Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia (DNAP) degree differ from a PhD?
Doctoral programs fall into two categories: practice-focused / professional degrees and research-focused degrees. The two types of doctoral degrees are alternative approaches to the terminal level of educational preparation in a given field.

The DNAP is a practice-focused doctoral degree. Practice-focused degrees prepare experts for specialized roles within a discipline. DNAP coursework focuses on the CRNA as a clinical expert, leader, and educator who can identify issues, apply scientific findings, and develop practices that are supported by the best available evidence. The practice doctorate culminates in a capstone project that pertains to the individual's area of interest. Graduates are prepared to accept positions as expert clinicians, instructors in academic and clinical settings, and positions emphasizing leadership.

Research-focused degrees prepare scientists and scholars who can develop programs of research that lead to advancing the knowledge and science of a discipline. PhD programs require extensive coursework in theory, research methodology, and statistics. The PhD culminates in an original research project with completion and defense of a dissertation. Graduates are prepared to develop programs of research, serve as primary investigators on research projects, and teach in academic programs emphasizing research and teaching.


I took the GRE more than 5 years ago. Do I need to repeat it? I'm a CRNA with a master's degree, but I've never taken the GRE. Do I need it?
The GRE is required for admission into the program. However, post-master's DNAP applicants who have previously taken the GRE, may submit a copy of those scores unofficially for consideration. Post-master's applicants who have never taken the GRE must provide evidence of the knowledge, skills, and ability to complete doctoral-level work. Documentation may include, but is not limited to, examples of written work, publications, presentations, or service to the specialty.


Do I need to move to Richmond to complete the post-master's DNAP program?
No. The Department of Nurse Anesthesia uses distance technology to offer its programs in three locations during each on-site session. Students may participate in on-site DNAP sessions on the MCV site of VCU in Richmond, at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Virginia, or at the Roanoke, Virginia site, currently located in the Riverside Center. The post-master's DNAP is structured as a hybrid program where, between on-campus sessions, doctoral students complete course requirements from any location.


How much time will I need to spend on site?
The post-master's DNAP is designed for working CRNAs. The curriculum is offered through a combination of on- and off-site sessions. Off-site work is completed through a combination of assignments (clinical practice, readings, written work) and web-based activities using the Blackboard™ learning platform. On-campus sessions are held three times per year: early January, mid-May, and mid-August. The on-site sessions generally include the wrap-up coursework from one semester as well as the beginning coursework from the next semester. On-campus schedules are made available to students nearly one year in advance to help with planning. The length of each on-campus session is determined by full- vs. part-time status and usually lasts approximately 3 - 4 days.


Is the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) transcript the same as my university transcript?
No. The NBCRNA transcript is the transcript sent by the nurse anesthesia program to the NBCRNA upon graduation from the nurse anesthesia program and details the requirements for initial certification as a nurse anesthetist. The NBCRNA transcript is part of the application process for the National Certification Examination. Prospective post-master's DNAP students can request a copy of the original transcript from the NBCRNA. Information on requesting the transcript is available on the NBCRNA website.