Distance Graduate Education

The DNP degree, established in 2013, focuses on educating advanced practice registered nurses to the highest standards of the profession to care for people living in Montana and beyond and to lead change in health care systems. The program prepares graduates to meet the educational eligibility requirements to sit for national nurse practitioner certification that corresponds with the role and population focus. Two areas of specialty are available for DNP-degree seeking students at MSU – Nurse Practitioner, Family/Individual and Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric/Mental Health

Synopsis: The graduate program curriculum is taught by faculty in the College of Nursing and Engineering who have systems and clinical leadership experience and expertise. Rich clinical opportunities exist in Montana for nurses seeking to expand their outreach and grow to the level of an advanced practice registered nurse as a DNP with either a Family/Individual or Psych/Mental Health population focus. Certified and experienced advanced practice registered nurses guide DNP students through the clinical portion of the DNP curriculum. Students work with doctoral faculty nationally recognized for their broad and wide-ranging expertise to lead their DNP scholarly projects. The college provides educational preparation plus exciting opportunities to practice in rural and frontier areas of Montana. 

ScholarshipEach student completes a DNP Scholarly Project developed in collaboration with a faculty chairperson and committee. Examples of exciting and innovative student projects include: development of mental health outreach programs to the rural elderly; examination of alternative health practices for healing; establishment of pediatric cancer support groups for the rural client; and development of a school based clinic. A comprehensive exam (written and oral components) and oral defense of the scholarly project is required for DNP students. 

Distance Graduate Program: All graduate courses are offered primarily online with teleconference and video conference used to supplement content. See teaching methods for more information. Travel to Bozeman is required at the beginning of each Fall semester. 

Technical Requirements: Proficiency in the use of a computer and access to a computer with Internet capabilities is required for graduate students who are admitted to the program: refer to Technical Requirements (pdf). 


To Apply

  • Complete and submit application online to the MSU Graduate School at: https://www.applyweb.com/msug/  Note: after creating an account, at the bottom of page 1 of the application, click “Doctoral Degree” for Educational Goal, then, on page 2, click “Doctorate of Nursing Practice” for either Family/Individual or Psych/Mental Health.

  • Application Deadline is December 15.
  • Please note that we are not able to admit students living in California at this time. 

Admission Requirements

Admission decisions are based on a holistic evaluation of the applicant’s metrics, experiences and attributes that contribute to the overall mission, vision, goals, diversity, and values of the university and the needs of the advanced nursing profession.


  1. Experiences:
    1. In general, one year of clinical experience is preferred for the DNP degee.
    2. Montana residency preferred
  2. Metrics:
    1. Undergraduate and graduate minimum GPA of 3.0.
    2. A baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited upper division program which included supervised clinical practice in a variety of nursing settings, including community/public health and management. Applicants completing the College’s Associate Degree to Master’s in Nursing program are eligible for admission.
    3. Successful completion of undergraduate courses in physical assessment, community/public health, research, statistics, and an undergraduate psych/mental health course for DNP (Psych/Mental Health).
    4. Current unencumbered licensure as a registered nurse. If clinical education experiences are to be completed in Montana, licensure in Montana is required.
    5. Favorable recommendation from the College of Nursing admissions committee.
    6. If applicable, English proficiency scores as outlined by the Graduate School.
  3. Attributes:
    1. Career goals consistent with educational offerings
    2. Professional analytical, evidence-based nursing practice

DNP Degree Programs of Study

Contact Kate Hallowell for more information. 

An overall 3.0 GPA is required for graduation with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

Course Descriptions 

Program Costs

  • Estimated Expenses
    • Current MSU Graduate Tuition – scroll down to Graduate Cost of Attendance.
  • MSU Fee Schedule
    • Graduate Nursing Program Fee: $50.00 per credit
      This fee is used to offset additional costs inherent in clinically-based graduate education such as teaching models, simulation equipment, specialized computer programs, and travel to arrange and supervise clinical education across the state. Fees also are used to replace and upgrade the interactive video equipment used for distance delivery of graduate courses.
  • International Students

Financial Assistance

Teaching or research assistantships may be available to selected graduate students. Federal Traineeships, which help defray tuition costs, may be available to advanced practice students who are U.S. citizens. Nurse Faculty Loan Program funds also may be available to students willing to commit to four years of teaching fulltime upon graduation. Additional information can be found in the Graduate Scholarship Information (PDF).  

Interested in Non-degree Graduate Coursework?

Facts to consider- Non-degree Graduate Coursework Information Guide