Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The DNP program prepares elite nursing professionals to lead in today's increasingly complex health care system, applying evolving best practices to make dramatic improvements in patient care.

Joseph Haymore, DNP Student

"I'm excited about the future. I'll be using what I learned here in school to improve patient care and improve the work environment, and hopefully improve health across a large continuum of patients."


U.S. News and World Report - Best Grad Schools - Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice 2018‌The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is widely considered the highest practice degree in nursing. At UMSON, the curriculum will provide you an immersive education in:

  • evidence-based practice
  • quality improvement
  • systems leadership.

Our graduates possess clinical, organizational, economic, and leadership skills that have a direct impact on health care outcomes.

The DNP will enable you to remain in direct patient care while providing you with the knowledge and training to be a leader in a fast-changing health care environment. With a DNP from UMSON, you’ll be well equipped to translate advances in scientific research into improved outcomes for your patients.

UMSON has transitioned its Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) specialties from the Master of Science to the DNP, effective fall 2014. Graduates who choose an APRN specialty will be eligible to apply for national certification. UMSON also continues to offer the existing DNP (Post-Master’s) option.

Click here to read the DNP program's frequently asked questions.

Program Details

UMSON offers three DNP entry options: Post-BSN to DNP, DNP with Specialties (Post-Master’s), and DNP (Post-Master’s).

Post-BSN to DNP

This option is designed for nurses who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. If you’re interested in a career as nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse anesthetist, the DNP can provide you with the skills needed to excel in direct patient care. The program offers concentrations in the following specialties:

DNP with Specialties (Post-Master's)

This option is designed for nurses who are interested in a career as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse anesthetist and:

  • Have a master’s degree in nursing and want to pursue the DNP with one of the specialties listed below:


  • Currently work in health services leadership management, nursing informatics, community and public health; possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (entry-into-practice program); hold a master’s degree in a relevant field such as an MBA, MPA, or MPH; and want to pursue the DNP with one of the specialties listed below:

DNP (Post-Master's)

This option is designed for nurses who hold or have held positions such as nurse executives, nurse informatics, nurse educators, community health nurses, clinical nurse specialties, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners. You must also:

  • Have a master's degree in nursing


  • Work in the areas of health services leadership management, nursing informatics, community and public health; possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (entry-into-practice program); and hold a master’s degree in a relevant field, such as an MBA, MPA, or MPH

Click here for more information about the Post-Master's DNP option.

Applicants with a Master’s in Nursing Education

A qualified applicant to the Post-Master’s DNP program is required to have an area of specialty. In 2015, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) re-affirmed their position on the discipline of education, citing that the "discipline of education encompasses an entirely separate body of knowledge and competence (AACN, 2004, p.13) and is not an area of advanced nursing practice."

For an applicant who holds a Master’s in Nursing Education to be considered for the Post-Master’s DNP program (Pm-DNP), he/she would need to declare an area of specialty.  This can be fulfilled by:

The student would need to maintain enrollment in the certificate program until completion of the certificate. Graduation from the DNP program and awarding of the degree is dependent upon successful completion of the certificate and the DNP curricula.

Admissions Requirements

All DNP applicants must provide:

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in a program resulting in the award of a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing from an ACEN- (formally known as NLNAC) or CCNE-accredited college or university, or an equivalent degree from a comparable foreign university
  • Official transcripts for all prior undergraduate and graduate study (including study at UMSON), regardless of whether a degree was earned 
  • Two letters of recommendation from recommenders with knowledge of your work performance and experience. Recommenders must address your ability to successfully complete a doctoral program. While ideal recommenders are doctoral-prepared nurses in the specialty to which you are applying, anyone who can speak to your academic potential, clinical skills, knowledge, and involvement in leadership or professional activities would be a good recommender. Click here for the ‌form. NEW! Effective for the summer 2016 and fall 2016 entry terms, applicants need just two letters of recommendation. 
  • An interview with selected applicants will be arranged after the applications are received and reviewed 
  • Essay
  • Active, current, and unrestricted United States registered nurse license required. Clinical agencies will require an active Maryland license. 
  • Current curriculum vitae (CV). Click here for tips on writing your CV. 
  • Verification of Nursing Practicum Hours Form required for post-master's option applicants only.
  • Application for In-State Status Classification if claiming in-state status.

This program is not eligible for F-1 or J-1 student visa sponsorship by the University of Maryland, Baltimore, due to the amount of online courses.

Submit Application Materials To:

University of Maryland School of Nursing
Office of Admissions
655 West Lombard Street, Suite 102
Baltimore, MD 21201-1579

What You'll Do

After graduating from the DNP program, you'll be prepared to:

  • Initiate, facilitate, and participate in collaborative efforts that influence health care outcomes with scholars, practitioners, clinicians, and policy makers from other disciplines
  • Lead at the highest educational, clinical, and executive ranks
  • Evaluate and apply ethically sound, culturally sensitive, evidence-based practice for the improvement of education, clinical practice, systems management, and nursing leadership
  • Analyze and apply scientific knowledge and related skills for the highest level of nursing practice
  • Design, implement, manage, and evaluate patient care and organizational systems
Want to know more about UMSON's DNP program? ‌‌Read the DNP Program Brochure.