Doctor of Nursing Practice

MSN to DNP Pathway

Flexible online program with a classroom feel!

The mission of the University of Texas Medical Branch Doctor of Nursing Practice Program is to prepare nurses to participate in the transformation of health care with an emphasis on improving access to quality care and health equity for diverse populations.

Licensure Requirements

Required: Current (active), valid, unencumbered license or multi-state privilege to practice as a registered nurse in the state(s) in which the student participates in any clinical learning experiences. National certification and recognition or licensure as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in the state which the applicant practices if applicable.

Degree Requirements

Required: Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) as an APRN, CNL, ENL, or Nurse Administrator from a program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or Commission on Collegiate Nursing (CCNE).

GPA Requirements

A minimum GPA of 3.0 for all master's and higher level coursework is required.

Required Application Documents

Required: a resume, all official transcripts, a personal statement of career, educational & scholarship goals (see personal statement guidelines) & three (3) references including one (1) professional, one (1) academic, and one (1) from your current clinical manager or other authority speaking on your commitment to discovery of new knowledge, your current knowledge in a clinical area, and your dedication to the profession.





  • 1


    2 Courses (6 Hours)

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  • 2


    2 Courses (5 Hours)

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  • 3


    2 Courses (6 Hours)

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  • 4


    2 Courses (6 Hours)

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  • 5


    2 Courses (6 Hours)

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  • 6


    2 Courses (5 Hours)

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  • 7


    2 Courses (5 Hours)

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  • 8


    2 Courses (3 Hours)

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    Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

    MSN-DNP Pathway

    • Semester 1
      Course Number Course Name Hours
      GDNP 6310 Professional Writing 3
      GDNP 6327 Transformational Leadership 3
      Semester 2
      Course Number Course Name Hours
      GDNP 6303 Data Analysis & Evaluation 3
      GDNP 6337 Informatics in Transformation of Healthcare 2
      Semester 3
      Course Number Course Name Hours
      GDNP 6359 The Economics and Business of Health Care 3
      GDNP 6362 Quality Improvement for Clinical Practice 3
      Semester 4
      Course Number Course Name Hours
      GDNP 6302 Population Health 3
      GDNP 6335 Systems Thinking I - Project Foundation 3
      Semester 5
      Course Number Course Name Hours
      GDNP 6325 Health Care Policy 3
      GDNP 6336 Systems Thinking II - Project Planning 3
      Semester 6
      Course Number Course Name Hours
      GDNP 6301 Clinical Practicum I 3
      GDNP 6211 Systems Thinking III - Project Proposal 2
      Semester 7
      Course Number Course Name Hours
      GDNP 6212 Systems Thinking IV - Project Implementation 2
      GDNP 6305 Clinical Practicum II 3
      Semester 8
      Course Number Course Name Hours
      GDNP 6213 Systems Thinking V - Project Evaluation & Dissemination 2
      GDNP 6120 Leadership Synthesis 1

    Organizing Framework for Nursing Education

    The School of Nursing strives to improve the health of diverse populations in Texas and around the world by advancing nursing excellence through leadership, practice, education, research, and service. The faculty and graduates of UTMB SON value an environment of compassion, respect and the highest standards of integrity and accountability to promote and nourish the development of nursing innovation, scholarship, research, and practice through lifelong learning among all students, faculty and staff through community collaboration and partnerships.

    Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Highlights

    Our Mission

    Our mission is to prepare nurses to participate in the transformation of health care with an emphasis on improving access to quality care and health equity for diverse populations.

    Our Faculty

    Our DNP faculty are nationally recognized and prepared to offer you a student-centered education.


    Our flexible online curriculum & coursework accommodates you as a working nurse.

    Classroom Feel

    Small class sizes provide an intimate feel to your online experience. A highly interactive peer group adds depth to your learning through shared ideas & collaboration..


    Our DNP program offers a high-quality education at an affordable cost for a doctoral level program.

    Clinical Practice & Scholarly Project

    Clinical practice experiences are based on your individual educational & practice interests and selected pathway. Faculty advisors are assigned to assist you in the design & implementation of your scholarly practice project.

     Frequent Questions

        • What information will the School of Nursing consider when reviewing files for admission?

          The school takes a holistic view in reviewing applications. Areas reviewed include discussion of health-related experience, relevant work/volunteer experience, personal experiences that may have affected grades (please explain any interruptions in education), personal strengths and weaknesses, rationale for choice of profession & long term goals, and any other relevant information you feel the admissions committee should know.

        • Do former UTMB students have to submit transcripts to NursingCAS?

