Post-Doctoral Nurse Practitioner Certificates

These certificates are designed for the APRN with a Ph.D. or DNP who wants to obtain a new specialty in one of two nurse practitioner specialty options. 

Students may need to reduce work hours to accommodate completion of the specialty clinical practicum (510 hours).

Course Delivery

The Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions programs blend three instructional strategies to produce an engaged learning curriculum. The first strategy is immersion: our programs include face-to-face meetings conducted at the Irvine campus. During these immersion sessions, students may receive orientation instruction; work as teams with peers and mentors; participate in demonstrations, simulation exercises, assessments or evaluations; complete hands-on skills training in a simulation center using standardized patients and/or high-fidelity manikins. Many courses include additional real-time instruction via web conference, phone conference, or live chat sessions. The second is practical experience: our programs include internships or supervised clinical practice residencies conducted where the student lives or works. The third is self-directed study: all courses include online lectures, discussions, social networking, demonstrations, tutorials, readings, or other homework.

Students in the Certificate program are required to attend 2 immersion sessions; the first is a virtual immersion to learn how to be a virtual student and to be oriented to the resources of the University.  The second immersion is for 3 days before starting the initial precepted clinical practicum course to learn advanced practice clinical skills in the new specialty.

Attendance: Students may be dismissed from the program at the Dean’s discretion due to absence from required meetings.

Admission to the Program

Admission into the post-doctoral certificate programs is once a year in January (Spring I).

2022-2023 Application Deadlines: Post-doctoral Certificates

  • Final completed application deadline for Spring I, 2023 admission is October 15, 2022

2023-2024 Application Deadlines: Post-doctoral Certificates

  • Final completed application deadline for Spring I, 2024 admission is October 15, 2023

Admission Requirements

  1. Complete a Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions application available online at
  2. DNP or Ph.D. degree from a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or a National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) accredited program.
  3. National certification as an APRN or CNS.
  4. Official transcripts from all regionally accredited institutions where post-baccalaureate coursework was completed or attempted. 
  5. Current and detailed resume or curriculum vita.
  6. *Unencumbered RN license in the State where you plan to do your precepted clinical practicum hours.
  7. *Unencumbered APRN license in your current specialty.
  8. Self-evaluation and goal statement.
  9. Three online forms (preferred) or letters of recommendation.
  10. Personal interview with the specialty Program Director(s).

CastleBranch Requirements 

All requirements are due by the end of the first session and are required to stay in compliance (current and updated) throughout your program.  All proof/documentation must be on file within 6 months prior to the start of clinical practicum courses.  Students who do not start their specialty clinical practicum courses due to incomplete CastleBranch requirements will require a modified education plan, which may result in a program completion delay for up to one year.

Immunization and Health Screening Requirements:

  • Proof of annual negative Tuberculosis (TB) screening:
    • TB blood test (IGRA) OR
    • Negative chest x-ray accompanied by a signed provider negative symptom checklist.
  • Proof of completion of Hepatitis A and B immunization series or titer demonstrating immunity.
  • Proof of two doses of Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) immunization or titer demonstrating immunity.
  • Proof of one Tetanus/diphtheria/acellular pertussis (Tdap) immunization (after 19 years of age) and boosters per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s adult vaccination schedule.
  • Proof of Chicken Pox (Varicella) immunization or titer demonstrating immunity.
  • Proof of annual influenza immunization.
  • Proof of completed COVID-19 immunization.
  • Additional laboratory tests, immunizations, and/or documentation may be required for specific practicum sites.

Additional Requirements:

  • Annual Background Clearance.
  • Annual Proof of negative drug screen.
  • Annual CastleBranch Elearning (HIPAA/OSHA trainings)
  • Copy of current CPR “Level C” Certification (Healthcare Provider) that will not be expiring in the next 12 months.
  • Proof of unencumbered RN license
  • Proof of STUDENT Liability Insurance (1mil/3mil)
  • Any additional laboratory tests, immunizations, and/or documentation required by specific clinical practicum or CSP residency sites (e.g., proof of physical examination, proof of health insurance, etc.).

Catalog Year

Students admitted to the Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions are admitted to the catalog year that is in effect the date when they begin the program (Spring I).

As part of the application process, the Program Director of the chosen specialty will interview the applicant for admission into the specialty.  If approved for admission, an academic advisor will create an individual education plan based on the required specialty courses and additional courses determined by gap analysis.  Additional courses may be transferred up to a maximum of 12 semester graduate credits per the Transfer Credit policy (see Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures). 

National certifying bodies require that all students applying for a new specialty must successfully complete four courses:

Advanced Lifespan Physical Assessment3
Advanced Lifespan Pathophysiology3
Advanced Lifespan Pharmacology Courses3
Nurse Practitioner Role Course3
Total Credits12

Students are required to earn 3 credits in each of the 4 core courses to meet degree credit requirements.  If a student has earned only 2 credits in an approved program, an additional credit may be taken from University of Massachusetts Global to meet the minimum credit requirements for the degree.  For students who have not taken these courses as part of their MSN, these courses are embedded within the education plan.  Upon completion of the DNP, including all courses required for the additional specialty, a student will be eligible to take the national certification exam for their chosen specialty: the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and/or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) to apply for licensure as an APRN in the state where they plan to practice.

All courses must be passed with a grade of “B-” or higher.  Clinical practicum and residency courses are graded Pass/No Pass.  A Pass is equivalent to a “B-” grade.