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College of Nursing

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Post Masters Entry

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Plan of Study

The DNP program at the University of South Carolina graduates advanced practice nurses ready to assume clinical and leadership roles. This program offers clinical specialties and executive leadership tracks. Advanced practice nurse graduates develop skills to assess research and evaluate outcomes to improve patient care. Nurse Executive Leadership graduates are prepared to influence health care environments through professionalism, leadership, strong communication skills and business knowledge.

Students entering with a BSN may choose from our Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP (AGACNP), Family NP (FNP), Psychiatric Mental Health NP (PMHNP) or Nurse Executive Leadership (NEL) tracks.  Applicants entering without APRN certification will complete the Nurse Executive Leadership concentration.  MSN-entry students holding a certificate in advanced practice nursing may complete NEL track or the no concentration option, which will expand on the APRN role. The DNP program can
be completed online however campus visits may be required for project proposal defense and final project defense.

We will begin accepting applications for the Summer 2020 cohort on August 1, 2019. Our priority application deadline is November 1; we will continue accepting application on a space available basis until February 1.  Full-time and part-time plans of study will be available.  


  • One of the first four nationally recognized DNP programs in the country
  • Health Policy internships available for all DNP Students
  • All students collaborate with dynamic faculty mentors on evidence based projects
  • A wealth of opportunities for grant development
  • Scholarship opportunities for qualified students
  • All didactic classes online
  • No GRE requirement for admission to the DNP
  • Successful completion of BSN or MSN degree
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 from all previous institutions attended, science grades strongly considered
  • Provide three letters of reference from doctorally prepared registered nurse or physician 
  • A personal goal statement 
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • Current unencumbered RN or APRN licensure in the state of residence
  • Current BLS certification.
  • Onsite or phone interview with nursing graduate faculty
  • Apply scientific and theoretical knowledge to the practice of advanced nursing in the clinical or leadership emphasis areas.  

  • Integrate a population health perspective in the analysis of health needs and design of interventions for individuals, families, and communities; and in striving to meet national and global health care goals.

  • Combine strategic thinking, and effective management of health, quality, cost, and consumer satisfaction in the context of financial, political, ethical, and social issues to improve patient outcomes in complex health systems.

  • Demonstrate effective information literacy and management skills in analyzing the strength of evidence in the scientific literature as the basis for implementing a research utilization project or designing evidence-based protocols for advanced practice.

  • Complete graduate residency of at least 18 graduate hours for three consecutive semesters
  • Complete an approved program of study
  • Complete a DNP final project
  • Complete program within six years
  • Complete a minimum 1,000 clinical hours. Credit will be given via a gap analysis for some clinical hours earned during the Master’s program. Each student, after admission will be required to submit a portfolio for evaluation of clinical hours and after evaluation, the required number of hours required in the DNP program will be outline prior to matriculation
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and earn a 3.0 or better in all required classes and courses number 700 or higher

The DNP program admits students for Summer entry. We will start accepting applications on August 1.  Our priority application deadline is November 1; we will continue accepting application on a space available basis until February 1.  Apply online at

Contact the Nursing DNP Program Office

Have additional questions about the DNP Program?
Call us at 803-777-9173, email or stop by our office:
Williams-Brice Building, Room 208
1601 Greene Street
Columbia, SC  29208