Doctor of Nursing Practice / Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The DNP degree is the terminal practice degree for the profession of nursing. The impetus for enhancing graduate education for practicing clinicians includes an increasingly complex healthcare environment, explosive growth in knowledge of science and therapeutics, quality and safety concerns, and financial pressures driving efficiency efforts. The practice-focused doctorate in nursing builds upon expert level practice skills with coursework on quality improvement, evidence-based performance, and systems approaches to meeting the healthcare needs of the public. Each DNP student must complete a minimum of 504 residency hours beyond their MSN practicum hours.

DNP Vision Statement

To develop nurse experts into innovative leaders who will transform practice in an increasingly complex healthcare system.

Program Outcomes

It is intended that students of the program will:

  • Integrate nursing science, ethics and the biophysical, psychosocial, analytic, and organizational sciences as the basis for advanced nursing practice to influence legal, political, and organizational policy and support access to care, social justice, and the profession of nursing.
  • Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment, systems thinking, and accountability in the design, delivery, and evaluation of evidence-based care in complex decision making.
  • Use analytical methods and information technology to improve population and system outcomes considering legal, financial, ethical, and regulatory issues.
  • Analyze practice initiatives in order to develop effective interprofessional strategies to ensure and improve healthcare outcomes for patients and populations in relationship to safety and quality care.

DNP Admission Requirements

  1. Graduation from an MSN program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) with a specialty focus.
  2. Minimum of two years of professional nursing practice as a registered nurse.
  3. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  4. A current RN license in the state the student intends to conduct DNP residency experience.
  5. Two letters of recommendation from professionals with graduate level education in the student’s area of specialty practice. At least one of the letters of recommendation must be from someone who is doctoral prepared.
  6. Essay of around 500 words addressing: 1) How the DNP program will facilitate achievement of the student's short- and long-term goals; and 2) how the Lewis University Mission integrates with the student's personal and professional identity.
  7. Essay of 500 words delineating the area of focus for the DNP scholarly project that is pertinent to practice.
  8. A current resume or curriculum vitae.
  9. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 in graduate level coursework.
  10. Applicants are required to have completed the following prerequisite courses with a grade of B or better:
    1. A graduate level course in Statistics.
    2. A graduate level course in Population Health.
    3. A graduate level course in Healthcare Informatics.

If not previously completed, these courses will be required in addition to the course requirements for the DNP degree as bridge courses. If a student does not receive a grade of "B' or above in a bridge course, the student will be dismissed from the program. Bridge courses cannot be repeated.

Transfer Credit and Grade Point

A maximum of 7 semester credits of graduate-level coursework from regionally accredited institutions may be accepted for transfer if the courses are applicable to the student’s area of specialization as determined by the Program Director and/or their designee. Only courses carrying a grade of B or above will be considered. Grades from courses accepted for transfer credit are not calculated into the cumulative grade point average.

Academic Standing

A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained in order for a student to remain in good academic standing and to continue progression in the program.

Curriculum Implementation 

DNP courses are offered online synchronously or asynchronously. This curriculum and the sequence of courses are subject to change without notice or obligation.  Please contact the Office of Graduate Studies in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences for current information.

Program Completion Time 

Students admitted into the DNP program must meet all requirements for the degree within a period of 5 consecutive years from the time of enrollment in graduate coursework after admission to the program. It is expected that students will begin taking courses in the semester immediately following the date of admission.

Tuition and Fees

Published regularly by the Offices of the Bursar and Registrar, current tuition and fees can be found in the University Course Schedule.

Students are responsible for all fees related to background checks and health and clinical documentation in preparation for clinical experiences.

Degree Requirements

Program: DNP-NRSD-5
Degree Offered:
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Total Credit Hours: 30

DNP Courses

Attendance at a minimum of two (2) DNP Immersions will be a requirement for graduation from the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program. One of the two immersions will include the final Scholarly Project Presentation.
All students in the DNP program must complete the following courses.
NURS-72000Research Design and Measurement for Evidence-Based Practice


NURS-73000Healthcare Ethics


NURS-74000Healthcare Policy


NURS-77000Quality and Safety Science in Healthcare


NURS-76000Financial and Strategic Management for Healthcare Decision Makers


NURS-79000DNP Scholarly Project Planning


NURS-79200DNP Scholarly Project Implementation


NURS-79300DNP Scholarly Project Evaluation and Dissemination


NURS-79600DNP Residency


Please see course description of NURS 79600 for explanation of "6+"