Nurses and Nursing students
Doctor of
Nursing Practice - Leadership

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete:

  • Summer DeadlineApply by March 1 to start May 26
  • Fall DeadlineApply by June 30 to start August 21
  • Spring DeadlineApply by October 1 to start January 8

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact our admissions counselors.

Admission Requirements

The decision to pursue the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a serious one. It is highly recommended that you contact the program office to discuss your potential program of study with the program team prior to submitting your application. The online DNP program will be a rigorous, competitive program, and you should thoroughly understand the level of time and commitment that will be expected of you through the course of your studies.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or a postsecondary degree in nursing that is equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree earned from an officially recognized degree-granting international institution. Students entering from the post-master's route must have earned a master's degree with a major in nursing from a program accredited by a national accrediting agency for nursing.

Applicants to the DNP–Leadership program must also have a current license to practice professional nursing in at least one state in the United States or a foreign country. You are also expected to have a grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) meeting the requirements for your track:

  1. BS to DNP: cumulative undergraduate GPA ≥ 3.5 and B+ or better on subsequent course work
  2. MSN to DNP: cumulative graduate GPA ≥ 3.5 and B+ or better on subsequent course work

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee.

You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

A copy of an official transcript from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. Upon admission and your acceptance of admission, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.

Statement of Purpose — You should submit a personal statement not to exceed 300 words, which should describe your relevant work experience; clearly articulated reasons for applying to the selected option; long-term goals or career aspirations; and other information that may be useful to the admissions committee.

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

Please note that for entrance into a Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing graduate-level program, the minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 580 for the paper-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 25 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 7.0.

References (3) —  obtained from academic and professional perspectives. If you completed college-level courses over the last five years, an academic reference is required. Other references should be from a nursing supervisor, preferably holding a degree higher than yours. You will need to initiate the referral process through the online application by entering names, email addresses and mailing addresses of three references. Upon submission of your application, those individuals will each receive an email asking them to complete a brief online recommendation specifically regarding your commitment to the health care profession and potential for success in an online program. Please inform all references that they must submit the form for your application to be complete.

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Vita — listing your professional experience and other qualifications

Writing Sample — A published or unpublished scientific paper, thesis, or other scholarly writing sample

Interview — You will be asked to participate in an interview, via Internet-based video conferencing or in-person

Start Your Application

Begin the graduate school application

  • Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus

Checking Your Status

You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this degree program.

Penn State World Campus Graduate

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