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Apply Now | MSN to DNP

Applications for 2025 will open in August, please check back later for more information.

The steps below will walk you through our application process for entry into the online MSN-DNP program. If you have questions after reviewing the instructions, please contact us at

Please read and follow the instructions carefully to ensure your application is reviewed!

Basis for Decisions +

Admission to the DNP program is necessarily a selective process. Meeting the posted criteria does not ensure admission. The Admissions Committee considers a myriad of factors including the quality of performance in previous undergraduate and graduate study (as applicable), success in previous employment and related experiences, and personal qualifications including suitability for advanced study. The Committee weighs each applicant’s accomplishments and potential for success in the program. Diversity in scholarly interests is desired. Using an objective review procedure, the Admissions Committee recommends selected candidates to the Dean of The Graduate School.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing is committed to equality of educational opportunity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, national origin, age, religion, sexual preference, or handicap.

Starting Your Application +

After establishing your NursingCAS account, please be sure to select the correct application for your program of interest. Students may apply to only one program and one specialty per application cycle at UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing. We’ve outlined below which application you should select in NursingCAS based on your program of interest.

2024 Fall Master’s to DNP

Transcripts +

Official transcripts are required for the NursingCAS application. It can take several weeks for transcripts to be received, posted and verified by NursingCAS, so we recommend you request your undergraduate and graduate transcripts as soon as you begin the application process. Contact NursingCAS at 617.612.2880 if you have questions about the status of your transcripts.

Readmissability +

All applicants must be admissible to all previously attended colleges/universities. If you have been declared academically ineligible and as such are unable to return to any previous institutions, you must contact that institution and seek documentation that reinstates your eligibility or your application cannot undergo review. Copies of all correspondence regarding your reinstatement request must be submitted to

If your final institutional cumulative GPA is below 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale), please send documentation of your eligibility to return to that institution to

Professional Statement +

Professional Statement (Personal Statement): You are asked to write, and upload into the application, a two-part Professional Statement that addresses each bulleted item noted; the statement must be formatted as outlined below. Create a topic-specific header for each response; ensure that you address each subject noted. Please include APA formatted references on a separate page of the document. This narrative is a very important part of your portfolio as it offers insight into your professional goals and expectations. The quality of the Professional Statement is crucial in admission decisions since it provides the Admissions Committee a first-hand example of your writing skills and your ability to present ideas in a clear, logical and coherent manner. In lieu of an interview, the professional statement avails the Committee of your personal perspective on your professional contributions, strengths as a student, current skills and abilities, and prior experiences. Prepare and proofread your statement carefully as poorly written statements will notably weaken your portfolio!

Please address EACH of the following subjects in your professional statement.

PART 1: Professional Goals and Background Essay (3 pages maximum, double-spaced, 12 point font, APA format):

1. Describe your professional career, including populations served, roles held and settings in which you practiced.

2. State your short and long-term professional goals.

3. Discuss relevant areas of your background and how each prepared you for doctoral study, such as prior coursework, earned degrees, continuing education, practice history, and professional activities. It is important to include information on:

  • Scholarship activities (Publications, Presentations)
  • Research experience (specify)
  • Service activities (local community, global or professional)
  • Honors and awards
  • Language fluency other than English
  • Leadership activities
  • Military service

4. Describe how obtaining the DNP degree from this School of Nursing will help you attain your goals.

5. Identify clinical and academic strengths and areas in need of improvement that may impact your doctoral studies.

6. If applicable, address any aspect of the program’s admission criteria for which you do not meet minimum requirements and provide an explanation for your situation (e.g., an explanation is needed if GPA < minimum).

7. Please share any other information you feel is pertinent to your application that you wish the Admissions Committee to know (e.g. overcoming personal and/or professional adversity, etc.).

PART 2Scholarly Interest (4 pages, double-spaced, references must be in APA format): Identify an important practice-based problem that you would like to examine during your DNP studies. Provide a clear and comprehensive evidence-based review of the literature supporting why this problem requires further exploration. Include details about prior work on the topic (if any), the importance of the problem in healthcare delivery, and how you would study this problem during the DNP program. You must provide sufficient references from scholarly sources to support your argument. MSN-DNP applicants are to identify a member of the School of Nursing faculty who would be a good match for their scholarly interests. A listing of Doctoral faculty is available on the school’s website.

