Doctorate Completion Program

Masters to Doctorate 1-Year Program Overview

  • Length: One-year program; Four (4) quarters; inclusive of capstone project; Additional optional quarter based on project implementation
  • Format: Hybrid Distance Education (majority online), with a two- or three-day intensive session on campus per quarter; program designed for the full-time worker
  • Application Period: January 1 – June 15.  Application period has been extended to June 15
  • Interviews: May/June
  • Class Begins: September
  • Total in Class: Project 6-12 students per cohort
  • Application Fee: $60
  • Tuition: $30,000
  • Eligibility: Master’s prepared and licensed CRNAs seeking a Doctoral Degree in Anesthesia Practice. MTSA offers the only DNAP in the State of Tennessee.

DNAP Program Admission Requirements

MTSA’s Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) program is conducted in a CRNA completion degree format, once each year, with classes beginning in early September. Each of the following criteria must be met for an applicant to be considered for an admission interview. After the June 15 application deadline, the DNAP Program Screening Committee will review the applicant pool to determine which applicants will receive an invitation to interview with the DNAP Program Admissions Committee.

  • Graduation from a COA-Accredited Nurse Anesthesia Program
    Documentation of graduation from a Nurse Anesthesia Educational Program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) by submission of the applicant’s Official CCNA Transcript.
  • Current Certification or Recertification as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
    Applicant must have documentation of current initial certification or recertification as a CRNA, from the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).
  • Current active membership with the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
    Applicant must have documentation of current active membership as a CRNA with the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.
  • Master’s Degree
    A minimum of a master’s degree is required prior to interview, acceptance, and enrollment. The applicant’s entry to practice level nurse anesthesia education must have been at least at the master’s degree level. Furthermore, the master’s degree must have been earned from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States.
  • Current Licensure as an Advanced Practice (Registered) Nurse (APN/APRN)
    Applicant must have a current APN or APRN license in applicant’s state of residence in the United States.
  • Current Licensure as a Professional Registered Nurse (RN)
    Applicant must have a current RN license in applicant’s state of residence in the United States.
  • CRNA Practice
    Applicant must provide evidence of current CRNA practice setting.
  • Personal Letter
    A brief personal letter addressed to the DNAP Program Admissions Committee (to be received by June 15, prior to any interview) summarizing experience, with reasons for wishing to enroll in MTSA’s DNAP program in the CRNA completion degree format, as well as the general area for the concept/phenomenon of interest into which the applicant would like to investigate further.
  • References
    Submit three (3) professional references utilizing the MTSA DNAP Program form, which is available on the MTSA website. One of these must be from an anesthesia provider.
  • Transcripts
    Official transcripts (issued directly from the institution to MTSA and not stamped as issued to student) of ALL academic work since high school must be submitted to the MTSA DNAP Admissions Coordinator (fax: 615-732-7662), prior to the June 15  application deadline. This includes ANY non-degree seeking courses taken at any time since high school. If enrolled in any course between the time of application submission and enrollment, the applicant MUST have an official transcript for this course submitted to MTSA, PRIOR to enrollment. Continued acceptance and enrollment are contingent upon MTSA’s receipt of this official transcript.
  • Minimum 3.0 Cumulative GPA
    A minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA is required for admission. The DNAP Program Screening Committee reviews the entire applicant pool each year to determine the most highly qualified applicants to receive invitations to interview. The DNAP Program Screening Committee will consider offering interviews to candidates whose scores may have been borderline in early years, but whose most recent transcripts show evidence of strong grades.
  • Personal Interview
    A personal interview with the DNAP Program Admissions Committee is available ONLY by invitation from the DNAP Program Screening Committee.

Admissions Deadline

Deadlines may be extended only by special vote of the DNAP Program Screening Committee. Candidates contacting MTSA after the deadline and wishing to be considered need to tell the Admissions Coordinator they want to request special consideration by the DNAP Program Screening Committee.

Graduates who have not achieved licensure as professional Registered Nurses (RN) and as Advanced Practice (Registered) Nurses (APN/APRN) in the United States will not meet the eligibility requirements for admission to MTSA’s DNAP Program in the CRNA completion degree format. For graduates of foreign undergraduate schools, MTSA requires that all transcripts from foreign schools be reviewed by a common external agency. This review is the responsibility of the applicant and will not be done by MTSA. This external agency can be contacted via the following methods:

Director of Evaluation, World Education Services, Inc., P.O. Box 745, Old Chelsea Station New York, NY 10113-0745 Telephone Number: 212-966-6311; Fax 212-966-6395; E-mail: info@wes.org

School Visits (Optional)

Applicants are invited to contact the Admissions Coordinator to make an appointment to visit the School and talk with her (Pam Nimmo, 615-732-7662, admissions@mtsa.edu) during the application process.

Re-Applicants

ALL applicants who are re-applying must meet the following requirements:

  1. Sign and submit the appropriate form to ask that their file remain active
  2. Complete and submit a new application form
  3. Submit a $60 re-application fee with the new application form
  4. Submit a minimum of three (3) NEW professional references. One of these must be from an anesthesia provider.

Admission Checklist

  • Submit each of the following to the Admissions Coordinator at MTSA prior to the April 30 deadline (admissions@mtsa.edu or fax to 615-732-7662). The deadline for a complete file (each of the following items submitted, to include ALL reference letters and ALL transcripts received by MTSA) is June 15. Personal interviews by the DNAP Program Admissions Committee may not be granted to applicants who fail to meet this deadline. Application fee is $60.
  • DNAP Program (CRNA Completion Degree Format) Application
  • Official National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) transcript from nurse anesthesia educational program
  • Evidence of current active American Association of Nurse Anesthetists membership
  • Copy of current APN/APRN license for each state in which the applicant currently holds an APN/APRN license, including the expiration date for each
  • List of all states in which the applicant has ever held an APN/APRN license
  • Copy of current RN license for each state in which the applicant currently holds an RN license, including the expiration date for each.
  • List of all states in which the applicant has ever held an RN license
  • Evidence of current CRNA practice setting
  • Personal letter to the Admissions Committee, briefly describing your educational background, anesthesia experience, reason for desiring to enroll in MTSA’s DNAP program in the CRNA completion degree format, and the area for the concept/phenomenon of interest into which you would like to investigate further. The letter should be no more than two pages, single-spaced, with 10 or 12 point font.
  • Three (3) professional references (must include at least one anesthesia provider). Please have correct and complete addresses and phone numbers listed on the application form, in the event MTSA needs to contact them for further recommendation or clarification. The applicant is responsible for contacting references with the two-page reference forms provided with the DNAP Program application form. The waiver must be signed and dated with references returned directly to MTSA.
  • Official academic transcripts from EVERY institution of higher learning attended, including transcripts for all non-degree seeking academic courses taken since high school
    • MTSA cannot accept transcripts stamped “Issued to Student.” The transcripts must be sent to MTSA directly from the institution.
    • The anesthesia school (cumulative) grade point average must be at least 3.0 based on a 4.0 grading system.
    • Transcripts must demonstrate that all general education curriculum required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to earn the baccalaureate degree were met.
  • Background check and Release

Interview Process

MTSA holds one admissions interview session period annually. This annual meeting of the full DNAP Program Admissions Committee for the admissions interview session is projected to span one to two business day(s). The DNAP Program Admissions Committee plans to meet for its annual interview session in mid-June, to interview applicants for the class anticipated to enroll in September. Applicants having completed their files by June 15 will have those files reviewed by the DNAP Program Screening Committee.

An applicant’s file must be complete prior to the June 15 deadline to be considered by the DNAP Program Screening Committee for an interview with the DNAP Program Admissions Committee. After the April 30 application deadline, the DNAP Program Screening Committee will review the files of all applicants whose files are complete. When the exact dates for the annual interview session have been established by MTSA, and the DNAP Program Screening Committee has determined an applicant is competitively qualified to meet with the DNAP Program Admissions Committee, the applicant will then be invited by MTSA to interview with the DNAP Program Admissions Committee during the annual interview session.

Applicants who receive an invitation from the DNAP Program Screening Committee to interview with the DNAP Program Admissions Committee will receive notification from the Admissions Coordinator regarding the scheduled date and time for their personal interview with the DNAP Program Admissions Committee during this annual interview session. MTSA is under no obligation to invite every candidate who applies for an interview.

