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College of Nursing

Doctor of Nursing Practice - DNP

Frequently Asked Questions - DNP Program

What types of NP programs are offered at USC College of Nursing?


  • Clinical APRN for practicing APRN’s - MSN entry only – Summer admission only
  • Nurse Executive Leadership (NEL) - MSN entry only – Summer admission only
How do prospective students apply?

Prospective students should apply online through the USC Graduate SchoolSee the Apply section of the College of Nursing site for detailed admission requirements.

What are the criteria for admission?
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 from all previous institutions, science grades strongly considered.  
  • Three letters of reference from Doctorally prepared Registered Nurse or Physician individuals who can speak to the applicant's ability to successfully complete the Doctor of Nursing Practice program outcomes
  • A personal Goal statement that reflects Doctor of Nursing Practice program outcomes
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Current unencumbered RN or APRN licensure in the state of residence,  upload a copy from the Board of Nursing with your application
  • Onsite or Phone Interview with nursing graduate faculty
When is the application due date?

November 1 (Summer Start only) for Summer 2018 only the admission deadline had been extended to February 15th, 2018
*Applications are not renewed on a rolling basis but by each deadline.  No late applications accepted. All students must begin coursework the semester of acceptance.

Is the program competitive for admission?

Yes, the program admission is competitive. Our Graduate Program is nationally ranked by US News and World Report; therefore, we seek highly qualified candidates who share our vision of excellence in education, practice, and scholarship. Not all candidates that meet admission criteria will be accepted.

How long do I have to complete the program?

The maximum length to complete the program is six years.  The length of time to complete the program depends on a number of factors but the programs are designed for student to complete in 6 to 8 semesters.

Can I go part time or full time?

The USC College of Nursing defines full time is at least 6 credit hours per semester, part time is up to 6 credit hours per semester.  Please consult the Office of Financial Aid for eligibility guidelines.  The student must complete graduate residency of at least 18 graduate hours for three consecutive semesters.

How does a student know what courses to take for their program of study?

A program adviser will help students understand the program of study. This program of study will outline which courses the student will take in the various semesters.

How do I find a preceptor?

The College of Nursing maintains a list of contracts/agreements on Blackboard. For the Post Master’s DNP student generally, the experience occurs at the site where the DNP student is employed and supports the outcomes of the selected DNP project. The clinical hours during enrolment in the class should allow for advanced experiences beyond one’s current position and job responsibilities. In instances where the student is not able to complete the required clinical hours with an employer, alternative experiences at specific healthcare organizations will need to be approved by the course instructor or DNP project chair.

How does a student generate a contract for a new clinical rotation placement?

The College of Nursing Office of Student Services supports the College of Nursing in establishing new agreements or contracts with approved clinical settings. Establishing a new agreement with a setting or person can require 6 months or longer to finalize - beginning the process early is recommended.

Will students be required to travel to USC?

There will be selective intensive days for DNP students.

Is the course content online or does the student have to come to the Columbia campus for

All didactic course content is online. Courses are taught using the Blackboard CMS and Adobe Connect.

What is the cost of the program?

The cost of the program depends on a several factors.  Students can find an estimated cost for the program by visiting the USC Financial Aid site and the USC Bursar's Office site.  

Are scholarships, loans, and financial aid available?

Financial aid is available. To determine eligibility, a student should visit this website and fill out the FAFSA form. The financial aid website also has information about loans and scholarships. . Students can also visit the College of Nursing scholarship and endowments site for information on scholarships in the College of Nursing.

How does the advisement process work?

All newly admitted students will have mandatory advisement prior to matriculation. Once a students plan of study is established no other advising is required unless the students needs to change the plan of study, take a term away or has other circumstances requiring a change in the established progression outlined. Advisement is conducted by phone or in person.

Is there a new student orientation?

The College of Nursing requires a mandatory new student orientation prior to all start dates. Orientation is done on line and must be completed by the prescribed deadline in order to be cleared for the first semester of courses. DNP students may be required to have additional orientation in order to understand the requirements for doctoral work outlined by the Graduate School.

Can I transfer courses into the program?

Only a limited number or type of courses can be transferred into the program. We do not accept any transfer courses that are below a "B". There is a process for transferring courses into the University. It generally takes 6 months to obtain approval or disapproval for a course transfer.

Can I work and complete the DNP Program?

Students can generally work while completing the post master’s DNP program. However, students will have to make adjustments in their work schedule to meet the academic and project demands.

Is the program nationally accredited?

Yes.  The Doctor of Nursing Practice and at The University of South Carolina is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education ( through 2024. We also meet the standards for American Nurses Association Credentialing Center, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty, and the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice.

What if I have additional questions about the program?

Please contact us at 803-777-7412, use our contact form to send us a message, or stop by our office:

Williams-Brice Building
Room 208
1601 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208