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Degree Overview

Doctor of Nursing Practice

South University 2018 Graduation

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at South University Tampa 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, field experiences, and scholarship while offering program electives drawn from a broad range of interdisciplinary fields from the South University College of Business and College of Health Professions. Ultimately, the DNP degree is designed to provide practicing clinicians with the depth and breadth of clinical skill, leadership, and clinical inquiry competencies essential to achieving the highest level of clinical excellence.

Admission Requirements

Procedure for Admission to the Doctor of Nursing Practice** Program

** South University, Online Program offerings may not be available to residents of all states.  Please contact an admissions representative for further information.

Admissions criteria for the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program are consistent with those required in South University College of Nursing and Public Health's advanced practice programs. The criteria used in determining admission to the Doctor of Nursing degree program 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 single-state and/or a valid unencumbered Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) multistate license as a registered nurse in all U.S. states or territories in which the student is licensed, including the state in which the student completes all assignments for the program is required. (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.

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

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.

Foundation: 28 Credits
NSG7000 Organization and Systems Leadership for Nursing, 4 Credit Hours
NSG7005 Clinical Prevention and Population Health, 4 Credit Hours
NSG7010 Healthcare Policy, 4 Credit Hours
NSG7015 Financial Management and Resource Utilization, 4 Credit Hours
NSG7020 Evidence, Effectiveness, and Clinical Quality, 4 Credit Hours
PHE5015 Principles of Epidemiology, 4 Credit Hours
PHE5020 Biostatistical Methods, 4 Credit Hours
Specializations (Students select Two or Four Courses):16 Credits*
Administration Specialization
MHC6301 Healthcare Structure, Organization, and Governance, 4 Credit Hours
MHC6302 Public Health Organization and Management, 4 Credit Hours
MHC6303 Quality Performance and Management, 4 Credit Hours
MPA5001 Foundations of Public Administration, 4 Credit Hours
MPA5005 Public and Non-profit Organizational Behavior, 4 Credit Hours
MPA5010 Public and Non-profit Budgeting and Accounting, 4 Credit Hours
MPA6001 Research and Data Analysis in Public Administration, 4 Credit Hours
MPA6105 Grant Writing and Contract Administration, 4 Credit Hours
MPA6115 Program Evaluation of Public and Non-profit Organizations, 4 Credit Hours
MPA6501 State and Local Government and Intergovernmental Relations, 4 Credit Hours
MPA6505 Legislative and Judicial Process, 4 Credit Hours
MPA6520 Legal Environment of Public Administration, 4 Credit Hours
Information Technology Specialization
MIS5020 Information Systems Fundamentals, 4 Credit Hours
MIS6000 Principles of System Development, 4 Credit Hours
MIS6010 Project Management, 4 Credit Hours
MIS6020 Corporate Information Systems Management, 4 Credit Hours
Leadership Specialization
LEA5100 Leadership, Organization Theory and Change, 4 Credit Hours
LEA5125 Leadership Ethics, Culture, and Politics, 4 Credit Hours
LEA5130 Team Building and Group Dynamics, 4 Credit Hours
LEA6175 International Leadership, 4 Credit Hours
LEA6185 International Negotiations, 4 Credit Hours
LEA5140 Emotional Intelligence and Leadership, 4 Credit Hours
LEA6150 Coaching and Professional Development, 4 Credit Hours
LEA6180 Strategic Negotiations, 4 Credit Hours
Public Health Specialization
PHE6202 Program Planning and Evaluation, 4 Credit Hours
PHE6210 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, 4 Credit Hours
PHE6220 Evidence-based Public Health Practice, 4 Credit Hours
PHE6201 Public Health Policy Research, 4 Credit Hours
PHE6402 Public Health Law and Ethics, 4 Credit Hours
PHE6404 Grant and Contract Proposal Writing in Public Health, 4 Credit Hours

*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**
NSG7200 Advanced Nursing Field Experience I, 4 or 6 Credit Hours
NSG7205 Advanced Nursing Field Experience II, 4 or 6 Credit Hours
NSG7210 Advanced Nursing Field Experience III, 4 or 6 Credit Hours

**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 NSG 7220 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
NSG8100 Capstone in Applied Practice I, 1 Credit Hour
NSG8105 Capstone in Applied Practice II, 1 Credit Hour
NSG8110 Capstone in Applied Practice III, 1 Credit Hour
NSG8115 Capstone in Applied Practice IV, 1 Credit Hour

**South University, Online Program offerings may not be available to residents of all states.  Please contact an admissions representative for further information.


The objectives of the South University College of Nursing DNP program are to prepare nurses who, using leadership and collaboration, will:

  • 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.
  • Demonstrate organizational and care systems leadership for quality and safety.
  • Use contemporary healthcare science to address and resolve complex healthcare problems and disparities.
  • Evaluate scientific findings for clinical applicability and potential to affect transformative care.
  • Integrate information technology and informatics to provide scalable solutions for real-world systems problems.
  • Use strategies of risk reduction/illness prevention, health promotion, and health maintenance to improve the care of individuals, families, and populations.
  • Partner in the generation of healthcare policy to shape financing, regulation, access, and delivery of health services.

Comments and Concerns

Please fill out this form and email to with any Comments, Concerns and Complaints.  

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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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 nursing graduates have to say.

Shirrelle M Everett 2015
Shirrelle Everett Grad Alumni
Class of '15
Bachelor of Science in Nursing

“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

“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.”

Emily Han 2015
Emily Han Grad Alumni
Class of '15
Master of Science in Nursing

“By allowing me to continue working during school and applying new knowledge, as well as creating my own preceptor experiences in an area of interest, I was able to carve my way to a successful business and many great, relevant connections. I love that my degree and knowledge have helped me see the limitless opportunity we have as nurses. The freedom and excitement of my new career is something that I never could have imagined, but I look forward to innovating and paving the way for others to do the same.”

Adrienne Hampton 2016
Adrienne Hampton Grad Alumni
Class of '16
Master of Science in Nursing

“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

“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.”

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

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