Admission Requirements

  • Advanced practice registered nurses who hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and are certified as a Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Midwife or Nurse Administrators are eligible to apply for admission to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program of study. Applicants with a Clinical Nurse Specialist who are currently certified will be considered.  

    Applicants must: 

    • submit an application for admission.  Applications should be submitted by April 15 of the year of anticipated entry.  Those submitted after April 15 will be considered on a space-available basis.
    • provide official transcripts of all previous academic work
    • have a 3.5 out of 4.0 overall GPA in their Master’s work
    • submit three letters of recommendation; one from an academic professional (faculty who knows the student’s ability to do independent academic work), one from an employer, and one from a professional who can address the candidate’s advanced practice ability
    • submit a complete portfolio (either e-attach or hard copy) to the nursing admissions committee The portfolio should be either e-mailed in its entirety to Dr. Kathleen Patterson at or mailed in its entirety to: Dr. Kathleen Patterson, Villa Maria School of Nursing, Gannon University, 109 University Square, Erie, PA 16541. The portfolio should include the following:
      • a professional resume;
      • a copy of a current license and advanced practice license;
      • evidence of active certification and current CEUs;
      • course description of a graduate level statistics course (if one has been completed);
      • a synopsis or evidence of a thesis or evidence-based practice project completed at the Master’s level;
      • an essay (limited to 500 words) about the direction or intent of a capstone project of study;
    • present the portfolio at an interview with faculty.

    Research Requirements

    Applicants must present evidence of a research thesis or evidence-based project based on research to be considered for admission to the DNP program.  If not completed at the MSN level, students will be required to complete the research core at Gannon University to include GNURS 650 Nursing Research (3 cr), GNURS 651 Research Seminar (3 cr), GNURS 721 Thesis Guidance (3 cr). This will increase the credit program from 26 to 35 credits post-masters. Additional clinical hours to meet the post BSN requirement of 1000 will also impact the credit load.