University of Washington School of Nursing
DNP Program Information for
Advanced Practice Nurses with Master's Degrees in Nursing
DNP students who are already advanced practice nurses with master's degrees in nursing will have individualized programs of study that address their professional interests and goals and meet the minimum DNP program requirements. The following pertains to post-masters (PM) DNP students who are not seeking additional advanced practice credentials or certification in a new specialty (or focal area).
What are the DNP program credit requirements?
The DNP program requires a minimum of 90 credits including:
45 credits Advanced Practice
15 credits Leadership (policy, systems, change processes, etc.)
30 credits Practice Inquiry
18 cr Course work
12 cr Capstone Practice Inquiry Project
For the DNP program objectives and further information about requirements, see-- http://www.son.washington.edu/eo/dnp_requirements.asp
Are there clinical requirements?
PM DNP students will need to take a minimum of one quarter of clinical practicum of at least 3 credits during the final third of the program. A seminar taken concurrently will provide an opportunity to demonstrate application and synthesis of DNP content.
How is the individualized program of study created?
Each PM DNP student will work with a Supervisory Committee in order to craft his or her own individualized program of study that is based on professional interests and the DNP program requirements. The DNP student will select the faculty members for his or her Supervisory Committee. The chairperson of the Supervisory Committee must hold a doctorate and have Graduate Faculty status. This Supervisory Committee will also guide the student in planning and conducting the Capstone Practice Inquiry Project.
What about transfer of credit from my master's program?
Up to 30 credits may transfer from the PM DNP student's master's program if from another school. If the MN is from UW, then more credits may apply to DNP program requirements. The PM DNP student's Supervisory Committee determines the courses appropriate for transfer as part of crafting the student's overall program of study. In instances where the master's level credit will be > 10 years old at the time the PM DNP student completes the DNP degree, a petition to Graduate School will be required. We anticipate, but cannot guarantee, that petitions will be granted.
Is there part-time study?
Yes, part-time study is an option for all PM-DNP students. Since many PM-DNP students will be maintaining their practices, we anticipate that most PM-DNP students will take one or two courses each quarter. However, PM-DNP students may be full time if they wish to be.
What about work and distance friendly courses?
All core DNP courses are being scheduled in the evenings and/or converted to on-line options to better accommodate those who work days and/or live far from campus. A number of other graduate level courses in the School of Nursing and as well as in other schools and departments are available in on-line format or reduced in-person meeting formats.
What will the DNP program cost?
For information regarding the costs involved, go to
To explore financial aid and scholarship resources, go to
Where do I find the DNP application instructions?
Instructions are available from the DNP website at—
Applications will be going on-line this fall. Please note important information regarding this.
Are GRE scores required?
No. GRE scores are not required.
When are DNP applications due?
January 15 th –- to matriculate Summer or Fall of the same year.
How can I learn more about applying to the DNP program?
Information Sessions about applying to the DNP program are held on the first Tuesday of each month at noon and at 5:30pm. Select the one that works for you.
What's the difference between earning a DNP and earning a PhD?
a) If I want to do clinical research as part of my advanced practice, should I choose the DNP or PhD program?
If you primarily want to conduct clinical research after graduation, then obtaining a PhD is the appropriate choice for your career goals. However, if you primarily desire to engage in practice, then obtaining a DNP is the appropriate choice. DNP graduates will have enhanced clinical investigative competencies and will be able to critique and selectively translate science to guide clinical decision-making and program development. A minimum of 30 credits of practice inquiry coursework is required in the DNP program, which includes a 12-credit capstone clinical investigation project. PhD graduates will have had rigorous research training to prepare them for careers in academia or in health agencies in which designing, planning, and implementing research is a significant expectation. The PhD program requires a minimum of 50 credits of research training, including 27 dissertation credits.
b) If I want to obtain an academic position, should I choose the DNP or PhD program?
Academic positions differ depending on the mission of the institution and the scope of faculty responsibility. If the college or university mission is primarily focused on teaching, then graduates of either the DNP or PhD programs would be prepared to contribute to the teaching mission as tenure-line faculty. However, if the mission of the academic institution is both research and teaching, in general, PhD graduates have the research training necessary to initiate and maintain a program of funded research that is requisite to tenure-line faculty appointment.
If I don't earn a DNP by 2015, can I continue to practice as an advanced practice nurse?
Per the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), a practice doctorate should be required for entry into advanced practice by the year 2015. See-- http://www.aacn.nche.edu/DNP/DNPFAQ.htm
However, we believe that all previously certified advanced practice nurses will be able to continue in their advanced practice.
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