At the conclusion of all personal interviews held during the annual admissions interview session, the DNAP Program Screening Committee will determine which applicants will be accepted and MTSA will call and send acceptance letters to those selected for admission. In the acceptance letter, each selected applicant will be given a ONE-WEEK period in which to respond, and the deadline will be stated in the invitation. Applicants who choose to accept the offered position in the upcoming class must submit the NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT* to MTSA with the acceptance response letter by the stated deadline.

After the stated deadline, if the NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT* has not been received at MTSA, the applicant will forfeit the offered position in the upcoming class, and MTSA may then offer the vacant position to an alternate applicant. Accepted applicants who change their mind and decide at a later date to decline acceptance into the program at MTSA for any reason will NOT be refunded the NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT*. Furthermore, each year’s DNAP Program Admissions Committee session decisions are only valid for admission to the immediately upcoming class, and MTSA does not reserve student positions for applicants in subsequent future classes.

*NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT: $2,500

Personal Interview with Admissions Committee – DNAP Completion Program

Prior to a determination regarding acceptance, there will be a brief personal interview with the MTSA DNAP Program Admissions Committee (4-6 members present). Members of this committee are interested in further exploring the candidate’s rationale for desiring to pursue the DNAP degree, as well as the candidate’s concept/phenomenon of interest, during the personal interview.

Selection by the DNAP Program Admissions Committee is based on the applicant’s GPA (cumulative and recent academic), professional references, and presentation during the personal interview. Each member of the DNAP Program Admissions Committee is given the responsibility to vote conscientiously after each applicant’s interview. Scores are collected immediately following the interview.

Justification by the DNAP Program Screening Committee or the DNAP Program Admissions Committee for acceptance or rejection of a candidate is not required nor noted in the applicant’s file. If there are areas where it is felt applicants could improve their chances for admission in the future, the Committee members are invited to express them on the scoring sheet. Any questions regarding admission requirements should be directed to the Admissions Coordinator (admissions@mtsa.edu), who may then consult with the Dean as needed.

All applicants should dress in professional attire for the interview with the DNAP Program Admissions Committee.

Comparison of professional practice doctoral degrees and research doctoral degrees

It is important for nurse anesthetists who want to pursue doctoral education to choose the doctoral degree that best fits with their educational and professional goals before applying to a doctoral program. The following information provides some basic information about the two types of doctoral degrees available to nurse anesthetics, which will assist them in choosing the degree and program that fits their goals.

A professional practice degree, such as the DNAP, focuses on application of research findings to practice-related problems, which is similar to other professional practice degrees, such as the Doctor of Dentistry, Doctor of Pharmacy, and Doctor of Physical Therapy, among others.

A research-oriented degree, such as the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), focuses on primary data-based investigation for the discovery of new knowledge.

The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) accredits nurse anesthesia programs that offer master’s degrees, practice doctorate degrees, and research-oriented doctoral degrees which are focused in nurse anesthesia. COA has set specific standards for programs offering practice-oriented doctoral degrees and research-oriented degrees. The following table compares COA’s standards for these two types of doctoral degrees. As the table indicates, the two types of doctoral degrees parallel each other in quality and rigor, but the focus and outcomes of the two degrees differ. Doctoral programs in nurse anesthesia are designed using these criteria as a basis.

RESEARCH-ORIENTED DOCTORATE
(E.G., Doctor of Philosophy)
PRACTICE-ORIENTED DOCTORATE
(E.G., Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice)
FOCUS:

Primary data-based investigation for the discovery of new knowledge.

FOCUS:

Application of research findings to practice-related problems.

TO ACCOMPLISH THE FOCUS:

Doctoral students master additional theory and knowledge in an area of academic focus for the discipline in which the degree is awarded.

TO ACCOMPLISH THE FOCUS:

Doctoral students are prepared to advance theory and knowledge of the discipline in which the degree is awarded. Doctoral students achieve advanced scholarship skills relevant to the area of academic focus.

Doctoral students develop advanced scholarship skills and generate research relevant to the discipline. Doctoral students complete a scholarly work that demonstrates knowledge within the area of academic focus. Doctoral students complete a dissertation or equivalent scholarly work which constitutes an original contribution to the knowledge within the discipline.
Faculty members demonstrate competency in scholarly and professional work in the relevant discipline. Faculty members demonstrate competency for scholarly and professional work in the relevant discipline.
Doctoral students have sufficient access to appropriately credentialed faculty. Doctoral students have sufficient access to appropriately credentialed faculty.

Academic Summary & Standards

The DNAP Program in the CRNA completion degree format is designed for the practicing CRNA. The program may be completed in a Full-Time, One-Year format or in a Part-Time, Two-Year Format; however, the student’s choice of these two formats must be determined and designated in the application process.

Full-Time, One-Year Format

The full-time, one-year format was designed by MTSA for practicing CRNAs who are highly motivated and goal-directed, to be able to complete the outcomes to earn the DNAP degree within a shorter time period. Selection of this format will be time-consuming for students, as the student will be enrolled in at least 11, and up to 13, quarter hours credit during each of four scheduled academic quarters. The first week of each of the scheduled academic quarters will be an Intensive Week, during which students will be required to attend classes and seminars on the MTSA campus, for a total of FOUR REQUIRED Intensive Weeks. The first quarter, Fall Quarter, will begin in late August/early September and will conclude in mid-November. The second quarter, Winter Quarter, will begin in mid-November and will conclude in mid-February. The third quarter, Spring Quarter, will begin in late February/early March and will conclude in mid-May. The fourth quarter, Summer Quarter, will begin in late May/early June and will conclude in mid-August. Students who have not been able to complete all the requirements for the final Capstone Project by the conclusion of the Summer Quarter will be allowed to continue enrollment in the program for one additional quarter (Fall Quarter), during which they are expected to complete all course and program outcomes.

Part-Time, Two-Year Format

The part-time, two-year format was designed by MTSA for practicing CRNAs who are highly motivated and goal-directed, but who may have other simultaneous obligations that would preclude them from completing the outcomes to earn the DNAP degree within a shorter time period. Selection of this format will require that the student will be enrolled in at least three, and up to eight, quarter hours credit during each of eight scheduled academic quarters. The first week of each of the scheduled academic quarters will be an Intensive Week, during which students will be required to attend classes and seminars on the MTSA campus, for a total of up to EIGHT Intensive Weeks (FOUR Intensive Weeks will be required in the first year, and AT LEAST TWO Intensive Weeks, dependent upon Capstone Project progress, will be required in the second year). The eight quarters will proceed in the same scheduling as those discussed for the full-time, one-year format, but will extend over an additional year. Students who have not been able to complete all the requirements for the final Capstone Project by the conclusion of the Summer Quarter at the end of the second year will be allowed to continue enrollment in the program for one additional quarter (Fall Quarter), during which they are expected to complete all course and program outcomes.


Academic Standards

Advancement of each DNAP CRNA completion program student to the next higher level or quarter occurs at quarterly intervals, upon faculty members’ verification of the student’s successful completion of each quarter’s course requirements. In order to progress unencumbered to the next higher level or quarter, the student must meet the following conditions:

  • MTSA expects that all DNAP level coursework should result in a minimum earned grade of “B”. The first earned grade for a course between 70-79% (C) will require a scheduled meeting with the Program Administrator to discuss the student’s performance and will lead to automatic academic probation with an appearance before the Dean’s Council. The second earned “C” for a course grade will result in dismissal from the program.
  • Students will automatically be dismissed from the program for receiving a failing grade for any course. Failing is defined as any grade below 70%.
  • Students who are placed on any type of probation more than once will be dismissed from the program.
  • Students have the right to appeal decisions by following the MTSA appeal process (see current Student Handbook).
  • Each student is carefully evaluated for academic achievement on a regular and continuing basis. Academic grades are published quarterly on the academic transcript. Students shall be advised by their DNAP Program faculty advisor concerning their academic progress no less than quarterly.
  • Each student will receive a quarterly grade sheet (MTSA Transcript) reflecting academic progress, with current and cumulative GPAs.