          No. If you are an alumni of UTMB you do not have to submit your transcripts. You will still have to log into NursingCAS, submit all other required documents, and after you submit your application, email Burgandy DeLeon at and let her know that you have submitted your application and you are an alumni. We will attach your transcripts to your application for you. If you have attended another university after you attended UTMB, then you will have to follow the previous instructions and submit only the transcript of the school attended after UTMB.

        • How do I request credit for nursing courses taken at another school?

          Graduate students may transfer up to twelve (12) credit hours. After you are admitted to the UTMB School of Nursing, you may submit a petition to the Graduate Program Director for a transfer of credits. Email Burgandy DeLeon at and inform her that you have courses that you would like to receive credit for and she will email you the necessary form with instructions on how to submit your petition for credit. After your petition is reviewed, you will be notified which courses are approved or denied for transfer credit.

        • I live outside of the United States of America. May I attend UTMB DNP program?

          Since the DNP program is online, this program does not meet the requirements for students who have VISAs for educational purposes and are required to enroll in courses offered on campus.

        • Can I transfer to UTMB School of Nursing if I have a degree from another country?

          Applicants with international credits must submit an official course-by-course credentialing report to NursingCAS using one UTMB's required Credentialing Services. Please click here to see the Credentialing services approved by UTMB.

        • Does UTMB School of Nursing offer accredited Programs?

          Yes. The graduate programs are approved by the Board of Nurse Examiners for the State of Texas and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). UTMB is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

        • What is the difference between a DNP degree and a PhD degree?

          The DNP is a terminal degree in nursing focused on practice. The PhD emphasizes fundamental research. In the DNP program, students complete a scholarly practice project, a form of inquiry that results in improved patient outcomes and transformations in health care.

        • Is the program online?

          Yes. All the courses are taught online.

        • How often will I be required to come to campus?

          Students are only required to come to campus once a semester for 2-3 days for on-campus seminars and classes and meetings with faculty and fellow students.

        • How long will it take to complete the program?

          8 semesters.

        • Can I work while attending the DNP program?

          Most students work full- or part-time. The program is part-time typically offering 2 courses each semester. Students should recognize that working and going to school is challenging, especially when balanced with other commitments such as a family. Students are encouraged to plan for how to best balance personal and work demands with the need for reading, study, and completing course assignments.

        • Is there a clinical requirement?

          Students take two clinical practicum courses. Each course requires 180 hours of clinical practice. However, the clinical practice is different from typical MSN-level nurse practitioner clinical. In the DNP program students are looking at populations and systems rather than individuals. In addition, students are encouraged to spend clinical time with experts in various fields such as health policy, leadership, informatics, and practice management.

        • How many clinical hours do I need to complete?

          1,000 clinical hours are required in the MSN-DNP pathway. Up to 500 hours from MSN can count towards the 1,000. APRNs usually have 500 hours from their master's program, but ENL and CNL students typically have fewer clinical hours in their master's program; however, national certification (NE-BC, NEA-BC, CNML, or certified CNL) provides an additional 300 hours to apply towards the 500 hours from the master's program. Most students obtain the remaining 500 hours working on the Scholarly Project although direct patient care clinical experiences are acceptable.

        • What is the Scholarly Practice Project?

          The Scholarly Practice Project (sometimes referred to as a capstone project) is the culminating work in the DNP program. Students synthesize the skills gained in other courses to identify a clinical problem or need and develop an evidence-based approach to address this need or problem. The project must be practice based, address the need(s) of a vulnerable population, and should result in a change or improvement in practice.

        • How many admission start dates are available per year?

          UTMB graduate programs have one admission per year, each Fall.

      UTMB's DNP Mission Statement

      The mission of the University of Texas Medical Branch Doctor of Nursing Practice Program is to prepare nurses to participate in the transformation of health care with an emphasis on improving access to quality care and health equity for diverse populations.

      Objectives of the DNP Program

      • Translate science and theory from nursing and other disciplines to create the basis for the highest level of nursing practice.
      • Apply current and emerging evidence to the provision of quality, holistic, and equitable person-centered health care.
      • Collaborate with relevant stakeholders to improve population health outcomes.
      • Evaluate evidence and nursing knowledge to inform nursing practice, improve health, and transform health care.
      • Apply principles of safety and improvement science to improve health care and health care systems.
      • Collaborate with other professionals and team members to improve health care systems and patient outcomes.
      • Demonstrate knowledge of ethical, regulatory, and legal standards and principles for selecting and using technology and information systems.
      • Participate in ethical leadership practices that promote accountability, life-long learning, self-reflection, nurse well-being, and advocacy for the nursing profession.

      Contact Us

      Burgandy DeLeon | SON Student Affairs & Admissions Office

      Burgandy DeLeon

      Lauren Homan | SON Student Affairs & Admissions Office

      Lauren Homan