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.

DNP Requirements

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.

Post-bachelor’s Degree 

  • 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

  • Current Illinois R.N. license
  • Official transcripts
  • A master’s degree in nursing from an accredited program
  • Preceptor Verified Clinical Hours in M.S. Program (PDF)
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 in a master’s degree program in nursing
  • A professional goal statement
  • Three professional letters of reference

Professional Goal Statement

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.

Professional Letters of Reference

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.

Application Submission

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. 

For additional information, please contact the Office of Online Learning at 815-753-6660 or

We've moved!

The School of Nursing programs have a new home. Beginning in the fall 2023, we are teaching and learning in our new location, the Wellness and Literacy Center at 3100 Sycamore Road. We are excited to share our new home with other healthcare disciplines including audiology, physical therapy and speech-language pathology.

Contact Us

School of Nursing
3100 Sycamore Rd.
DeKalb, IL 60115


Monday through Friday
8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

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