DNP Program | Doctor of Nursing Practice

UC's DNP program prepares you at the most advanced level of nursing practice to improve patient outcomes by implementing quality improvement and the latest evidence-based practice recommendations to transform health care.  

Our clinically practicing, DNP-prepared faculty experts teach you to use the latest evidence-based practice methods to deliver high-quality, cost-effective care and develop and evaluate health promotion and disease prevention strategies for your patients and community. 

Along the way, our DNP program supports your work-life balance with flexible scheduling options and asynchronous online coursework, meaning you can log in and advance your education on your own time. Most of our DNP program courses are offered at least twice a year, so you can keep moving through your program with no delays.  

DNP Program Faculty

All of UC's DNP program faculty are prepared at the doctorate level with a PhD or DNP. Most core DNP courses are taught by DNP-prepared faculty who practice in their specialty and fully understand the importance of a DNP-prepared nurse.

Our faculty are experienced and well-regarded professionals in their field. They help develop health care policy, set industry-wide standards, advocate for the nursing profession, and raise the bar for future nurse leaders. Faculty are consistently invited to present their work at national and international conferences and are elected to serve in leadership roles within professional organizations.

Meet our DNP program faculty.

DNP Program Courses

The DNP program builds on MSN-level specialty education and skills training with core courses in improvement methods, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, informatics, health care policy, public health and leadership.

As a result, you will be prepared to:

  • Deliver exemplary patient care within your specialty
  • Integrate nursing science and knowledge into practice
  • Develop and evaluate interventions and programs that address health promotion and disease prevention and improve health care for individuals and populations
  • Demonstrate leadership in the delivery of ethical, safe, quality, cost-effective care 
  • Analyze and impact institutional, local and national health policy

View DNP program courses, course descriptions and program outcomes.

DNP Program Project

As a DNP student, you will complete a project to show mastery of advanced nursing concepts and ability to translate knowledge and research into practice. You will work with faculty advisors to identify a DNP project topic that relates to your practice specialty and impacts health care outcomes at a systems or population level.

Throughout the program, you will plan, implement and evaluate your DNP project with the guidance of a project chairperson, team and faculty. All faculty routinely serve as chairs for students' DNP projects on an array of topics, offering well-informed guidance, mentorship and commentary as you develop, implement and disseminate your project.  

As a last step, you will defend your work in a public forum. If deemed appropriate by your project team, you could write a manuscript to submit for publication or present your work at a relevant event. 

Learn more about the DNP project.

DNP Program On-Campus Requirement

Most of UC's DNP program specialties are offered fully online with flexible course scheduling and asynchronous classes, meaning you choose when to log in and learn.

DNP students who live within a two-hour drive (about 100 miles) of campus are expected to defend their DNP project in person at UC College of Nursing's Procter Hall; students beyond that distance can present their DNP project virtually. 

DNP Program Pathways and Experience Requirements

There are two paths of entry to UC's DNP program.

Nurses with a bachelor's from an accredited nursing school and experience working as an RN can apply to UC's DNP program. Most programs require one year of RN experience; however, requirements vary by specialty. Visit respective DNP program specialty pages for more details.  

Nurses with an MSN can earn a DNP through UC's Post-MSN DNP online program.

DNP Program Application and Admission

UC uses a rolling admissions process and closes the application window when the program reaches capacity. Submit your application by the priority deadline to have the best chance of acceptance.

The DNP program application process includes four parts:

  • NursingCAS application 
  • Transcripts and recommendation letters (submitted through NursingCAS)
  • UC Graduate School application submission
  • Web-based interview

UC will complete a holistic review of your application that considers your previous academic achievements, experience and other traits assessed during our interview process. 

Not all application parts are due at the same time. Get more details and a breakdown of deadlines for each part.

Note: Because of individual state regulations, UC cannot accept applications for online or hybrid DNP programs from individuals who plan to live in these states while a student: Arizona, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Washington. 

Doctor of Nursing Practice Deadlines by Semester Start
  Spring '25 Summer '25 Fall '25

June 1 (Submission deadline)

July 1 (Verification deadline)

Post-Master's DNP

Oct. 15 (Submission deadline)

Nov. 15 (Verification deadline)


June 1 (Submission deadline)

July 1 (Verification deadline)

Nurse Anesthesia Nov. 1 (Priority)
Dec. 1 (Final)

DNP Program Specialties

Prepares nurses to treat patients 13 and older for brief, severe episodes of illness, injury or trauma in hospitals, ambulatory care facilities or short-term stay settings. All courses for this program, except one, are offered online. Labs are held on site. Applicants must live in Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana.

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Prepares nurses to diagnose and manage common and complex medical conditions in patients 13 and older. All coursework for this program is offered online.

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Prepares nurses to diagnose and manage common and chronic medical conditions across the lifespan in outpatient clinical settings. All coursework for this program is offered online.

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Prepares nurses to safely administer anesthetics for surgical, obstetrical and trauma care in every type of practice setting. This program is offered on campus only.

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Prepares nurses to apply knowledge, skills and abilities to use evidence from research to plan, implement and track health and safety programs and services to employees, worker populations and association groups. All coursework for this program is offered online.

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Prepares nurses to manage infants, children, adolescents, and young adults with complex acute, critical and life-threatening illnesses across a continuum of health care settings.

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Prepares nurses to provide effective care for patients with complex psychiatric and physical health needs. All coursework for this program is offered online.

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The Public Health Nursing program prepares nurses to respond to public health emergencies and to lead efforts to advance public health initiatives at the local, state, tribal, federal and global levels. All coursework for this program is offered online.

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Prepares nurses to lead and transform practice using evidence and effective collaboration in a variety of roles across complex health care systems. All coursework for this program is offered online.

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Designed for nurses with an MSN who want to earn a terminal practicing degree and gain added knowledge and experience in leadership, evidence-based practice, health policy and population health. All coursework for this program is offered online.

Why choose a DNP vs. MSN vs. PhD?

If you are ready to position yourself as a leader, elevate your clinical expertise, empower yourself to apply the latest research to practice, collaborate with other health professionals at the doctorate level, and set yourself apart in competitive job markets and in academia, choose to earn a DNP.

The DNP is the terminal practice-focused degree, meaning it is the highest level of nursing education available for nurses who want to improve patient care outcomes and care delivery. By contrast, the PhD is the terminal research-focused nursing degree for those who want to develop new knowledge in the field. The DNP parallels the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in specialty coursework and skills training, but further builds on those concepts with education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, policy/advocacy, informatics and leadership. Graduates are prepared to implement the latest science developed by researchers to improve patient and population care and transform health care processes and systems.

DNP-prepared nurses can more easily access leadership roles in health care organizations and academic settings and the degree differentiates nurses in more competitive job markets.

Finally, health care's increasing complexity and the rapid growth in new knowledge have created a demand for more nurses prepared at the doctorate level like their peers in other health professions, such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, psychiatry, physical therapy and audiology. For years, nursing's guiding organizations have pushed to require advanced practice nurses to earn a DNP. Nurse anesthetists must now earn a practicing doctorate and it is expected other advanced practice specialties will follow. 

For answers to more frequently asked questions, visit our DNP Program FAQ page.

Talk to an Admissions Counselor

Our admissions counselors are here to answer all your questions about our DNP program. Contact an admissions counselor today via email at or 513-558-3600.