DNP Program



Graduate Student Handbook



The D.N.P. is a response to the need for a better-prepared nursing workforce — nurses who understand the complexities of health care, including the need for patient safety, the aging population and other changing demographics, advanced clinical care demands (diagnostics and treatments) and changes in health care finance. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the professional organization for baccalaureate and higher degree programs, has recommended that all advanced-practice preparation should be at the doctor of nursing practice level. This movement is similar to changes in the preparation of physical therapists, audiologists and pharmacists, all of which are moving to doctoral-level preparation.

The D.N.P. is a terminal professional degree for nurses in advanced practice and nursing administration, and it represents attainment of the highest level of clinical nursing competence and educational parity with other health team members holding clinical doctorates. Graduates of this program bring the best practices to the point of service, having competence in evidence-based care and translational research methods for quality improvement. Marquette University's College of Nursing began the first Doctor of Nursing Practice program in the state of Wisconsin in fall 2008. In 2016, the program was ranked at number 35 in the Top 50 Best Value DNP Programs by Value Colleges.

Post B.S.N. and post M.S.N. options are available. Students can specialize in pediatrics-primary care, pediatric-acute care, adult-older adults, primary care, adult-older adult acute care, and health care systems leadership.

Karen Nest
Graduate Program Coordinator
(414) 288-3810

Program learning outcomes and performance indicators
At the completion of the program, students will be able to:

a. Provide evidence-based advanced nursing care to individuals, families, communities and/or clinical populations.

b. Apply analytical methodologies to evaluate and monitor patient, population and/or care system outcomes.

a. Analyze and apply models, theories and scientific evidence to improve health care of diverse populations.

b. Demonstrate advanced levels of scholarship, clinical judgment, systems thinking and accountability in nursing practice.

c. Employ consultative and leadership skills within nursing and interdisciplinary health care teams to transform health care and complex delivery systems to improve health.

D.N.P. degree requirements
The 63-69 credit post-baccalaureate D.N.P. program is designed to include all existing master’s courses plus additional courses designed to help students meet the competencies of doctoral-level education for APNs. The program was deliberately planned so students will earn a master’s degree en route to the D.N.P. and be eligible to write the certification exam in their area of specialization upon completion of required courses.

The 33 credit post-master’s D.N.P. program builds on the existing master’s program. Transcripts of students whose master’s degrees are from nursing master’s programs other than Marquette are evaluated on a case-by-case basis to assure attainment of prerequisite knowledge and clinical experience. Additional course work beyond the 33 credit requirement may be necessary to meet all of the essentials of doctoral education for advanced practice.

Post-MSN/DNP Executive Program for Nurse Leaders

The D.N.P. residency requirement expands upon the master’s-level practica that precede it and leads to completion of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s recommended 1,000 hours of supervised clinical practice. The practica enable the student to demonstrate the highest level of independent advanced practice and contributes to the student’s achievement of the program outcomes. The D.N.P. residency is individualized for each student. Before the course, students are required to develop and submit a plan for achievement of the residency course objectives. Students who are functioning in an advanced-practice role may be able to complete a portion of the clinical residency hours in their place of employment, but they will be expected to demonstrate doctoral-level practice. Planning for the residency course requires that the student complete the residency planning template and meet with the option specialty adviser at the end of the spring semester before enrolling in the course the following fall semester. Once approval has been obtained from the adviser, the template plan is forwarded to course faculty for final approval.

The post-baccalaureate D.N.P. requires 69 credits for the Adult-Older Adult Primary Care, Adult-Older Acute, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner options and 63 credits for the Systems Leadership and Health care Quality option. 

The specific domains of content for all options include core courses, research, statistics and information systems, practicum courses, and a D.N.P. residency course. Health promotion/illness management is required for advanced-practice options. HCSL course examples include: finance, outcomes management, human resources, program evaluation and mediation.

The B.S.N to D.N.P. and M.S.N. to D.N.P. programs may be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. The post-master's program is typically completed on a part-time basis. At this time, didactic courses are offered as a combination of in-person, hybrid and/or online formats.

Students must file all components of the application process with Nursing CAS by February 15 for a fall semester start. D.N.P. applicants who apply after the deadline will be considered on a space-available basis for fall admission, provided their application is complete by June 1.

Graduate School tuition rates for the current year may be found on the Graduate School's website. Several sources of financial assistance, including scholarships, are available.

Admission requirements
To apply to the D.N.P. program, you must have graduated with at least a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from an accredited program, normally with a graduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (4.0 = A). A statistics course that included inferential analysis must have been taken within five years of the program's start date. Undergraduate courses in nursing research and in health assessment are required prerequisites, as is a copy of your current Wisconsin nursing license.

Other criteria include:

For more information, contact Karen Nest, Graduate Program Coordinator, via e-mail or at (414) 288-3810.


College of Nursing Mission Statement

Through a transformational Catholic, Jesuit education, Marquette University College of Nursing prepares nurse leaders to promote health, healing and social justice for all people through clinical practice and development of nursing knowledge.