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Online Degree Overview

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Female nursing student in classroom learning from instructor on laptop

South University’s online* Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is designed for working nurses to take course work online and participate in in person practicums. There is a capstone project exploring a clinical question of your choice as part of the online DNP program. As a whole, this curriculum may prepare you for collaborating in the development of future healthcare systems and influencing the next generation of nursing professionals.

South University does not promise or guarantee employment.

* Fully online programs can have a ground clinical or practicum experience.

Admission Requirements

Procedure for Admission to the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Note: Not all Online Program offerings are available to residents of all U.S. states. Please contact an admissions representative for further information.

The criteria used to determine admission to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program include:

  • Completion of an application for admission.
  • Completion of a master's degree in nursing (MSN) from an accredited institution.
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • Submission of official documentation of the actual number of verified clinical hours completed during the post-baccalaureate 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.
  • Submission of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended within 5 weeks* of the class start date.
  • A valid unencumbered single-state and/or a valid unencumbered Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) multistate 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.
  • Submission of a minimum paper-based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 600 or the electronic-based score of 250 for applicants for whom English is a Second Language (ESL).

Once all required admissions documents and information are submitted, the application will be reviewed and evaluated for an admission decision.

*Effective August 14, 2023 – Students beginning classes at Online Programs will have five weeks to submit acceptable documentation.

For additional admissions information please see the admissions section here.

Course Requirements

Doctor of Nursing Practice: 66 credits

Program credits are determined based on evaluation of MSN program of study and clinical/practicum hour attainment.

Specializations (Students select Two or Four Courses):16 Credits*
Information Technology Specialization
Public Health Specialization

*Students are required to complete 2 program elective courses (8 credits). Students may also elect to complete 4 courses (16 credits) across the different program elective areas to earn a General specialization or to complete 4 courses within a single program elective area to earn an Administration, Information Technology, Leadership, Project Management, or Public Health specialization. In all cases, students should work closely with their Academic Counselor and Faculty Mentor to select appropriate coursework that meets their career needs and course prerequisites.

Clinical Field Experience: 12 or 18 Credits**

**Students entering the DNP program with 500 or more hours of documented, post-baccalaureate clinical experience must take the DNP Clinical Field Experience coursework at 6 credits each. Students entering the DNP program with less than 500 hours of documented, post-baccalaureate clinical experience must take NSG7220 prior to their enrollment in NSG7200 to reach the minimum 500 hours of documented, post-baccalaureate clinical experience. NSG7220 may be repeated up to three times. In all cases, students should work closely with their Academic Counselor and Faculty Mentor to schedule the appropriate clinical and field experience coursework needed to reach the total minimum required 1,000 documented hours of, post-baccalaureate clinical experience- required upon completion of the DNP program.

Capstone in Applied Practice: 4 Credits


Offered at Savannah, Tampa, and Online Programs.

Note: Not all Online Program offerings are available to residents of all U.S. states. Please contact an admissions representative for further information.

Program Description

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in the College of Nursing is designed as the highest degree for advanced nurses who wish to maintain nursing practice as their area of professional emphasis. The DNP program provides options for current nurse practitioners and other advanced practice nurses to incorporate progressive and thoughtful clinical practice, inquiry, and leadership competencies into their clinical practice repertoire.

The DNP program is offered as a post-master's program, providing a pathway for master's prepared nurses to achieve doctoral level competencies consistent with a clinical program of study. Coursework in the program emphasizes current topics in nursing, experiences, and scholarship. The program is offered in an online format as well as a hybrid format incorporating both online and campus-based educational experiences that support ongoing education for working nurses. Courses are provided online or in a blended format with the practice component (i.e., advanced nursing field experiences which are guided by agency mentors) provided campus-based in the students' geographical regions.

In 2004 the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) endorsed the DNP degree and proposed that the DNP is the terminal degree for nursing practice. The Essentials for Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006) outlines the eight competencies that are the foundation for all DNP graduates, regardless of specialty. The South University College of Nursing is uniquely qualified to provide the framework for this practice doctorate degree. As an integrated, national system of higher education, the exposure to outstanding faculty, coupled with state-of-the-art online coursework and industry-standard practice opportunities in the student's geographical area provides a dynamic environment for DNP students to grow into new leadership roles and clinical arenas.

**NOTE: Minnesota residents are not eligible to enroll in the online programs for the Doctor of Nursing Practice, Post Graduate Certificates in Nursing, the Master of Science in Nursing or the RN to Master of Science in Nursing.

