccalaureate Full-Time Program Plan

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
NURSING 7063NURSING 6013NURSING 7643
NURSING 7043NURSING/​PHM PRAC  6053NURSING 7082
NURSING 8113NURSING 7033 
NURSING 722, 741, or 7513NURSING 7023 
 12 12 5
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
NURSING 7263NURSING 7273NURSING 7723
NURSING 7283NURSING 7293NURSING 9062
NURSING 8063NURSING 7613 
 9 9 5
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
NURSING 8263Elective (may be taken any semester)13 
NURSING 8283NURSING 8293 
NURSING 9062NURSING 9062 
 8 8 
Total Credits 68

Post-Master's Option

Systematic Evaluation of Practice
Graduate Statistics Course (prerequisite)0
NURSING 761 Health Program Planning, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement3
NURSING 764 Nursing and Health Informatics3
NURSING 806 Evaluation and Application of Evidence-Based Practice3
NURSING 906 Scholarly Project 16
Leadership/Policy Component
NURSING 708 Ethics for Advanced Practice in Health Care2
NURSING 722 Advanced Practice Nursing Theory: Adults and Older Adults3
Leadership/Policy Elective3
Practice Component
Select one of the populations:3
Advanced Practice Nursing Theory: Adults and Older Adults
Advanced Practice Nursing Theory: Family Process & Child Development
Advanced Practice Nursing Theory: Psychiatric Mental Health
APN Clinical/Leadership Practicum & Role Core
NURSING 828 Clinical Leadership III1-4
NURSING 829 Clinical Leadership IV1-4

Post-Master's Program Plan

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
NURSING 7723NURSING 8063NURSING 7643
 3 3 3
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
NURSING 722, 741, or 7513NURSING 7613NURSING 7082
Elective (can be taken any semester)13 NURSING 9062
 6 3 4
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
NURSING 8283NURSING 8293 
NURSING 9062NURSING 9062 
 5 5 
Total Credits 32

Pre-approved elective options

Pre-approved elective options
NURSING/​PEDIAT/​PHM PRAC/​SOC WORK  746 Interdisciplinary Care of Children with Special Health Care Needs3
NURSING 657 Clinical Psychopharmacology3
NURSING 847 Health Policy Practicum3
NURSING 785 Foundations of Curriculum Development and Evaluation in Nursing Education3
NURSING 786 Foundations of Teaching and Learning in Nursing3
NURSING 787 Nursing Education Practicum1-3
COUN PSY 650 Theory and Practice in Interviewing3
SOC WORK 875 Health, Aging, and Disability Policy and Services2
POP HLTH/​SOC  797 Introduction to Epidemiology3
POP HLTH/​A A E/​ENVIR ST/​PUB AFFR  881 Benefit-Cost Analysis3
POP HLTH 785 Health Systems, Management, and Policy3
NURSING/​PHM PRAC  674 Seminars in Interprofessional Mental Health Care2
NURSING/​LAW/​MED SC-M  768 Consumer Health Advocacy and Patient-Centered Care Clinical1-7
POP HLTH 786 Social and Behavioral Sciences for Public Health3
POP HLTH 650 Special Topics1-6
POP HLTH/​NURSING/​PHARMACY/​PHY ASST/​PHY THER  758 Interprofessional Public Health Leadership1

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

Post–B.S.: With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 18 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Graduate work should be less than five years old to be considered; additional justification and/or documentation are needed for work taken between five and tens years. Work more than ten years old will not be considered.

Post–M.S.: With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 19 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Graduate work should be less than five years old to be considered; additional justification and/or documentation are needed for work taken between five and tens years. Work more than ten years old will not be considered unless students are board certified advanced practice nurses (APN) and have continuous practice as an APN.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No undergraduate coursework will be allowed to count toward DNP requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. These credits are considered part of the total allowable credits available for a student to transfer. coursework should be less than five years old to be considered; additional justification and/or documentation is needed for work taken between five and ten years. Work more than ten years old will not be considered.

ProbatioN

A semester GPA below 3.0 will result in the student being placed on academic probation. If a student has not returned to satisfactory progress by the determined deadline, a decision about whether the student will be permitted to continue will be made by the graduate programs committee (or appropriate subcommittee) with input from the student’s advisor.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

Progression is reviewed each semester by academic affairs office staff and advisors.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

Post–B.S.: Students must complete the requirements within six years of admission. Upon the advisor’s recommendation, the associate dean for academic programs may grant a one-year extension.

Post–M.S.: Students must complete the requirements within four years of admission to the program. Upon the advisor’s recommendation, the associate dean for academic programs may grant a one-year extension.

Other

Several forms of financial aid are available for graduate students: traineeships, fellowships, scholarships, research and teaching assistantships, and loans.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Program Resources

Career advising, funding, and professional development opportunities are shared with all students by a member of the School of Nursing Academic Affairs staff. Information on these support services can be found on the Student Site.

1. Integrate nursing science with knowledge from the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences as the basis for advanced level nursing practice.

2. Develop and evaluate new practice approaches based on nursing theories and theories from other disciplines.

3. Employ consultative and leadership skills with intraprofessional and interprofessional teams to create change in complex health care delivery systems.

4. Lead the evaluation of evidence to determine and implement best practice.

5. Function as a practice specialist in collaborative knowledge-generating research.

6. Demonstrate leadership in the development of institutional, local, state, federal, and/or international health policy.

7. Use information systems technology to evaluate outcomes of care, care systems, and quality improvement.

8. Develop, implement, and evaluate interventions to improve health status and access patterns, and to address gaps in care of individuals, aggregates, or populations.

9. Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment, systems thinking, and accountability in designing, delivering, and evaluating evidence-based care to improve patient outcomes.

10. Guide, mentor, and support other nurses to achieve excellence in clinical nursing practice. 

Faculty

Professors Scott (Dean), Bowers, Kintner, Kwekkeboom, Lauver, May, Oakley, Zahner; Associate Professors Tluczek, Ward Assistant Professors Bratzke, Gilmore-Bykovskyi, Jang, King, Pecanac, Roberts, Snedden, Steege, Torres, Whitmore;

Clinical Professors Anderson, Jarzemsky, Pinekenstein, Solheim; Clinical Associate Professors Andrews, Bryan, Crary, Dwyer, Greene, Lothe, McGranahan, Murphy-Ende, Voge, Yardo; Clinical Assistant Professors Astrella, Bell, Egan, Eisch, Endicott, Fiegel-Newlon, Fisher, Francois, Halm, Hirvela, Kechele, Newton, Norder-Brandli, Saladar, Sasse, Seiler-Schultz, Wallace; Clinical Instructors Athanas, Cattapan, Collins, Dachel, Drake, Kobernusz, Krummen-Lee, Lothary, Norsby, Pavek, Schatzke, Schwartz, Woywod

Administration

Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Dean and Professor
ldscott@wisc.edu

Dan G. Willis, DNS, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
dgwillis@wisc.edu

Karen Mittelstadt

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs (Academic Dean)
mittelstadt@wisc.edu
608-263-5284

Pamela McGranahan, DNP, PHNA-BC, PMHNP-BC

DNP Program Director, Clinical Associate Professor
pmcgranahan@wisc.edu
608-263-5337

Advising and Student Services

Katie Bleier

Director of Advising and Student Services
katie.bleier@wisc.edu
608-263-5172

Kristi Hammond
Graduate Academic Services Coordinator
kristi.hammond@wisc.edu
608-263-5258

Admissions and Recruitment

Mandi Moy

Director of Admissions and Recruitment
mandi.moy@wisc.edu
608-263-5261

Monica Messina

Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Coordinator
mlmessina@wisc.edu
608-263-5158

Accreditation

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Accreditation status: Next accreditation review: 2026-2027.