Post-MSN/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.

Post-MSN/DNP Curriculum

Fall Semester, Year 1
NUR 703 - Epidemiology 3
NUR 711 - Ethical Issues in Advanced Practice Nursing 3
Credits 6
Spring Semester, Year 1
NUR 712 - Organizational & Systems Leadership in Healthcare 3
NUR 713 - Business & Legal Aspects of Advanced Practice Nursing 3
NUR 770 - Evidence-based Practice for Advanced Practice Nurses 2
Credits 8
Summer Semester, Year 1
NUR 799A* - DNP Project: Development
(0 + 2 credits: 140 clinical clock hours)
Credits 2
Fall Semester, Year 2
NUR 799B* - DNP Project: Implementation
(2 + 2 credits: 140 clinical clock hours)
Credits 4
Spring Semester, Year 2
NUR 799C* - DNP Project: Evaluation
(2 + 2 credits: 140 clinical clock hours)
Credits 4

* - Course enhancements may be required if post-BSN clinical hours do not total 1000.

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

  • Completed Post MSN-DNP application form;
  • A MSN degree from an accredited university with a grade point average of at least 3.25;
  • Unencumbered RN license in the State in which clinical course work hours will be completed
  • 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. If you have received an undergraduate or graduate degree from Valparaiso University, you 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 vita/resume that includes a description of current and past clinical practice as well as any presentations and/or publications;
  • Criminal background check and drug screen will be required through VU to begin clinical courses;
  • Application Fee: $30 for U.S. citizens.

Application materials are due by April 15th in order to be considered for Fall admission.

For more information about the College of Nursing & Health Professions program
Visit their website at

Interested students should request an application packet from the Office of Graduate Studies through our website or by e-mailing