Nurse Anesthesia DNP Program FAQ

Program Details

Graduates of the program earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in nurse anesthesia. 

The program takes 36 months, or three years, to complete. (This program is full time only.)

Core courses are taught by experienced CRNA didactic faculty members. Didactic courses are designed to prepare students to be safe practitioners and successfully pass the National Certification Exam. Core courses are taught on site by College of Nursing faculty, with others offered online. Seminars on special topics are taught by CRNAs, MDs, or other qualified health care professionals.

  • Clinical: 1:1
  • Didactic: 5:1
  • Advising: 5:1

The didactic portion of the program is heavier during the first year. During the third semester, students attend classes and spend 10 days in the operating room for orientation and observation. The following semester, students spend one or two days in the operating room, and from the fifth semester forward, students spend all of their time in the operating room. Clinical experiences are tailored so each student graduates fully prepared to immediately fill the role of CRNA.

The program is full time, and students spend about 64 hours a week in classes and/or at clinical sites. This does not include time required to study or prepare. In addition, during some clinical rotations, students must take in-house call on nights, weekends and holidays as part of scheduled clinical hours.

While didactic course follow the university's schedule, clinical rotations do not. Starting in the third semester, students are scheduled year-round at their clinical sites, unless they are in class or on vacation.

This program is time-intensive and rigorous; however, some students choose to work during the first and second semesters before their clinicals start.


Most successful applicants have at least two years'€™ experience in the ICU. One year of full-time critical care experience as a registered nurse must be completed prior to applying to the program. Critical care experience includes adult and pediatric intensive care units only. The college does not accept the following units as critical care experience: neonatal ICU, ICU step-down, operating room, post-anesthesia care unit, invasive radiology/cardiology, or emergency room. Highest priority goes to candidates currently working in a high acuity, large hospital ICU setting where they are most likely to have a broad range of experience.

In addition to the required critical care experience and GPA, the college strongly considers written and oral communication skills, professionalism, critical thinking skills and leadership potential.

The college looks for basic sciences courses, including anatomy and physiology, chemistry and pharmacology. A grade of B or higher in these courses is recommended.

Yes, UC conducts a holistic review of applicants, which includes GRE scores, unless you have a master's or doctoral degree in any field and earned an overall graduate GPA of 3.5 or above on a 4.0 scale. Official GRE scores must be submitted to the University of Cincinnati (not NursingCAS). Scores must be from within five years of the NursingCAS application deadline.

If your GRE scores are low, we recommend you attend a preparatory course and retake the exam. If your previous GPA is low, we encourage you to take several graduate-level courses in nursing, statistics, or basic health sciences (such as physiology, chemistry, or pharmacology) prior to applying. Include a statement with your application explaining your previous GPA and indicating the graduate courses you have taken. Be sure to have an official transcript of these courses sent to the university as part of your application.

Yes, CCRN certification is required for acceptance. The university must receive proof of certification by the application deadline. Applicants who hold other certifications (such as CNRN, TNCC, CEN, CFRN) should submit documentation of these with their application as well.

One reference must be written by your direct clinical manager. If you have changed jobs within the past six months, a reference from your previous clinical manager could be more appropriate. Other references should come from professional clinicians or educators very familiar with your abilities. Do not send references from CRNAs or anesthesiologists unless you work with them closely and frequently as part of your duties. References from interns or residents are not appropriate.

For those working as travel nurses, reference letters should come from someone who can speak to your skill level, such as a current charge nurse or someone in charge of renewing your hospital contract. References from your travel agency are not appropriate.

Submitting your application by the priority consideration deadline ensures you will be considered for an interview. The application window could close sooner than the listed final deadline, if enough qualified individuals apply.

Interview Process

The social/behavioral interview uses many short independent assessments, typically in a timed circuit, to obtain an aggregate score of each candidate's soft skills.  

Although there are several resources available online to prepare for interviews, applicants must realize there are no right or wrong answers. Students must be able to defend their opinions and arguments by communicating effectively and demonstrating understanding of the situation. Approach your interviews with an open mind. If you are mature, thoughtful, and considerate, the social/behavioral interview format will likely work to your advantage.

Interviews typically take place in April.

We encourage you to attend your interview at University of Cincinnati so that you can ask questions and make an informed choice for your education. Unfortunately, we cannot make any offers of acceptance until the interview process is completed for all applicants. Many applicants find the quality of the program, experienced faculty, variety of local clinical sites and competitive tuition rate at UC more than make up for a deposit paid to another program.

Yes, interviews can be completed in person or virtually.

If you're traveling to the college, check out the university's Visitors page for accommodations, campus maps, directions and more.