Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) Program

About the Program

Our DNP program educates advanced practice registered nurses and nurse leaders who seek to develop or expand their leadership roles in the health care system. With the knowledge and skills acquired through UML's DNP program, our graduates will be prepared to propose solutions to improve patient care and health care outcomes. This is achieved through an interdisciplinary curriculum which provides nurses with knowledge and skills in evaluation research, health policy, organizational leadership and financing, evidence-based practice and health care informatics. Our DNP graduates will have a positive impact on the health care system by using an evidence-based approach to improve health care delivery.

By enriching our DNP program with content on cultural competency, DNP graduates are prepared to reduce health care disparities for culturally diverse and underserved populations. Our graduates will also have advocacy skills that are essential in influencing governmental and organizational policy decisions.

The DNP Program offers 4 options for the completion of the DNP degree:

  • Post Baccalaureate DNP (BS to DNP) - may be completed in 3 years full time, including summer semesters, or 4 years, part-time, including summer semesters. Courses are delivered in a hybrid format. Students choosing this option have up to 8 years to complete the requirements for graduation.
  • Post Master's DNP (MS to DNP) - may be completed in 3 academic years part time or 2 academic years full time. Courses are delivered in an online format with on campus intensives. Students have up to 5 years to complete requirements for graduation.
  • Fast Track BS to DNP - GPA of 3.5 is required for applicants from UMass Lowell Solomont School of Nursing baccalaureate program. Applicants may transfer up to 12 credits from approved BS courses (5000 or higher) toward the DNP degree. Students who are completing their BS program in the spring are eligible to apply for the Fast Track BS DNP option for admission in the following fall term. Courses are delivered in a hybrid format with online courses, some requiring 1 Saturday a month on campus. Students have up to 8 years to complete the requirements for graduation.
  • Fast Track MS to DNP - GPA of 3.5 is required for applicants from UMass Lowell Solomont School of Nursing master's program or students from universities with which UMass Lowell has an agreement. Applicants may transfer up to 6 credits from approved master's courses toward the DNP degree. Students who are completing their master's program in the spring are eligible to apply for the Fast Track Master's DNP option from admission in the following fall term. Courses are delivered in an online format and students have up to 5 years to complete requirements for graduation.

Post Baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice Option (BS to DNP)

Specific application requirements include:
  • Program application and all required documents submitted through the Graduate Admissions office.
  • A baccalaureate degree with a major in Nursing from an accredited program.
  • An undergraduate scholastic average of 3.0 or better.
  • Official transcripts, from all of previous degree coursework (Associates and Bachelors in Nursing) as well as any completed or in progress graduate courses.
  • An introductory course in statistics. Course grade B (3.0 or better) must be on transcripts.
  • License to practice nursing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Out of state RN licenses are accepted for application review, but all accepted students will need to obtain Massachusetts License prior to practicum courses.
  • Experience working as an RN prior to enrolling in Advanced Health Assessment and subsequent Specialty courses. 
  • A resume, summarizing educational and professional nursing experience and any other related honors, special skills or certifications.
  • Two letters of recommendation preferably from nursing faculty, supervisors or nurse leader in your organization.
  • A goal statement highlighting: relevant work history, immediate and long term professional goals as an advanced-practice nurse, and the reason you chose the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree option. Goal statements should be congruent with the specialty tacks offered at UMass-Lowell (FNP or AGNP) and demonstrate and understanding of the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.
  • Computer literacy with WORD, email, internet searches and electronic learning platforms and programs. 
  • Completed application and fees. 
  • An interview.

    Post-Masters Doctorate of Nursing Practice Option (MS to DNP)

    Specific application requirements include:

    • Program application submitted to the Graduate Admissions office.
    • MS in Nursing with APRN preparation with national certification as an APRN or board eligible for certification OR MS in Nursing with a current RN license.
    • Prior official transcripts from undergraduate and graduate programs.
    • Two letters of recommendation (one academic recommendation preferred).
    • Interview with nursing faculty.
    • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in a nursing Master’s degree program, 3.3 GPA preferred.
    • Written narrative of professional goals.
    • 500 Master's or Post-Master's practicum hours. Applicants who are not APRNs must provide evidence of practice hour equivalents from their master's program or ANCC certification in their area of practice which affords 250 hours.
    • Resume.
    • TOEFL if appropriate.

    BS to DNP Option (Fast Track)

    Specific Application Requirements include: 

    • Application and all required documentation submitted through Graduate Admissions Office.
    • Application fee being waived.
    • Applicants must be in their final year of their BS program at UMass Lowell. 
    • A 3.5 or better GPA in the SSON BS program at the time of application, graduation and a acceptance will be conditional upon passing the NCLEX exam. 
    • Two letters of recommendation, one from faculty and one from current employer.
    • A goal statement highlighting: relevant work history, immediate and long term professional goals as an advanced-practice nurse, and the reason you chose the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree option. Goal statements should be congruent with the specialty tacks offered at UMass-Lowell (FNP or AGNP) and demonstrate and understanding of the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.
    • An interview.

    MS to DNP Option (Fast track)

    Specific Application Requirements include: 
    • Program application submitted to the Graduate Admissions office with the application fee being waived.   
    • Students must be in their final year of their MS NP program at UMass Lowell or a university with which UMass Lowell has a current agreement for Fast Track MS to DNP admission. Non-UMass Lowell students must submit official transcripts.   
    • The student must have maintained a 3.5 or better GPA in their master’s program at the time of application and graduation.   
    • Students must submit 2 letters of recommendation, one from faculty and one from current employer. 
    • Students must submit a letter of purpose identifying immediate and long-term goals and a resume with evidence of working in a professional role. 
    • Interview with UMass Lowell faculty.
    • Within six months of completing the master’s NP program the student must show evidence of passing the national APRN certification exam and obtain a state license to practice as an APRN.
    • Up to 6 credits of approved graduate level courses (5000 or higher) which were awarded to the MS degree may be applied toward the DNP degree as long as a grade of B or higher was obtained in the courses. 

    Contact

    Susan Parker, DNP, APRN, GNP-BC
    Phone: 978-934-4685

    Doctor of Nursing Practice Scholarly Project


    The DNP scholarly project reflects the culmination of academic studies completed throughout the DNP program that demonstrates the ability of the student to effect positive change in a health care setting/arena through the careful syntheses of evidence as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of the change.
    Criteria for the DNP Scholarly Project
    The DNP Scholarly Project Should:
    • Focus on a change that impacts healthcare outcomes either through direct or indirect care.
    • Have a system (micro-, meso-, or macro-level) or population or aggregate focus.
    • Demonstrate implementation in the appropriate arena or area of practice.
    • Use a systematic approach and collect data using methods and tools that meet accepted standards.
    • Be conducted according to ethical principles and is approved by UMass Lowell Institutional Review Board if applicable.
    • Include a plan for sustainability (e.g. financial, systems, or political realities).
    • Include an evaluation of processes and/or outcomes (formative or summative).
    • Be disseminated to the appropriate audiences.
    Types of DNP Scholarly Projects
    Some examples of scholarly projects include, but are not limited to:
    • Quality improvement projects to address gaps in practice.
    • Evaluation of implementation of evidence-based practice guidelines.
    • Development of models of care or programs.
    • Evaluation of financial analyses to compare models of care.
    • Analysis of policies related to health care practice.
    • Development of inter-professional and/or intra-professional collaborative projects to implement policy or evaluate care models.
    DNP Scholarly Projects Guidelines
    Students choose a DNP Project Chair at the designated point in course work. The Chair, A UMass Lowell faculty member or emeritus with a terminal nursing degree, guides the student through the development to the conclusion of the project acting as the PI if an IRB is required at UML. A Community Mentor, who represents the health care setting, is selected by the student and the Chair, and is the third member of the DNP Scholarly Project Team. The UMass Lowell IRB may determine that the project is expedited or exempt. IRB status may be determined by the health care setting in which the project is conducted. Students are required to complete the DNP Scholarly Project Team Request Form.
    DNP Proposal
    The Scholarly Project Proposal must be approved by the Scholarly Project Team. A proposal hearing is required, and upon successful completion of the hearing, the DNP Scholarly Project. Project Proposal Approval Form.
    Completion of the DNP Scholarly Project
    Students are required to complete all course work, present a final an oral presentation, prepare a manuscript of publishable quality, disseminate the project through an approved means, and complete their portfolio. Project Approval Form.
    Stop Out Procedure
    Students accepted into DNP Program who elect to stop out of the BS-to-DNP Program and earn a master's degree have one of two options:
    1. The student who has earned 60 credits which includes successful completion of all 5000 and 6000 level courses, and NURS.7170, NURS.7700, NURS.7740 and NURS.7710 with at least a B, may petition to earn a master's degree and graduate from the university. This student must be in good standing and have a GPA of at least 3.0 with no more than 6 credits below a B (3.00). The student who wishes to return to complete the DNP Degree must reapply, however, if it is within 3 semesters, only a new application form and statement of purpose are needed. Students may be readmitted on a space available basis. Graduating students must complete the clearance process at the Registrar's Office. All graduate courses whether taken for the doctoral program or as part of the master's degree will be included in the point average and listed on the student's transcript. 
    2. The student with less than the 60 credits completed of the required courses who wishes to stop out with a master's degree, may petition to drop down to the master's program on a space available basis in the master's program. This student must have an earned GPA of at least a 3.0, be in good standing with GPA attainment as indicated above. The student who wishes to return to complete the DNP degree must reapply. Students may be readmitted on a space available basis.