Graduate Division

Doctor of Nursing Practice Application Checklist

Guide to Completing the Application for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Program Website:
Entry Term: Fall 2025

Priority deadline for receipt of all application materials: December 1, 2024

Program Mission

The Doctorate of Nursing practice (DNP) is a program designed to prepare the nurse at an advanced level of nursing science. The program emphasizes the development of the student’s capacity to impact the clinical setting as leaders and educators and to utilize clinical research to improve and transform health care.

Our program is based on the understanding that nursing provides services including:

  1. Provision of direct care of individual clients
  2. Informed transcultural nursing
  3. Promotion of management of care for rural populations
  4. Enhanced administration of nursing systems, and 5) improved development and implementation of health policy.

In addition, the program will provide coursework encompassing health policy, health economics, cultural diversity, chronic care management, health promotion, and disease prevention in rural communities, and will create a cadre of new nursing faculty who can immediately address the nursing faculty shortage.

Advanced practice nurses with practice doctorates will address significant practice issues in a scholarly way, adopt broad system perspectives for health promotion and risk reduction, and act as agents of change that transform client/community care, participate in the on-going evaluation of health care outcomes, and assist in the translation of research that leads to positive nursing practice changes.

Program Learning Outcomes

The program is committed to helping the student:

  1. Synthesize theoretical knowledge and research evidence in designing primary care delivery for diverse populations across the lifespan in rural contexts.
  2. Collaborate with multidisciplinary professionals, multisectoral agencies and lay communities to influence social and health policies impacting rural population health.
  3. Assume leadership roles in organizational systems to improve rural population health in local and regional communities.
  4. Adhere to personal and organizational professional and ethical-legal standards.
  5. Integrate cultural competence and social justice in addressing health disparities in rural populations.
  6. Examine research evidence in design, implementation and evaluation of policies and programs for population health in rural communities.
  7. Use best practices and technology to improve care delivery for diverse individuals, families and communities within the continuum of primary, secondary and tertiary care.
  8. Create educational programs to develop culturally competent practice and education of the nursing workforce.
  9. Design educational programs and evaluation to enhance rural community empowerment for health.

DNP Checklist & Eligibility Criteria for Admission

Required Documents to be Uploaded in the Documents Tab of Online Application

Requested in the Recommendations Tab of the Online Application

  • 3 Recommendations from professionals such as physicians, instructors, employers, or clinical supervisors. It is recommended that you select persons with advanced degrees such as MD, masters or doctoral level to complete this form who can address your potential or ability to function in the advanced practice nursing role.
  • Once you request your letters in the electronic system, your letter writers will be sent an email and instructions on how to use the electronic letters of recommendation system. They will be asked to upload a letter of recommendation and also be instructed to complete the DNP Letter of Recommendation Supplemental Form (PDF).

Sent Directly to the UH Hilo Graduate Division

  • Official transcripts sent directly from all non-UH system colleges or universities you have attended.
  • Official transcripts from UH system institutions will be pulled via STAR.
  • We recommend certified electronic transcripts sent directly from your institution to the UH Hilo Graduate Division-
  • Baccalaureate degree transcripts from international institutions must be submitted to an independent transcript evaluation service.
  • Hard Copy transcripts should be mailed to the address below.
UH Hilo Graduate Division
200 W. Kawili Street
COBE Building, Room 201
Hilo, HI 96720-4091
  • For international applicants

Application Process

New students are accepted for Fall semesters only. The priority application deadline is December 1. Complete applications received after the priority deadline will be considered on a space available basis. The UH Hilo Graduate Division receives all applications and supporting. Applications that meet the admission requirements will be forwarded to the School of Nursing where they will undergo a comprehensive review. Admission decisions will be made by the Graduate Admissions Committee of the School of Nursing. The Graduate Division will send out the final notification to the applicant.

Admission Status

The applicant's admission status is valid only for the semester in which the applicant is accepted. Applications for students who do not register or who withdraw from the University are voided but retained for a period of one (1) year. Students may reapply for admission the next year by submitting a new graduate application with the application fee. An updated statement, resume and recommendations will be required.

Eligibility Criteria for International Students

Minimum scores are 550 (paper based), 213 (computer based), or 79 (internet based) on the TOEFL, or 6.0 on the IELTS (applicants for whom English is not the native language). Students with degrees from colleges whose language of instruction is English need not submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Your CV should include but not be limited to education, work experience, activities, leadership, volunteer work, and scholarly or other relevant publications.

DNP Personal Statement

Your personal statement should address the following in 600 words maximum:

  1. Describe your professional goals and how participation in the DNP program will enhance these goals.
  2. Identify and briefly discuss a practice-based problem of interest to you that might serve as a topic for your final, scholarly DNP project.

Health Clearance

This is required after you have gotten an acceptance letter, but must be completed before entering the program. Tuberculosis clearance documentation, documentation for tetanus/diphtheria vaccination received within the last ten years; documentation for hepatitis-B vaccination series or serological evidence of immunity; serological evidence of immunity to mumps, rubella, rubeola, and varicella (may vary by state/organization where practicum are performed or where the practice inquiry project is conducted), current COVID boosters and annual Influenza vaccine.

