Post-MSN/Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP)


Program Description for the online DNP

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 Post Master's DNP uses a unique online hybrid format.  Some coursework is completed asynchronously allowing students to work independently on their course assignments throughout the semester.  Other courses follow a synchronous format provding students the opportunity to "attend" class via the Internet.  Attendance on campus is only necessary at the initial program orientation, to meet with the program adviser as needed, and to present final projects.


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

Play Video Doctorate of Nursing, Lauren Ostrowski


Post-MSN/DNP Curriculum

6 credits
NUR 703 Epidemiology
3 cr
NUR 711 Ethical Issues in Advanced Practice Nursing
3 cr
8 credits
NUR 712 Organizational & Systems Leadership in Healthcare
3 cr
NUR 713 Business & Legal Aspects of Advanced Nursing Practice
3 cr
NUR 770 Evidence-based Practice for Advanced Practice Nurses 2 cr
2 credits*
NUR 799L* DNP Project
Lab A: Development
(2 + 2 credits: 140 clinical clock hours)
2 cr*
4 credits*
NUR 799L* DNP Project
Lab B: Implementation
(2 + 2 credits: 140 clinical clock hours)
4 cr*
4 credits*
NUR 799L* DNP Project
Lab C: Evaluation
(2 + 2 credits: 140 clinical clock hours)
4 cr*
* Certification as a CNS may require course enhancements to complete the 1000 clinical hours required post BSN.
Note: Course enhancements are not required if certified as an FNP.


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

  • A MSN degree from an accredited university with a grade point average of at least 3.3
  • Unencumbered Indiana license or eligibility for RN licensure in the State of Indiana
  • Copy of all registered nurse licenses
  • Certification as an advance practice nurse
  • Copy of current APN certification for advanced practice nursing specialty

As part of the application process, students must provide:

  • Valparaiso University Graduate Application and Post-MSN/DNP Application;
  • Official transcripts of all prior undergraduate and graduate coursework. Undergraduates or graduates 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 CON 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
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Request more information from the Office of the Graduate School. 

Click here to apply online!