Post-MSN to DNP Pathway for Nurse Executives

The Post-MSN to DNP Pathway for Nurse Executives is a practice-focused terminal degree to prepare graduates to practice at the highest level in executive leadership positions in healthcare.

Graduates of the Pathway for Nurse Executives focus on leading the provision of health care to populations and communities with an emphasis on improving quality and access to health services for diverse populations.

Graduates employ health system-level leadership abilities and skills to advocate for reasonable, rational, and data driven health regulations, standards, and evidence-based practices; sustain collaborative and strategic relationships, promote innovative and effective health programs; and form partnerships with diverse groups to address health challenges and disparities.

Graduates are prepared to assume executive positions to address critical health system issues.

The curriculum is offered in a distance accessible format that combines core courses offered via an online platform with required on-campus intensives (4-5 days each) in the first, fourth, and sixth semesters.

DNP Nurse Executives Photo
Learn more about the Nurse Executive Pathway Visit our Nurse Executive Virtual Open House.
Talk with our faculty and staff.
Next Open House: Wednesday, February 10th, 2021
From 6:30 to 7:30 PM

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must meet the following requirements for admission:

  • Evidence of an unencumbered and unrestricted licensed as a registered nurse.
  • A master’s degree in nursing (nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nursing administration, clinical nurse leader, nursing informatics, or nurse anesthetist) or a master’s degree in business or health administration with a health emphasis.
  • 3 to 5 years of experience in a mid-level or senior leader role.
  • Aim for future health-related executive roles.
  • A graduate GPA of at least 3.0 overall (based on a 4.0 scale) or in the last 60 hours of earned credit.
  • Submission of an official transcript from every college or university ever attended.
    • Transcripts may be mailed or emailed electronically by the issuing institution to the UAB Graduate School. Transcripts may be emailed to or mailed to UAB Graduate School, LHL G03, 1720 2nd Ave. South, Birmingham, AL 35294-0013.
  • Submission of two favorable evaluations by persons who have knowledge of the applicant’s potential for success in graduate nursing studies and executive leadership; these evaluations are to be completed using the evaluation form.
  • Submission of a personal goal statement that is congruent with the Pathway for Nurse Executives goals (300 words or less).
  • Submission of a letter of endorsement from a leader in a health organization supporting potential for high-level executive success.
  • A scholarly writing sample.
  • Resume/CV
  • A personal interview either face-to-face or by phone.
  • If admitted to the DNP program, students must show proof of completion of a descriptive statistics course, equivalent to UAB’s MA-180, before starting the program.


State Regulations Governing Distance Programs

Out-of-state applicants to any of our distance-accessible programs should become familiar with their state’s regulations governing distance accessible programs. Prospective students residing in states other than Alabama should contact their state’s Board of Nursing and Department of Education for specific rules and regulations pertaining to students enrolled in out-of-state programs and are planning to conduct UABSON distance education in their home state. Only those students who reside in Alabama or those states where the UAB School of Nursing programs are available will be eligible to receive an offer of admission.

More information is available at the State Approval Website for Online Degree Programs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Application for Admission/Application Deadlines

Application Deadlines

For Spring 2021 Entry Date:
Deadline: October 2, 2020

To Start the Application Process

Click here to apply for admission

Click here for detailed application instructions.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the Pathway for Nurse Executives, students will be able to:

  • Synthesize scientific evidence for the development of clinical interventions for practice.
  • Evaluate policy, healthcare delivery, and organizational systems for current and future health care needs.
  • Translate scientific, theoretical, and ethical principles into healthcare for individuals, families, and populations.
  • Incorporate knowledge of current and emerging health technologies to improve healthcare delivery and organizational systems.
  • Advocate for social justice, equity, and ethical policies in healthcare.
  • Demonstrate intra and inter-professional collaboration to address health disparities and to improve the quality of healthcare across diverse populations and cultures.
  • Assume complex leadership roles to advance clinical practice and healthcare delivery at the organizational and systems level and to improve health outcomes of individuals and populations.

Program of Study

Students are expected to follow the program of study.

