Nursing (D.N.P.)

Nursing (D.N.P.)

Nursing student at clinical site

Why get a Doctorate of Nursing Practice?

Our nation’s complex healthcare environment has created a great demand for innovative nurse leaders with specialized knowledge and advanced nursing practice expertise.The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a doctoral degree that prepares nurses for the highest level of nursing practice. DNP preparation includes enhanced leadership, evidenced-based clinical and management knowledge and skills, and development of advanced competencies for transforming healthcare delivery and practice for quality and safety.

Why choose UNH's Doctor of Nursing Practice program?

This online DNP is designed for nurses with a master’s degree who wish to advance their skills. Graduates are positioned to assume leadership roles in healthcare innovation. UNH faculty are leaders in their field and committed to your success. A dedicated faculty advisor will help you balance the workload and manage your academic schedule. With small class sizes, our asynchronous program gives you the flexibility to complete coursework on your own schedule, a great option for working professionals. We offer several opportunities for on-campus visits during the program, including the doctoral symposium and graduation.Begin in January or August, and complete the coursework in 18-28 months.

Potential Careers

  • Advanced nurse practitioner
  • Chief executive officer
  • Chief nursing officer
  • Clinical nurse manager
  • Clinical nursing faculty
  • Director of nursing
  • Director of outpatient services
  • Director of quality &safety
  • Healthcare innovation officer


Department of Nursing
Hewitt Hall, 4 Library Way
Durham, NH 03824
Phone: (603) 862-2271

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Curriculum & Requirements

The online Post Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (PM DNP) program is for nurses with a master’s degree in nursing or another field who bring their own knowledge, interests, expertise, and insights to this leadership specialty. Students build on these assets while focusing on innovative design and implementation in the healthcare setting.

PM DNP admits cohorts twice a year with start dates in January and August. Applicants will be scheduled for a virtual interview when their application is complete. Asynchronous courses are delivered 100% online in 8-week blocks so students may plan their own study times. The PM DNP program can be completed in 2.5 years or in 1.5 years with an accelerated plan of study.

The PM DNP curriculum has 8 core courses and 3 DNP Scholarly Project courses (11 courses; 33 credits).  Once a student is admitted, a doctoral committee reviews their graduate transcripts and may grant a course waiver for equivalency with one or more DNP core courses. Individual plans of study are created around each student’s needs and interests. Students may apply up to 500 hours earned during their master’s program toward the 1,000 required practicum hours.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Admission Requirements

1.  Applicants must hold a master's degree.  A minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA for graduate work is preferred.
2.  Registered Nurse licensure: An unencumbered registered nurse license in the United States
3.  Letters of recommendation: Three letters of reference pertaining to academic ability, professional competency, and personal character are required.
4.  Updated resume
5.  Professional statement: The professional statement must include a written essay responding to each of the following:

a.  How will a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from the University of New Hampshire help you attain your professional goals?
b.  Describe your current advanced nursing role, or if you are pursuing a new specialty, explain what you are planning to do with your nursing career in your specialty after you complete the DNP.
c.  In addition to the information contained in your resume, what strengths do you possess that would contribute to your success in the DNP program and in a community of interprofessional scholars?
d.  Identify one scholarly inquiry from your practice you would like to explore as part of the DNP program (e.g., quality improvement initiative, evidence­-based practice guidelines, new model of care, policy analysis). 

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

Post Master’s DNP program (33 credits; 500 practicum hours)

The online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (Post-Master’s entry) requires students complete 21-33 credits via 11 courses.  The online DNP program aims to produce graduates prepared to improve health and care outcomes through coursework in organizational and systems leadership, quality improvement processes, and translation of evidence into practice, to name a few.

Degree Requirements

NURS 933Applied Analytics for QI in Health Care3
NURS 960Healthcare Finance Management3
NURS 963Biostats and Epidemiology3
NURS 964Information Systems and Technology Improvement3
NURS 966Creative Leadership: Embracing Disruption and Innovation3
NURS 967Evidence Based Practice Methods3
NURS 969Health Systems Policy, Economics & Financial Planning3
NURS 973Quality & Safety3
NURS 980Doctoral Scholarly Project I3
NURS 981Doctoral Scholarly Project II3
NURS 982Doctoral Scholarly Project III3

Students are required to successfully complete DNP coursework, have 1,000 documented advanced practice clinical hours (includes up to 500 clinical hours earned in master's program), produce a publishable scholarly paper, and present their DNP Project.

If a student completed fewer than 500 clinical hours in their Master’s program, the student must enroll in NURS 970 Clinical Practicum for Advanced Practice Nurse, under the supervision of the DNP director.  NURS 970 is a 2-credit course and allows the student to complete up to 250 clinical practicum hours; this course may be repeated once. 

  • Employ strategic leadership skills to shape practice environments to produce positive, patient centered, healthcare outcomes at individual and system levels.
  • Serve in a healthcare leadership and change agent role as part of a diverse, complex, and patient-centered health care system.
  • Act as a practice scholar to design, direct and evaluate system changes to promote safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centered care.
  • Use data analytic methods, information systems and technology to evaluate, integrate and apply knowledge that will improve programs of care, outcomes of care and care systems.
  • Use translational science and analytic methods to develop, identify, implement, and evaluate best practices to improve health care and health care systems.
  • Design and implement health promotion and clinical prevention strategies across the health/illness continuum to optimize health and disease management.
  • Systematically use improvement methods to monitor and evaluate care processes and outcomes and applies data for continuous improvement and safety
  • Advocate for social justice through policy, professional and political engagement.
  • Applies leadership principles that support inter-professional practice.
  • Facilitate interprofessional collaboration to implement practice models, peer review, practice guidelines, health policy, and standards of care.


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: June 1
  • Spring: November 1
  • Special: Applications accepted on a rolling basis, with priority consideration for applicants who submit application and supplemental materials by deadlines

Application fee: $65

Campus: Online

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your official transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Three letters of reference pertaining to academic ability, professional competency, and personal character are required.

Personal Statement

Prepare a brief statement regarding: 

  1. Reasons to pursue graduate work, include short- and long-range goals for a doctoral degree. 
  2. Your specific research or professional interest as they pertain to the degree for which you are applying. 
  3. Your personal philosophy of nursing and your vision for the future of nursing as a nurse leader. 


Statements must be included with your submitted application.


Curriculum vitae or resume that includes academic preparation, clinical experience and professional activities is required.

Additional Department Requirements

In addition to the standard graduate school requirements, the program requires the following:

  1. An unencumbered RN or APRN license in the United States must be documented at the time of application.
  2. RNs with a master's degree in any field are eligible to apply. Plans of study will be individualized for students without a master's in nursing on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Qualified applicants will be contacted for an interview.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.


For program-specific application questions, please contact the UNH Online Student Success Coaches: or 855.250.6699

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