Preparing nurse practitioners for excellence
Nurses with a doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) degree are prepared to serve as clinical leaders and integral members of the healthcare team. Their expertise in quality improvement and systems leadership influences healthcare systems, health policy, and healthcare outcomes for individuals, families, and underserved populations.
The UMass Dartmouth online DNP program prepares nurse practitioners to practice at the highest level of care. DNP-prepared nurse practitioners learn to:
- transform patient care through interdisciplinary collaboration, population-focused and evidence-based health interventions, and measurement of the outcomes of these interventions at both the individual and community levels
- work with increasingly diverse populations and complex healthcare systems
- be the future nurse leaders who advance nursing and healthcare practices in southeastern Massachusetts, the Commonwealth, and beyond.
Online, laboratory, and clinical experiences are structured to expand the skills and grow the confidence of the student as advanced practice nurse practitioners and nurse leaders. The support and collaboration of community partners—both clinicians and health care agencies—are essential components of this program.
UMass Dartmouth offers three pathways to the DNP. Each track is offered asynchronously online to help you juggle your education and life's demands. All classes may be attended 100% remotely except for the two consecutive on-campus days each semester.
BS-DNP students complete 63-66 credits that include over 1,000 hours of clinical practice. In addition, students complete a scholarly project that translates research into practice and measures the effectiveness of this intervention in both health outcomes and cost effectiveness.
- The Adult Gerontology Primary Care track (4-year, full-time plan or 5-year part-time plan) will lead the transformative reform of health systems to achieve and maintain safe clinical practice environments; promote health, wellness and high quality patient care; and translate research into innovative practices that improve health outcomes and contain health care costs to both patients and society. Adult Gerontology NPs care for patients ages 12 years or older.
- The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track (4-year, full-time plan or 5-year part-time plan) prepares nurses with a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing to provide care to psychiatric patients across the lifespan. The Psychiatric Mental Health DNP program is offered as a part-time option.
The DNP coursework includes translation research methods, theory, health policy, population health, informatics, systems leadership, leadership residencies, and a scholarly project to achieve the goals for the DNP and to meet national accreditation and certification standards.
Post Master's DNP track
The Post-MS DNP plan prepares certified NPs with the highest level of education in nursing practice. A 27-30-credit, the Post MS-DNP program is available for nurses who hold an MS in Nursing and certification as an APRN. Post MS-DNP students complete 27-30 credits with a focus on advanced practice, leadership, and innovation. Students also complete a project that translates research into practice, emphasizing implementation, analysis, and dissemination of findings. This program is completed in less than two years time.
The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Statement (PDF)
Course descriptions, schedules and requirements
Online Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS): Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
The Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner plan prepares nurses or NPs with a master's or doctoral degree to become certified as an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP. AGNP's care for patients 12 years and older in a variety of healthcare settings.
Learn more about the Online CAGS Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program
Online Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS): Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
This online certificate program provides nurses with the required coursework and clinical experiences to prepare for board certification as Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP) by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
The CAGS plan requires 18 credits in psychiatric mental health coursework that includes a minimum of 500 hours of clinical experiences over three semesters and one summer course.
Learn more about the Online CAGS Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program
Doctoral project teaches the art of building trust with substance-use disorder patients.
The UMass Dartmouth graduate nursing program opened in the late 1980s and has produced more than 250 graduates who work in southeastern Massachusetts and beyond. In 2007, the PhD in Nursing admitted its first cohort of students and has grown steadily.
The BS-DNP program positions the graduates of UMass Dartmouth to meet certification criteria as an adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner.
Many graduates continue their affiliation with the College of Nursing & Health Sciences by serving as preceptors, mentors, clinical instructors, and guest lecturers for our students, including:
- Dr. Mary McCurry, Professor, Adult-Gerontology Track Coordinator, and a graduate of the former Adult Nurse Practitioner track of the MS program
- Dr. Margaret Rudd-Arieta, DNP Faculty, Residency Site Coordinator, and a graduate of the Post MS-DNP program
- Dr. Shannon Avery-Desmarais, Assistant Professor, DNP Program Director, and a graduate of the PhD program and the former Adult-Gerontology NP track of the MS program
- Dr. Kathleen Elliott, Lecturer, Clinical Placement Coordinator, and a graduate of the Post MS-DNP program.
We are proud of the many accomplishments of our graduates and their continuing commitment to UMass Dartmouth.
The faculty of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences conduct research in two broad areas—living with chronic illness and innovations in nursing education. Support for this work comes from a variety of sources:
- the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education
- professional groups and community agencies
Our faculty are recognized experts and are actively involved in service projects in southeastern Massachusetts and beyond. Our faculty serve as consultants for our practice partners and professional groups. Faculty are frequently invited speakers at professional meetings and provide peer-reviewed poster and podium presentations throughout the U.S. Many faculty volunteer for local, regional, national, and international health initiatives.
Office of Nursing Research
The College of Nursing & Health Sciences Office for Nursing Research (ONR) supports graduate students and faculty in developing, reviewing, and submitting grant applications. Additionally, ONR serves as the liaison to the UMass Dartmouth Office of Research Administration (ORA), Corporate Engagement & Institutional Partnerships, and other university-related research offices and supports.
Dean's PhD & DNP Students' Research Support Stipend (PDF)
The Dean’s PhD & DNP Students’ Research Stipend is a one-year pilot program (2021-2022) to assist nursing PhD students during the dissertation phase of their program, and DNP students during the residency/scholarly project phase of their program by providing limited research stipends for expenses directly related to conducting their studies or projects. The Financial Aid Office will review approved applications for eligibility.
A limited number of assistantships are available on a competitive basis. This award is subject to the work needs of the position and department, your satisfactory performance of duties, your academic record, and availability of funds, and may be subject to change.
Requirements for graduate admissions
- Submit an application via the online portal. Be sure to provide your full legal name and to capitalize the first letter of all proper nouns.
- Pay non-refundable $60 application fee (American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa) via the online portal.
- Statement of Purpose, minimum 300 words. Unless otherwise indicated in the program requirement details, indicate your graduate study objectives, research interests and experience, and business or industry experience if applicable. If you are applying for a teaching or research assistantship, include any special skills or experience that would assist us in making assistantship decisions.
- Transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended (regardless of whether a credential is earned or not).
- have achieved a GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate study.
- hold a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from a program accredited by the ACEN (formerly NLNAC) or CCNE. Registered Nurses with an associates degree in nursing and a bachelor degree in a related field may seek admission through the Graduate Admission Program (GAP). Post Master's DNP applicants must be certified NPs and hold a master's degree in nursing from a program accredited by ACEN (formerly NLNAC) or CCNE.
- International students: official TOEFL, IELTS, Pearson PTE or Duolingo (if accepted by program) score. Unofficial scores are accepted for admissions application review, once enrolled official scores are required and must be sent by the testing agency (copies/scans not accepted). This is required of any applicant who did not earn a bachelor’s degree or higher degree from an accredited academic institution in the U.S. or accepted English-speaking country, see exemptions for more details. The Duolingo test is not accepted for the following programs: Art Education, Biology/Marine Biology, Luso-Afro-Brazilian Studies & Theory, Marine Science and Technology (MS, PSM, PhD), Nursing (MS, DNP, PhD), Portuguese Studies, Professional Writing and Communication, Psychology (ABA, Clinical, Research), and Public Policy.
- Proof of an active, unencumbered RN license or be eligible to obtain a license.
- the GRE is NOT required.
- 2 letters of recommendation. Recommenders should document competence and leadership in professional nursing practice. If possible, one reference should be from a supervisor who is a professional nurse that holds a DNP and one from a nurse educator. Applicants will be required to provide the recommenders name and email address so we can contact the recommender for the letter of recommendation.
Doctor of Nursing Practice: Nurse Practitioner Faculty
The College of Nursing & Health Sciences faculty create rich and meaningful student experiences that build on undergraduate education and clinical competencies to address the career aspirations of the student.
Learning Style: Online
Online courses are taught by UMass Dartmouth faculty to provide high-quality instruction and personal attention. Students have the flexibility to accommodate work and home responsibilities within the structure of defined assignment due dates.