Year 1
Semester 1
NEX 701QCulture of Health, Quality, and Safety3
NEX 703QScientific Underpinnings for Executive Practice3
Semester 2
NEX 704QHealthcare Technologies, Innovations & Analytics for Executive Leaders5
Semester 3
NEX 744QOrganization Improvement and Program Evaluation Strategies5
Year 2
Semester 1
NEX 705QHealthcare Finance Strategies3
NEX 758QResearch and Health Policy3
Semester 2
Strategic Leadership for Healthcare Transformation6
Semester 3
NEX 706QContemporary Issues: Global and National Perspectives3
NEX 709QPopulation Health for Healthcare Transformation3
Variable Credit Courses for Individualized Scheduling Across Program of Study
NEX 702QExecutive Coaching6
NEX 707QExecutive Fellowship3
NEX 739QExecutive Project Execution and Evaluation6

Tuition and Fees

  • The following tuition and fees are valid for the 2019-2020 academic year. Tuition and fees and are SUBJECT TO CHANGE annually based on approval from the University of Alabama Board of Trustees and/or University.
  • The estimates below are based on the costs listed at the UAB Office of Planning and Analysis Web site (Tuition and Fees).
  • Each student’s costs will vary depending upon a number of factors including state of residence, the number of credits taken in a semester, or whether the student attends class live or through a distance-accessible format. Fees vary by program and course.
Tuition and Fees
UAB School of Nursing 2019-2020
Charge ($)
Charge ($)
DNP Coursework (per semester hour)6561,363
DNP Coursework (distance-accessible format per semester hour)656656
Fees - UAB School of NursingCost ($)
Educational Support and Technology Fee (per course)225
Other Related Expenses (Estimated)Cost ($)
Travel/Lodging for Attending Annual On-Campus DNP Intensive (annual estimate)800
Books and supplies (estimate per term)600
Student Hospitalization Insurance Fee (estimate per month) 1200
Background Check (annual estimate)88
1 May be waived with documented proof of equal or greater coverage

Funding Your Education

UAB Financial Aid and Scholarships

Information on Financial Aid, University Scholarships and other funding opportunities is available at:

UAB Office of Financial AID
Phone: (205) 934-4011

UAB School of Nursing Scholarships

  • The School of Nursing at UAB has an excellent scholarship program that provides financial support to Alabama’s best and brightest nursing students.
  • Currently, the School’s scholarship portfolio consists of 76 endowed scholarships and 3 active sponsored scholarships.
  • The school currently has an $10.1 million endowed fund that supports nursing scholarships annually.
  • Scholarships are awarded twice a year – spring and fall semesters. The scholarship application process is simple. One application is needed to be considered for all undergraduate or graduate scholarships.
  • Application and additional information can be found at

For Information about School of Nursing Scholarships, Contact:

Photo: Stephanie Hamberger
Director of Student Engagement,
Recruitment, and Scholarships
Office of Student Success

Fellowship, Traineeship, and Other Funding for Graduate Programs

There are a limited number of Graduate Fellowships and Traineeships that are awarded through the UAB School of Nursing that require students to meet specific requirements, and are only awarded when funds are available. When such funds are available in a particular program, students enrolled in the program will be notified and provided information on how to apply. Contact Ms. Laura Terpo (email:, Office of Academic Affairs for more information.

Nurse Faculty Loan

Federal Nurse Faculty Loan Funds are available to all DNP students who intend to assume a faculty position in a school of nursing upon completion of the degree. These funds are limited to payment of tuition and fees and other reasonable educational expenses. Contact Ms. Laura Terpo (email:, Office of Academic Affairs for more information.

Information for International Students

NOTE: Prospective International students must first contact UAB International Admissions to determine eligibility to study in the U.S. and/or submit an application for admission to UAB.

UAB International Admissions
Phone: (205) 934-4686
Fax: (205) 934-8664

The table below provides information on eligibility requirements for the DNP Program.

F1 or J1 Visa AcceptableNot Eligible
College DegreeX - MSN Equivalent or higher
Foreign Transcripts EvaluatedX
English ProficiencyX
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)X
Licensure as a Registered Nurse in the U.S.X
X = Requirement must be completed or condition met

Application Requirements

  • Prospective students must have a master’s degree in nursing equivalent to that offered by a U.S. regionally accredited educational institution.
  • For Graduate Clinical Programs such as the Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program, prospective students must also be licensed as a registered nurse in the U.S., in the state in which they will reside while completing the program.
  • International applicants must, as part of their application, provide a detailed course by course evaluation of their academic transcripts and verification of their academic credentials. Students may use one of the following firms for transcript evaluation; a report of the evaluation must be submitted directly to the UAB School of Nursing prior to admission decisions.
    • Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
      P.O. Box 514070
      Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470 USA
    • World Education Services
      Bowling Green Station
      P.O. Box 5087
      New York, NY 10274-5087 USA
  • Applicants must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale on prior college/university course work.
  • Applicants must complete and submit their scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as part of the application process. If the GRE was completed prior to application, only scores completed within the previous 5 years are accepted.
  • Completion of a formal admission interview.
  • Meet English language requirements. Students must submit scores on Tests of English Language (TOEFL or IELTS) and achieve the following minimum scores:
    • TOEFL iBT 80 and minimum of 18 in each of the 4 test sections, or
    • IELTS 6.5 and minimum of 6.0 in at least 2 of the 4 test sections.