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Population Health Nursing

Doctor of Nursing Practice

A UW–Madison DNP student takes a woman's blood pressure.

Develop the specialized knowledge, critical leadership skills, clinical expertise and systems-thinking to improve population health outcomes.


Is this program right for you?

The Doctor of Nursing Practice in Population Health at the University of Wisconsin–Madison emphasizes the values of the nursing profession through an agile, customized course of study. Students will take the lead in applying an upstream perspective on health, coordinating care across providers and sites, collaborating with interdisciplinary teams and community stakeholders, and advocating for policies that support the well-being of individuals, communities and populations.

As part of the larger Doctor of Nursing Practice lineup, the Population Health program is created for the working professional. Courses are offered completely online and practicum are tailored to bridge experiential gaps, pursue your interests, and help you reach future goals. The curriculum offers both flexibility and convenience to complete your degree over the course of three years with fewer disruptions to your life and career.

Graduates of this program will be well prepared to shape population health improvement and lead population health programs. You’ll also be prepared to help resolve some of the greatest challenges we face as a society, including: the rising rates of chronic disease, figuring out how to adequately and affordably care for an aging population, addiction, climate change, emerging infectious diseases and a global pandemic.

Is this program right for you?

The Doctor of Nursing Practice in Population Health at the University of Wisconsin–Madison emphasizes the values of the nursing profession through an agile, customized course of study. Students will take the lead in applying an upstream perspective on health, coordinating care across providers and sites, collaborating with interdisciplinary teams and community stakeholders, and advocating for policies that support the well-being of individuals, communities and populations.

As part of the larger Doctor of Nursing Practice lineup, the Population Health program is created for the working professional. Courses are offered completely online and practicum are tailored to bridge experiential gaps, pursue your interests, and help you reach future goals. The curriculum offers both flexibility and convenience to complete your degree over the course of three years with fewer disruptions to your life and career.

Graduates of this program will be well prepared to shape population health improvement and lead population health programs. You’ll also be prepared to help resolve some of the greatest challenges we face as a society, including: the rising rates of chronic disease, figuring out how to adequately and affordably care for an aging population, addiction, climate change, emerging infectious diseases and a global pandemic.

Admissions requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution. Applicants with prior graduate education may be able to waive up to 18 credits based on previous graduate coursework, pending review of syllabi.
  • Have earned a grade of B or better in a graduate-level statistics course within the last five years. (Note: The course does not need to be taken before applying, but must be successfully completed prior to the start of the fall term.)
  • Have an RN license.
  • Have at least one year of professional experience in nursing, public health or a health-related field.
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 credits of degree. Have a minimum master’s GPA of 3.5 (post-MS applicants only).
  • Have CGFNS certification (international applicants only).
    Submit evidence of English language proficiency, if applicable. The required proficiency scores are: TOEFL IBT 92, PBT 580; MELAB 85 or IELTS 8.0.

Application materials required:

  • Online application
  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation

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Program highlights

  • Courses draw upon some of the nation’s top educators and leaders in nursing, public health, human factors engineering and medicine.
  • Many of our faculty are recognized by the American Academy of Nursing as leaders in nursing who demonstrate sustained and significant impact on health and well-being as well as the profession.

How you'll learn

  • Fully online curriculum.
  • Teaching strategies are based on best practice for adult learners.
  • Course content reflects the DNP Essentials to assure that students are prepared with the expected competencies.
  • Complete coursework, a scholarly project, and supervised practicum hours.
  • Practicum courses will be taught by faculty with experience and expertise in population health.

Sample curriculum

Year One

  • Critical Social Theories in Population Health
  • Nursing Research
  • Leadership Foundations: The Discipline of Nursing Introduction to Epidemiology
  • Health Care and Public Policy
  • Evaluation and Application of Evidence-Based Practice
  • Data-Driven Health Care
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Diverse Communities
  • Leadership and Organizational Decision-Making in Health Care

Year Two

  • Evaluation of Health Informatics Solutions
  • Population Health Practicum I: Working in the Aggregate
  • Population Health Theory and Methods Seminar I: Contemporary Issues and Population Health Ethics
  • Population Health Practicum II: Community Action and Collective Impact
  • Population Health Theory and Methods Seminar II: Interdisciplinary Practice, Collective Impact, and Coalition Building
  • Health Program Planning, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement
    Scholarly Project I

Year Three

  • Population Health Theory and Methods Seminar III: Emerging Issues and Specialized Roles
  • Health Policy Practicum
  • Scholarly Project II
  • Advanced Health Systems Leadership and Innovation
  • Leadership Role Development and Resource Stewardship Practicum
  • Scholarly Project III

Ready to learn more about Population Health Nursing?
View the UW-Madison Guide

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Connect with our enrollment coaches

Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

Visit with our coaches on campus or at an upcoming student fair in your area. Search student fairs & events

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