Requirements for MSN & DNP

Admission Requirements for the MSN and DNP Programs

Are you ready to take on even greater responsibility in your nursing career? If so, we invite you to apply online for the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program at Creighton University College of Nursing. We also have many Post-Graduate Certificates available. No GRE or thesis is required!

Application materials must be received by the following dates:

  • Spring start: No later than Oct. 1
  • Summer start: No later than Oct. 1
  • Fall start: No later than May 1

You must submit:

  • $50 application fee
  • Official transcripts from every university and college you attended
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater on a 4.0 scale
  • BSN from an NLN- or CCNE-accredited college or university
  • Active, Unencumbered RN license
    • For MSN to DNP and Post-Graduate Certificate: Unencumbered APRN license (no APRN required for CNL post-graduate certificate)
  • ​See tabs below for more admissions information


  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from a college/university accredited by the National League for Nursing (NLN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater on a 4.0 scale
  • Successful completion of undergraduate statistics course and physical assessment course or equivalent
  • A current, unencumbered, R.N. license with Nebraska eligibility
  • 2,000 hours of professional nursing work experience in direct patient care prior to enrollment in clinical courses
  • 4,000 hours of direct care in level III NICU prior to enrollment in clinical neonatal courses
  • 2,000 hours of direct care in pediatrics prior to enrollment in clinical courses for those entering into a pediatric track
  • 2,000 hours of direct patient care in psychiatric mental health (prior to clinical courses in psychiatric mental health track only)

Post-Graduate to DNP Students:

You must have verification of the clinical/practicum hours completed in your master’s/certificate program in one of the following ways:

  • The clinical/practicum hours completed in the master’s program are clearly identified on the transcript
  • Syllabi for the clinical/practicum courses are submitted and the clinical/practicum hours are identified
  • A letter from an official from the institution where the master’s degree was granted verifying the clinical/practicum hours

Personal Statement

For MSN Applicants:

Your personal statement should outline:

  • Your short- and long-term educational and professional goals
  • How earning the MSN degree will aid in reaching those goals

For DNP Applicants:

Your personal statement should outline:

  • Your short- and long-term educational and professional goals
  • How earning the DNP degree will aid in reaching those goals
  • A practice problem you’ve encountered and a description of your role in effecting change to alleviate or correct the problem
  • Your area of interest for the evidence-based quality improvement (QI) project and a description of one outcome you would like to address. Only for Post-Graduate to DNP (MSN-DNP) student.

Transfer Credits

  • Transfer credit hours will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Credit earned with grades "A" or "B" at other accredited graduate institutions may be considered for transfer at the time  a student’s plan of study is constructed. Transfer credit accepted after the plan of study is constructed will be reviewed on an individual basis. The acceptance of credit offered for transfer will be determined by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs upon  recommendation of the student’s Academic Advisor and Program Chair. However, no more than nine (9) transfer credits will be applicable toward a DNP degree. Allowance of credit toward a DNP degree for courses taken as a Special Student (non-degree status) may not exceed nine (9) semester hours.

Letters of Recommendation

In our online application, you will be asked to provide the email addresses of your three references. Family members, friends or friends of your family cannot complete letters of recommendation. Keep in mind:

  • You’ll need three recommendation/appraisal forms from persons addressing your current and potential competency in nursing and academic potential. One recommendation must be from an employer/supervisor.
  • If you’re applying during your last semester of undergraduate education as a Bachelor of Nursing student, you are required to have a recommendation from a recent clinical instructor and/or preceptor.
  • The forms attached to your application must be submitted — a letter will not satisfy the admission requirement.

Please note: You may want to confirm with your references that they will be able to rate you on the following criteria:

  • Emotional maturity
  • Dependability/responsibility
  • Moral qualities/ethical standards
  • Initiative, motivation
  • Persistence
  • Leadership
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Personal integrity
  • Retention of information
  • Analytical ability
  • Judgment/critical thinking
  • Ability to problem solve
  • Creativity
  • Demonstrates potential for success or advanced practice nursing clinical competence
  • Ability to work effectively with others
  • Quality of written communication
  • Quality of spoken communication

International Students

Due to the specific features and requirements of these programs, international students cannot be admitted. Unique situations may be discussed with your enrollment specialist.


Any course work taken at an accredited institution outside of the United States must be evaluated course-by-course by a NACES approved credentialing agency. A list of approved agencies can be found here. Official evaluations must be sent directly from the agency to Creighton University.


Are the MSN and DNP programs online?
Our graduate curriculum is delivered through a hybrid of online and campus-based courses. The number of required campus visits is dependent upon the specific track you choose. Semesters with nonclinical courses can be completed online. Distance clinical availability can vary based on state regulations.

What is the difference between the MSN and DNP?
The changing demands of this nation’s complex healthcare environment require an advanced level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise to assure high quality patient outcomes. The DNP is the highest level of preparation for clinical practice. The DNP is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree and offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. The DNP is a professional doctorate. You will complete six additional courses and double the clinical hours above those required to complete an MSN.

When is the application deadline? / What is rolling admission?
Creighton College of Nursing admits students into the MSN and DNP program on a rolling basis. Our admissions committee meets about once a month to review and evaluate completed applications. Applications must be considered by the last committee meeting prior to the beginning of each semester; therefore, the deadlines to complete an application are:

  • Fall start: May 1
  • Spring start: October 1
  • Summer start: October 1


When should I apply?
Admissions decisions are made quickly and on a rolling basis. You are welcome to submit an application at any time for any semester start within the year.

Do I have to have my BSN degree and RN license before I can apply to the program?
We do accept new graduates into our MSN and DNP program. Acceptance to the program can be given conditionally within one semester of completing a BSN degree and obtaining an RN license. You are able to begin the program prior to receiving your RN license, but should be working to obtain it as soon as possible. You are also required to complete 2,000 hours of direct patient care as an RN prior to taking any clinical coursework. The neonatal nurse practitioner track requires 4,000 hours of direct patient care in a neonatal intensive care unit. You are able to begin the program prior to having these hours completed but must be working toward completing them or you will not be able to progress with your intended plan of study.

What if my GPA is below a 3.0?
We do prefer a minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.0; however we do review all complete applications and weigh acceptance on every aspect of the application, which includes the personal statement and recommendation forms. We calculate a cumulative GPA of all of your previous undergraduate coursework. While we do consider all applications, a GPA below a 3.0 may be grounds for a decline.

What financial aid is available?
You will complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to qualify for federal aid. The College of Nursing does offer need-based and endowed scholarships once you are a student here but does not award scholarships upon acceptance into the program. You are welcome to contact Creighton’s Financial Aid Office with further questions at 402.280.2731.

Do I need letters of recommendation?
We require the completion of three recommendation forms, which we provide. We need one recommendation from a nursing employer or supervisor. The other two recommendations can come from colleagues of your choosing. However, we do not accept family or friend recommendations. We will accept actual letters of recommendation only as supporting documentation. For new BSN graduates who do not have a current nursing employer, we will accept clinical instructor or preceptor recommendations in place of that requirement and strongly recommend submitting academic references for the other two recommendations.

Should I apply through NursingCAS?
You are not required to submit an application through NursingCAS. However, if you are required to use the system for another school, you are welcome to designate Creighton as well. We will accept your transcripts and recommendations submitted through NursingCAS. We do not require a supplemental application to be completed through the College of Nursing’s website, however please be sure  to visit our website to have a clear understanding of all admission requirements.

My previous degree is from Creighton University. Do I still need to request those transcripts to be sent?
No. We are able to access those transcripts for you; however, any non-Creighton transcripts that you previously submitted to Creighton for your previous degree will need to be resent. 

Where should I have my transcripts mailed?
All transcripts and application materials can be emailed to EnrollmentServices [at] creighton [dot] edu (Enrollment Services) or mailed to:

Creighton University
Enrollment Services
College of Nursing
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178


Once you have met the academic qualifications for acceptance into Creighton’s College of Nursing, you will be required to complete the Safety and Technical Standards form. This is designed to validate your ability to meet the cognitive, affective and psychomotor requirements of the curriculum, with or without reasonable accommodations, consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act.