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 by following a three-year or four-year program plan 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 two 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.
Students apply to the Doctor of Nursing Practice through one of the named options:
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 restrictions related to funding.
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.
|Minimum Credit Requirement||See Named Options for policy information.|
|Minimum Residence Credit Requirement||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.|
Select a Named Option for required courses.
A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral. Students pursuing the Doctor of Nursing Practice must select one of the named options:
Nursing Practice: Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, DNP
Nursing Practice: Adult/Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, DNP
Nursing Practice: Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, DNP
Nursing Practice: Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
Nursing Practice: Population Health Nursing, DNP
Nursing Practice: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, DNP
Nursing Practice: Systems Leadership and Innovation, DNP
Students should refer to one of the named options for policy information:
Graduate School Resources
Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career.
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.
- Integrate nursing science and theory with evidence, ethics, professional obligations, and knowledge from other disciplines as the basis for specialty-focused advanced nursing practice. (Essential 1)
- Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment, systems thinking, leadership, and accountability in designing, delivering, and evaluating evidence-based care to improve individual and population health outcomes (Essentials 2 and 8)
- Evaluate evidence to determine & implement best practice (Essential 3)
- Develop, implement, and evaluate new practice approaches based on nursing science and theory, as well as knowledge from other disciplines. (Essential 3)
- Function as a practice specialist in clinical scholarship, quality improvement, and collaborative knowledge-generating research. (Essential 3)
- Use information systems technology to monitor health, identify needs, and evaluate outcomes of care and system improvements. (Essential 4)
- Translate knowledge into practice and policy to protect and improve health and health systems. (Essential 5)
- Partner with intraprofessional and interprofessional teams to contribute nursing perspective and lead change in health outcomes and complex systems of care. (Essential 6)
- Critically evaluate how social determinants of health, cultural background and environment impact health outcomes. (Essential 7)
- Develop, implement, and evaluate programs and advanced practice interventions to improve health, access patterns, and gaps in care of individuals, aggregates, or populations. (Essential 8)
Professors Scott (Dean), Bowers, Kintner, Kwekkeboom, Lauver, Oakley, Tluczek, Zahner; Associate Professors King, Steege, Ward, Willis; Assistant Professors Bratzke, Ersig, Gilmore-Bykovskyi, Jang, Pecanac, Roberts, Snedden, Whitmore; Clinical Professors Anderson, Bryan, Jarzemsky, Pinekenstein, Solheim; Clinical Associate Professors Andrews, Crary, Dwyer, Greene, Lothe, McGranahan, Murphy-Ende, Reinfeldt, Skurky, Voge, Yardo; Clinical Assistant Professors Adams, Astrella, Bell, Bennett, Cheatle, Coburn, Dachel, Eisch, Endicott, Fiegel-Newlon, Fisher, Francois, Halm, Hirvela, Horrigan, Kechele, Newton, Norder-Brandli, Saladar, Schardt, Seiler-Schultz, Wallace; Clinical Instructors Athanas, Bomkamp, Cattapan, Collins, Drake, Kobernusz, Krummen-Lee, Leclair, Lothary, Neuhauser, Norsby, Patrick, Pavek, Phillips, Schatzke, Schwartz, Woywod
Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
Dean and Professor
Barbara Pinkenstein, DNP, RN-BC, FAAN
Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor
Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs (Academic Dean)
Pamela McGranahan, DNP, PHNA-BC, PMHNP-BC
DNP Program Director, Clinical Associate Professor
Advising and Student Services
Director of Advising and Student Services
Graduate Academic Services Coordinator
Admissions and Recruitment
Director of Admissions and Recruitment
Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Coordinator
Accreditation status: Next accreditation review: 2026-2027.
In addition to earning a doctoral degree, post-BS graduates of the nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist options are prepared to sit for the following professional nursing certification examinations upon successful completion of the program.
Adult/Gerontology, Clinical Nurse Specialist: ANCC Adult-Gerontology CNS
Adult/Gerontology Acute Care, Nurse Practitioner: ANCC Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP
Adult/Gerontology Primary Care, Nurse Practitioner: ANCC Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP
Pediatric Primary Care, Nurse Practitioner: PNCB Primary Care Pediatric NP
Psychiatric Mental Health, Nurse Practitioner: ANCC Psychiatric-Mental Health NP
The United States Department of Education requires institutions that provide distance education to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure about whether each program meets state educational requirements for initial licensure or certification. Following is this disclosure information for this program:
The requirements of this program meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin, District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands
The requirements of this program do not meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:
The requirements of this program have not been determined if they meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:
New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, American Samoa, Puerto Rico