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Transformative Leadership: Systems DNP Admissions

Program Prerequisites

Program entry can be achieved through various paths:

  • MSN and APRN certification (NP, CNS, CRNA, CNM)
  • MSN in health care leadership or nursing informatics
  • BSN and a non-nursing master’s in a health-related field (MBA, MPH, MHA, etc.).

A graduate-level biostatistics/epidemiology and research course must be completed prior to matriculation.

Additional coursework and a summer start date may be required.

MSN clinical specialty educational programs need to have provided at least 500 clock hours of supervised and specialty practicum. Applicants who do not meet this requirement are reviewed on an individual basis.

Applicants may also have NEA-BC or CENP certification to meet part of the master’s clock hour requirement. Additional clinical hours may need to be completed in the Systems DNP program.

If you have a direct entry master’s degree, only the clinical leadership immersion hours count toward the 500 hours.

We highly recommend that you review the AACN Essentials and the AONL Nurse Leader Competencies before applying.

Non-nursing master’s degrees

Applicants with a non-nursing master’s degree will be required to complete graduate-level nursing research and biostatistics courses.

These courses may be taken at RUSH or transferred in from another school of nursing.

Applicants intending to complete the courses at RUSH should apply for summer admission.

Applicants from non-nursing master’s programs have not completed 500 hours of nursing leadership practicum. To meet the 500 hours of leadership specialty practicum, there are two options:

If eligible, become nurse executive certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (NE-BC or NEA-BC) of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (CENP)

An additional six hours of leadership specialty practicum will be added to the DNP plan of study

Newer master’s degree graduates

It can be challenging for newer master’s degree graduates to create a substantial CV to demonstrate their leadership abilities.

Discuss your educational plans with our program director, Melinda Earle, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAONL, prior to submitting your application. This gives you an opportunity to evaluate program match and timing.

Admission Guidelines

Applications are evaluated based on the following:

We evaluate applicants based on the following:

  • A minimum of a master’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • GPAs of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Substantive answers to personal essay questions (included in the Program Materials section of NursingCAS).
  • Three professional letters of recommendation.
    • One letter must be from current manager (the person who is responsible for your evaluation).
    • Two letters must be from individuals in leadership positions who can speak to your clinical abilities.
    • One academic faculty member may be used if the coursework has been completed within the past two years.
    • Choose recommenders who know you well and can evaluate your abilities, critical thinking and potential for successfully completing graduate school.
    • Recommendations from friends, relatives or co-workers will not be accepted. Your application will be delayed or denied.
  • Resume or CV that includes the following information:
    • Community service.
    • Educational, leadership and professional organization activities.
    • Nursing license number and state.
    • Scholarly activities, including publications, presentations, research, honors and awards.
    • Work experience.
  • TOEFL scores if required.
  • Personal interviews with faculty.
  • Clinical hours verification form.

GRE scores are not required.

We place significant weight on your application essay, interview and leadership background due to the nature of the program.

If you fail to submit accurate or all required information, we will not consider you application for admission.

Enrollment restrictions for certain state residents

Online courses and programs are restricted in certain states.

We are unable to offer enrollment into our online programs to residents of the following states:

  • Louisiana
  • Tennessee

We are unable to offer enrollment into our advanced practice specialty online programs to residents of New York.

We are also unable to offer enrollment to residents of Canada.

If you do not reside in Illinois, contact your state’s higher education regulation authority for more details.

Information Sessions

Zoom sessions are offered the first Thursday of the month at noon Central Time in February, April, June, August, October and December.

How to Apply to the Transformative Leadership: Systems DNP Program

Applications are submitted through NursingCAS, the centralized application service for nursing.

NursingCAS collects and processes your application documents and verifies transcripts. We receive the information from NursingCAS and use it to make our admission decision.

How to apply:

  • Submit a completed application to NursingCAS.
    • You will be asked to enter the specific program.
    • You may apply to only one RUSH program and one admission term.
  • Pay the non-refundable $80 fee to NursingCAS.
  • Complete the brief RUSH supplemental application, which will be sent to you after submitting your application to NursingCAS. The supplemental application fee is $40.

We recommend that you complete your application and have all official transcripts sent to Nursing CAS well before the application deadline. It can take several weeks for NursingCAS to verify and process your transcripts.

We will not consider your application if it is inaccurate or incomplete.

Contact Our Admissions Office