Doctor of Nursing Practice


Program Overview

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed to prepare nurse leaders for the highest level of professional nursing practice beyond the initial preparation in the discipline. Doctoral nursing practice encompasses advanced clinical practice that influences health care outcomes for individuals, families, and populations including the direct care of individual patients, management and care coordination for individuals and populations, administration of nursing and health care organizations, and the development and implementation of health policy. Graduates of DNP programs are prepared for direct care roles (e.g. nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives) and systems-focused roles (e.g. administrative, public health, and policy roles) or a blend of these roles.

The DNP curriculum at UIC consists of three domains of competencies for advanced practice in direct clinical care or systems: a) core practice competencies, b) specialty-specific practice competencies, and c) role competencies.  Our mission is to develop advanced practitioners of nursing into evidenced-based, intra-disciplinary providers who meet the needs of a rapidly expanding healthcare field.

At completion of the DNP program, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the specialty competencies needed for doctoral practice in nursing
  • Translate science to influence healthcare policy
  • Implement evidence-based practices to optimize healthcare outcomes and reduce disparities
  • Practice strategic management skills to improve the effectiveness of nursing interventions  and health systems outcomes
  • Develop transdisciplinary ventures to create innovative healthcare delivery models
  • Demonstrate fiscal leadership in planning and in management for nursing practice
  • Integrate technology with nursing practice skills to improve quality and accessibility of care

The College of Nursing offers a variety of Advanced Practice Nursing (APN) specialty concentration options as Nurse Practitioners (NP), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS).  These are part of the programs of three College of Nursing departments: 

Specialty Department
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner BHS
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner BHS
Advanced Population Health HSS
Family Nurse Practitioner HSS
Health Systems Leadership and Informatics HSS
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner WCFHS
Nurse Midwifery WCFHS
Nurse Midwifery/Women’s Health Practitioner WCFHS
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care Program WCFHS
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care Program WCFHS
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner HSS
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner WCFHS

Students are admitted to the DNP program during the fall semester. Applicants pursuing DNP degree will choose one of the following entry routes: 

  • Post-Baccalaureate (BSN to DNP) 
  • Post-Master’s
  • Post-Master’s with New Specialty
  • DNP transition (RN, non-BSN)


The Post-Master’s curriculum builds on direct care or systems-focused competencies that were previously acquired through formal coursework leading to a Master of Science degree in Nursing.

Post-Master's with New Specialty

Post-Master’s applicants who would like to acquire a new role (such as an administrator adding the Family Nurse Practitioner option) will need to complete additional courses and practicum in the selected area of role specialization. Courses are generally taught in a blended curriculum, requiring online and classroom sessions.  

DNP Transition

The DNP transition (RN, non-BSN) is a route of entry for students with an RN license and a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing. DNP transition students are required to take an additional 1 to 4 courses during the first Fall/Spring semesters following admission to the College of Nursing and before beginning any coursework in the DNP degree.

The transition courses are as follows:

  • NURS 210 Health Assessment 
  • NURS 242 Concepts & Processes for Contemporary Nursing Practice 
  • NURS 385 Clinical Concepts & Processes for Population-Focused Nursing 
  • NURS 322 Introduction to Nursing Research & Statistics for Evidence-Based Practice

Required transition courses will be determined upon admission on an individual basis. All transition courses are delivered online in eight-week modules through the School of Continuing Studies and taught by UIC College of Nursing faculty.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: January 15

All Applicants

The following minimum admission criteria must be met for full consideration for admission into the Post-Master's, Post-Master's with New Specialty, Post-Baccalaureate (including transition RN, non-BSN) DNP programs:

  • Students applying to the Post-Baccalaureate option must have a BSN from a CCNE or NLN accredited program or a baccalaureate degree in another field.
  • Students applying to the Post-Master's option must have a Master's degree in nursing from an accredited program.
  • All students must have a valid license to practice professional nursing in a political jurisdiction.
  • Students entering the Post-Baccalaureate option must have a current license as a professional Registered Nurse (RN) from the State of Illinois prior to the beginning of their second semester in the DNP program.
  • Students in the Post-Master's option must have a valid nursing license for the state in which they will be completing their practicums.
  • Minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00/4.00 in the last 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of the first baccalaureate degree and a minimum of a 3.00/4.00 on all work beyond the baccalaureate level.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Applicants with less than a cumulative 3.25/4.00 GPA in their baccalaureate (or higher) degree are required to submit GRE scores by the application deadline. Cumulative GPA’s are pulled directly from the transcripts submitted. Courses taken after a baccalaureate (or higher) degree has been earned will not be calculated into the cumulative GPA for the GRE waiver.
  • Introductory courses in statistics and research (or equivalent) to be completed prior to beginning the DNP program. Most applicants will have met this requirement while completing the BSN degree.
  • Qualified applicants may be contacted by faculty to schedule an interview (with advanced notice). Not all applicants will be chosen to interview.

