Before You Apply

Nursing Degree Requirements

BSN, BAN, and post-baccalaureate certificate, or entry-level Master of Nursing degree from an accredited program.

  • Registered nurses without a baccalaureate degree in nursing should complete that degree before applying.
  • If you are not a nurse and have a baccalaureate degree in a major other than nursing, consider the Master of Nursing.

Post-Master's applicants

BSN, BAN, post-baccalaureate certificate, or entry-level Master of Nursing degree and a master's degree in a nursing practice specialty, both from an accredited nursing program. Applicants must have a minimum of 120 preceptor supervised practicum hours verified from their master's granting program. 

  • Nursing specialties associated with the master’s degree include APRN specialties (nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist), nursing informatics, nursing leadership and public health nursing.
  • Generalist or nursing education masters degrees and/or those with less than 120 preceptor supervised practicum hours do not qualify for admission into the post-master’s DNP option. These applicants may consider the post-baccalaureate DNP option, which provides opportunity to petition for substitution of applicable graduate coursework for some courses.


  • Qualified applicants have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above for their most-recently obtained degree.
  • Applications will not be considered if their GPA falls below the minimum requirement.

GRE: Graduate Record Exam

The GRE exam is NOT required for admission.

Nursing License

  • Qualified applicants will hold a valid, unencumbered nursing license in the state in which they will complete clinical practicum courses.
  • Qualified applicants are asked to submit their RN License number and include the name of the state board of nursing that issued the license.
  • International nurses should submit a photocopy of a current RN license/registration from their home country.
  • International nurse applicants need to obtain a Minnesota license by the end of the second semester in residence. In addition, they must pass the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) exam, and the NCLEX exam in order to obtain a Minnesota license. International nurse applicants are encouraged to take the CGFNS exam in their home country prior to enrollment. For more information, contact the Minnesota Board of Nursing or call 612-617-2270.


The application includes essays. Because doctoral students are expected to express themselves and communicate in a logical and analytical manner, strong written communication skills are essential. Below are the competencies assessed when reviewing application essays including spontaneous essays that may be required to be written as part of the interview process:

  • Ability to present thoughts in a logical, sequential and analytical manner
  • Ability to clearly answer essay questions
  • Ability to use proper grammar and syntax

Curriculum Vitae/Resume

Include a current curriculum vitae (preferred) or resume complete with professional accomplishments and activities.

Professional References

  • Qualified applicants will provide three professional references - at least one must be from a current/former supervisor, nursing instructor, or someone who can evaluate the applicant’s nursing practice.
  • The references should attest to the applicant’s potential for success in the DNP program (including preparation, initiative, and aptitude), and commitment to the profession.

English Language Proficiency (if Applicable)

  • If your native language is not English, you must demonstrate English language proficiency based upon the requirements outlined by the University of Minnesota Graduate School.  
  • Applicants are exempt from taking the test if, within the past 24 months, they have completed 24 quarter credits or 16 semester credits in residence as a full-time student at a recognized institution of higher learning in the United States.


If you meet application criteria based on an initial screening, you will be invited to participate in an interview as part of the application process.

Professional Nursing Experience

For some specialty areas, applicants will need to have experience working as an RN at the time the application opens.

Specialty AreaMinimum professional RN experience required at time of application.
Adult/Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist6 months of nursing practice as an RN
Adult Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner12 months of nursing practice as an RN
Family Nurse Practitioner12 months of nursing practice as an RN
Health Innovation and Leadership12 months of nursing practice as an RN
Integrative Health and Healing12 months of nursing practice as an RN
Nurse Anesthesia24 months of critical care experience by the close of applications, August 1
Nursing Informatics
Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist6 months of nursing practice as an RN
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care6 months of nursing practice as a pediatric RN
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner12 months of nursing practice as an RN in a psychiatric/mental health setting
Women’s Health/Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner

*The minimum RN experiential requirement for the Nurse Anesthesia specialty must be met by August 1