Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the DNP and the PhD in Nursing?

The DNP is differentiated from the PhD by its focus on developing in program graduates the highest level of excellence in nursing practice and clinical leadership. Unlike the PhD in nursing that requires the students to complete a dissertation based on original research, the DNP program at UMass Boston requires students to complete a capstone clinical practice project that has as its focus some aspect of improving the quality of health care services.

Graduates will gain knowledge and competence in health systems leadership, policy development, and interdisciplinary collaboration to improve health care quality and increase health care access for all populations. Course work and internships focus on preparing graduates with transformational leadership skills in policy change and program development to address emerging population and health system needs.

Are there any additional fees for this program?

  • Application fee = $64 (domestic); $107 (international)
  • Clinical lab fees are assessed at $55 per clinical course
  • CNHS Curriculum & Service Fee = $400
  • $390 fee for accepted students - in 2 parts
    • $250 is first bill to hold place in program - a confirmation of acceptance
    • The $250 student deposit is credited to your account following the drop/add period.
    • A bill for the difference between $390 and $250 = $140

What is required for admission to the post master’s DNP for those holding a master’s degree and certification as a CNS, NP, CNM, and CNA?

Admission is contingent upon demonstrating evidence of completing advanced patho, advanced pharm, and advanced health assessment at the graduate level with a grade of B or better on an official transcript. Applicants to the program must show evidence the number of hours of supervised clinical experience completed in the MS APRN program of study. A letter on letterhead from the program of study or signed copy of the application to take the national certification exam that states the total number of hours completed will suffice. For those not completing a minimum of 600 hours these hours can be arranged during the internship experiences in the DNP program. The total number of supervised clinical hours must equal 1000 for the DNP. In addition to a Master’s degree in Nursing, current advanced practice certification is required and references that speak to your competence in practice. A science course GPA of 3.0 or higher in the baccalaureate and or master’s degree program is required.

If I am not an advanced practice nurse am I eligible to be admitted to the program?

Nurses who hold a master’s degree in another area outside of the scope of advanced practice can apply to the post master’s certificate NP program or soon to be launched CNS program to obtain the needed education and clinical experience to become an advanced practice nurse. Students may then apply for matriculation into the DNP program upon completing the post master’s certificate and passing the national certification exam. Please see the information posted here regarding the post master’s NP certificate program which is offered online through UMass Boston's College of Advancing and Professional Studies.

Will I be doing additional clinical hours beyond those I have in completed in my master’s program?

If your are currently certified and practicing, and you are able to demonstrate a least 600 hours of supervised clinical experience in your prior MS in Nursing and you will not be required to do additional clinical hours beyond the internship hours associated with learning the leadership and change agent role of the Doctor of Nursing Practice. The internship hours are embedded in course work and are arranged by advisement. The clinical project hours will be specific to your area of project study in the doctoral program. Your program advisor will direct you as to the nature of the experience needed in order to fulfill the learning objectives for the internship capstone project.

All clinical placement agencies require a working agreement with UMass Boston in order for you to do your clinical internship.

Can I take courses before I am admitted to the program?

You can enroll as a non matriculated student and complete up to four courses that are required for the program of study: this includes two courses taken at another school and two courses taken at UMass Boston. These courses may be transferred in after you are accepted provided that the grades in these courses are a B or better and match our curriculum. You should seek advice from the program director if you wish to take courses prior to admission. Courses are offered on line and in the class room. You will not be eligible for financial aid however, if you are not accepted into a program of study.

How often do I need to come to campus?

All DNP students come for a two day orientation preceding the start of the fall semester, and then again in the Spring of the first and second years for DNP Intensives, and then again in the final year for the Capstone project defense.

When can I register to take courses before I am admitted to the program?

For pre program advisement contact the program director who will provide you with the information on what course you may take prior to admission. You should register for courses when the registration period becomes available as announced on the Academic Calendar. You will need to provide us with evidence of your RN license and proof of your MS in Nursing degree prior to registration. You can do this by faxing this proof to Jocelyn Burke at 617.287.7494. You will be sent permission to register and directed to complete a registration form: you will receive directions on how you will access the course if the course is on line, or when the course will meet if it is in the class room.

Please Note: Registrations postmarked after the late registration date will be assessed a $25 late fee. Also note that there is a limit on course enrollments so please be advised that the longer you wait to register the greater your risk for getting closed out and put on the waiting list. In certain cases second sections may be opened due to demand.

How much are registration fees?

For courses offered through UMass Boston's College of Advancing and Professional Studies the cost is $1390 per three credits. UMass Amherst and UMass Lowell each have their own fee structures but they are similar to UMass Online.

If I am taking an online course, how will I access the course after I am registered?

Courses access becomes available a few days prior to the date the course begins. You will receive a letter in the mail advising you how to access the web page and how to access your UMass email address for further information.

If taking an online course what is the Learning Management System used?

You can see the LMS, Blackboard Learn, for the program’s online courses by going here. In addition, many courses offer lectures in Macromedia Breeze for you to hear on your home computer and also live interactive sessions scheduled with faculty using your home computer. The program functions on both a PC and a Mac computer. You will need to purchase a high quality headset with a microphone that connects to your computer. Students enrolled in UMass Online courses receive online technical assistance as needed.

How will I access my grades?

Grades will be posted on line in the Wiser system that you will have access to after you are enrolled in the course. Grades often posted as the course proceeds in the grade book in WebCt.

Will I have access to the library at UMass Boston?

After you are registered for courses you can apply for a library card number from the library circulation department by sending an email from your UMass Boston email address to

  • Indicate that you are in an online course; provide the course number and indicate that you need a barcode.
  • Provide the library with your UMass Boston student number and your mailing address.
  • Circulation department will then email you a barcode number which will allow you access to use the online resources available from Healey Library Homepage. This barcode will be good for the semester of the course only. You will be required to put in your barcode when accessing the electronic databases.

How can I learn more about the program and he application process?

All applications to the program are submitted directly to the UMass Boston Office of Graduate Admissions and are reviewed by members of the DNP in Nursing Program Committee. Letters of admission are issued by the office of Graduate Admissions. Students are required to mail in their acceptance with a deposit fee. This deposit fee of is credited to each student’s account following the add drop period date. Following receipt of a letter of acceptance, students should immediately contact the program director by email to arrange advisement and a plan of study.

You may find the application online at Graduate Admissions.

Am I required to purchase UMass Student Health Insurance?

Out of state students are waived from the requirement for UMass Health Insurance. In state students may apply for a waiver. Detailed instructions can be found on the University Health Services website.