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Dual Program: DNP/PhD Admission Requirements



Please Note: Applicants who meet the minimum program requirements are not guaranteed interview or admission.

Apply Early!

Please don't wait until the night before a program deadline to submit your application. You should apply before the earliest deadline of the program(s) that you are applying to. This will allow the necessary time to verify and process your application.

Please refer to the residency requirements for DNP program taken from our admissions page: DNP applicants without APN licensure will need to reside in the tri-state area (TN, MS, AR) during their enrollment in the DNP program and complete clinical in those states. DNP students with APN license or Post-BSN DNP Neonatal Nurse Practitioner applicants should contact the Office of Student Affairs at 901.448.6139 for questions on state authorization. 

Application Guidelines

The Application Process

Prospective students MUST apply to the DNP program through NursingCAS, a national nursing centralized application service endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Specific instructions are provided on the UTHSC NursingCAS Info page. 

Official test scores and three letters of recommendation speaking to your potential to conduct research should also be submitted with the PhD portion of your application.

Minimum Requirements for Admissions
  • Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 from an accredited college or university
  • Unencumbered RN license
  • Three letters of recommendation for PhD (research based); Three letters of recommendation for DNP (clinical based)
  • Current CPR card
  • A score of at least 213/79 on the computer-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or evidence of proficiency in English for students whose native language is not English.
  • Application documents from any non-U.S. institution must be sent to and verified by a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) accredited agency
  • Official test scores and three letters of recommendation must be sent directly from the contributing source and not by the student

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required but may be provided by applicants. Please contact the Office of Student Affairs if you have an issue with the required references: 901.448.6125.

Letters of Recommendation

PhD References
Submit recommendation letters by adding your recommenders’ contact information into NursingCAS. For applicants to the Nursing Science PhD Program, recommenders should have a doctoral degree (research doctoral degree such as a PhD or a professional doctoral degree such as DNP, MD, PharmD, EdD, DPT). Please ask these individuals to speak to your strong knowledge base for furthering research and/or your ability to succeed in a research-based program of study. Letters of recommendation must be on the letterhead of the institution/employer.

DNP References
Submit recommendation forms to include one (1) professional and two (2) academic references (preferably nursing) that address your potential as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse including clinical skills, critical thinking, independent decision making, collaborative skills with other health professionals, and leadership.

Official Transcript

Official transcripts from every college/university you have attended will be needed to complete your on-line application through NursingCAS. In addition, you will need to request that a copy of your transcript also be sent to NursingCAS for verification.

Transcripts from any non-U.S. institution must be sent to and verified by a NACES accredited agency, for example, the World Education Services (WES).

  • Current RN license (prior to beginning the program)
  • Current Basic Life Support (CPR Certification) prior to UTHSC enrollment and maintained throughout UTHSC enrollment
If Not a U.S. Citizen
  • Applicant must provide photocopy of immigration documentation showing “legal immigration status” (e.g., “Green Card”).
  • Copy of Immigration Status Document.
Personal Computer Required & Essential Computer Skills
  • Must own a web-connected laptop capable of running modern software and streaming media including web-conferencing applications such as ZOOM.
  • Computer/web-based literacy skills expected.

Enter all Colleges attended. Enter all undergraduate, graduate, professional and foreign institutions that you have attended even if it was only for a single course or college credit awarded while you were in high school. Official transcripts will be necessary for all undergraduate, graduate and professional coursework (taken toward a bachelor's degree). Foreign coursework (non-Canadian) will need to be evaluated for U.S. equivalency.


After acceptance, students are required to submit a $70 NursingCAS application fee for the DNP portion of the application and a $200 Guaranteed Enrollment Deposit (GED). The GED, a non-refundable fee due within 30 days of acceptance, is held in escrow and applied to the student’'s first term of study. There is no application fee for teh PhD portion of the application.

Applicants must complete a successful criminal background check and drug screen within 30 days of official acceptance to the DNP Program. The fee is $162 for accepted DNP students. Background checks and drug screens must be repeated during the student’s program of study.


May 26, 2022