The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a terminal degree type (i.e. the most superior form of advanced degree the nursing field). Depending on the pathway a nursing student chooses to take, DNPs can prepare them to work either in organizational/educational settings or in clinical settings.

In Tennessee, post-master's DNP programs typically range between 28 and 38 credit hours, depending on the specific track selected, while the BSN to DNP tracks requires the completion of 65 to 72-unit hours.

DNP program outcomes in state of Tennessee include:

  • Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment/scholarship in nursing practice.
  • Critically analyze complex clinical situations and practice systems.
  • Evaluate and apply conceptual models, theories, and research in order to improve healthcare of diverse populations.
  • Systematically investigate a clinically focused area of nursing in order to advance healthcare.
  • Analyze the social, economic, political, and policy components of healthcare systems which affect care planning and delivery.
  • Assume leadership roles in the development of clinical practice models, health policy, and standards of care.
  • Integrate professional values and ethical decision-making in advanced nursing practice.

Choosing a DNP Program

There are a variety of schools in Tennessee that offer DNP programs. Choosing the right one for you will take some research. The following key elements should be considered before a DNP program is chosen.

What to Consider When Choosing a DNP Program

  • Program Cost— Tuition for DNP programs in Tennessee will vary from program to program. Residents of Tennessee attending a public university can expect to pay around $573 per unit hour. If you're a non-resident attending at public institution, expect to pay around $817 per unit hour. If you decide on attending a private institution in Tennessee, tuition will be between $1,300 and $1,450 per unit hour.
  • Online Options— Of the 8 universities offering DNP programs in Tennessee, 7 deliver the program to students in an online or hybrid online/in-class format, for example:
    • Southern Adventist University—offers a post master’s DNP program that is available primarily an online. There are only three required on-campus visits throughout the program.
    • The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga—offers a DNP program that can be pursued completely online. Students are only required to come to campus for an orientation at the beginning of the program and again for the qualifying exam
    • Union University—the post-master’s DNP program is delivered in a hybrid format. Students are required to come to campus for four one-week sessions throughout the program, with the remainder of the course requirements completed online.
  • Accreditation— DNP programs in the state of Tennessee can be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
  • Clinical Residencies— Fellowships and residencies are a crucial part of the DNP curriculum, and can include opportunities such as:

Admission & State Licensing or Certification Requirements


Admission to the DNP programs in Tennessee will differ from program to program; however, prospective nursing students who expect to be admitted should have the following:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from a nationally accredited baccalaureate-granting institution with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA from all undergraduate coursework
  • Official transcripts from all previous academic institutions attended
  • Proof of a current RN license from the student’s state of residence and/or practice. A Tennessee RN license or a license from a state that is in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is required for clinical experiences in Tennessee
  • Graduate Record Examination taken within the last five years
  • Complete a basic health assessment and statistics course (for BSN applicants)
  • Interview with faculty
  • Submit a resume/CV submission
  • Personal essay


DNP programs at universities in Tennessee permit nursing students to sit for state board certification upon completion of programs. DNP tracks offered at universities in Tennessee prepare students to become certified in advanced practice nursing specialties including but not limited to:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice – Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – Adult/Gerontology
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice – Lifestyle Therapeutics
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice – Acute Care Specialization
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Executive Leadership


In Tennessee, nursing students who have successfully finished DNP programs will need to be licensed by the Board of Nursing—Tennessee. Requirements for licensure include:

  • Completing an application
  • Provide transcripts from all educational institutions
  • Submit verification of specialty certification
  • Complete fingerprinting
  • Pass a background check

Tennessee BSN to DNP Program Options

Of the 8 universities offering DNP programs in the state of Tennessee, 7 programs deliver BSN to DNP pathways to students.

  • Belmont University
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Southern Adventist University
  • The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • The University of Tennessee
  • Union University
  • Vanderbilt University

Related Education Paths

Helpful DNP Agencies and Organizations in Tennessee

List of Campus and Online DNP Programs in Tennessee

Bristol, TN

1350 King College Road
Bristol, TN 37620
(800) 362-0014

Chattanooga, TN

615 McCallie Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 425-4416

Cookeville, TN

DNP Programs
Whitson-Hester School of Nursing
1 William L Jones Dr.
Cookeville, TN 38505
(931) 372-3101

Harrogate, TN

DNP Programs
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752
(423) 869-3611

Jackson, TN

Johnson City, TN

Knoxville, TN

Memphis, TN

Nashville, TN

DNP Programs
1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212
(615) 460-6000

DNP Programs
School of Nursing
461 21st ave South
Nashville, TN 37240
(615) 322-4400

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

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