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Exactly what is a DNP?
The Doctor of Nursing Practice is the recommended degree for advanced practice. At Iowa this degree will prepare nurses to assume the role of nurse practitioner or nurse executive. A very helpful site to learn about the DNP is at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing ( Check out the position statement and especially the DNP Fact Sheet. This is actually an excellent resource as you write the personal statement for your application.

I will not have my RN license by the application deadline.
If you will graduate in either the fall or spring semester, you can apply for any program except the BSN-FNP-DNP. The BSN-FNP-DNP requires proof of licensure at the time of application (February 1).

Is your DNP program online?
The vast majority of our courses are offered online; however, there are some where on site attendance is required. For example, our didactic nurse practitioner courses are offered on-site only. Classes are scheduled so that students are on campus only once a week. Please remember, there may be other times when on site is required such as orientation or as enrichment days. These dates will be available to students well ahead of time so that arrangements can be made. Clinical practicums are arranged by the College of Nursing with consideration of where students live. Every effort is made to minimize long distances. However, the goal is to provide students with the best possible clinical experiences and this may require travel on the part of the student.

Do you need work experience prior to applying?
Some programs (Nurse Anesthesia and Neonatal) have specific requirements for one to two years of experience. For other programs, while it is helpful to have some experience it is not absolutely necessary and we would encourage potential students to apply when the time seems right for them to be successful. New graduates can gain experience before they begin classes and during the first year of graduate work.

What is the Clinical Leadership Project?
The project provides the opportunity for an in-depth analysis and synthesis of a chosen topic that contributes to some aspect of advanced nursing practice. The project is completed over three to four semesters with assistance from your advisor. All admitted students have access to the ICON site Office of Student Services (MSN, DNP & PhD) at the home page go to "Content" and scroll down to Capstone/Clinical Leadership Project. You will find quite a bit of information that should answer many of your questions. To see some of the projects past graduates have completed, click here.

Is the GRE required?
No, you do not need to take the GRE for our DNP program.

Will I need to travel to clinical sites?
You will be expected to travel up to 100 miles for preceptor experiences, and if you live in an area that has limited providers in your specialty, you may be required to travel further. Also, note that there is an expectation that your preceptor/provider is in the state of Iowa.

What is the time commitment for clinical courses?
At this time clinicals must be done in Iowa. We make the placements, so students aren’t responsible for finding sites. There are three sequential clinical courses in the program that start in the fall and go through summer. For total clinical hours, refer to the DNP Plan of Study for the program you are interested in attending (  You can divide the number of clinical hours by 15 weeks in the fall & spring and 10 weeks in the summer to determine how many hours you would spend in clinicals each week. It’s possible to do blocks of concentrated time if that works better for a student’s schedule.

What is the appropriate attire for clinicals?
You should wear business casual attire in your clinical settings. Lab coats can be worn; however they are not required. Your photo badge identifying you as a DNP student must be worn at all times.

Can international students apply to the DNP program?
Due to the level of Internet-based course work required, international students in this program of study are not eligible for F-1 or J-1 student immigration status. Questions regarding visas and immigration documentation should be addressed to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) via email at

Can I work while in the DNP program?
How much each student is able to work can be determined only by them; however, please be realistic about your ability to work full-time and take courses. The advanced practice core and specialization courses require a great deal of time, and it may necessitate reducing work time. During the clinical year (year 3), you will be completing practicum hours during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. This is in addition to on campus class on Wednesdays and your other classwork. Most students find it very difficult to maintain a regular work schedule during this time. Some find the weekend option or a PRN position most helpful.

I live out of state; what do I need to do to pay resident tuition?
If you move to Iowa for the sole purpose of being a student, you will pay non-resident tuition. The University of Iowa Registrar’s Office can assist you in determining what you would need to do to be eligible for resident tuition. Please see the following URL for information regarding residency as well as contact information: