Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

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.

The DNP should not be confused with the PhD in Nursing, also offered through the SON, which is a research-focused degree and aimed at those wishing to pursue an academic or research career.

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.

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 live in a state where access to out-of-state nursing education programs are either limited or prohibited, we will have to regretfully decline your application. Please check the SARA authorization map if you are planning to apply to the NMSU School of Nursing. See link below (updated June 2017).
Sara Recognized Institutions

Enrollment in the DNP Program

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

  1. Post-Masters to DNP (MSN-DNP) option for advanced practice registered nurses
  2. The BSN to DNP option in the following specialty tracks:
    • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
    • Family Nurse Practitioner

In order to accommodate students for a timely progression, only FULL-TIME applicants are accepted for the BSN to DNP tracks while a full-time and part-time option is available for the Post -MSN to DNP. To be eligible for the Post-MSN to DNP program, an applicant must possess an active and current certification as an advanced practice NP or CNS. There are no exceptions for this requirement.

Please note that changing from one specialty track to another after admission is not possible due to course/curriculum differences and to limited number of spots available in each cohort.


Post-Master’s Certificate Program:

This program is for those Master’s-prepared advanced practice nurses (nurse practitioners) who hold current “certification” in a clinical specialty area who wish to obtain the coursework needed to sit for certification in another area. The SON currently offers a Post-MSN certificate in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner.

The Post-Master’s certificate consists of 18 credit hours which includes a minimum of 500 clinical hours. When applying to the Post-Master’s Certificate program, please select “Graduate Certificate” in the application system. Please note that the clinical hours are “required” for national certification and cannot be waived or negotiated.

See Full Descriptions of Clinical Specialty Areas.

NOTE: ALL program prerequisites (ie: Statistical coursework, clinical clearances, receipt of TRANSCRIPTS, etc.). MUST be complete by the application deadline in order to be considered for the DNP program. INCOMPLETE files will not be reviewed.

DNP Application Deadline and Process

The Application deadline for the 2019 Cohort is March 15, 2019 (extended).

  • All applicants are required to attend a face-to face interview with faculty on the NMSU campus (no web conferencing or phone interviews are conducted).
  • New DNP students are required to attend a 2-day on-campus orientation during the first week of classes in Fall semester.
  • 2nd and 3rd year DNP students are required to attend the annual week-long, on-campus Doctoral Summer Seminar (usually the 3rd week in May)

ATTENTION: You must use the application process for admission to the DNP program. Create a log in and follow the steps in the process to ensure that your application is received at both the School of Nursing and NMSU Admissions.

See Complete Application Process and Criteria for Enrollment.

NOTE: Two sets of official transcripts from all universities/colleges attended must be sent from that institution: One set needs to go directly to NMSU Admissions in a sealed envelope and one set to the School of Nursing also in a sealed envelope. Student/applicant- delivered transcripts are not accepted.

Interested applicants or questions, contact:

International Students

Office of Int’l & Border Pgms
(all int’l students “must” contact IBP for eligibility)