Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

D.N.P. Programs logo

A D.N.P. is a terminal professional degree for nurses in advanced practice and leadership, and it represents attainment of the highest level of clinical nursing competence and educational parity with other health team members holding clinical doctorates. 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.

Graduates of the D.N.P. 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 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 D.N.P. Programs by Value Colleges.

There are two routes to the D.N.P. degree: B.S.N. to D.N.P. or post-master’s to D.N.P.

  • Students entering the post-B.S.N. to D.N.P. become either a nurse leader or an advanced practice nurse. The advanced practice nurse specialties include: nurse anesthesia, pediatrics-primary care nurse practitioner, pediatric-acute care nurse practitioner, adult-older adult primary care nurse practitioner, adult-older adult acute care nurse practitioner, and adult-older adult clinical nurse specialist. 

  • Students who have attained their master’s degree in advanced practice or leadership enter the post-master’s D.N.P. program.


D.N.P. program learning outcomes and performance indicators

At the completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate advanced, evidence-based management of care in a cultural context at the individual, family, population, and/or organizational/systems level. 
  2. Demonstrate policy analysis and advocacy for social justice, equity and ethical policies in health care delivery.
  3. Analyze and apply models, theories and scientific evidence to improve quality of health care of diverse populations.
  4. Employ interprofessional and leadership knowledge and skills to transform health care and complex delivery systems.
  5. Integrate knowledge of and skills in information systems and patient care technologies for the improvement and transformation of health care.

D.N.P. program and degree requirements

Our CCNE-accredited D.N.P. program is offered via a combination of in-person, hybrid and/or online courses. The D.N.P. clinical and residency requirements vary. These clinical courses help the students attain the required amount of clinical hours for their specialty. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s recommends a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised clinical practice for the D.N.P.

The Nurse Anesthesia specialty can only be attained through the D.N.P. program, which is 91 credits of full-time study.

The other postbaccalaureate D.N.P. programs require 63–69 credits: post-baccalaureate D.N.P. program and can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. These programs include all existing master’s courses plus additional courses to help students meet the D.N.P. competencies. The D.N.P. program was deliberately planned so students will earn a master’s degree en route to the D.N.P. and be eligible to write for the certification exam in their area of specialization upon completion of required courses.

The 30-credit post-master’s D.N.P. program builds on the existing master’s program and is completed generally on a part-time basis. 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.

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.

Admissions 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.

Students must file all components of the application process with Nursing CAS by February 15 for a fall semester start, or November 15 for a spring semester start. Note: The D.N.P. NA program only allows for a fall semester start. D.N.P. applicants who apply after the stated deadlines will be considered on a space-available basis only.

Other criteria include:

  • Completed online application form and fee
  • Statement of purpose
  • Official transcripts from all current and previous colleges
  • TOEFL scores (international students only)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores (general test only; waived if last cumulative GPA was 3.2 or greater)
  • Curriculum vita or resume
  • Background check and health requirements (prior to beginning course work)

Additional information

For more information, contact:

Susan Breakwell, APHN-BC, D.N.P.
D.N.P. Program Director
(414) 288-3848

Taylor Rose Pamperin
Graduate Program Advisor
(414) 288-5632

For information regarding specific specialties within the D.N.P. program, please contact the option coordinator:

Debra Casper
Adult-Older Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
(414) 288-3871

Christine Shaw
Adult-Older Adult Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
(414) 288-3843

Lisa Thiemann
Nurse Anesthesia
(414) 288-3858

Kristin Haglund
Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
(414) 288-3824

Christine Schindler
Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
(414) 288-6179

Christine Schindler
Pediatric Dual Primary and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
(414) 288-6179

Kristin Haglund
(414) 288-3824

Jane Miles
Systems Leadership and Health Care Quality
(414) 288-3851