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Doctorate of Nursing Practice

The purpose of National University s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program of Studies in Nursing Administration or Nursing Informatics is to prepare post-Master's degree nurses for leadership in developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based practices designed to improve the quality of healthcare systems and healthcare safety. The DNP is the advanced specialty practice degree for nurses.

The DNP Program of Studies prepares nurses to advance practice by improving the effectiveness, quality, and safety of patient care and healthcare systems that support care in hospitals and other clinical settings. The DNP graduate accomplishes these improvements by developing, implementing, and evaluating new nursing practices, protocols, systems, and administrative programs, and by teaching these skills to the next generation of nurses in clinical or academic settings. The DNP is the advanced practice degree identified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) as appropriate for teaching advanced specialty practice.

The practice doctorate prepares nurses to function as leaders who have advanced clinical scholarship and practice skills in Nursing Administration (NA) or Nursing Informatics (NI) that enable them to: identify sources of error in systems and sub-optimally performing systems; and to design and evaluate improvements that reduce the incidence and impact of clinical errors.


To be eligible for admission to the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program of Studies at National University, applicants must:

Meet the University requirements for doctoral study, listed in the National University General Catalog under admission requirements.

Meet one of the following: Hold a Master's Degree in NA or NI, or a post-masters certificate in one of these two specialties from an accredited school of nursing (NLNAC or CCNE), within a regionally accredit,ed University (e.g., WASC, North Central, etc.); Hold a Master s Degree in a clinical nursing specialty from an accredited school of nursing (NLNAC or CCNE), within a regionally accredited University (e.g., WASC, North Central, etc.), and as part of the DNP program, complete 4 graduate nursing courses in either NI or NA, as determined by the DNP specialty selected; Hold a Master s Degree from a regionally accredited University in a discipline related to the DNP area of study, and complete NSG620 (Theory in Advanced Practice) as part of the DNP program; Hold a Master s Degree from a regionally accredited University in a discipline not related to the DNP area of study, and complete NSG620 and 4 specialty NI or NA courses (as determined by the DNP specialty) as part of the DNP program.

Submit a detailed current professional curriculum vita.

Provide proof of a current, active, and unencumbered RN license in the State in which the DNP mentored clinical immersion will be pursued or if in the military, a license accepted by the military.

Provide proof of: the total number of precepted clinical hours in the applicant's chosen DNP specialty (e.g. NI or NA) during their Master's Degree or Post Master's Certificate program.

Have completed the following prerequisite courses with a grade of B or higher, or their equivalent: a) A graduate-level Statistics course within the past 5 years, b) A graduate-level Research Methods course (which included content on quantitative and qualitative methods, and evidence-based practice), c) A graduate-level Informatics course, d) A course in Quality Improvement at either the undergraduate or graduate level.

Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale at the graduate level.

Have completed National University s application for DNP/Graduate Admissions, including a sample of scholarly writing and personal goal statement in which the ,applicant identifies a focus in either NA or NI (instructions located in the admission packet).

The DNP Specialty chosen must match the focus on the Master's or Post-Master's Certificate.

Provide one official transcript from each post-secondary school attended.

Submit two letters of professional reference, including one from a recent employment supervisor, and one from a colleague who can attest to the quality of your professional work and values. References from family members and personal friends are not acceptable.

Provide evidence of current, active professional liability and malpractice insurance coverage, and maintain coverage throughout the program.

Admission is competitive and determined by the NU DNP Admissions Committee, which will review all application materials and hold an interview with each eligible candidate (either in person or via telecommunications media).

Provide evidence of acceptable TOEFL scores, if requested by the University.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Identify sources of variations in health care outcomes through analysis and integration of research findings, empirical evidence, and/or practitioner reflections on practice.
  • Generate innovative practices, systems, and prevention programs at the patient, family, organization, community, and population levels for the purpose of improving health care outcomes.
  • Lead healthcare systems in the delivery of high quality, safe, patient-centered care.
  • Establish and lead collaborative, multidisciplinary teams that provide the range of expertise required in healthcare systems delivering care to complex, multi-need patients, families and communities.
  • Advocate for culturally sensitive health care systems and policies that meet ethical and legal standards in order to reduce health disparities.
  • Base decisions on synthesis of information from meta-analysis and other research reports, benchmark data, best practices reports, and other credible information sources.
  • Analyze the impact of national and global health policy on the cost, quality, and accessibility of health care for diverse patient populations.


(13 courses; 54 quarter units) To receive a Doctor of Nursing Practice, students must complete a minimum of 54 quarter units of doctoral coursework, with 45 of those units completed at National University. A total of 9 graduate theory quarter units may be granted for equivalent graduate work completed at another institution, as it applies to this degree provided the units were not used to earn another advanced degree.
Students must achieve a 3.0 (B) or higher grade in each course. If a student fails a course, the course may be retaken once. If the course is failed a second time, or two different courses are failed, the student will be dismissed from the program.
To earn a DNP, students must complete a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate practicum hours in their specialty focus. Hours from the Master's (or post-Master's Certificate) practica courses may be counted in the total. Transferred practicum hours must be in the same specialty. A minimum 400 practicum hours in the specialty must be completed in the NU DNP program.
Each specialty practice courses (DNP 840A and 840B or 842A and 842B) may be repeated for credit only once to meet the 1,000 practice hour requirement in Informatics or Administration.
DNP 801, 803, 805, 807A, and 807B must be completed before enrollment in the specialty practica. DNP 807A and 807B may be taken concurrently or sequentially. After 807B is completed, practica courses (DNP 840A and DNP 840B or DNP 842A and DNP 842B courses) may be taken concurrently with core courses (DNP 813-817) with permission from the student's DNP Faculty Advisor. To advance to Doctoral Candidacy, students must have completed all required theory courses (DNP 801-817), all specialty practica courses (DNP 807B, 840A, 840B, or DNP 807B, 842A, 842B) and must then enroll in DNP 870.
Core Theory Requirements (9 courses; 40.5 quarter units)
Each core theory course is 8 weeks in length.
Core Requisite(s):
Core Practica (3 courses; 9 quarter units)
Each DNP practicum has an advanced practice specialty focus designed to support students as they assimilate knowledge and competencies required for doctoral practice. The Capstone Project is conducted at practica sites. Students must complete a total of 1,000 practice hours in their specialty post-BSN (MSN+DNP) Program of Studies, with minimum of 15 quarter units in the DNP program.
Core Requisite(s):
*Students who wish to take this practicum course with a core theory course must submit an Accelerated Study Request. Please see Policies and Procedures section of the National University General Catalog for more information.
Capstone Course (1 course; 4.5 quarter units)
Core Requisite(s):