Doctor of Nursing Practice - DNP


Who is it for?  Does this describe you and your goals?

The DNP program is for nurses who:

  • seek a terminal degree in nursing practice — including master's-prepared nurses in administration and informatics as well as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists and nurse-midwives who seek a higher credential.
  • focus their professional goals on advanced clinical expertise, quality improvement, patient safety and health systems change.
  • want to expand their career latitude, options and value to employers.

The goal of the DNP program is to prepare graduates for the highest level of nursing leadership and practice within organizations and systems, to improve health care delivery and patient outcomes at all levels and for diverse populations, to serve as faculty in nursing education programs, and to translate research findings for clinical practice.

DNP — the degree of choice for advanced practice nurses

The DNP is the highest practice-focused degree in nursing, designed to prepare experts in specialized advanced practice nursing. DNP programs focus heavily on practice that is innovative and evidence-based, reflecting the application of credible research findings.

The need for doctoral education for nurses practicing at the highest level emerged from multiple factors, including the expansion of scientific knowledge required for safe nursing practice and growing concerns regarding the quality of patient care delivery and outcomes in an increasingly complex health care system. See AACN Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice, pp. 3-4. 

Benefits of getting your DNP degree

DNP graduates will have the education and applied research skills to:

  • improve the delivery of health care and patient outcomes at all levels — bedside, unit, institution, local, state, regional, and national
  • become clinical faculty in nursing education programs
  • translate research findings generated by PhD prepared nurses and by other basic and clinical scientists into direct patient care for quality and safety improvements.
  • provide leadership for practice change and health policy

Strong job demand, wide career options in a health care shortage environment

With broad abilities to diagnose, treat, prescribe medication and deliver health promotion/disease prevention services, APRNs have long been in demand nationwide, especially in small towns, rural areas and underserved metro neighborhoods. They not only expand access to care but also increase treatment options and affordability for patients.

As the nationwide shortage of nurses and primary care physicians deepens with waves of retiring Baby Boomers, DNP-degreed APRNs substantially increase their career options and appeal to employers. How? DNPs are uniquely qualified to help remedy the health care deficit on several levels:

  • close the frontline gap in primary care health professionals.
  • bring advanced clinical assessment and treatment to patients.
  • lead clinical nursing programs, systems and delivery teams.
  • alleviate the nursing shortage as high-level clinical educators.

Program overview

  • 35 postmaster's credit hours.
  • 9 courses in College of Nursing and College of Public Health
  • full or part-time options available.
  • approximately 500 practice hours (depending on prior clinical practicum hours)

Limited slots annually — apply as early as possible

The DNP program has limited initial capacity for APRN students per year. Admission is competitive. Applying as soon as possible is to your advantage. Key dates/calendar.

Tentative future program expansion plans:

  • increase student slots as resources allow — based on annual review.
  • add a point-of-entry for BSN graduates — with full-time and part-time completion options.

Watch this page for updates.