Change in Advanced Practice Area or Substantive Focus for Matriculated Nursing Students

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Students who find their career goals have changed after entering the graduate practice programs in the School of Nursing may submit a one-time request to change the Advanced Practice Area (APA) or substantive focus within an APA to which they were originally admitted. This policy includes students who desire to change the substantive focus of their program within an APA, such as the Health Care Systems (HCS) foci of administration, education, clinical nurse leader, outcomes management, or informatics. The intent of this policy is to assist the matriculated student in making a well-reasoned decision as well as to foster timely admission decisions and allocation of faculty and clinical resources.

Any change of APA or focus within an APA, will be made on a space-available basis, dependent on site placement and faculty resources, and in accordance with applicable admission policies and procedures.

Steps for Requesting Change

Requirements for submitting a Request to Change Advanced Practice Area or focus area within an APA:

  1. Students must consult with both their advisor and their current APA Coordinator prior to submitting a request. They will advise the student and discuss the request to change his/her APA/ Focus within an APA, and review applicable process and policies. After this consultation, if the student elects to remain in his/her current APA, no further action is required.
  2. If the student chooses to proceed, the student will complete and sign the “Change of APA/APA-Focus Request Form.”
  3. The student will bring the completed form to their current APA Coordinator for signature.
  4. The student will submit the original signed copy of the form to the Graduate Admissions Counselor, in the Office of Student Affairs (OSA). The Graduate Admissions Counselor will distribute electronic copies (PDF) of the completed form to the current APA coordinator, the coordinator of the requested APA, and the Director of Graduate Practice Programs in the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA).

By signing the form, the student is acknowledging his/her understanding of the following:

  • That approval by the Admissions Committee (MAC or DNPAC ) for a student to change an APA and/or a focus area within an APA will be dependent, among other factors, on whether space is available in the requested APA/ focus area within an APA.
  • That, if the requested change is approved, the student will accept the change of APA/focus within an APA and relinquish his/her place in the current APA or focus area within an APA.
  • That if the request to change APA/APA focus area is not approved, the student will make a decision as to whether to remain in the current APA/APA focus area or withdraw from the MSN program.

Focus Change within an APA Only

HCS (Foci: Administration, Education, Clinical Nurse Leader, Informatics, Outcomes Management) students who wish to add and/or change a specialty (e.g. Adult Oncology) should complete the first four “Steps for Requesting Change” listed above and thereby acknowledge the implications of their change request. Students requesting a Focus change within an APA only do not need to complete the steps listed in the following section.

Following submission of the “Change of APA/APA-Focus Request Form” the student must submit additional required documents to the Graduate Admissions Counselor in OSA. Students requesting a change of APA/Focus within an APA shall be considered by the MAC or DNPAC in conjunction with other applicants for the desired APA. The required documents include:

  • A current internal official UNC-CH transcript
  • A Professional Statement that strictly follows posted guidelines (see Application Instructions) to include, among other elements:
    • Evidence of the necessary credentials specific to the requested APA.
      • For example, if the student requests a change to the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner area, he or she must provide evidence of at least one year of clinical experience relevant to pediatrics.
    • The rationale for the request to change APAs, including how study in that particular area will prepare them for their future practice goals.

Following the review of an admissions committee and decision, the OSA will inform the student of the outcome in the same timeframe and format as all applicants are notified of admissions decisions. OSA will additionally return the “Change of APA/APA-Focus Request Form” with a copy of the letter from the admissions committee to the Director of Graduate Practice Programs who will notify the respective APA Coordinators of the student’s status.

Deadline for Submission of Materials

The “Change of APA or Focus within an APA Request Form” and support documents must be submitted to the appropriate Admissions Committee via the Office of Student Affairs by the spring application deadline of January 15th. The relevant Admissions Committee must consider these requests as part of the MSN or DNP applicant pool for the following fall semester.

The goal is to facilitate an approved change of APA/focus area within an APA by either the summer semester when graduate clinical courses diverge (e.g. AGPCNP from FNP) or prior to the beginning of fall semester when the clinical course sequence of the newly selected major generally begins.

Approved MEC 5/19/2011; Revised MEC 9/26/2011; Approved DNPEC, 2014

Updated June 2016