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Admission Requirements for Nursing (DNP)

Our Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program is designed to prepare nurses for the highest level of leadership in practice and scientific inquiry. Practice-focused doctoral programs such as the DNP are designed to prepare experts in specialized advanced nursing practice, with a focus on practice that is innovative and evidence-based, reflecting the application of credible research findings. You can apply to our doctoral nursing program after earning your bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing.

Post-bachelor’s degree DNP requirements

  • Current Illinois R.N. license
  • Official transcripts
  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of your bachelor’s program.
  • A professional goal statement*
  • Three professional letters of reference**

Post-master’s degree DNP requirements

  • Current Illinois R.N. license
  • Advanced Practice Nurse license
  • Official transcripts
  • A master’s degree in nursing from an accredited program
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 in a master’s degree program in nursing
  • A professional goal statement*
  • Three professional letters of reference**

The admission criteria are listed in the current graduate catalog along with guidelines for writing your professional goal statement and selecting your three professional references.

Submit applications electronically to the NIU Graduate School. You can check the status and completeness of your application at MyNIU. Contact the Graduate School about any discrepancies between what you submitted and what is stated on MyNIU.

Admission decisions are usually made within two months of the application deadline.

Once admitted, complete any additional non-academic requirements such as a criminal background check and a chain of custody drug screen. Failure to meet the clinical requirements may prohibit you from completing the required nursing courses and/or program. Review the clinical requirements for more details.

*A two-page, double-spaced Goal Statement to address: Professional goals, desired field of study (for the advanced nursing role component) and how the NIU D.N.P. program will promote goal achievement. This statement should also include a paragraph regarding clinical practice experience in the past three years and the area(s) of practice specialty.

Identification of an issue (i.e., topic or problem) that requires a system-wide change in healthcare services or policies and a general plan for remediating this issue. The topic will serve as the basis for the applicant’s D.N.P. Scholarly Project. The statement must include a description of potential sponsors and location for Scholarly Project implementation.

**Three professional letters of reference to provide evidence of the applicant’s professional qualifications. At least one reference should be from a professor or nursing colleague who can address the applicant’s potential for academic success. At least one reference must be from a current, professional nurse colleague (e.g., a supervisor or mentor) who can address the applicant’s professional qualifications as a licensed professional registered nurse. One professional recommendation of the applicant’s choosing (e.g., the sponsor from a potential clinical site for the D.N.P. Scholarly Project). References should be provided on the Graduate School reference form. Ratings and comments must be included. Family members and personal friends are not considered professional references.

For additional information please contact the graduate academic advisor at 815-753-2163.