Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The DNP Program is now available in a fully online format

The DNP is a doctoral degree for nurses at the highest level of nursing practice. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has proposed that the DNP degree will be the level of entry for all advanced practice nurses by 2020. Practice-focused doctoral nursing programs prepare leaders for the highest level of practice and is the terminal practice degree. Although the coursework for these programs is web-based, the clinical component consists of over 1000 contact hours. Anyone interested in pursuing a nurse practitioner doctorate must make certain that they can accommodate the intensive time commitment that these programs require.

The changing demands of today’s complex health care environment, outlined in recent reports from the Institute of Medicine, require that nurses serving in specialty positions have the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise possible. Nurses are constantly working with individuals who have high levels of preparation in their respective fields – physicians, pharmacists, and other health providers. The effectiveness of nurses is directly related to the amount and type of education they receive, and recent research has established a clear link between higher levels of nursing education and better patient outcomes. What distinguishes this definition of practice from others is that it includes both direct care provided to patients by individual clinicians as well as direct care policies, programs and protocols that are organized, monitored, and continuously improved upon by expert nurse clinicians.

In order to complete the DNP program, each student is required to generate a project that reflects their advanced coursework in leadership, research translation, and clinical knowledge and skills.

The School of Nursing offers the Doctor of Nursing Practice in two specialty tracks:


The Application Deadline for the 2020 Cohort is February 1, 2020


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

BSN to DNP option in the following specialty tracks:

Post-Masters to DNP (MSN-DNP) option for advanced practice registered nurses

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.
  • 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.
  • Satisfaction of all clinical requirements as identified by School of Nursing. All clearances must be obtained by first enrollment date. Students who do not fulfill this requirement will not progress in the program and will not be permitted to enroll in classes. Please note that completion of these requirements may delay or nullify initial program start
  • After acceptance into the program, applicants will be required to submit a criminal background check and toxicology screen (medicinal marijuana is prohibited).Failure to provide these screening items will result in dismissal and/or non-acceptance to the NMSU SON graduate program. Positive toxicology results and/or criminal background checks that do not meet the NM DOH clearance standards will mean dismissal or non-acceptance from the program

  • 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 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 clinical practice
    • 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
    • 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 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
      • Admission to the DNP Program is a competitive process based on the components of the application and interview
      • 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)

MSN-DNP Option

      • Successful admission to the NMSU Graduate School
      • To be eligible for the Post-MSN to DNP program, an applicant must possess an active and current APRN license and certification as a nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, certified registered nurse anesthetist or clinical nurse specialist.
      • Masters degree in Nursing with a minimum nursing GPA of 3.0 or better
      • Undergraduate or graduate level statistics course
      • Admission to the DNP Program is a competitive process based on the components of the application and interview
      • 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.

Distance Education Disclaimer for Out of State Students
New Mexico State University is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). Members of SARA agree to honor the regulatory requirements of each member state. If you do not plan to reside in New Mexico during your graduate nursing program, please check the SARA authorization map to check NMSU’s authorization status in your state.  Many state boards of nursing restrict online nursing programs in their state or require approval of the educational institution.
 If you do not plan to reside in New Mexico during your graduate nursing program, please check the National Council on State Boards of Nursing APRN Distance Education Requirements in your state and contact the SON Graduate Advisor to find out if NMSU is approved in your state.  


Interested applicants should contact: