The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Graduate Programs

Doctor of Nursing Practice FAQs

Q: Do I ever need to come to the UMass Amherst campus? 

A: No; all classes are offered completely online. We do not require any campus visit to complete your degree. However, we would love to meet you anytime you are in the area, and you are welcome to come to campus for Commencement, if you wish. 

Q: I already have a master’s degree. How does that work if I apply?

A: We will review your master’s degree transcripts and help you tailor the program to your own needs.

If you are an advanced practice registered nurse, you are eligible to apply for the 36-credit DNP Post MS Completion option.

If you have completed any of the courses required by our program within the last five years and with a final grade of B or better, that course may be waived for you. For example, if your transcripts show you took Nursing Theory two years ago and earned an A, you would not be required to take it again.

If you wish to change your specialty (for example, you are a family nurse practitioner, but wish to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner) we will still review your core courses and waive you of repeating courses, and we will add the appropriate psych courses to your DNP Post MS Completion program.

Q: What is a “scholarly writing sample?”  What if I do not have any published work?

A: The DNP Program is a doctoral program contingent on your completion of a DNP Capstone Project. Writing is at the core of that component, therefore, it is important that we review your writing ability. A five page or longer, APA formatted paper with references you completed in your bachelor’s or master’s program is a good sample to submit. If you do not have a recent writing sample, you are welcome to write a new paper following the above criteria.

If you would like to enhance your writing skills, you are welcome to enroll in the summer N605 Scholarly Writing course we offer before you apply. You will be able to use a paper from that course as your scholarly writing sample.

Q: Can the introductory statistics prerequisite be filled  by an undergraduate statistics course?

A: No; only graduate level introductory statistics courses fill the prerequisite.The graduate introductory class will prepare you for intermediate biostatistics in the DNP program.You can take the introductory course here in the first summer of the program or take it as a pre-requisite before entering.

Q: Is it possible to sit for certification midway through the program and then complete the degree?

A: No; the DNP program is not designed to allow you to sit for certification after only partial completion. Students complete foundation courses in the first 1-2 years of the program and typically start their clinical courses in the 3rd year. Students complete their final clinical in their last semester and are prepared to sit for certification during the summer following a May commencement. Your plan of study will show exactly how the clinical rollout happens.

Q: Is there any financial aid available for DNP students?

A: Financial aid is available in a several forms to DNP students. Many students do require financial aid in the form of loans, which you can apply for upon admission to the program. 

The College of Nursing applies for the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) every year.  When we receive the funds, full-time (18 credits per year) students who wish to teach after graduation may apply for these funds. A commitment to teaching for four years after graduation is required. Full details will be provided when this program is available.

We also apply for other training grants and types funding to offer full-time students when we are able to secure these grants. DNP students are also eligible to apply for a number of scholarships offered by the college and other organizations. We will provide students with this information when it is available.

Q: Does the UMass Amherst College of Nursing offer any graduate certificates?

A:  Certificates we currently offer are  Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Post-Master's Online Certificate and Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education (GCNE)