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Post-MSN to DNP Nurse Executive
The UAB School of Nursing provides support and assistance to MSN and DNP students in securing appropriate clinical placement sites and qualified preceptors from among more than 5,000 clinical affiliates.

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 Nurse Executive Pathway 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 and 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.

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Next Open House: September 10, 2024
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Program Information

  • 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.
    • Have at least 3 years of mid-level leadership with preference given to executive level leadership.
    • 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 gradschool@uab.edu 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.
    • Upon admission, a GAP analysis will be performed to determine if the didactic content (coursework) and the 500 clinical or administrative practicum hours according to your advance specialty track required for entry into the Post-MSN to DNP pathway have been met. If not, appropriate bridge coursework may be added to the program of study.


  • 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

    Entry Date: Spring 2025
    Deadline: October 4, 2024
  • Program Outcomes

    Upon completion of the Nurse Executive Pathway, 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 study1

    Year One - Spring Term
    NEX 710 Evidence-Based Healthcare Improvement3 hours
    NEX 702 Executive Coaching2 hours
    NEX 703Q Scientific Underpinnings for Executive Practice3 hours
    Immersion Session4 days
    Year One - Summer Term
    NEX 712 Healthcare Program Implementation and Evaluation Methods for Organizational Improvement6 hours
    NEX 739 Executive Project Execution and Evaluation1 hour
    Year One - Fall Term
    NEX 702 Executive Coaching2 hours
    NEX 704Q Healthcare Technologies, Innovations & Analytics5 hours
    NEX 739 Executive Project Execution and Evaluation1 hour
    Year Two - Spring Term
    NEX 705Q Healthcare Finance Strategies3 hours
    NEX 711 Policy Perspectives for Executive Leadership3 hours
    NEX 739 Executive Project Execution and Evaluation1 hour
    Immersion Session4 days
    Year Two - Summer Term
    NEX 708Q Strategic Leadership for Healthcare Transformation3 hours
    NEX 739 Executive Project Execution and Evaluation1 hour
    NEX 707 Executive Fellowship (120 clinical hours)2 hours
    Year Two - Fall Term
    NEX 709Q Population Health for Healthcare Transformation3 hours
    NEX 739 Executive Project Execution and Evaluation (360 clinical hours for completing 6 credit hours throughout program)2 hours
    NEX 702 Executive Coaching (360 clinical hours for completing 6 credit hours throughout program)2 hours
    Immersion Session4 days
    Total43 hours
    NEX 739Q Executive Project Execution and Evaluation (Minimum of 6 credits before graduating)

    1Program of study is subject to change.

  • Tuition and Fees

    The following tuition and fees are valid for the 2023-2024 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 website.

    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 2023-2024
    Charge ($)
    Charge ($)
    DNP Coursework (in classroom per semester hour)5951,461
    DNP Coursework (distance-accessible format per semester hour)682682
    Fees - UAB School of NursingCost ($)
    Educational Support and Technology Fee (per course)235
    Other Related Expenses (Estimated)Cost ($)
    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) 1270
    Background Check (annual estimate)92
    1 Estimate based on one student. 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 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 https://www.uab.edu/nursing/home/scholarships-financial-aid

    For information about School of Nursing Scholarships, contact:

    Photo of Stephanie Hamberger
    Stephanie Hamberger, MPA
    Director of Student Engagement, Recruitment and Scholarships

    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 Katrina Staffney (email: KatrinaStaffney@uab.edu), 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 JoeAnn Kennedy (email: joeann@uab.edu), 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
    Email: IntlAdmin@uab.edu
    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 for this program
    College Degree (MSN Equivalent or higher)Required
    Foreign Transcripts EvaluatedRequired
    English ProficiencyRequired
    Graduate Record Exam (GRE)Required
    Licensure as a Registered Nurse in the U.S.Required

    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
        Website: www.ece.org
      • World Education Services
        Bowling Green Station
        P.O. Box 5087
        New York, NY 10274-5087 USA
        Website: www.wes.org
    • 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.


Jacqueline Lavier

Jacqueline Lavier


DNP Pathway Manager
Office of Student Success


Heather Nelson-Brantley

Heather Nelson-Brantley


Director, Nurse Executive DNP Pathway