How to Apply

We're glad to hear you're considering the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program at the CSU. Here you'll find information on prerequisites for applying, financial aid and where to find help to make the application process faster and smoother.

To start, visit the website of the program you want to attend to find details about that program’s admission requirements, including letters of recommendation, transcripts and exam scores. The application period for the 2020-21 academic year will open in October 2020. Deadlines for applications to all programs can be found on their websites:

When you're ready, complete the Graduate application on Cal State Apply.  

Below are answers to some common questions:​

How many students will be admitted each year?
Please contact the CSU DNP program you’re interested in for details on the size of that program’s cohorts for the admission date you're interested in.

Is there a distance education/online option?
The Fresno State and San José​ Programs are online with executive sessions as described in their campus DNP webpages.

The joint Cal State Fullerton-CSU Long Beach-Cal State LA program has traditional classroom instruction with a limited number of online courses.

What types of financial aid can I apply for?
Various types of financial aid may be available to graduate students who qualify and demonstrate a need for these resources. Financial aid programs—which come in a variety of forms, including grants, scholarships and loan programs—are available to assist students in meeting their educational expenses.

Contact the financial aid office at the campus you’re interested in attending for information about assistance available to students enrolled in DNP programs. Information about policies and regulations governing financial assistance programs is available through the every campus’s financial aid office. Due to limited funding, meeting the application deadline for financial assistance is critical; be sure to ask your campus financial aid contact about deadlines.

The Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program 
DNP students may want to consider applying for the Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP). This CSU program provides student loans to a limited number of students pursuing full-time doctoral degrees at accredited universities throughout the U.S. 

Once a participant receives their doctoral degree through the CDIP program and obtains a qualifying instructional position in the CSU, a portion of the loan from this program may be forgiven every year.


Prospective students interested in the post-master's DNP program must be a licensed registered nurse and have an acceptable master's degree in a healthcare field and either certification in, or eligibility for certification in, advanced nursing practice.

Applicants seeking admission to the CSU Southern California Consortium post-baccalaureate-to-DNP program with a specialty in nurse anesthesia must have a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree and meet additional criteria related to nursing practice experience and science coursework.

Admission requirements, course descriptions and clinical specialties can be found at the campus websites below: