About the Program

About the Program

The University of Louisville Doctor of Nursing Practice program can be entered with either a BSN or MSN degree. The BSN to DNP is designed for RNs who are seeking nurse practitioner certification.  We currently offer five specialties.  The degree requires a total of 75 to 78 credit hours to complete depending on the selected specialty.  These credit hours are completed in three years of full-time study with part-time study options available. 

The MSN to DNP option is for practicing nurse practitioners who are interested in taking a more scholarly approach to practice, developing leadership skills, and advocating for health systems changes.  In the Louisville program you will use current evidence and your health care experience to create an innovative practice program, develop a quality improvement project, impact health policy, or write an evidence based practice guideline.  The project will be based on your scholarly interests and will take your involvement in the health care system to a new level.  the MSN to DNP requires a total of 35 credit hours which can be completed in 2 years of part time study with the exception of 2 semesters where a full-time load is required.

Clinical Hours
Students in the BSN to DNP program will complete 1000 hours of clinical work.  This includes the population specific nurse practitioner clinicals as well as clinical work towards the completion of the DNP project.  Students in the MSN to DNP program will complete a minimum of 330 clinical hours acquired during the completion of the DNP project. 

Delivery of Course Materials
Our DNP program is structured in a hybrid format.  Students are required to attend class on campus 4 to 6 times a semester.  Classes are typically scheduled on Thursdays and the student should plan to be in class or otherwise engaged in academic activity from 9:30am to 8:00 pm on those days.  The remainder of the class content will be delivered in an online format.  A variety of online and distance learning techniques are used to facilitate the program and enrich the students’ learning experience.  The majority of coursework will be asynchronous.  Synchronous activities will be scheduled by the faculty and will be listed in the course syllabus at the beginning of the semester.

The DNP Project
The culmination of the practice doctorate is the successful completion of the DNP Project that demonstrates the synthesis of the student’s experiences.  The DNP project will be reviewed and evaluated by a faculty chair and the doctoral academic affairs committee.  The chair will be a member of the University of Louisville School of Nursing faculty with doctoral preparation and who has experience relevant to the student’s topic of interest.  Successful completion of the DNP project demonstrates the synthesis of the student’s coursework and practice application and culminates in a final manuscript and public presentation.

The BSN – DNP option allows students to pick among 5 specialty tracks and can be completed in 3 years.  A part-time plan of study is also available.


Family Nurse Practitioner
The graduate of an FNP program is prepared to care for individuals and families across the lifespan.  The FNP role includes preventative healthcare, as well as the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illness and preventative health care for individuals and families.  Family nurse practitioners demonstrate a commitment to family –centered care and understand the relevance of the family’s identified community in the delivery of family- centered care.  A Family NP could work in the following settings: Health clinic, Adult or pediatric primary care office, Inpatient rehab or hospice unit, a school, fast-track ER or urgent care facility.

Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
The patient population of the adult-gerontology primary care NP practice includes the entire spectrum of adults including adolescents, adults and older adults.  The Adult/Gero NP providers direct health care services and synthesizes theoretical, scientific, and clinical knowledge for the assessment and management of both health and illness states.  An Adult/Gero NP could work in the following settings: Internal medicine office; health clinic; specialty office; hospital rehab or hospice unit; nursing home; fast-track ER or adult urgent care facility.

Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
The patient population of the adult-gerontology acute care NP practice includes the entire spectrum of adults including adolescents, adults and older adults.  The adult–gerontology ACNP provides care to patients who are characterized as “physiologically unstable, technologically dependent, and/or are highly vulnerable to complications” (AACN Scope and Standards, 2006, p 9).  These patients may be encountered across the continuum of care settings and require frequent monitoring and intervention.  The role encompasses a spectrum of care ranging from disease prevention to acute and critical care management to “stabilize the patient’s condition, prevent complications, restore maximum health and/or provide palliative care” (AACN p. 10).  Acute care nurse practitioners work in the intensive care unit (ICU), Progressive care unit (PCU) other hospital units and specialty provider’s offices.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
The PMHNP focuses on individuals across the lifespan (infancy through old age), families, and populations across the lifespan at risk for developing and/or having a diagnosis of psychiatric disorders or mental health problems.  The PHMNP provides primary mental health care to patients seeking mental health services in a wide range of settings.  Primary mental health care provided by the PMHNP involves relationship-based, continuous and comprehensive services, necessary for the promotion of optimal mental health, prevention, and treatment of psychiatric disorders and health maintenance.  This includes assessment, diagnosis, and management of mental health and psychiatric disorders across the lifespan.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (admits every other year, next admit 2018) A minimum amount of qualified applications must be received to offer this specialty. 
Neonatal nurse practitioners provide health care to neonates, infants, and children up to 2 years of age.  Practice as a NNP requires specialized knowledge and skills if safe, high-quality care is to be delivered to patients.  The NNP role includes the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illness in neonate.