The MTSA Grading Scale is based on the following 4.0 grading system:

A = 90-100% (4.0 Quality Points)
B = 80-89% (3.0 Quality Points)
C = 70-79% (2.0 Quality Points – Student counsels with Dean)
D = 60-69% (1.0 – Failing)
F = 50-59% (0.0 – Failing)

Additional Grades/Symbols:

P = Pass
W = Withdrew
WP = Withdrew Passing
WF = Withdrew Failing
IP = In Progress*
Prob/A = Probation due to unsatisfactory Academic Performance
Prob/O = Probation due to Other Considerations
S = Suspension – Involuntary withdrawal from the program for a period determined by MTSA
T = Terminated – Involuntary withdrawal from MTSA indefinitely

*An In Progress may be given if an instructor or a student is unable to complete a course in one quarter and must complete the course at a later time. This requires special permission from the Dean. Any In Progress on the transcript must be completed before graduation. No student may graduate with an In Progress on the transcript.

Additional Information:

  • Transcripts are given to students on a quarterly basis. The target dates for these transcripts is expected to be no later than the end of the month following the end of each academic quarter.
  • Attendance at seminars, specific group functions, and lectures by guest speakers scheduled by MTSA during the quarterly DNAP Intensive Weeks is mandatory for all DNAP students, except in the case of extenuating circumstances for which the Dean has provided prior written approval. Ten percent of each course is determined by attendance and participation in the Intensive Week courses for that quarter.
  • Students must keep a current RN license and APN/APRN (as applicable) license for the state in which they reside on file with MTSA during the entire program. Students must also possess a current RN license for any other state in which they choose to participate in educational experiences related to the DNAP program, such as the Capstone Project.
  • During quarterly Academic Faculty Committee meetings, general observations about each DNAP Completion Degree student are discussed. Any recommendations by that committee are given to the Nurse Anesthesia Program (NAP) council, which typically meets every other week. The NAP Council makes the final decision relative to any action regarding performance. Should it be determined that there may be a negative decision by the Council (i.e., probation), the student will be offered an opportunity to discuss the performance with the NAP Council, prior to any decision.
  • Completion of DNAP Student Medatrax (or Portfolio) Records: MTSA utilizes an online portfolio to demonstrate DNAP students’ achievement and scholarship. The DNAP curriculum has been developed with the Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) as the foundation. Instructions will be given during the first Intensive Week at the beginning of the first quarter (Fall Quarter) regarding the accurate completion of this portfolio. Each student is responsible for reviewing the program learning objectives and uploading coursework that demonstrates the SLO has been met. Students will review the online portfolio and progression toward meeting the SLOs with their Capstone chairperson. Completion of an online portfolio and successful demonstration of all SLOs being met is a condition of graduation. The portfolio is a pass/fail project. It is the student’s responsibility to maintain the portfolio’s accuracy and completion.
  • Other Documentation: All documentation must be kept up-to-date, including but not limited to TB skin tests, proof of insurance, and nursing licenses (RN and APN/APRN). All of these are kept on file with the DNAP Program Coordinator.

Graduation Requirements

DNAP students must accomplish each of the following criteria to be eligible to become a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) graduate of MTSA:

  • Satisfactory completion of all DNAP Program courses, to include a public presentation of the final Capstone Project, prior to graduation
  • Satisfactory completion of all Doctoral Student Learning Outcomes (DSLOs)
  • Completion of any and all financial obligations to MTSA
  • Completion of the Financial Assistance Exit Interview for students who have borrowed Direct Lending, Stafford, or Grad Plus loans while attending MTSA
  • Participation in the graduation exercise, unless specific prior permission for graduation in absentia is granted in writing from the Dean, with approval by the Dean’s Council. Exceptions generally will not be made unless the circumstances preventing attendance are beyond the control of the student.

Credential Awarded

Upon satisfactory completion of this program of study at Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia, the student will be awarded a diploma with the degree Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP).

Outcome Criteria Upon Graduation

Doctoral Student Learning Outcomes / DSLOs

Graduates from MTSA’s Doctor or Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) program shall master additional theory, knowledge, and scholarship skills relevant to the area of academic focus by demonstrating the following COA Standard III competencies.