Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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The UW School of Nursing is a leader in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) education. DNP students learn to synthesize and expand their knowledge and skills about advanced practice on multiple levels. Students will become experts at evaluating and translating evidence into effective change at the individual, family, community, and systems levels.  These changes enhance the outcomes of care, effectiveness of care delivery, and reduce health disparities.

Doctor of Nursing Practice students are part of an exceptional group of students pursuing specialized training to become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) or Advanced Systems and Population Health (ASPH) experts.  As a DNP applicant, you will choose from a variety of tracks within these pathways at the time of application.  Visit our Graduate Tracks page for more information about each track.

Students who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Nursing (MN) degree are eligible to apply.


DNP applications are due January 15 each year to begin full-time study the following Autumn Quarter.


Foundation of DNP Study

DNP studies will focus on advanced practice, leadership, and practice inquiry:

  • Advanced practice nursing allows graduates to apply for national certification in a specialized area. Students who already have a Master of Nursing (MN) with certification in an area of advanced practice may choose to focus on enhancing that MN degree and current specialization by learning how to integrate leadership and practice inquiry into their existing skillset.
  • Coursework in nursing leadership prepares students to effectively collaborate with other healthcare professionals in organizations/systems, information technology, policy, and professional identity within a social justice framework.
  • Practice inquiry gives students the fundamental skills needed to successfully translate scientific evidence into clinical practice.


Flexible Study for Working Professionals

We offer Technology Enhanced and Distance Learning (TEDL) options for many DNP courses. These allow students to pursue the DNP degree with reduced commuting to campus.

Year 1 of the DNP program is offered in a hybrid format (50% in person, 50% TEDL), and requires that students be on campus one day a week. While some DNP courses in years 2 and 3 include some TEDL methods, many courses are in-person and require weekly attendance (generally one to two days per week).

This is a rigorous program of study, and success requires significant time commitment each week. For every one hour in the classroom, students complete two hours of outside study, readings, assignments, etc. Consider the demands of classes, clinical placement obligations, family obligations, and other commitments when making decisions about working during the program.

Loans and scholarships are available, and your faculty adviser can work with you to develop a plan.


Curriculum Model

Effective Autumn 2013, Doctor of Nursing Practice students began a new curriculum based on an improved and consolidated model ("DNP 2.0"). All DNP students, regardless of specialized track, will begin coursework as a cohort in Autumn Quarter of year 1. Core DNP curriculum will be completed in sequence for the first year of the program, moving into the specialized track in the second year.

In addition to the in-class academic coursework, students (except those in the Community Health Nursing track) will spend approximately 30 hours learning physical examination skills in our Center for Excellence in Nursing Education (Learning Lab). Depending on the track chosen within the DNP program, students practice advanced skills using mannequins, task-training devices and simulated patients to practice techniques before performing them in a clinical setting.

Students who accept offers of admission are assigned an advisor who provides guidance and help answering questions until a supervisory committee chair is selected in year 3 of the program. The average length of time to complete the DNP program is 3 years of full-time study (1-2 years for post-master’s students not seeking training in a new area of practice).


Multifaceted Learning Methods

DNP students seeking new or additional advanced practice certification complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinically-focused learning (post-master’s students not seeking a new track may include clinical hours previously completed during their master’s degree in this total).

Clinical rotations for students in nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist tracks are one-on-one with a licensed healthcare provider in a variety of locations, from major hospitals to small private practice clinics. DNP students in the Community Health Nursing track will gain experience in government agencies, community-based organizations, and volunteer health agencies. All clinical rotations are coordinated by faculty within the track and are tailored to give student a well-rounded skillset.

DNP study includes:

  • Over 300 hours of in-class lecture with nationally-recognized faculty, fostering a collaborative learning environment
  • Students in nurse practitioner or clinical specialist tracks engage in clinical simulation exercises in our Learning Lab (hours and quarters vary by track)
  • A minimum of 1,000 hours of clinically-focused learning for students seeking a new track
  • A final Capstone project


DNP Graduates in the Field

DNP graduates provide leadership roles in federal, state and local agencies, as well as non-profit and private organizations:

  • Faculty at a major university school of nursing
  • Rural clinic APRN, whose role includes translating evidence into practice initiatives
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner for a non-profit community mental health center
  • Post-doctoral fellow for a Department of Psychiatry, and an owner of a private psychiatric/mental health practice with prescriptive authority
  • Area manager at a local public health department
  • Program director at a statewide nursing workforce organization
  • Assistant manager at a multi-site community health center
Program Accreditation: 

The University of Washington Doctor of Nursing Practice program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) through 2019.