Curriculum Vitae or Resume +

Upload a copy of your current Curriculum Vitae or Resume. This document should detail your career path, explaining any gap in employment greater than one year. Full disclosure of your complete education background including a list of all colleges and universities you’ve attended is required.

See resume guidelines for more information.

Professional Nursing Licensure +

Please upload an unencumbered, current license that states you are a licensed registered nurse. In this case, “unencumbered” neither the license, the licensee’s practice, nor the licensee is associated with any type of restriction, encumbrance, or probationary limitations imposed by the applicable Board of Nursing or any judicial entity. NC License or compact state equivalent is needed upon entry into the DNP program, and the information provided by your state’s Board of Nursing website is sufficient. You may scan it, or upload a screenshot into the application.

APA Certification +

If you’re an advanced practice registered nurse, please upload your APA certification under “Other” in NursingCAS. APRN applicants must provide verification of current certification as an advanced practice registered nurse.

Letters of Recommendation +

Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required. After providing information for your recommender, they will receive an email request for recommendation and must upload the letter into the application by the application deadline. If they have difficulty uploading the letter, recommenders may email their letter to

Three current letters of recommendation from persons qualified to evaluate your academic and professional qualifications are required.

• One letter must be from your current immediate supervisor in a healthcare setting who can speak to your professional, academic and leadership qualifications.
• Two additional recommendations are required from individuals who are familiar with your academic achievement and who can address your potential for success in this particular academic setting. If you attended a nursing program in the past five years, one letter from a faculty member with an earned graduate degree (master’s or doctorate) whose class you have taken and who can speak to your professional, academic and leadership qualifications and strengths is preferred. If you have been out of school for more than 5 years, letters from other individuals who can address your achievement and potential are required. Letters from relatives, family friends, clients/patients, or religious/spiritual leaders will not be accepted.

International Applicants: In addition to the three current letters of recommendation meeting the specifications outlined above, applicants for whom English is a second language (non-native language), must submit at least one additional letter of reference that addresses your ability to communicate fluently in the English language.

Verification of Precepted Clinical Hours +

MSN to DNP applicants are required to upload a completed Verification of Precepted Clinical Hours Form. You will complete the top of the form and the bottom half is to be completed by a school of nursing official from the college/university you obtained your MSN degree.

Interview +

  • We don’t interview every applicant, but if we seek clarification on any part of your application, we may contact you for an interview.
  • If you’re an international applicant and English is your second language, you will be interviewed.

For International Applicants +

We welcome international applicants to our DNP program. We strongly recommend that international applicants have clinical experience in the United States and have a thorough understanding of the US healthcare system. It is essential that you be fluent in English. Presently, the University (including the School of Nursing) does not offer English as a Second Language programs or an English language institute.

For this reason, candidates interested in attending the School of Nursing must be able to understand rapid, idiomatic English as spoken in lectures, group discussions, and clinical settings by individuals of widely varying accents. Students from non-English-speaking countries must be able to communicate quickly and clearly in spoken and written English.


  • International students must provide a full credit evaluation of all courses completed at a foreign institution through World Education Services, Inc. (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
    • NOTE: As part of the transcript submission, degree credentials are also reviewed by the Graduate School. Assessment of a foreign degree, including those conferred from institutions participating in the Bologna Accord, is based upon the characteristics of a national system of education, the type of institution attended, its accreditation and the level of studies completed. The following guidelines indicate the level of study expected of international applicants prior to graduate enrollment:
      • British patterned education bachelor’s degree with honours
      • French patterned education degree of diplme requiring four years of post baccalauréat study
      • Germany university Diplom Applicants with very strong academic records may be considered if they have completed the Staatsexamen, a bachelor’s degree after a 13-year Abitur, or at least one year of full-time study beyond VorprfungZwichenprfungVordiplom, or any other bachelor’s degree
      • Other European countries: university degree requiring a minimum of four years of study
      • Canada university degree requiring a minimum of four years of study
      • Latin America university degree requiring a minimum of four years of study
      • India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal bachelor’s degree in engineering or medicine; master’s degree in all other fields
      • Philippines five-year bachelor’s degree or four-year bachelor’s degree plus one year of graduate course work
      • Other Asian countries: university degree requiring a minimum of four years of study