For more information about the Doctor of Nursing Practice within the nursing profession, please visit the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website at

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates should be able to:

  1. Provide the highest level of nursing practice through integration of advanced competencies in leadership, ethics and the practice sciences, including biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, organizational, and public health sciences.
  2. Demonstrate organizational and care systems leadership for quality improvement through advancing nursing practice.
  3. Use contemporary healthcare science to advocate through policy change for resolution of complex healthcare problems and disparities.
  4. Evaluate scientific findings for health promotion and disease prevention and impact on transformative care and outcomes.
  5. Integrate information technology and informatics to provide scalable solutions for real-world systems problems.

Online Classroom

Haven’t experienced online learning before or wondering what it’s like to earn your degree online at South University? While the mode of learning is different from the traditional classroom experience with added convenience and flexibility, we hold the same high standards of academic excellence in the online classroom. 

South University’s online programs combine a curriculum designed for student outcomes and a classroom designed for flexibility and engagement. Our online classroom learning platform, Brightspace, provides you with a host of features to enhance your learning experience, including:

  • Advanced media content
  • Personalized navigation
  • Simplified online learning atmosphere
  • Access to digital books
  • Emailing and instant messaging options

We provide more than just an online classroom, bringing a range of campus experiences and services online. In addition, the online classroom is accessible on the go via mobile devices and with tools like the Pulse App. Pulse helps you stay connected and on track with your course by providing a number of features such as course calendars, readings and assignments, feedback and grades, and announcements.

Read more about online requirements here

Comments and Concerns

All Fields Are Required

The purpose of this form is to provide a process for the general public to submit comments, concerns, or complaints regarding their interaction with the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, Post Graduate Certificate, or Doctor of Nursing Practice program. A record of all complaints will be maintained and secured by campus administration. If you are a South University student, please submit your comments, concerns, or complaints according to the process outlined in the University Catalog or programmatic handbook. Please contact your Program Director or Academic Counselor if you need additional guidance.

To file an anonymous complaint, please submit the comment, concern, or complaint in a written letter or via email directly to the campus.

Authorization for South University to contact you to collect additional factual information regarding your comment, concern, or complaint

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Campuses offer flexible learning formats* including: on-campus, virtual instructions, and online courses.

*Clinical, practicum, and externship requirements exist in certain programs and require field experiences. Learning formats may not be flexible.

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success stories

Outstanding Education for Remarkable Careers

We're committed to helping our graduates make impact in their professional and personal lives. We applaud our nursing alumni and the difference they make. Check out what some of our graduates have to say.

Michela Mazard
Michela Lambert Mazard Grad Alumni
Class of ‘11 and ‘16
Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing-South University, Online Programs

“I wanted an education that would prepare me to build relationships and treat patients and families throughout their lifespan with interaction among their physical, emotional, and mental systems. I chose South University because I was confident that I would receive a well-rounded education that ensures I am armed with the skill set I need to provide the best care possible. Read more

Charrita Ernewein
Charrita Ernewein Grad Alumni
Class of ‘12 and ‘15
Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice-South University, Tampa

“Being a military wife, I had the opportunity to work all over as a nurse in many specialties. Now that my children are older, I am focused on helping others, training the next generation of nurses and nurse practitioners, fighting human trafficking and influencing the policies that affect my profession. Read more

Laura Skrodski 2009
Laura Skrodzki Grad Alumni
Class of '09
Bachelor of Science in Nursing-South University, Tampa

“I like people, and sometimes taking time to listen to patients who are hurting can be just as valuable in their healing process as administering medicine. South University's nursing program has taught me how to help patients, not only by addressing their medical issues, but also by taking an interest in their relationships and well-being outside the hospital. Patients are husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children.”

Scott Wood 2017
Scott Wood Grad Alumni
Class of '17
Post Graduate Certificate in Family Nurse Practitioner-South University, Online Programs

“The program was very demanding and required me to be proficient in the area of study before graduating, he says. "Also, the program mixed classroom learning with clinical experiences that reinforced the materials presented in a ‘real-world’ setting."”

Kimberly Foncham 2013
Kimberly Foncham Grad Alumni
Class of '13
Master of Science in Nursing-South University, West Palm Beach

“South [University] prepared me for my career with the classroom and clinical hours we had to endure. This education has made a big difference in my life. I was an RN for twenty years and now I feel fulfilled at work.”

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the Master of Science in Nursing, and Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (