DNP Application & Admission Criteria

Application Instructions

All applications for the DNP Program need to be submitted via NursingCAS.

Applicants need to submit the following:

  1. Completed application form.
  2. A non-refundable application fee.
  3. Complete official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate education.
  4. Admission test scores if applicable.
  5. Three letters of professional recommendation indicating the reviewer’s support of the student’s ability to successfully complete a demanding graduate level academic and clinical program. At least one recommendation should come from a current or recent direct supervisor. These letters will be submitted by the reviewer through NursingCAS.
  6. Personal essay addressing the questions:
  1. Share life experiences that have influenced your interest in progressing your nursing career.
  2. Describe a time when you advocated for an individual from a disadvantaged group in a healthcare setting.
  3. Describe how your personal strengths, experiences, & abilities will contribute to your success in nursing school and your career in nursing (community service, leadership experience, healthcare experience).
  4. Explain the academic challenges, successes, or obstacles in your life that have affected your ability to achieve your goals. How did you respond to the situation?
  5. Why did you choose your area of concentration?
  6. What are your expectations for the program?
  7. What are your expectations of your DNP project?
  1. Completion of the Experience Survey.
  2. Current CV or resume.

All completed applications are to be submitted to Student Affairs, which will forward them to the Coordinator of the Area of Concentration or Major for review and appropriate action. DNP admission decisions are the responsibility of the Coordinator of the Area of Concentration or Major.

DNP Admissions Committee chair Admission, Progression & Graduation (APG) Committee presents a summary of admission decisions to the DNP Council including the number and status of students offered admission.

Student Affairs will notify applicants of the admission decision. Applicants who do not qualify for admission to full graduate status may be considered for provisional status except for international applicants.

Admission Criteria

Applicants to the Doctor of Nursing Practice should meet all of the following criteria:

  • Current RN license in U.S. State/Territory or location where student will complete clinical requirements.
    International applicants should see the section below on Admission of Students from Other Countries and Policy 201.
  • GPA ≥ 3.0 in most recent degree from an ACEN, NLN, or CCNE accredited program.
    • Applicants to the BSN-DNP Program must have a BSN or an entry-level MSN from ACEN, NLN, or CCNE accredited program.
    • Applicants to the MSN-DNP Program must have a MSN or a master’s degree in a related field. Applicants who do not have a MSN must have a BSN from ACEN, NLN, or CCNE accredited program.
  • Pre-requisite statistics course with a grade of B- or better.
  • Clinical experience for select focus areas**
  • A pre-admission interview. If the applicant resides at a great distance, a virtual interview may be conducted.
  • Evidence of ability to communicate in writing through the required personal essay.
  • Specific Areas of Concentration/Majors may have additional eligibility criteria.

A DNP Coordinator of the Area of Concentration or Major may seek consultation from the DNP APG Committee when deciding upon a recommendation for admission.

Applicants to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Dual Program must also meet the admission criteria for the PhD program – see Policy 231.

**Clinical Experience for Select Focus Areas

  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: Equivalent of 2 years full time (within last 5 years) nursing care of critically ill newborns, infants, and children in critical care inpatient settings (preferably Level III NICU). Students may enroll in pre-clinical courses while obtaining practice experience
  • Health Systems Executive Leadership: 2 years management experience preferred.
  • Nurse Anesthesia BSN to DNP: Minimum 1 year full-time ICU/critical care nursing experience (within last 5 years) by start of program (may apply if employed in ICU/critical care and will have required experience before admission term). Taking the GRE is optional but may be considered supplemental information in the holistic admission process.

Degree Program Application Deadlines

International Applicants

Tuition and Fees

Provisional Admission - DNP

The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution. The complete Nondiscrimination Policy is available.