College of Graduate Studies

Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for the joint DNP program are as follows:

  • a completed application with payment of nonrefundable application fee;
  • official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework
  • a written essay.
  • There are different levels of admission depending upon prior credentials of applicants and whether or not they hold a BSN, MSN, or a BSN and a master’s in another discipline. Additional requirements for admission to the DNP program include:
    1. BSN-DNP applicants:
      • A bachelor's degree in nursing is required;
      • For international applicants, a bachelor's degree in nursing or equivalency (for BSN to DNP applicants), or a non-nursing master's degree or equivalency (for MSN to DNP applicants) from a nationally accredited nursing program or comparably recognized non-U.S. institution, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale;
    2. MSN-DNP applicants (4 options)
      • Certification in the selected nursing specialty for the concentration.
        For example: Certified FNP for FNP concentration, Certified WHNP in the WHNP concentration, etc.;
      • OR
      • Master’s in Nursing in a specialty different than the intended concentrations (WHNP, PNP, ACNP, PMHNP, FNP, Executive Leadership) will require a longer program of study adapted to the previous Master’s specialty and nursing experience;
      • OR
      • Non-nursing master’s with a BSN from a nationally accredited nursing program will require a longer program of study adapted to the previous Master’s specialty and nursing experience;
      • OR
      • For the General (No Concentration) MSN-DNP, Master’s in Nursing with advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) certification (Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Midwife, or Nurse Anesthetist) or master’s level nursing administration/ healthcare systems leadership concentration;
      • NOTE: All four MSN options for the Executive Leadership in Nursing concentration require at least one year of experience in a nursing administration role.
    3. All applicants with a cumulative GPA less than 3.2 as reported by their BSN or MSN institution will be required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE);
    4. Licensure as a Registered Nurse in the United States and eligibility for licensure in Tennessee or equivalency for international students;
    5. All applicants are required to have at least two years of full-time work experience (or equivalent) in nursing as a registered nurse;
    6. Three letters of recommendation are required: one from the applicant’s current (most recent) supervisor, one from a faculty member who has worked directly with the applicant during previous academic study, and one from an individual selected by the applicant;
    7. All applicants will be required to complete a writing sample describing a problem the applicant has identified in clinical practice, whether as a student or a practicing RN, and what steps were taken to resolve or improve the situation; 
    8. All applicants will participate in an interview;
    9. All applicants must submit a cover letter expressing the applicant’s personal goals for doctoral study; and
    10. All applicants must submit a current resume or vita.

    The completed application form and fee, official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work, essay, documentation of nursing licensure in the United States, MSN certification(where applicable), letters of recommendation and resume or vita must be submitted to the ETSU School of Graduate Studies or the TTU Graduate College, depending upon the applicant’s home school. International students must also forward the additionally required documentation to the appropriate home school.

    The personal interview will be scheduled by the Joint DNP Admissions Committee. Factors given consideration in the admission decision include: previous grade point average (GPA), clarity of the applicant’s selected problem as stated in the writing sample and during the interview, writing ability, professional work experience and achievements, professional honors and awards, interest in rural and underserved population groups, and quality of references/recommendations. The Joint DNP Admissions Committee may recommend admission of a promising applicant who has not met all the admission standards on a conditional basis.