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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 5 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 (refer to Conditional Acceptance).
  • 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.

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.

Clinical Field Experience: up to 34 Credits*

Required for students who have less than 460 post baccalaureate clinical hours:

*Practice Immersion Experience courses are eligible for PLA (Prior Learning Assessment) based on post-baccalaureate clinical experiences. Students are required to have a minimum of 1000 documented hours of post baccalaureate clinical experience to earn the DNP degree.

Capstone in Applied Practice: 4 Credits

Outcomes

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 and Public Health 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 that supports 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 located 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.

For more information about the Doctor of Nursing Practice within the nursing profession, please visit the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website at http://www.aacn.nche.edu/DNP/index.htm.

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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Fill out the form and a representative will contact you today to better understand your academic goals plus answer any questions you may have.

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.

Sergio Ocampo 2010
Sergio Ocampo Grad Alumni
Class of '10
Bachelor of Science in Nursing-South University, Online Programs

“[I] considered myself a competent nurse, but after I received my BSN from South University, my confidence [went] through the roof, making me a valuable asset to my hospital [and] earning high respect from my colleagues and hospital administration.”

Adrienne Hampton 2016
Adrienne Hampton Grad Alumni
Class of '16
Master of Science in Nursing-South University, Online Programs

“I can truly say that during my experience at South University I have only encountered positive, encouraging, intelligent, and professional staff who want their students to be successful. The online courses have been challenging but knowledge enhancing as well. I have learned discipline and have decreased my test anxiety through weekly quizzes, our midterms and final exams. Moreover, the Practicum experience has exceeded my expectations by allowing me to apply what I have read, researched, and studied into practice”

Samira Monet' Hayes 2013
Samira Monet' Hayes Grad Alumni
Class of '13
Bachelor of Science in Nursing-South University, Columbia

“If it was not for South University professors and clinical instructors, I would not have the foundation and knowledge-base to be a successful, critical thinking nurse. Education is the key, simple and true. If I had not earned my degree I would not be in the position I am in today, nor would the opportunities that present themselves to me be available.”

Shirrelle M Everett 2015
Shirrelle Everett Grad Alumni
Class of '15
Bachelor of Science in Nursing-South University, Richmond

“It took me almost ten years to realize that without an education I would be stuck working for minimum wage at dead-end jobs, I was a single mother of two children living on welfare. South University allowed me to gain the knowledge and skills needed to advance my career at my own pace. My education has enabled me to take care of my family.”

Lisa Godwin 2009
Lisa Godwin Grad Alumni
Class of '09
Bachelor of Science in Nursing-South University, Tampa

“When I graduated, I passed the NCLEX and quickly got a great job as an RN. I felt very prepared for my new role and within less than five months, I was a charge nurse for a 36-bed med-surg unit. I'm very glad I chose South University for the start of my nursing career. My education gave me a great foundation and has made me a better nurse and practitioner.”

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 (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org).