Don’t know what you what to do yet?  Click on the link for “more information on choosing a specialty



Adult Gerontology Acute Care
Adult Gerontology Primary Care
Family Primary Care
Psych/Mental Health


Application Process

A holistic review process is used when considering applications for admission to the DNP program.  The holistic review considers multiple criteria for admission, including: the applicant’s professional career goals, academic capabilities, GPA, work experience, leadership and community engagement.

Applications for fall semester will be considered through April 1st for open concentrations.

All application materials must be received by the posted deadlines.


DNP Program


Open, Space Available

Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Open, Space Available

Adult Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner


Adult Gero Primary Care Nurse Practitioner


Family Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care


Neontal Nurse Practitioner

Open, Space Available


**Neonatal Nurse Practitioner specialty admits in even years only, for example 2018, 2020, etc. A minimum amount of qualified applications must be received to offer this specialty.

Completed Graduate School Application.

  • BSN-DNP option - Undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.  Baccalaureate degree in nursing from a CCNE or NLN accredited program. Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university is required.
  • MSN-DNP option - Master’s grade point average of 3.25 on a 4.0 grading scale.  Master’s degree in nursing from a CCNE or NLN accredited program. Undergraduate cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

Please send all transcripts to Graduate Admissions
School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies
2211 S Brook St, Houchens Bldg, Rm 105
Louisville, Kentucky 40292

  • Three letters of recommendation.  Within the application, submit names and email addresses of individuals who can speak to your academic and/or professional capabilities and potential. View Letter of Recommendation Form.
  • Written goal statement. Within the application upload a maximum of 3 pages (double spaced and 12 point font).  The goal statement should include:
    1. Describe your reasons for seeking doctoral study, including your short and long-term professional goals.
    2. Explain how your past experiences have prepared you for this next step in your career.  Examples of experiences could include but are not limited to your work history, volunteer experiences, medical mission trips, leadership roles, or research endeavors.
    3. Identify a healthcare system or population you are interested in working with.
    4. Identify and discuss a system or health problem within that population that you wish to study in your DNP project.
  • Within the application, upload your resume including your RN license number and include RN verification of licensure from the Board of Nursing.
  • Proof of English Proficiency: International students for whom English is not their primary language must show English language proficiency by 1) TOEFL examination scores of: Computer-based test minimum score of 220; Written Essay score of 4.0; Paper-based test minimum score of 560; Written Essay score of 4.0; Internet based test minimum score of 79; Written Essay score of 4.0 or 2) by successfully completing the exit examination for the advanced level of the intensive English as a Second Language Program at the University of Louisville or 3) by demonstration of a degree award from an acceptable English language institution or 4) International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores of at least a 6.5 overall band score from the academic module exam.
  • A personal interview may be required.
  • Work experience- Neonatal specialty requires a minimum of one year work experience in a Level III or Level IV NICU prior to admission.  Work experience recommended prior to the first DNP clinical course in all other specialties.
  • Completed online Legal Questionnaire.
  • A Certified Background Check - Please complete the background check through this link.  The school code is Ni53bc.  You will not send this information to the School of Nursing, as it is handled through the outside agency.

*Please note that all nursing students are required to have background checks. As a result, the Kentucky Board of Nursing requires nursing students to report all misdemeanors and felonies to them. Carefully read the guidelines on the Kentucky Board of Nursing website.


School of Nursing Costs

Background Check

$40; at point of application to SON

Cardinal Card (Student ID)

$10 Replacement Costs


Visit Campus Health website for individual costs.

Liability Insurance

$75-$100 estimate per year

Major Medical Health Insurance

$995.50; may waive with proof of insurance

Parking Permit

Required for UofL campus parking. Costs vary.


$85-$100 estimate pending model

Student Health Fee

$52.50 per semester, Campus Health Services

Financial Aid

Contact us:

School of Nursing Office of Student Services

Phone502.852.1196 or
1.877.81NURSE (816-8773)

Health Science Campus
555 S. Floyd Street
Third Floor, School of Nursing
Louisville, KY 40292


UofL Office of Admissions


Office of Graduate Admissions