Advanced Practice Nurse

Doctor of Nursing Practice

This program is for nurses who have earned their MSN with specialization as a nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist, are licensed ARNPs, APN certified (or have ability to become certified the first semester of enrollment), and now want to earn their DNP.

Track Description

The post-master’s DNP program is designed to prepare nurse clinicians and nurse practitioners for leadership roles in specialized areas of advanced nursing practice. This program prepares nurses at the highest level of practice for the current health care environment. Graduates of this program will be able to redesign health care systems based on critical analysis of complex practice situations.


Program Objectives

The objectives of the clinical DNP program are to prepare graduates to:

  • Critically analyze complex clinical situations and practice systems.
  • Assume leadership roles in the development of clinical practice models, health policy and standards of care.
  • Demonstrate advanced diagnostic reasoning skills and clinical judgment through scholarship and nursing practice.
  • Analyze the social, economic, political, epidemiological and other scientific data to improve individual, aggregate and population health.
  • Demonstrate information fluency and advanced communication skills to lead quality improvement initiatives to improve patient care and health care systems.
  • Design, implement, and evaluate comprehensive care to clients within an area of advanced practice specialization.

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Application Requirements

UCF General Education Requirements 

UCF requires all prospective student to fulfill the general UCF graduate admissions requirements. Visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog.

Nursing Program Requirements

  • Transcript: an official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended
  • MSN degree: in an APN specialty role or a post-MSN certificate (NP, CNS, CRNA, CNM) from a regionally accredited institution (Applicants not holding the appropriate MSN degree may enter the DNP program through one of the three tracks: Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse PractitionerAdult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner)
  • GRE: an official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years (Effective with the Spring 2019 application deadline of Sept. 15, 2018, a competitive GRE score will no longer be required.)
  • ARNP License: must be a licensed advanced registered nurse practitioner in the State of Florida. (Out-of-state applicants must be eligible for licensure in Florida and must achieve ARNP licensure to begin clinical courses.)
  • Certification: APN certification or ability to obtain certification in the first semester of enrollment is required
  • Written Essay: address the following three items in a written essay (See essay requirements below):
    1. Describe how your professional experiences have prepared you for future education in the role which is the focus of your desired track
    2. Describe your plans to alter your work, professional and/or personal obligations in order to have the time needed for graduate course and clinical practice work
    3. Identify one significant contemporary issue/problem in the U.S. health care system and explore how members of the nursing profession can help address that issue or solve that problem
  • Curriculum Vitae: CV should reflect prior education, recent clinical accomplishments, any recent scholarly work (publications and presentations), awards, additional certifications, and activities with professional organizations. For recent graduates, this can include accomplishments as a student.
  • Interview: an interview with faculty may also be required

Optional for All Applicants

  • ETS PPI (Personal Potential Index) report: Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the necessary information requested for the ETS PPI report that is available during the GRE examination. All official PPI reports must be submitted directly to the UCF College of Graduate Studies (use UCF Institution Code: 5233).

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Written Essay Parameters

Before submitting your application, it is recommended that applicants call the College of Nursing Graduate Office at 407-823-2744 to schedule an appointment with a DNP advisor to discuss your goals for doctoral study. It is advantageous to discuss the program before writing the required essay because the essay must address your goals for doctoral-level preparation for advanced nursing practice.

  • Total word count for entire essay—not each item—500 words or less
  • double spaced
  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • 1-inch margins 

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Program Director


Josie A. Weiss,
p: 407-823-2744
f: 407-823-5675

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Shannon Hassett: Ally in the battle of managing diabetes
“When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I saw the good and the bad from many care providers. I knew that I had to become one of the good ones.” Meet ER Nurse Shannon Hassett, ’16BSN alumna, DNP student and ally in the battle of managing diabetes.

Shannon Hassett, ’16BSN alumna, DNP student and ally in the battle of managing diabetes.

Knights in Nursing: Shannon Hassett

Ally in the battle of managing diabetes

“From when I was first diagnosed with diabetes at 11 years old, I saw the good and the bad from many care providers. I knew that I had to become one of the good ones.

It was my middle school nurse who taught me about diabetes management that inspired me to pursue nursing, and it was my disease that inspired my passion within nursing. I feel that if God allowed me to have diabetes, then I was to use it for good and to help others.

I was able to begin to use my experiences to help others at UCF, where my Honors in the Major undergraduate thesis explored how technology could help adults better control their diabetes. Now as a nurse, it is the most fulfilling feeling when I am able to help my diabetic patients and have an immediate rapport with them. In the future, as an endocrinology nurse practitioner, it is my dream to become the primary care provider I would want to have.

Knowing how much I could truly help other diabetics that live the same struggles I do drives me to further my education and career. The UCF DNP program was a perfect fit. I am able to pursue my doctorate part-time while continuing to work full time, and gain valuable experience as an ER nurse. From the caliber of faculty and the vast research opportunities to the expansive clinical experiences, I have no doubt that I will be fully prepared for this future role.

I feel so blessed as I am fulfilling my dreams of changing the diabetes care world, one patient at a time.”

Shannon Hassett ’16BSN, RN
Emergency Department Nurse, Orlando Regional Medical Center, Orlando Health
DNP student, UCF College of Nursing, Class of 2021
Philanthropy chair, UCF College of Nursing Alumni Chapter Board

Shannon Hassett: Ally in the battle of managing diabetes
“When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I saw the good and the bad from many care providers. I knew that I had to become one of the good ones.” Meet ER Nurse Shannon Hassett, ’16BSN alumna, DNP student and ally in the battle of managing diabetes.



UCF Online

NC-SARA Approved Institution

Please note: Online programs may not meet immigration requirements for students holding an F1 or J1 Visa to maintain status. If you have questions, please contact the International Services Center at or call 407-823-2337.