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, Maternal-Infant/Women’s Health, or Pediatrics. 
  • Community/Public Health 
  • Nursing System Leadership (Nurse Executive or Informatics) 

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-Maternal-Infant 
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist-Pediatrics 
  • Community Public Health 
  • Nursing System Leadership-Nurse Executive 
  • Nursing System Leadership-Informatics 

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.

Admission 

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 College 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 clinical experience relevant to the chosen specialty.
  3. Completion with a grade of B or higher of an upper-level undergraduate course in statistics within the last five years.
  4. Current registration as a professional nurse.
  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 two writing samples.
  9. Personal interview with a faculty member may be requested.

These data are used by the Admissions Subcommittee as indicators of academic potential.

The student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted as program credits required for the degree.

Reapplication

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 Baccalaureate Curriculum

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a three-year, full time, 65-credit post-baccalaureate program, which includes 30 credit hours of core theoretical courses, an advanced nursing practice core (12 credits), a research core (9 credits) a systems core (9 credits), 27 credits hours of specialty theory and practicum courses, and 8 credits in the DNP Project Core.

Core Theoretical Coursework30
Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice Core
Advanced Perspectives on Cultural Diversity and Disparities in Health Care
Epidemiological Principles for Population Health
Theory for Advanced Practice
Evidence Based Practice Core
Biostatistics and Applications for Nursing Practice
Evidence Based Practice in Healthcare
Translational and Implementation Science
Systems Core
Outcomes and Quality Management
Information Systems to Support Clinical Decision-Making
Health Policy
Healthcare Organization and Systems Leadership for Advanced Practice
Specialty Theory and Practicum27
Project Core8
DNP Project I: Plan
DNP Project II: Proposal
DNP Project III: Leadership Practice Immersion 1
Total Credits65

Post Generalist Master's Curriculum (MN or equivalent)

The Post Generalist Master’s Curriculum is a minimum of 38 credits that builds upon the required entry point of a Generalist Master’s in Nursing (MN or equivalent). Where course background varies, an individual plan of study will be developed based on review of the previous master’s program coursework and transcript.
Foundations of Advanced Practice Core9
Advanced Perspectives on Cultural Diversity and Disparities in Health Care
Theory for Advanced Practice
Healthcare Organization and Systems Leadership for Advanced Practice
Evidence Based Practice Core3
Translational and Implementation Science
Specialty Theory and Practicum18
Project Core8
DNP Project I: Plan
DNP Project II: Proposal
DNP Project III: Leadership Practice Immersion 1
Total Credits38

Post-Master’s Curriculum (Other Nursing Master’s Degrees)

The Post-Master’s Curriculum includes Nursing Master’s Degrees that are not Advanced Practice or a Generalist Master’s (MN or equivalent). Examples may include a Master’s in Nursing Education or Nursing Leadership. An individual plan of study will be developed based on review of the previous Master’s Program coursework and transcript.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Requirements

The theory courses vary by population focus and must provide content across the continuum from wellness through acute care for the selected population. The plan for theory course work must be approved by the CNS option coordinator. The following courses under the Specialty Theory Electives heading are examples of those that can be included as specialty support credits. Other courses can be included with advisor approval.

Advanced Practice Specialty Core9
Advanced Pharmacology: Application to Advanced Nursing Practice
Pathophysiologic Basis of Advanced Nursing Practice
Comprehensive Assessment of Health: Implications for Clinical Decision-Making
Specialty Theory Electives12
Instructional Strategies for Patient Education
Processes of Aging
Family Theory and Intervention Strategies for Advanced Nursing Practice
Issues in Women's Health and Development
Changing Health Behaviors
Advanced Practice Nursing: Maternal-Infant and Women's Health
Trauma Counseling I: Theory and Research
Trauma Counseling II: Diagnosis and Treatment
Special Topics Seminar: (Advanced Practice Nursing I: Health Promotion of Women and Childbearing Families)
Special Topics Seminar: (Advanced Practice Nursing II: Women and Childbearing Families with Acute and Chronic Health Conditions)
Special Topics Seminar: (Advanced Practice Nursing: Theoretical Foundations for Child Health)
Special Topics Seminar: (Advanced Practice Nursing: Health Promotion and Acute Illnesses in Children)
Special Topics Seminar: (Advanced Practice Nursing: Care of the Child with Chronic Health Conditions)
Special Topics Seminar: (Advanced Practice Nursing: Adult-Gerontology: Chronic Illness)
Special Topics Seminar: (Advanced Practice Nursing: Adult-Gerontology: Acute Illness)
Special Topics Seminar: (Special Topics: Palliative Care)
Counseling: Theory and Issues
Essentials of Counseling Practice
Human Development: Study of Infancy and Early Childhood
Human Development: Study of the Adolescent
Practicum9
Total Credits30

 Clinical Nurse Specialist: Maternal-Infant Practicum

Practicum Courses
NURS 814Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum I-Maternal/Infant3
NURS 815Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum II-Maternal/Infant3
NURS 816Clinical Nurse Specialist Practicum III-Maternal/Infant3
Total Credits9

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.

Residence

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.