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.

BSN to DNP option 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. 

MSN to DNP option is for individuals with a master’s degree in nursing 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. 

MSN to DNP students can choose one of three entry points depending on the individual’s previous academic and professional credentials.

  • An APRN seeking a DNP without a second specialty
  • An APRN seeking a DNP with a second specialty
  • A Master’s prepared student that is not an APRN seeking a first specialty

The APRN without a second specialty requires a total of 35 credit hours which can be completed in 2 years of part time study with the exception of 2 semester where a full-time load is required.

Upon receipt of your official college transcripts, your program of study will be created based on your previous academic and professional credentials.

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.

CCNE logo

The bachelor of science in nursing, master of science in nursing, and doctor of nursing practice programs at University of Louisville are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.


Fall Semester-February 15th

Spring Semester-October 1 (MSN to DNP options only)

**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.

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.

Completed Graduate School Application.

  1. BSN-DNP option - Recommended 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.
  2. MSN-DNP option - Recommended 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

  1. Applicants who have attended a college or university outside the United States are also required to submit an evaluation of their transcript through World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE).  Please note that transcript evaluations can sometimes take several weeks.
  2. 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.
  3. Written goal statement. Within the application upload a maximum of 3 pages (double spaced and 12 point font).  The goal statement should include:
    • Describe your reasons for seeking doctoral study, including your short and long-term professional goals.
    • 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.
    • Explain your proposed area of interest and the population you wish to work with in your DNP project.
  1. Within the application, upload your resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  2. Within the application, upload your RN verification of licensure from the Board of Nursing.
  3. Students for whom English is not their primary language must show English language proficiency by 1) demonstration of a degree awarded from an acceptable English language institution or 2) acceptable examination: TOEFL; International English Language Testing System (IELTS); successful completion of the exit examination for the advanced level of the intensive English as a Second Language Program.  Recommended test scores are available on the University International Student website.
  4. A personal interview may be required.
  5. 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.
  6. Completed online Legal Questionnaire.
  7. 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

$58; 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

Visit Campus Health website for individual costs. Required by UofL. 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