Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Expert Clinician

Admission: Fall only

The DNP program is offered in a hybrid format consisting of online, on-site and blended courses, and culminating with a DNP project. All didactic coursework is online, and faculty arrange high-value clinicals for students in the vicinity of the student's campus. Students graduate with an exceptional blend of clinical, organizational, financial and leadership skills—prepared not only to improve outcomes for their own patients, but also to contribute to the transformation of healthcare.

All 12 focus areas of the DNP program are offered at all six campuses: Chicago, Peoria, Quad Cities, Rockford, Springfield and Urbana.

Application deadline is January 15.  Learn about applying →

  • #9 UIC Nursing's DNP program is ranked #9 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report

  • 12 The number of focus areas in which we offer the DNP ... and there's also a post-master's option

  • 92% The percentage of UIC DNP grads who pass their certification exams

Learn about all 12 of our focus areas

As a UIC DNP student, clinical rotations are arranged for you.

All DNP students at UIC are assigned highly qualified preceptors at desirable clinical sites, selected by knowledgeable program directors. By partnering with skilled preceptors in a variety of healthcare settings, we ensure that each of our students is provided with the best mentorship experiences while learning the necessary clinical practice skills. These rotations, paired with high-quality simulation scenarios also included in our curriculum, combine to give students a broad range of advanced, hands-on patient-management experiences.

Learn more at an info session near you

DNP vs. PhD: Which program is right for you

Program length

Happy student

Most students complete the DNP program in 2 to 6 years. Once enrolled, a faculty advisor works with each student to create an individualized program plan. Program length depends on several factors, including the chosen focus area, full- or part-time enrollment, and route of entry:

  • Students entering with an MS typically complete the program in 2 to 4 years.
  • Students entering with a BSN typically complete the program in 3 to 5 years.
  • Students entering as licensed RNs with a bachelor’s in a non-nursing field typically complete the program in 4 to 6 years.

For APRNs who want to expand or deepen their expertise

For APRNs with MS degrees who want a DNP

APRNs who have a master’s degree in any of the 12 focus areas offered by the UIC College of Nursing may apply for a post-master’s DNP. The program will include didactic coursework as well as a DNP project and practicum experience. In the end, each student has the 1,000 clinical hours required to earn a DNP.

For DNP-prepared APRNs who want another focus area

The post-DNP certificate programs are designed for DNP-prepared advanced practice nurses to qualify for national credentialing in a focus area in which they are not currently credentialed. Post-DNP certificates are offered in all 10 UIC Nursing programs that lead to advanced practice roles as nurse practitioners or nurse midwives. As with the full DNP program, the post-DNP programs admit students in the fall, and the application deadline is January 15.

Are you an RN with a non-nursing bachelor's degree?

Generic DNP student

The DNP Transition Program is the route of entry to the DNP for students with an RN license and a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing.

  • Transition students are required to take up to four additional courses, determined upon admission. Courses are NURS 212, 242, 322 and 385.
  • All transition courses are delivered online in eight-week modules taught by UIC Nursing faculty.
  • Students are assessed professional student tuition/fees, and course credits are applied the same as graduate degree courses.
  • All required transition courses are to be completed during the first fall/spring semesters following admission to the College of Nursing and before beginning any coursework in the DNP degree.

What people are saying

logo of Greater Elgin Family Care Center

“Greater Elgin Family Care Center has employed a number of nurse practitioners educated at UIC. They are universally well-prepared via their classroom instruction and clinical rotations. They all possess a command of both the hard and soft skills necessary to effectively provide primary healthcare to our patients, significantly contributing to our award-winning clinical outcomes. To be honest, [an application from] an NP from UIC goes to the top of the pile.”

Robert M. Tanner  |  President/CEO, Greater Elgin (IL) Family Care Center
Dale Beatty

“I had the honor to be a plenary speaker for the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Research Congress in Melbourne, Australia (2018). I am the first DNP in the history of STTI to be a plenary at this Congress, where over 40 countries were represented. A significant portion of my presentation was my DNP project. I am so proud to be a UIC College of Nursing alumnus!”

Dale Beatty, Chief Nursing Officer, Stanford Health Care, Palo Alto, CA  |  DNP '17
Kelly White

“The coursework and program are extremely demanding, but the faculty and your peers are with you every step of the way. There are also a lot of resources available within the college to help you. My coursework and clinical experiences have only strengthened my passion. I am so glad I decided to enroll in this program.”

Kelly White  |  DNP '19

Meet DNP students

All campuses offer this program

Need to reach the DNP program director? Contact Lauren Diegel-Vacek, DNP, FNP-BC