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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose the UH College of Nursing Post Master’s DNP Program?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for nurse practitioners in May 2019 was $109,820. About 24,200 openings for nurse practitioners are projected each year, on average, over the decade (2019-2029).

Currently, Texas and the US have a shortage of primary care providers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the job outlook for advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) will grow by 31% by 2024. With a much faster than average growth rate, it is predicted that an additional 53,400 APRN will be needed over the next few years. The long-term occupational projections of Projections Central estimate an even greater need in the United States by 2024 of 35.2% of APRNs. It is estimated that the needs in Texas will escalate 46% over that same time period. Several national organizations have called for substantial reform in nursing education to ease the increased need for primary care providers.

The College of Nursing DNP program will prepare family nurse practitioners (FNP) to provide primary care to individuals across the lifespan predominantly in rural and medically underserved (MUSA) counties surrounding the University of Houston campuses, and nurse executives for advanced leadership roles in healthcare. Area hospitals have expressed a need for advanced practice nurses at the doctoral level in their facilities with family nurse practitioners as the most needed role. Furthermore, additional medical institutions would hire DNPs to fill in the nurse executive needs of the institutions.

Based on current projections, there is not a point in the foreseeable future when the number of DNP prepared nurses will exceed the ever-growing need.

A Doctor of Nursing Practice is one of two terminal doctoral degrees in the field of Nursing (the other is a Ph.D. in Nursing). The biggest difference between the two degrees is that the Doctor of Nursing Practice is a practice-focused program, while the Ph.D. is a research-focused program. Therefore, those who earn a DNP have completed the highest level of training in nursing practice.

Generally, a nurse who has earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice work in one of two settings:

  • Leadership and Administration
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN)

For those who work in a Leadership and Administration setting, DNPs may work in the following roles:

  • Nurse Management
  • Organizational leadership
  • Health policy - state and national
  • Health informatics systems
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Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates who take the advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) pathway will provide direct care to patients that include managing, assessing and evaluating care. In the workforce, you may find DNPs in the following roles:

  • Nurse Midwife (CNM)
  • Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program requires students to be present for all scheduled learning activities including face-to-face classes, laboratory and clinical experiences, and all online discussions or meetings. All didactic learning will be facilitated through online classes, but all students are required to attend class face-to-face twice a semester for a maximum of two days each meeting.

All didactic learning will be facilitated through online classes, but all students are required to attend class face-to-face twice a semester for a maximum of two days each meeting at the UH Main campus.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice Program includes two tracks: Family Nurse Practitioner and Administration.

Approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The program will seek full accreditation after the first year of implementation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

For a Texas resident, the cost per credit hour will be approximately $602.32. For non-resident, the cost will be approximately $1107.97 per credit hour. This amount includes College of Nursing tuition and consolidated fees but does not include UH mandatory fees. For more details about UH mandatory fees, see the Graduate Fees page.

Application Process for the Post Master’s DNP Program

The application deadline is April 1 of every year.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program accepts applications once a year.

The number of DNP students admitted each year is determined by availability of appropriate qualified faculty and/or clinical resources.

Individuals interested in the Doctor of Nursing Practice must have the following credentials:
  • Earned baccalaureate degree in nursing from a professionally accredited program.
  • Earned master’s degree in an advanced nursing specialty from a professionally accredited nursing program.
  • Evidence of current, unencumbered, valid licensure as a registered nurse in the State of Texas or recognized compact.
  • Certificate as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) (if applicable).
  • Certified, or eligible for certification, in American Organization of Nurse Leaders (AONL), American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Nurse Executive (NE-BC), or ANCC Nurse Executive, Advanced (NEA-BC) (if applicable).

Minimum of one year’s experience as a nurse practitioner for the Family Nurse Practitioner track, or one year’s experience in a healthcare leadership position for the Administration track. The experience requirement may be waived with approval of program director.

Only US citizens or those with Permanent Resident status may apply.

Qualified APRN applicants are required to have completed separate courses in Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacotherapy, and Advanced Physical Assessment in their MSN program prior to admission to the DNP program. All applicants are required to have completed separate courses in Information Systems/Technology (Essential V), Health Policy and Advocacy (Essential VI), and Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving Health (Essential VIII) as pre-requisites to admission to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. In addition, all applicants are expected to have credit for a Graduate-level statistics course.

Each applicant will undergo a thorough analysis of completed MSN coursework and clinical experiences prior to admission to assure completion of the necessary coursework to meet the criteria for successful completion of the DNP program. If a student is found to have not completed all necessary courses prior to admission, he/she may take the required pre-requisite coursework in the UHCON MSN program. Upon successful completion of all pre-requisites, the student may be admitted to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Applicants are required to provide evidence of current, unencumbered, valid licensure as a registered nurse in the State of Texas or recognized compact. If the applicant is a Family Nurse Practitioner, then the applicant must be licensed in the State of Texas.

Program Requirements for the Post Master’s DNP Program

Doctor of Nursing Practice students must meet a minimum of 1000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours as delineated in the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006) to satisfy the clinical practice hour requirement for successful completion of the University of Houston College of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Yes, the required 1000 clinical/practice hours may include a combination of hours completed at the master’s level and those completed during the post-master’s DNP program. Clinical hours may be composed of direct point of care clinical practice, systems/indirect nursing practice or related experiences. The maximum clinical hours accepted from an MSN program for all students is 500 hours. The DNP Director will conduct the clinical/practice hour review and gap analysis. After an individual review, a plan to meet the clinical requirement will be developed for each student.

Yes, you can still apply to our Doctor of Nursing Practice program. DNP students must meet a minimum of 1000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours, but the Doctor of Nursing Practice program provides 810 clinical hours for students in the Administration track. If additional hours are required as determined by the DNP Director, the student may take an independent study to complete any hour deficit indicated during the practice hour review and gap analysis.

The UH College of Nursing will work with students to find appropriate sites but, cannot assure that the site will be close to their home. If a student wants a clinical site near their home, it is helpful if they bring suggestions to the College of Nursing Associate Dean.

No, the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program requires students to create a portfolio of required scholarly components completed during the DNP program that demonstrate a student’s achievement of the highest level of advanced practice registered nursing. The portfolio is evidence of competency in all domains of DNP practice and achievement of the program outcomes, Essentials of Doctoral Education for advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006), AONL Competencies (2015), and QSEN Competencies. Submission of an acceptable portfolio is a requirement for completion of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program and graduation. Each student is required to complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice scholarly project prior to graduation, which will be included in the portfolio.

Students in the DNP program will be enrolled part-time, which will take 8 consecutive semesters, including summers.

A DNP Chair will be assigned to each student by the DNP Director upon admission to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. The Chair will serve as the academic and portfolio advisor throughout the program.

The following criteria are necessary for Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program completion and graduation. To be eligible for graduation, the DNP student must:
  • Complete the required credit hours as outlined for the DNP program
  • Earn a grade of at least “B” in all required courses
  • Submit an approved DNP Portfolio
  • File an “Application for Graduation” prior to the deadline established each semester
  • Be enrolled during the semester of graduation
  • Pay required graduation fees
  • Complete the DNP curriculum within 5 years from admission or have been granted an approved extension (DNP Handbook)
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