The School of Nursing DNP program requires a higher level of English proficiency than The Graduate School due to the clinical requirements. Applicants are required to enter their TOEFL/IELTS test information including the date the test was taken and scores under the “Academic History” section within the NursingCAS application. The UNC supplemental application requires official scores reported directly from ETS and/or IELTS. Standardized test scores must be official and are reportable for a period of two years from the date of the exam. Exam results more than two years old cannot be considered. The UNC Graduate School Institution Code is 5816 (no department code). International applicants must achieve a minimum total score of 575 (with a minimum of 50 in each section) on the written version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or minimum of 90 on the internet-based test with the following minimum section requirements: Reading, 21; Listening, 22; Speaking, 25; Writing, 22. Standardized test scores that are submitted to this institution are kept on file for only one year. Refer to The Graduate School for more information.

This is not a requirement of applicants who are residents of a country where English is the sole official language of instruction or if applicants hold a degree from an accredited United States institution of higher education.

Meeting the minimum total score on TOEFL does not guarantee admission to the School of Nursing. Admission decisions are made on the basis of multiple factors including: scholastic performance; English proficiency; essays; letters of recommendation; the appropriateness of the requested advanced practice area to the applicant’s goals and clinical experiences; and verification of financial support to ensure proper visa status. A score of 8 is required on IELTS which is higher than The Graduate School requirement.

Letters of Recommendation: You must submit 3 letters of recommendation with the same requirements as those referenced in the above. If English is your second language, you must also submit an additional letter that addresses your ability to speak English fluently.

Interview: An interview is required of all international applicants who are non-native English speakers. The interview (personal, telephone, Skype) will be conducted by faculty who teach in the candidate’s clinical area of interest. The interview has two distinct foci: part one will focus on information provided in the application materials (for example, essay and future goals); the second part will evaluate the interviewee’s English proficiency.

Additional resources for international applicants:

UNC Global International Student and Scholar Services
North Carolina Board of Nursing

Application Fee +

Two application fees are required. Please carefully read instructions below for submitting both fees.

  1. $80 to NursingCAS. Follow the instructions in the application to submit your $75 application fee to NursingCAS. Should you wish to request a fee waiver, contact NursingCAS after reading the instructions here.
  2. $95 to UNC Graduate School. A $95 application fee is also required for the UNC supplemental application. Please remit payment via the supplemental application.

Apply Now +


    • A link to your UNC Supplemental Application will be sent to you upon submission of your completed NursingCAS application.
    • You may check the status of your application by logging on to NursingCAS to see if any required items are missing. Check carefully, as the Admissions Committee will only review completed applications.
    • If information outside of the application documentation is required, the School will contact you directly.
    • Notification of Decision: The School of Nursing and the Dean of the Graduate school will notify you with a decision as soon as decisions are made. If your address changes during this time, please update it in the “Update Profile” section of the application.
    • After acceptance: If accepted, you’ll be asked to pay a $250 deposit and submit official transcripts to the UNC Graduate School. Instructions on how to do so will be included in your acceptance letter. If you’re seeking residency for tuition purposes, apply at this site.

Institutional and Professional Licensure Disclosures for Enrolled and Prospective Students

Institutional and Professional Licensure Disclosures for Enrolled and Prospective Students in one of UNC Chapel Hill’s nursing programs satisfy the professional and/or certification requirements in North Carolina and prepare students to sit for these exams. However, requirements in other states may be different. If you are considering a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program that may, would, or could potentially lead to a DNP professional license and/or certification, please note that at this time UNC may or may not be able to advise whether a program meets requirements outside of North Carolina.

This Disclosure is strictly limited to the University’s determination of whether its educational programs, if successfully completed, would be sufficient to meet the educational licensure or certification requirements. The University cannot provide verification of any individual’s ability to meet licensure or certification requirements unrelated to its educational programming, as individual states may change their requirements for licensure and certification.

Prior to enrolling in a DNP program, please discuss this important topic with your program of interest.

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