Transfer of Credits

Requests for transfer of credits must be made during the first semester in which the student is enrolled in the program; departmental approval for all credit transfers is required. Only credit hours with a grade of B or better from accredited universities are transferable. Credit hours for practicum and internship courses are not transferable. Transfer credit hours must have been completed within five years prior to admission, and not used to satisfy requirements of another degree. Students may transfer a maximum of 6 semester hours (or its equivalent). In rare circumstances, requests for an exception to this limit may be considered by the program faculty. All requests for transfer of credits must be accompanied by a transcript and course syllabi.

Employment Opportunities

DNP career options in healthcare are many and varied. What a DNP chooses depends on his/her skills and where his/her interests lie. The DNP may choose to work in sectors such as acute care, family care, geriatric care, and holistic care. The DNP can serve in administrative leadership and leadership positions in research, clinical care delivery, patient outcome and system management, education and direct practice. DNPs are experts in managing the complex balance between quality of care, access to care and fiscal responsibility.

Course of Study (Program Entry Points)

Students have two program entry points to earn the Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree:

  • The Post Baccalaureate DNP entry point is intended to allow entry into the DNP program for nurses who have completed the BSN. The program will educate candidate nurses to be Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) with foci in Gerontology, Transcultural Nursing, Rural Health Care, or Evidence-based Practice.
  • The Post Masters DNP entry point offers nurses with advanced degrees in nursing specialty areas (e.g. APRN or Education, Administration, Information Systems Management, Leadership, Evidence-based Practice etc). It is a doctoral program which expands the level of nursing practice expertise.

Required Courses (73 Credits)

  • NURS 618 EPI/Environmental Health (3) ^
  • NURS 601 Social Aspects of Health (3) ^
  • NURS 602 Information Systems/Technology (3) ^
  • NURS 603 Adv Clinical Pharmacology (3)
  • NURS 604 Advanced Clin Pathophysiology (3)
  • NURS 605 Advanced Health Assessment (4)
  • NURS 606 Rural Health Promotion (3) ^
  • NURS 606L Rural Health Promotion Lab (3)
  • NURS 607-607L Primary Care of Adults (3), Primary Care of Adults Lab (3)
  • NURS 608-608L Primary Care of Older Adults (3), Prim. Care of Older Adults Lab (3)
  • NURS 609-609L Primary Care of Women (2), Primary Care of Women Lab (2)
  • NURS 610-610L Primary Care of Children (2), Primary Care of Children Lab (2)
  • NURS 611 Advanced Research Methods (3) ^
  • NURS 612 Evidence Based Practice (3) ^
  • NURS 613 Program Develop/Evaluation (3) ^
  • NURS 614 System-Based Leadership (3) ^
  • NURS 615 Health Policy: Local to Global (4) ^
  • NURS 616 Health Economics (3) ^
  • NURS 617 Practice Inquiry/Project (6) ^

^ MSN entry students take starred courses plus at least one elective.

Tuition Schedule

Students in this program pay the Graduate Nursing Tuition Rate. Resident and Non-Resident rates are available.

UH Hilo Tuition Schedule
UH Hilo Fees Schedule

Total Credits in Program:
BSN-DNP: 73-79 Credits
MSN-DNP: 37-40 Credits

Students are charged tuition on a per credit hour basis up until 12 credits per semester.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does it take to complete the program?
The BSN to DNP program is designed to be completed in 3 years; MSN to DNP in 2 years, in full-time status.

2. What are the entrance requirements?
See Check List and Criteria for Admission on the front of this form.

3. Do I have to take the GRE?
No, the GRE exam is not required.

4. How does the program work?
Courses are offered using an executive model, with online courses that are geared towards working professionals. However, BSN-DNP students will need to be on-campus four times and MSN-DNP students will need to be on campus three times during your time in the program. Itineraries and dates will be provided in advance so that you may work out your schedule.

5. How much will it cost to live in Hilo?
You should budget approximately $46,000 (residents) and $68,000 (non-residents) for the first year for tuition, books, housing, food, and personal expenses. Subsequent years require fewer credits so overall costs will be slightly less.

6. Is financial aid available?
Contact the UH Hilo Financial Aid Office for information: (808) 932-7449.

7. Do I need a computer?
Yes, you will need access to webcam or video functions on your computer. In addition, you will need a program called Typhon, to help log your clinical hours.

8. Can I take the program part-time?
No, part-time enrollment is not currently available.

9. Is there a website for the program?
Yes, the School of Nursing website has pertinent program information.

10. Can I take classes as an unclassified student?
Yes, contact the Graduate Division on how to apply as an unclassified student. A total of 9 credits may be taken as an unclassified graduate student.

For questions regarding program information, contact the DNP Co-Coordinators

Dr. Catherine Marin


Bobbie Elisala

UH Hilo School of Nursing Office: (808) 932-7067

For questions regarding the application process, contact:

UH Hilo Graduate Division
200 West Kāwili St,
Hilo HI 96720-4091

(808) 932-7927

For financial aid assistance, contact:

UH Hilo Financial Aid Office
200 W. Kāwili St.
Hilo, HI 96720-4091

(808) 932-7449, fax: (808) 932-7459