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College of Nursing

White Coat Ceremony

Doctor of Nursing Practice - DNP

Frequently Asked Questions - DNP Program

  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) - BSN entry
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) - BSN entry 
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) - BSN entry
  • Nurse Executive Leadership (NEL) - BSN entry 
  • Clinical APRN for practicing APRN’s - MSN entry 
  • Nurse Executive Leadership (NEL) - MSN entry 
  • Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree from a nationally accredited program.
  • Preferred cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate and graduate coursework (official transcripts for all nursing coursework are required).  Applicants who attended a BSN or MSN program that issued pass or fail grades for all classes will not be considered competitive applicants.
  • Applicants with a master’s degree in nursing must be certified, licensed, and practicing as an advanced practice nurse with prescriptive authority in order to proceed to the 33 credit hours DNP terminal degree unless seeking the Executive Leadership concentration.
  • Evidence of writing competence, which will be evaluated through the candidate’s prepared written statement submitted with the application, as well as by written response to an essay question given during the admissions interview
  • Current CV or Resume (In addition to your education and professional experiences, include any certifications, leadership experiences, experiences with diverse or underserved population, paid or volunteer healthcare experiences.)
  • Three (3) recommendations that attest to the applicant's academic ability, professional competency and personal character.  These letters must be from a doctoral prepared
  • Unencumbered, active registered nurse (RN) in state where clinical experiences will be occur.
  • GRE not required.
Prospective students should apply online through the USC Graduate School. See the Apply section of the College of Nursing site for detailed admission requirements.
The DNP program only admits students to start during the Summer term. We will start accepting applications on August 1.  The priority application deadline is November 1. We will continue to accept and review applications until February 1 on a space available basis.  All students must begin coursework the semester of acceptance.
Yes, the program admission is competitive. Our Graduate Program is nationally ranked by US News and World Report; therefore, we seek highly qualified candidates who share our vision of excellence in education, practice, and scholarship. Not all candidates that meet admission criteria will be accepted.
The USC College of Nursing defines full time as at least 6 credit hours per semester, part time is up to 6 credit hours per semester. Please consult the Office of Financial Aid for eligibility guidelines. Students must complete at least 18 graduate hours within their first three semesters to satisty graduate residency. Studnets in a BSN to DNP track may select 6 or 9 credits per semester.  
The College of Nursing maintains a list of contracts/agreements on Blackboard. For the Post Master’s DNP student generally, the experience occurs at the site where the DNP student is employed and supports the outcomes of the selected DNP project. The clinical hours during enrolment in the class should allow for advanced experiences beyond one’s current position and job responsibilities. In instances where the student is not able to complete the required clinical hours with an employer, alternative experiences at specific healthcare organizations will need to be approved by the course instructor or DNP project chair.
The College of Nursing Office of Student Services supports the College of Nursing in establishing new agreements or contracts with approved clinical settings. Establishing a new agreement with a setting or person can require 6 months or longer to finalize - beginning the process early is recommended.
All didactic course content is online. Courses are taught using the Blackboard CMS and Adobe Connect.
Students in the AGACNP and FNP tracks will have 2-3 immersion courses.  You would need to come to campus 1-2 times for each course.  Please see the curriculum page for the specific courses and schedule.  Students will also need to come to campus for their final project proposal and defense.
The cost of the program depends on a several factors.  Students can find an estimated cost for the program by visiting the USC Financial Aid site and the USC Bursar's Office site.  
Financial aid is available. To determine eligibility, a student should visit the Financial Aid website and fill out the FAFSA form. Students can also visit the College of Nursing scholarship and endowments site for information on scholarships available within the College of Nursing.


All newly admitted students will be given a degree plan that outlines their classes required throughout their program. Once a student’s plan of study is established no advising is required unless the student needs to change the plan of study, take a term away or has other circumstances requiring a change in the established progression outlined. Advisement can be conducted by phone, email or in person.
The College of Nursing has a mandatory new student orientation. Orientation is done online and must be completed by the designated deadline in order to be cleared for the first semester of courses
Only a limited number or type of courses can be transferred into the program. We do not accept any transfer courses that are below a "B". There is a process for transferring courses into the University. It generally takes 6 months to determine if transfer credit is approved. 
Students can generally work while completing the post master’s DNP program. However, students will have to make adjustments in their work schedule to meet the academic and project demands.
The maximum length to complete the program is six years.  The length of time to complete the program depends on a number of factors but the programs are designed for student to complete in 6 to 12 semesters.
Yes.  The Doctor of Nursing Practice and at The University of South Carolina is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education ( through 2024. We also meet the standards for American Nurses Association Credentialing Center, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty, and the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice.
Please contact us at 803-777-9173, use our contact form to send us a message, or stop by our office:
Williams-Brice Building
Room 208
1601 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208