FAQs: Doctor of Nursing Practice

If you have additional questions, please email Dr. Linda C. Pugh at pughl@uncw.edu or call (910) 962-7296.


1) Am I a competitive student?

  • Admission decisions are based on several factors, including a strong overall graduate academic record; however, other indicators of success may be considered for admission.

2) Can I start the DNP program in the Spring Semester?

  • No. Students are admitted during the fall semester only.

3) Is a part-time DNP program available?

  • Yes. However, each student must complete an approved course of study within six years of the date of the first course registration to be eligible for graduation.

4) Can I take DNP courses in the summer?

  • Some DNP core courses and elective courses may be offered in the summer.

5) The DNP program is primarily online. How many times would I be expected to come to the UNCW campus?

  • The curriculum is offered online. There are on-campus orientation days (three in year one; two after that) in August of each year you are enrolled in the program. The only time you will be required to come to campus during the semester is the last semester in the program when you will present your DNP Project.

6) Is there a final presentation/exam?

  • The final course will be the DNP project presentation. Students will come to campus on the final day to present the findings from their project.

7) Can I take DNP courses out of sequence?

  • Yes, some courses may be taken out of sequence.

8) How many clinical hours must I complete during the program?

  • Students are required to complete a total of 1,000 post baccalaureate practice hours to complete the program. These are divided as follows: clinical hours from MSN clinical practicum and DNP practice immersion.

9) What is the cost of the DNP program?


10) How do I apply to the DNP program?

  • The application is completed online through the UNCW Graduate School. The online application will walk you through the process and provide you an opportunity to list email addresses for potential references, upload your resume or CV, and upload your writing sample. The only document submitted to the School of Nursing is the demographic data form which can be accessed on the web site. Everything else is submitted to the graduate school. The online application is the only way to submit an application—NO PAPER APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED.

11) What are the minimum admission requirements?

Students will be admitted to the DNP program by recommendation of the SON Graduate Admissions Committee based upon eligibility requirements and available resources. Admission requirements are:

  • Master’s degree in nursing or post-master’s certificate from an accredited institution.
  • Current unrestricted registered nurse (RN) license in the state in which practicum will occur.
  • Advanced Practice RNs (APRN) must have current national certification and be licensed and approved to practice as an APRN in their state of residence and currently employed in an advanced practice role. The APRN roles as defined by the American Colleges of Nursing are nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, or nurse practitioner.
  • GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher on all previous graduate coursework as documented by official transcripts with evidence of completion of graduate level pathophysiology, pharmacology, and advanced physical assessment courses from an accredited college or university[FJ1] .
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) for international students which is acceptable for two years from the date the test is administered and shows the minimum achievement levels. Students with foreign student visas must present evidence of professional standing in their home countries.
  • Written essay, limited to 600 words, addressing your advanced practice expertise, career goals, how earning the DNP will promote these goals, and brief description of DNP clinical scholarly project topic area.
  • Submit a completed application and the required application fee, (non-transferable and non-refundable) to the Graduate School. Applicants will be prompted by the system to pay the application fee only when their application form is complete.
  • Three professional letters of recommendation to substantiate practice and leadership capabilities (one each from a former nurse faculty member and a current or former employer, preferred).
  • Current curriculum vita/resume.
  • Criminal Background Check and 12 Panel Drug Screen is required for all students prior to the beginning the program. An annual drug screen may also be required. Costs for these requirements are the responsibility of the applicant.

 12) Can I transfer into UNCW’s DNP program credits from another institution’s DNP program?

  • Yes, but only six hours of transfer credit can be accepted into the UNCW DNP program.

13)When is the deadline to apply?

  • April 1 is the application deadline for fall admission. All completed applications received by the graduate school by the April 1 deadline will be reviewed first. Applications that are incomplete on April 1 may not be reviewed by the School of Nursing Graduate Admission Committee. Admission decisions will be finalized and students will be notified of admission by May 15.

14) Does work or volunteer experience influence admissions?

  • Admission decisions are based on the entire application so work experience, volunteer experience or community/professional service, leadership experience, and scholarly works (research, publications, or grants) will be considered as part of the entire application.

Reapplying to the Program

15) If a student did not get accepted, can they resubmit their application to the program for another cohort?

  • They will need to resubmit their application to reapply.

 16) What are the re-application instructions?

  1. Please contact the Graduate School at gradschool@uncw.edu if you have additional questions.
  2. Create a new account/application https://app.applyyourself.com/?id=UNCW-GRAD
  3. Click ‘CONTINUE’ if you wish to start a new application.
  4. Complete the graduate application.
  5. Upload a Word document outlining which documents i.e. transcripts, recommendations, etc. you wish to recycle from your previous application.
  6. Submit prior to the published program deadline & pay the application fee (UNCW faculty/staff/dependent submit waiver through HR).

February 2018