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Clinics that teach practice. Students that teach teamwork.

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Established in 1899, South University is a private, nonprofit institution with a long history of driving student success. 

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Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program

For High Achievers in Nursing Practice

Are you committed to reaching your personal best in clinical practice and nursing leadership? Our CCNE-accredited DNP programs can prepare you to apply leading-edge and progressive clinical practice, inquiry, and leadership skills to boost quality and safety outcomes across your organization.

Program is offered at the following campuses. Select a campus to learn more.


What is a DNP in Nursing?

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs are post-master’s programs that allow MSN-prepared advanced practice nurses to achieve doctoral level clinical competencies. It is among the highest nursing degrees available and the highest available for those wanting to focus their studies on clinical practice over nursing science or research. In 2004, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) endorsed the DNP nursing degree, proposing that the DNP is the terminal degree for nursing practice.

You can earn your DNP online at South University in 22 months or in 27 months on campus.

At South University, our campus and online DNP programs can help you to achieve top levels of clinical excellence and grow into new leadership roles and clinical arenas. Through classroom, field, and research experiences, you can develop expertise in leadership, consultation, advocacy, fiscal accountability, and interdisciplinary collaboration, so that you can more effectively foster organizational change in healthcare.

As an MSN to DNP nursing student, you’ll explore how to translate nursing theory and science into advanced practice across the healthcare system, including how to apply scientific evidence and knowledge to resolve problems of healthcare safety and quality.

Customize Your Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

In both our campus and online DNP programs, all students start by exploring:

  • Organization and systems leadership for nursing
  • Clinical prevention and population health
  • Healthcare policy
  • Financial management and resource utilization
  • Evidence, effectiveness, and clinical quality
  • Principles of epidemiology
  • Biostatistical methods
Depending on your interests and goals, you’ll then be able to select courses in administration, information technology, leadership, or public health to develop a specialty in one area or gain knowledge across these domains. Through advanced nursing field experiences, you’ll also work to address problems affecting patient safety and quality of care.

Finally, in the last portion of your DNP nursing program, you’ll explore a clinical question specific to a particular organization or population. Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, you must design, clinically implement, evaluate, and present this scholarly project before earning your Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Reach New Heights as a DNP Nurse Practitioner

After increasing your education level from MSN to DNP, you’ll be equipped to:

  • Provide the highest level of nursing practice through integrating advanced competencies in leadership, ethics, and the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, organizational, and public health sciences.
  • Apply organizational and care systems leadership skills to support quality and safety initiatives.
  • Address and resolve complex healthcare problems and disparities using contemporary healthcare science.
  • Evaluate scientific findings for clinical applicability and transformative care potential.
  • Integrate information technology and informatics to provide scalable solutions to existing systems problems.
  • Improve the care of individuals, families, and populations with risk reduction/illness prevention, health promotion, and health maintenance strategies.
  • Help create policies that shape financing, regulation, access, and delivery of health services.
You can earn your DNP online at South University in 22 months or in 27 months on campus.

Admissions Requirements for Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs

Interested in advancing your credentials from MSN to DNP online or on campus? The admissions criteria for our Doctor of Nursing Practice programs include:

  • Completion of an application for admission.
  • Completion of a master’s degree in nursing (or be a pending graduate) from an acceptable accredited collegiate institution and a CGPA of 3.00 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • Official documentation of the actual number of verified clinical hours completed during the master’s program of study within 10 weeks after the initial start date. This requirement may come in the form of the credentialing documents used to verify the hours for certification examination or a statement from the graduate degree-granting institution verifying the actual number of hours completed during the master’s program.
  • Completion of a three semester credit hour undergraduate or graduate course (or equivalent) in statistics with a grade of C (undergraduate)/B (graduate) or better.
  • Completion of a three semester credit hour graduate nursing research course (or equivalent) with a grade of B or better.
  • Submission of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended within 10 weeks after the initial start date.
  • A valid unencumbered license as a registered nurse in all U.S. states or territory in which the student is licensed, including the state in which the student completes all assignments for the program. (Note that military, federal, and foreign educated nurses must meet this state requirement for nursing licensure). An unencumbered license(s) must be maintained throughout the program.
  • Applicants for whom English is a Second Language (ESL) must submit a minimum paper-based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 600 or the electronic-based score of 250 to be considered for the program.
  • Meet Core Performance Standards for nursing professionals as described in the academic catalog.
  • Interview with Chair/Program Director or designated faculty for campus based students.
  • Submission of the following:
    • Three references using the appropriate appraisal form. At least two of the individuals submitting references should hold a doctoral degree in any field.
    • An essay (i.e. goal statement) explaining career goals, reasons for your choice of program electives, and reasons to pursue a doctor of nursing practice degree.
    • A resume or curriculum vitae describing relevant work, professional, and volunteer experiences.
After everything is submitted, your DNP nursing application will be evaluated for an admission decision. For questions about admissions to our campus or online DNP programs, request information or contact us at 1.888.444.3404.

Looking for a way to go from BSN to DNP online or on a campus? If you’re starting from a BSN, consider exploring our MSN programs as your first step on the path to earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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