Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


The Doctor of Nursing Practice program is delivered through NMSU-Online

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree prepares nurse clinicians and leaders for the highest levels of practice. The changing demands of today’s complex health care environment require that nurse leaders and nurse practitioners have the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise possible. 

All didactic courses for the BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP are delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous distance education. The clinical component of the DNP program consists of over 1000 hours of supervised clinical experiences in the student's own community, the majority of which are completed in the final year of the program. In addition to required course work and clinical practicum hours, students are required to generate a project that reflects their advanced coursework in leadership, research translation, as well as clinical knowledge and skills.

The School of Nursing offers the BSN to DNP option (for applicants with a BSN degree) in the following nurse practitioner specialties - Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. The MSN to DNP option is now available to APRNs and non-APRNs with a Master's degree in Nursing who are seeking to earn their clinical doctorate. This track and the core courses in the BSN to DNP option now has a focus on population health leadership, which is a key core competency for all advance practice nurses.

The NMSU School of Nursing is developing a new DNP degree concentration in Nurse Anesthesiology with a focus on rural health and health disparities.


Application Deadline for the 2021 Cohort has closed (BSN to DNP)

Application Deadline for the 2021 Cohort is May 15, 2021 (MSN to DNP)


DNP Degree Plans

Degree Plans for Students Admitted Fall 2021

Degree Plans for Students Admitted Fall 2020


Program Information

There are two avenues to pursue the Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree:

BSN to DNP option in the following specialty tracks

    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

MSN to DNP option for RNs or APRNs with a Master's degree in Nursing

  • Focus on Population Health Leadership

The following are criteria for DNP program enrollment:

  • Only FULL-TIME applicants are accepted for the DNP program (see degree plans).
  • First year DNP students are required to attend a 2-day on-campus orientation during the first week of classes in Fall semester. (Note - On campus events have been moved to virtual settings until further notice.)
  • Third year BSN-DNP students are required to attend a week-long, on-campus Clinical Boot Camp during the summer semester prior to the start of the nurse practitioner specialty courses. (Note - On campus events have been moved to virtual settings until further notice.)
  • Prior to starting clinical rotations, students will be required to submit a criminal background check and toxicology screen (medicinal marijuana is prohibited) and other clinical clearance requirements outlined in the DNP and Post Graduate APRN Certificate Student Handbook. Failure to provide these items will result in a failure to progress or program dismissal. Positive toxicology results and/or criminal background checks that do not meet NMSU School of Nursing clinical clearance requirements can result in program dismissal.
  • While course faculty can assist in the identification of qualified clinical preceptors, it is ultimately the responsibility of the student to secure sites and preceptors for their clinical practica.
  • Prior to conducting a practicum at a facility (clinical, leadership or DNP project), an affiliation agreement between the facility and the NMSU School of Nursing must be in place. 
  • Please be aware that it can take 2-6 months to establish an affiliation agreement, if one is not already in place.
  • Students will receive additional information about clinical courses during the program orientation. 

Application Process and Admission Criteria

Application Process and Admission Criteria

  • Apply to the DNP Program through the NMSU Graduate School (https://gradschool.nmsu.edu/how-to-apply/) and upload the following documents:
    • Current CV/resume.
    • RN license (BSN-DNP) or APRN license and certification (MSN-DNP)
    • Unofficial transcripts from nursing programs/degrees
    • A letter of intent specifying career goals and a clear statement of how the DNP will advance the applicant’s career
    • A two to four (2-4) page description of an example of a common occurrence in clinical practice that the applicant would like to see changed that could be the basis for the DNP Project.
    • Names and contact information for three (3) references from colleagues in clinical practice
  • Official transcripts from all prior college and universities attended sent directly to the School of Nursing and to the NMSU Graduate School (2 sets)
  • After an initial review of applications, selected applicants will be invited to attend an interview with faculty (on campus or via videoconferencing)

BSN-DNP Option 

  • Successful admission to the NMSU Graduate School
  • Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from a nationally accredited nursing program with a minimum nursing GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Current unencumbered RN license from one of the 50 U.S. States or Territories
  • Undergraduate or graduate level statistics course
  • Must sign a commitment to enroll for full-time study as well as attend a 2-day program orientation at the start of the fall semester and a 1-week clinical seminar in the summer of the second year (non-attendance could result in program dismissal or failure to progress)
  • Admission to the DNP Program is a competitive process based on the components of the application and interview

MSN-DNP Option

  • Successful admission to the NMSU Graduate School
  • Masters degree in Nursing from a nationally accredited nursing program with a minimum nursing GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Current unencumbered RN or APRN license from one of the 50 U.S. States or Territories
  • Undergraduate or graduate level statistics course
  • Students are required to obtain official documentation or letter from the MSN program that they attended clearly denoting the total number of clinical hours completed.
  • Admission to the DNP Program is a competitive process based on the components of the application and interview
  • Official document or letter from MSN program denoting total number of supervised clinical hours completed

SARA Authorization Information-

In order for New Mexico State University (NMSU) to enroll students residing outside of New Mexico in an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) distance education program, two conditions must be met. First, NMSU must have a State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement with the state that the student physically resides in. To check your state, please refer to NMSU’s SARA map. Second, the state’s Board of Nursing must give approval or have no restrictions on APRN clinical education in the state where the student will complete their clinical training. For more information and for current APRN distance education requirements, please see the National Council on State Boards of Nursing website.

The New Mexico State University School of Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Post Graduate APRN Certificate programs are currently authorized to operate, exempt or not subject to approval in:

  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon (application pending)
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas (application pending)
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

The New Mexico State University School of Nursing will continue to monitor developments in state laws in each state in which it enrolls students and, if authorization or licensure is or becomes necessary, will obtain such additional approvals.


Interested applicants should contact: