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Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP

DNP program overview

The DNP program at the UMass Dartmouth College of Nursing & Health Sciences prepares advanced practice nurses who will:

  • function as nurse practitioners working with increasingly diverse populations, complex healthcare systems, and clinical nursing education
  • 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
  • be the future leaders that advance nursing and health care practices in Southeastern Massachusetts, the Commonwealth, and beyond

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Program highlights

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. Classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences are structured to expand the skills and grow the confidence of the student as APRNs and nurse leaders. The support and collaboration of community partners—both clinicians and health care agencies—are essential components of this program.

The program offers two plans:

  • BS-DNP Plan with tracks for Adult Gerontology Primary Care and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Post MS-DNP Plan for Advanced Practice Nurses

In addition, the College of Nursing & Health Sciences offers a certification program for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners who will be certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

DNP, College of Nursing
Kathleen Elliott, DNP

Doctoral project teaches the art of building trust with substance-use disorder patients.

Alumni achievements

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, Associate Professor: a graduate of the former Adult Nurse Practitioner track of the MS program
  • Dr. Margaret Rudd-Arieta, DNP Faculty: a graduate of the Post MS-DNP program
  • Dr. Anne-Marie Caron, Lecturer; 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.

Recently, Dr. Kristen Sethares’ work on congestive heart failure and patient self-care was recognized when she was an invited presenter at the Chancellor’s Colloquium.

Adult Gerontology Primary Care track

‌The Adult Gerontology Primacy Care DNP 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. 

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.

Adult Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Program Plan (PDF) 

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track

This track educates registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree for an advanced practice role in psychiatric healthcare.

Nurses with a DNP are prepared to serve as clinical leaders and integral members of the healthcare team. Their expertise in quality improvement and systems leadership influences health care systems, health policy, and health care outcomes for individuals, families, and underserved populations.

The Psychiatric Mental Health DNP program is offered as a part-time option. Courses are on-campus and blended.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program Plan (PDF)

A 27-30-credit, Post MS-DNP program is available for nurses who hold an MS in Nursing and certification as an APRN.

Post-MS to DNP Program Plan (PDF)

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 CAGS Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Plan

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.

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.

Changes to Graduate Studies admission requirements

In response to the COVID‐19 pandemic, admission requirements for graduate degree and certificate programs may have changed.
Learn more about changes to requirements

In addition to completing the UMassD graduate admission package, applicants to the DNP program must:

  • achieve a GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate study.
  • hold a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from a program accredited by the NLNAC or CCNE. Registered Nurses with a bachelor degree in a related field may seek admission through the Graduate Admission Program.
  • hold a current license to practice professional nursing in MA or be eligible to obtain a license. Please submit a copy of your license.
  • have at least one year of clinical experience in acute care nursing.
  • submit three references that 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.

The GRE is NOT required.

Applications are due March 15 for Fall matriculation. Applications submitted by March 15 will receive priority. All applications received after March 15 will be reviewed on a rolling admission basis through May.

Learn more:


Deadlines and Test Requirements

Doctor of Nursing Practice Faculty

Explore more about Doctor of Nursing Practice

Course Catalog

See course schedules and requirements.


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