International Applicants

The UIC considers any student who currently holds a visa of any type or is seeking a visa to be international. Even if you do not require a student (F or J) visa to attend UIC, you are viewed as an international applicant. Most policies which apply to those seeking student visas will apply to holders of other types of visas. Please visit the Office of Admissions International Requirements webpage for details on all additional admission requirements and processing.

After Admission

If admitted and upon submitting an enrollment deposit, all students are required to provide proof of current nursing license and documentation of immunizations, background check results, drug screenings, HIPAA training, CPR certification. Please visit the College of Nursing Practicum Requirements webpage for specific requirements for each program. All immunization and compliance requirements must be met prior to registering for courses.  Additionally, New Student Orientation is required of all newly admitted students. Orientation information and details will be included in the admissions packets from the College of Nursing.

International applicants: The UIC requires all admitted international students to submit detailed financial statements before a Form I-20/DS-2019 can be processed. These statements should include the amounts and sources of funds available for educational expenses in the United States equivalent to their first year’s tuition and living expenses. Please visit the Office of International Services  webpage for more information

Degree Requirements

The DNP degree requirements vary by entry route (Post-Baccalaureate, Post-Master’s) and by specialty focus. Individual program plans are created by a faculty advisor upon admission into a DNP program. Most students will complete the program in 2-6 years (varies by specialty, route of entry, and part-time or full-time enrollment).

DNP Practicum Requirements

To qualify for the DNP, all students must document a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised clinical practicum work completed as part of an education program between the BSN and the DNP. Therefore, all Post-Master’s DNP students must submit verification of the number of supervised clinical practicum hours in their advanced practice educational programs. Students are responsible for obtaining this documentation from the school in which the program was completed and submitting it during the first semester of the DNP program. Advisors will use this documentation to determine how many hours of the practicum the student will need in the plan of study for the Post-Master’s DNP.

How to Apply

Application Deadline: January 15

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program admits for the fall semester only. Prospective students are encouraged to complete the application process early. All application materials, including unofficial transcripts, recommendations, resumés, and supplemental application forms must be submitted by deadline for full consideration. 

Please visit the Admission Requirements page before applying to the College of Nursing.

All Applicants

  1. Complete the UIC DNP Application online at
  • Choose the appropriate application: Apply Domestic (or International) Degree Seeking
  • Select your “Admission Term”: Fall  
  • Select your “Planned Course of Study”:  DNP Nursing Practice-Region (choose Chicago, Peoria, Quad Cities, Rockford, Springfield or Urbana)
  • Post-Baccalaureate and Post-Master’s applicants adding a specialty, select your “Concentration”choose a specialty area
  1. Submit the non-refundable application fee for both domestic and international students.

NOTE: Within 3-5 business days of submitting your graduate application, you will receive an email from the Office of Admissions directing you to your application login webpage where you can begin uploading required items, one at a time, as necessary. Please prepare an electronic copy of the required application materials in PDF format so that they are available when requested. All required materials must be submitted electronically through your application. DO NOT MAIL any materials at this time.

  1. (Upload) College/university transcripts.  All transcripts should be combined into a single PDF file and uploaded to your application.  No hard copy transcripts will be accepted for graduate applications.  For more information, please go here.
  2. (Upload) Current resumé or curriculum vitae.
  3. (Upload) Completed College of Nursing Supplemental application (Download here: DNP Supplemental Application)
  4. Enter the names and email addresses of three references. The references you indicate will receive an e-mail with a link to upload their letter as well as instructions on what we are looking for from each recommendation. Recommendations should come from those who can speak to your professional and academic abilities.
  5. Submit GRE scores (if required, by application deadline). Applicants with less than a cumulative 3.25/4.00 GPA in the baccalaureate (or higher) degree are required to submit GRE scores by the application deadline. Cumulative GPA’s are pulled directly from the transcripts submitted. Courses taken after the baccalaureate (or higher) degree has been earned will not be calculated into the cumulative GPA for the GRE waiver.

Official test scores (GRE, TOEFL) must be sent directly to the UIC Graduate Admissions Office from Educational Testing Service (UIC Institution Code: 1851, Department Code: 0610).

International Applicants

Additional materials are required of International applicants, including the following. Please refer to UIC’s International Admissions Requirements  for additional details.

  • TOEFL OR IELTS scores
  • University or college issued transcripts or mark sheets for all undergraduate work in the original language 
  • University or college issued transcripts or mark sheets for all post-baccalaureate work in the original language 
  • Certified English translation of all credentials 
  • Proof of all degrees awarded
  • For postsecondary coursework completed at an institution outside of the United States, applicants must request a Full Education Course-by-Course Report evaluation from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Schools CGFNS.
  • International applicants licensed in a political jurisdiction outside of the U.S. must also request the Validation of Registration/License Report from CGFNS. 

Upon recommendation for admission from the College of Nursing, international applicants will be required to supply evidence of financial support for the first year of study. Visit the Office of Admissions’ International Admission Requirements for further explanation of requirements.

Admissions Decision Timeline

Applications to the DNP program will not be reviewed by the Graduate Admissions and Academic Standards Committee until after the January 15th application deadline. If required, faculty interviews generally take place during the month of March with final decisions being announced in early April.