Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP)

Program Description

In October 2004, the members of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) endorsed the Position Statement on the Practice Doctorate in Nursing which called for moving the level of preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice roles from the master's degree to the doctorate level by the year 2015. The practice doctorate is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice. The DNP curriculum builds on the master's program by providing education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems thinking among other key areas. DNP graduates will likely seek practice leadership roles such as: advance practice nurses, managers of quality initiatives, executives in healthcare organizations, directors of clinical programs, and faculty responsible for clinical program delivery and clinical teaching.

The DNP programs utilize hybrid course delivery.  The majority of classwork is done online with constant communication among students and with faculty members.  However, students will be required to visit campus multiple times each semester for class meetings or individual appointments with professors.  In addition, students must come to campus for the initial program orientation and to present their final projects.


Check out this video from a Valpo Doctorate of Nursing Practice grad student

Play Video Doctorate of Nursing, Lauren Ostrowski


DNP Curriculum (70 credits)
Family NP

Fall, Year 1
12 credits
BIO 590 Advanced Physiology & Pathophysiology
3 cr
NUR 612 Concepts for Advanced Practice Nursing 3 cr
NUR 662 Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Practice Nursing 3 cr
NUR 701 Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse
3 cr
Spring, Year 1
12 credits
NUR 605 Advanced Health Assessment
3 cr
NUR 606 Pharmacologic Principles for Advanced Practice Nursing
3 cr
NUR 670
Research for Evidence-based Practice
3 cr
NUR 702
Family Theories
3 cr
Fall, Year 2
11 credits
NUR 703
Epidemiology 3 cr
NUR 711
Ethical Issues in Advanced Practice Nursing
3 cr
NUR 721  Health Promotion Across the Lifespan
3 cr
NUR 722

Application of the APN Role I
Lab A: FNP

2 cr
Spring, Year 2
11 credits
NUR 712
Organizational & Systems Leadership in Healthcare 3 cr
NUR 731
Managing Common Health Conditions
3 cr
NUR 770 Evidence-based Practice for the Advanced Practice Nurse 2 cr
NUR 732**
Application of the APN Role II
Lab A: FNP
3 cr
Summer, Year 2
2 credits
NUR 799A DNP Project: Development
(0 + 2 credits: 140 clinical clock hours)
2 cr
Fall, Year 3 13 credits
NUR 741
Managing Complex Health Conditions
3 cr
NUR 742  Application of the APN Role III, Lab A: FNP 3 cr
NUR 799B
DNP Project: Implementation
(2 + 2 credits 140 clinical clock hours)
4 cr
Elective 3 cr
Spring, Year 3 9 credits
NUR 752
Application of the APN Role IV
Lab A: FNP
2 cr
NUR 713
Business & Legal Aspects of Advanced Nursing Practice
3 cr
NUR 799C
DNP Project: Evaluation
(2 + 2 credits: 140 clinical hours)
4 cr
Note: Coursework in the DNP may be completed on a part-time basis.

Criteria for Admission into the BSN/DNP Program
Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School, which include:

  • A BSN degree from an accredited university with a grade point average of at least 3.0;
  • Unencumbered Indiana license or eligibility for RN licensure in the State of Indiana
  • Copy of all registered nurse licenses

As part of the application process, students must provide:

  • Valparaiso University Graduate Application and DNP Application;
  • Official transcripts of all prior undergraduate and any graduate coursework.  Valpo alumni who received a graduate degree from Valparaiso University are not required to submit an official transcript from Valparaiso University;
  • Letter of recommendation from three clinical peers/supervisors who attest to communication and clinical competence (VU alumni need only submit two letters of recommendation);
  • A reflective essay relating doctoral study to professional goals;
  • Submission of a portfolio to include curriculum vitae/resume that includes a description of current and past clinical practice as well as any presentations and/or publications;
  • Interview with the Dean of the College of Nursing and Faculty
  • Criminal background check and drug screen will be required through VU to begin clinical courses;
  • Application Fee: $30 for U.S. citizens.

Applications are due by April 15 to be considered for fall admission, which is the only approved start date for the DNP and PM DNP programs.

For more information about the College of Nursing program
Visit the website at

Are you interested in learning more? 
Request more information from the Office of the Graduate School. 

Click here to apply online!