DNP: Frequently Asked Questions | College of Nursing | Kent State University

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Structure

Is this program 100% Online?

Yes, the MSN to DNP program is 100% online.

Are there any on campus requirements?


How long does it take to complete the program?

The DNP program is 5 semesters and takes less than 2 years to complete.

Is this program full-time and/or part-time? Can I work and go to school at the same time?

This program is part-time. It is designed so working APNs can attend school while continuing to practice.

What courses will I need to take?

The DNP curriculum consists of 13 courses including research methods, leadership, population health, and scholarly project. View the full course list

What is considered part of clinical hour requirements for the DNP? At what point do I begin my practicum?

DNP students must complete 500 practicum hours. These hours include time spent developing your DNP Scholarly project as well as implementing and evaluating the project. During your first semester you will be assigned a faculty advisor who will help to guide your DNP project. Students begin their DNP Projects in the first semester and should complete the project during their fifth semester.

Is the DNP a good fit for me? Or should I pursue a Ph.D.?

The DNP program prepares nurse leaders for evidence-based practice in patient care, education, policy, and executive roles. This requires competence in translating research into practice, evaluating evidence, applying research in decision-making, and implementing viable innovations to change practice within and across the spectrum of health and healthcare systems. Ph.D. programs are designed to prepare nurses for careers as research scientists in areas such as academia and other research-intensive environments. They prepare nurse scholars to conduct research that advances theoretical foundations of nursing and health care. Ph.D. programs provide for the knowledge and skills in theoretical, methodological and analytical approaches for the discovery of knowledge in nursing and healthcare.

Compare: Ph.D. vs DNP

Do you offer a BSN-to-DNP program?



What are the full requirements for admission?
  • Active, unrestricted registered nurse license in the state in which the student's practica will be completed
  • Bachelor's1 degree in nursing or master's degree in advanced practice nursing that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission
  • Minimum overall 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point scale
  • For students with a master's degree: current, national certification as an advanced practice registered nurse (proof of the appropriate certification must be submitted within the student's first semester, or prior to beginning practicum hours, whichever comes first)
  • Completion of an undergraduate- or graduate-level statistics course with a minimum C grade
  • GRE scores (no more than five years old)
  • Résumé or vita that demonstrates professional experience in nursing
  • Three letters of reference from health care professionals or academic faculty who can speak to the applicant's professional and academic abilities
  • Essay (300 words) describing professional goals and reasons for seeking the professional practice doctorate
  • Pre-admission interview

English Language Proficiency Requirements for International Students: All international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning a minimum 560 TOEFL score (83 on the Internet-based version), minimum 78 MELAB score, minimum 6.5 IELTS score or minimum 55 PTE Academic score. For more information on international admission, visit the Office of Global Education’s admission website

1. Upon admission to the D.N.P. degree, students who hold only a CCNE- or NLNAC-accredited bachelor's degree in nursing will be admitted also to the M.S.N. degree. This will allow students to complete M.S.N. coursework and enroll in some D.N.P. coursework after successfully completing their first two full-time semesters of graduate study. Students must first complete M.S.N. coursework, earn the M.S.N. degree and obtain APRN national certification before they can continue with D.N.P. coursework and earn the D.N.P. degree.
My MSN is not in an advanced practice area. Am I eligible to be admitted? Should I complete a post-Master’s certificate first?

The DNP is designed specifically for APRNs. Students with an MSN in Nursing Education, Healthcare Management, or other area must first complete a post-master’s certificate program to earn an APRN certification.

What is the deadline to apply?

March 1. The program admits once a year and students begin the program each fall semester. Students progress as a cohort through the program taking the same courses throughout.

I am currently enrolled in a DNP program at another college/university. How can I transfer to Kent State?

Students from other DNP programs can apply to Kent State University. Transfer credit will be evaluated and applied if they are equivalent to our courses.

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