DNP Admission Requirements

Accepting Applications Through Summer 2014

We will begin reviewing fall 2014 applications on January 15, 2014 until the program is full. Priority will be given to applications received by January 15, 2014.


Entry with an MSN degree requires APRN certification as either an NP, CNM, CNS or CRNA. Applicants may also enter with an MSN in nursing administration or nursing informatics. Applicants with a master’s degree in nursing education or similar non APRN area must apply to the post-master’s certificate plus DNP program. Vanderbilt also offers post-master’s entry for advanced practice nurses who hold a MSN and wish to add an additional specialty certification as part of their DNP program of studies.


Applicants with a BSN degree will have the opportunity to make a seamless transition from our advanced practice nursing MSN program into the DNP program. BSN applicants complete the online MSN application (available after September 15, 2013) and indicate their intention to progress directly in to the DNP program after completing MSN degree requirements. Please refer to the MSN program information for the details regarding your advanced practice interest area.


Admission Criteria for DNP Program entry with MSN degree

1. Official Transcripts. Applicants must submit one transcript from each post-secondary institution attended. Applicants must have completed a master's degree in nursing from a nationally accredited institution. A minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA for graduate work is preferred.

Transcripts should be mailed to:


Center for Data Management
Vanderbilt University
PMB 407833
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-7833 

If your school uses an electronic transcript service such as Parchment, Naviance, Docufide or Scrip Safe, have your University Registrar send the transcript to Vanderbilt.


Transfer Credit
Transfer credit is considered for courses taken elsewhere within five years of admission. Work presented for transfer credit must be from an accredited college and is subject to evaluation in light of the degree requirements of the university.
To have a course considered for transfer credit, applicants must make the request at least six (6) weeks before the course begins, submit a letter of request to the School of Nursing Registrar’s Office with the course syllabus enclosed, and provide an official transcript showing the final grade for the course. A maximum of six (6) credits can be transferred. The program director approves transfer credit for all DNP courses.
No credit is awarded toward the degree for courses designatedas prerequisite for admission. If transfer credit is approved, a grade of P will appear on the student's official transcript and the hours earned will count toward the DNP.

2. Registered Nurse Licensure. An unencumbered Registered Nurse license must be presented.

3. Advanced Practice Certification. Applicants must have the APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) designation in their home states and national board certification as a CNS, NP, CNM or CRNA in their areas of specialty as appropriate. National certification for nursing administration or nursing informatics applicants is desirable but not required. Applicants without national certification will be individually evaluated and may be required to pursue a post-master's certificate in any advanced practice specialty.

4. Letters of Recommendation. Strong professional references from three persons who hold a doctoral degree addressing academic skills including oral and written communication as well as clinical competence. Applicants are strongly encouraged to select a doctorally prepared nurse as one of the three recommenders.

5. Curriculum vitae or resume.

6. Professional Statement. The professional statement must include written essays responding to select questions and identification of a potential practice inquiry within selected populations to frame the program of study. See page 4 of the application.


7. Interview. After initial review of the application, applicants may be contacted for an interview.

8.Technical Requirements. Vanderbilt School of Nursing considers the Internet communication link an essential learning resource for doctoral students. DNP students will be required to have a home computer, printer and Internet service provider that has high speed broadband Internet access. 


For International Students Only

1. Complete required application items (application form, goal statement, reference letters, resume, application fee).


2.Prior to consideration for admission, international student applicants who did not earn their MSN degree at an American institution must submit a report of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score. Scores should be less than two years old and the minimum acceptable score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language is 81 on the internet-based test or 620 on the paper-based test to demonstrate proficiency. Applicants may also take the IELTS (International English Language Testing Service).


3.International student applicants whose native language is not English are required to have an interview with the Program Director and a member of the Admissions Committee.


4. International student applicants must hold a current Registered Nurse license in the United States and US certification as an APRN. National certification is optional for applicants with an MSN in Healthcare Leadership or nursing informatics.


5. International student applicants who have completed college or university coursework at an institution in a country other than the United States must obtain a complete course-by-course evaluation of foreign transcripts, degrees and other relevant documents. In all instances, the evaluating agency will require original, official documentation. Evaluating agencies include World Education Services; Post Office Box 745; Old Chelsea Station New York, NY 10113-0745; telephone (212) 966.6311; web site: and Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.; Post Office Box 514070; Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203-3470; telephone (414) 289.3412; web site:; Josef Silny & Associates, Inc., International Education Consultants, 701 SW 102 Ave, Miami, FL, 33173, telephone (305) 273-161, website:


6. International students who are accepted into the program may also be required to complete an intensive English language program at Vanderbilt University prior to beginning classes at the School of Nursing. Information about Vanderbilt's English language program may be obtained at


If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the Vanderbilt School of Nursing Admissions team, who will be happy to help. You may reach Admissions via email or by phone (toll free 1.888.333.9192).


Dates of Required On-Campus Intensive Session for 2013-14

Fall 2013 August 26-30
Spring 2014 January 13-16
Summer 2014 May 5-8