The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at UWM prepares nurses for the highest academic preparation in clinical nursing. The DNP will prepare practitioners who are able to use their education and expertise in evidence-based practice in providing outstanding care and collaborative leadership to improve clinical care delivery, patient outcomes, and system management.

There are three entry options for the Doctor of Nursing (DNP) Practice Program:

  1. Program for individuals with a bachelor's degree in nursing and a current Registered Nurse license.
  2. Program for individuals with an advanced practice master's degree in nursing and a current Registered Nurse license.
  3. Program for individuals with a master of nursing (or equivalent) degree and a current Registered Nurse license.

Students may be admitted for the Fall or Spring semester, on a part-time or full-time plan of study.

Students entering with a bachelor's degree in nursing or a master of nursing degree and a current RN license choose a specialization in one of the following areas:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG ACNP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): Population focus in Adult-Gerontology, or Pediatrics. 
  • Nursing System Leadership (Nurse Executive) 

The online Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice is for Advanced Practice Nurses (NP, CNS, CNM, CRNA) with a master’s degree.

Transcript Designated Concentrations:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner 
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist- Adult-Gerontology
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist-Pediatrics 
  • Nursing System Leadership-Nurse Executive 

Admission Requirements

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


The admission requirements of the DNP program in Nursing are consistent with those requirements specified by the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition, students must also meet the following requirements for the School of Nursing:

  1. A bachelor's degree or a master's in Nursing from a professionally accredited program, with a minimum undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale).
  2. One year of RN experience.
  3. Completion with a grade of B or higher of an upper-level undergraduate course in statistics within the last five years.
  4. A current unencumbered Registered Nurse license.
  5. Three (3) letters of recommendation for graduate study in nursing, two (2) of which are from persons most knowledgeable about the applicant's recent academic and work experiences.
  6. Completion of a personal statement.
  7. Current CV or resume.
  8. Submission of one writing sample.
  9. Personal interview with a faculty member may be requested.


A student who receives a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee must formally reapply for admission to the Graduate School before continuing studies toward the DNP. 

Credits and Courses

Post Advanced Practice Master’s Curriculum

The Post Advanced Practice Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a 26- to 32-credit, Post-Master’s program, which builds upon the required entry point of advanced practice specialization in nursing. The variable credits reflect the credit intensive load of traditional Master’s programs preparing Advanced Practice Nurses (generally greater than 40 credits). Up to six credits from the previous Advanced Practice Master’s program may be recognized based on review of the previous Master’s Program coursework and transcript if courses are duplicative of required courses.

The program includes 32 credit hours of core theoretical courses, including the advanced nursing practice core (6 credits), an evidence-based practice core (9 credits), a systems core (9 credits), and 8 credits of the DNP Project Core.

Core Theoretical Coursework
Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice Core
NURS 728Epidemiological Principles for Population Health3
NURS 804Healthcare Organization and Systems Leadership for Advanced Practice3
Evidence Based Practice Core
NURS 720Biostatistics and Applications for Nursing Practice3
NURS 725Evidence Based Practice in Healthcare3
NURS 805Translational and Implementation Science3
Systems Core
NURS 750Outcomes and Quality Management3
NURS 773Information Systems to Support Clinical Decision-Making3
NURS 803Health Policy3
Project Core
NURS 993DNP Project I: Plan2
NURS 994DNP Project II: Proposal2
NURS 995DNP Project III: Leadership Practice Immersion 14
Total Credits32

 May be completed over 1 or 2 semesters.

Additional Requirements

Faculty Advisor

The student must have a Faculty Advisor to advise and supervise the student’s studies as specified in Graduate School regulations. The student is assigned to a Faculty Advisor at the time of admission.

Leadership Practice Immersion

Both the post baccalaureate and post master’s curriculum include a 4-credit DNP Project III, an experience that will include the required DNP project. This residency experience will include 460 additional clinical hours in the student’s specialty focus area and will include an emphasis on the evidence-based practice, leadership and system competencies of the DNP prepared graduate.

Time Limit

Students in the post baccalaureate DNP program must complete all degree requirements within seven years of the first enrollment semester as a degree student. Students in the post master’s DNP program must complete all degree requirements within five years of the first enrollment semester as a degree student.

Minimum Grade Requirement

For continuation in the program, in addition to general Graduate School requirements, students must achieve a minimum grade of B- in all required nursing courses. However, an overall GPA of 3.00 is still required for the degree.


The student must meet minimum Graduate School residence requirements.

DNP Project II: Proposal/Doctoral Preliminary Examination

The student must pass a doctoral preliminary examination to qualify for formal admission to candidacy for degree. The doctoral examination comprises a written portfolio and an oral component, taken in that sequence, with each component requiring a passing grade for successful completion. The examination is an integrative experience that is designed to validate the student’s mastery of the content of the DNP curriculum and must be completed prior to beginning the residency experience.

DNP Project III: Leadership Practice Immersion

The candidate will complete a final comprehensive clinical project as part of the Leadership Practice Immersion experience which demonstrates the ability to implement the principles of evidence-based practice and translation under the direction of the faculty advisor.

The candidate must, as the final step toward the degree, pass an oral examination in defense of the clinical project. A candidate who does not pass this examination may apply for reexamination within one year from the initial examination date. This reexamination may occur only one time. A candidate who does not pass this examination within program time limits may be required to undergo another comprehensive preliminary examination and be readmitted to the program and/or candidacy.