Nursing Practice, Doctor of Nursing Practice


College of Health and Human Services

This terminal degree is a pinnacle for nurses who have earned a master's degree in nursing.  This clinical doctorate helps students further develop their leadership and policy-making skills and provides experience in the interpretation of and practical adaptation of evidence based practice and best practices.

  • To receive a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree (DNP) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses, consisting of at least 71 - 76 units of graduate-level courses and one thousand hours (1,000) of clinical practice.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 66 units of graduate nursing courses
  • At least 5 units of scholarly inquiry

Minimum Units for Completion 71 - 76
Additional Admission Requirements Required
Oral Defense Oral Defense is required.
Research Individualized research is required.
Additional Fees/Program Fees Required
Some online/blended coursework Required
Student Learning Outcomes

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed for nurses holding a master’s degree (MS) in nursing to obtain a terminal degree in nursing. The DNP builds on master’s education to provide expanded unique knowledge and expertise. These graduates will have a broader capability to provide high quality health care in a complex and increasingly strapped health care system. The DNP is a clinical doctorate with emphasis on enhancing leadership expertise in rural and underserved populations.

Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes align with Standards from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Upon completion of the degree, students will be able to:

  • Clinical Practice and Prevention: Synthesize concepts, including psychosocial dimensions and cultural diversity, related to clinical prevention and population health in developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to address health promotion and disease prevention efforts, improve health status/access patterns, and/or address gaps in care of individuals, aggregates, or populations.
  • Communication:
    • Develop and implement practice models, peer review, practice guidelines, health policy, standards of care, and/or other scholarly products using effective communication and collaborative skills.
    • Design, select, use, and evaluate programs that evaluate and monitor outcomes of care, care systems, and quality improvement including consumer use of health care information systems.
  • Critical Reasoning:
    • Integrate nursing science with knowledge from ethics, the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences as the basis for the highest level of nursing practice.
    • Use science-based theories and concepts to determine the nature and significance of health and health care delivery phenomena, describe the actions and advanced strategies to enhance, alleviate, and ameliorate health and health care delivery phenomena as appropriate and evaluate outcomes.
    • Design and implement processes to evaluate outcomes of practice, practice patterns, and systems of care within a practice setting, health care organization, or community against national and/or international benchmarks to determine variances in practice outcomes and population trends.
  • Leadership:
    • Develop and evaluate care delivery approaches that meet current and future needs of patient populations based on belief systems and scientific findings in nursing and other clinical sciences, as well as organizational, political, and economic sciences.
    • Demonstrate leadership ability in the development and implementation of institutional, local, state, federal, and/or international health policy.
  • Professionalism and Professional Values:
    • Develop and/or evaluate effective strategies for managing the ethical dilemmas inherent in patient care, the health care organization, and research.
    • Ensure accountability for quality of health care and patient safety for populations with whom they work.
    • Guide, mentor, and support other nurses to achieve excellence in nursing practice

Global Health:

Global Engagement: Develop creative solutions for health care systems to address health equity and social justice thus reducing health disparities in rural and/or disadvantaged populations.

Diversity Education: Analyzes social and cultural components of health and wellness to create solutions that are culturally and socially relevant and acceptable.

Environmental Sustainability: Synthesize interprofessional and interdisciplinary knowledge and approaches that promote sustainable environmental health policies and conditions as well as reduce human health exposures.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    • Master’s degree in nursing from a regionally accredited university and a nationally accredited nursing program or equivalent if program is outside the U.S.
    • Accepted students will be required to provide an official letter directly from the degree issuing institution with the actual total number of clinical hours completed.
    • Minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.0 = A) in all nursing coursework of your master's degree program.
    • Current RN license in good standing to practice as a registered nurse.
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Prerequisites (completed prior to enrolling in the program)
      • Completed courses in the following areas: Graduate Descriptive and Inferential Statistics course from an accredited college or university with a grade of B P, or better within the past 3 years. Another option is graduate statistics completed before enrollment in NUR 677
Doctoral Requirements
  • Please Note:
    • This degree is a clinical doctorate with emphasis on leadership expertise. One thousand hours (1,000) of clinical practice with a minimum of 240 hours completed at NAU is required. The summative outcome is a DNP project that demonstrates the integration and translation of evidence based practice to enhance clinical practice, which includes an oral defense.
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.

  • Program fees are established by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). A program fee of $40 per credit hour has been approved for this program.