Nursing Practice (DNP)

Doctor of Nursing Practice (NURSDNPPNP)
Unit: School of Nursing (GN)
Program Webpage

Program Information

The Doctor of Nursing Practice is designed to prepare nurse leaders in the clinical and systems arena to meet the challenges of today's healthcare environment. The DNP is focused on developing the advanced practice knowledge and skills to improve health outcomes of individuals or populations through direct care, management of care, administration of organizations, and implementation of health policy. The University of Louisville offers both the BSN-DNP and the MSN-DNP options. The BSN-DNP requires a minimum of three years of full-time study. The last two years of the program include 1,000 clinical and project hours. The MSN-DNP is designed for advanced practice nurses and focuses on leadership for population health. A minimum of two years of part-time study is required. Clinical hours vary depending on previous masters preparation. Students must provide documentation of previous clinical hours and complete a minimum of 330 project hours, for a total of 1,000 hours.

Specialties Available

  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care
  • Family
  • Neonatal
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health

Program Academic Policies

Academic Progress in the Graduate Program

Satisfactory academic progress in a program involves maintaining the academic and professional standards expected in a particular discipline or program and many include a demonstration of the ability to function as a professional practitioner.  Failure to maintain these standards or demonstrate such abilities may result in the termination of the student's admission to the program.

Time Limitations for Degree-Seekers

Students must complete the degree requirements within six (6) years of beginning the program of study.

Removal from Clinical

A student who is unsafe in a clinical area or research setting is subject to academic action including dismissal from the program.

Course Offerings

Course offerings are subject to cancellation due to insufficient enrollment. Preceptorship/clinical experiences are scheduled on any day of the week based on availability of clinical sites and preceptors.  Limited evening and weekend preceptorship experiences may be available.  Preceptorship experiences throughout the state are also possible but not guaranteed. The office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs oversees student placement with preceptors, in collaboration with the Clinical Placement Coordinator and course faculty.

Late Complete Withdrawal after the Deadline

Upon proper documentation of extreme circumstances, a decision for approval of late complete withdrawals may be made by the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.  Late complete withdrawals are those requested after the deadline has passed and before the instructor has assigned a grade.

Students may not withdraw from any course after the published deadline in the online Schedule of Courses without the approval of the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs. This is granted only because of illness or conditions beyond the student's control.  The grade report would reflect a grade of W.

Student Health Services Requirements

Each student must comply with the current student health policy of the Health Sciences Center.  All costs associated with the compliance are the responsibility of the student.  Because of contractual Agreements with agencies and the changing needs of society, this policy is updated periodically.  The current health policies are listed below.  It is the responsibility of the student to maintain his/her health in order to ensure safety for other students and clients. If faculty or the agency deems that any student creates a health risk, the student may be excluded from the clinical experience and/or the program. 

Note: Health policies are constantly under review by faculty based on CDC changing requirements and community expectations.  Students will be notified of any policy changes, and compliance will be required.

Clinical Requirements

Before beginning the first clinical course in the DNP program, students must be in clinical compliance.  Detailed information is provided at student orientations, the School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook and is available through the School of  Nursing, Office of Student Services.

Repeating Nursing Courses

DNP students who receive a grade of C+ or below in a required DNP program course at UofL must repeat the course.  Students who receive more than one C+ or below in their required DNP curriculum will be dismissed from the program.  Students are allowed to repeat a course on a space-available basis.

Probation and Dismissal

If the cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0, the student will be placed on academic probation for the next regular semester.  If the cumulative grade point average is not raised to a minimum of 3.0 by the end of the probation semester, the student will be dismissed from the program.  The dismissal will be reflected on the student's transcript.  If a student wishes to continue at the university, he/she must apply and be accepted to another unit in order to continue to enroll in classes.

Admissions Criteria

Application deadline for fall admissions is February 1, with Fall semester admissions only.

A holistic review process is used when considering applications for admission to the DNP program.  The holistic review considers multiple criteria for admission, including:  the applicant's professional career goals, academic capabilities, GPA, work experience, certifications, leadership and community engagement.

To be considered for admission to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, the following items must be submitted:

To the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies

  1. Completed Graduate Admission Application including an application fee.
  2. Transcripts
  3. Three letters of recommendation from individuals chosen from among:  former faculty, current or immediate past employer, or other nursing/health professional who can speak of academic and/or professional nursing capabilities and potential.  At least one recommendation should be from a nurse.  These letters should accompany the Letter of Evaluation form required by the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.
  4. Goal Statement that discusses career goals, areas of expertise, and reasons for pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice.  Maximum of 3 pages; double spaced; 12-point font.
  5. Resume including your RN license number.  Include RN verification of licensure from the Board of Nursing.
  6. Proof of English Proficiency: International students for whom English is not their primary language must show English language proficiency by 1) demonstration of a degree awarded from an acceptable English language institution or 2) acceptable examinations:  TOEFL; International English Language Testing System (IELTS); successful completion of the exit examination for the advanced level of the intensive English as a Second Language Program.   Recommended test scores are available on the University International Student website.

BSN-DNP applicants: Official transcripts representing all college coursework from regionally accredited schools with a recommended cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on 4.0 scale.  Completion of an accredited (by NLN, CCNE or ACEN) baccalaureate program in nursing must be verified. Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university is required.

MSN-DNP applicants: Official transcripts representing all college course work with cumulative graduate and undergraduate grade point averages of at least 3.25 on 4.0 scale.  Completion of accredited (by NLN, CCNE or ACEN) graduate and undergraduate programs in nursing must be verified. Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university is required.

Applicants who have attended a college or university outside the United States are also required to submit an evaluation of their transcript through World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE). Please note that transcript evaluations can sometimes take several weeks.

To the School of Nursing, Office of Student Services

  1. Completed online Legal Questionnaire
  2. A Certified Background Check
  3. A personal interview may be required.

Neonatal specialty requires a minimum of one year of work experience in a Level III or Level IV NICU prior to admission. Work experience recommended prior to the first DNP clinical course in all other specialties. 

Program Requirements

BSN-DNP Curriculum

Core Courses Required for Specialties
NURS 605Theoretical Application for Practice3
NURS 607Foundation Concepts of Evidence Based Practice3
NURS 608Healthcare Systems and Economics3
NURS 652Advanced Statistical Application3
NURS 657Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Culturally Diverse and Vulnerable Populations.3
NURS 725Leadership and Health Policy for the Doctorally Prepared Nurse3
NURS 740Advanced Pharmacology 13
NURS 741Advanced Pathophysiology4
NURS 742Advanced Physical Assessment 13
NURS 743Epidemiology3
NURS 744Synthesis and Evaluation of Evidence in Practice3
NURS 745Health Information Technology3
NURS 746Program Development & Evaluation3
NURS 747Finance Management2
NURS 748Transformational Leadership3
NURS 750DNP Project 1: Project Inception3
NURS 751DNP Project 2: Project Implementation3
NURS 752DNP Project 3: Project Evaluation, Analysis and Dissemination3
NURS 787Clinical Practicum I 12
NURS 788Clinical Practicum II 13
NURS 789Clinical Practicum III 13
Minimum Total Hours62

MSN-DNP Curriculum

NURS 608Healthcare Systems and Economics3
NURS 652Advanced Statistical Application3
NURS 725Leadership and Health Policy for the Doctorally Prepared Nurse3
NURS 740Advanced Pharmacology 23
NURS 741Advanced Pathophysiology 24
NURS 742Advanced Physical Assessment 23
NURS 743Epidemiology3
NURS 744Synthesis and Evaluation of Evidence in Practice3
NURS 745Health Information Technology3
NURS 746Program Development & Evaluation3
NURS 747Finance Management2
NURS 748Transformational Leadership3
NURS 750DNP Project 1: Project Inception3
NURS 751DNP Project 2: Project Implementation3
NURS 752DNP Project 3: Project Evaluation, Analysis and Dissemination3
NURS 754Clinical Reasoning in Advanced Practice Nursing 21
Specialty coursework required for non-nurse practitioner MSN-DNP or for nurse practitioner seeking an additional specialty.
Minimum Total Hours46

DNP Specialities

Adult Gerontology Acute

NURS 754Clinical Reasoning in Advanced Practice Nursing1
NURS 756Procedures & Diagnostics for Adult Health2
NURS 760Gerontology Pharmacology1
NURS 779Diagnosis & Management in Acute Care I3
NURS 780Procedures & Diagnostics for Acute Care2
NURS 781Diagnosis & Management in Acute Care II3
NURS 783Diagnosis & Management in Acute Care III2
Minimum Total Hours14

Adult Gerontology Primary Care

NURS 753Adolescent Well Child Theory1
NURS 754Clinical Reasoning in Advanced Practice Nursing1
NURS 755Diagnosis and Management of Adult Health in Primary Care4
NURS 756Procedures & Diagnostics for Adult Health2
NURS 757Diagnosis and Management of Women's Health in Primary Care2
NURS 758Diagnosis and Management of Mental Health in Primary Care2
NURS 759Diagnosis and Management of Geriatric Health in Primary Care2
NURS 760Gerontology Pharmacology1
Minimum Total Hours15

Family Nurse Practitioner

NURS 754Clinical Reasoning in Advanced Practice Nursing1
NURS 755Diagnosis and Management of Adult Health in Primary Care4
NURS 756Procedures & Diagnostics for Adult Health2
NURS 757Diagnosis and Management of Women's Health in Primary Care2
NURS 758Diagnosis and Management of Mental Health in Primary Care2
NURS 760Gerontology Pharmacology1
NURS 761Pediatric & Adolescent Well Child Theory2
NURS 762Diagnosis & Management of Pediatrics in Primary Care2
Minimum Total Hours16

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Neonatal specialty requires a minimum of one year of work experience in a Level III or Level IV NICU prior to admission. Work experience recommended prior to the first DNP clinical course in all other specialties. 

NURS 761Pediatric & Adolescent Well Child Theory2
NURS 763Advanced Neonatal Physiology & Pathophysiology I3
NURS 764Neonatal Diagnostic Reasoning I1
NURS 765Advance Neonatal Physiology & Pathophysiology II3
NURS 766Neonatal Diagnostic Reasoning II1
NURS 767Neonatal Residency I3
NURS 768Neonatal Residency II3
NURS 769Neonatal Residency III3
NURS 784Advanced Neonatal Pharmacology3
NURS 785Advanced Neonatal Assessment3
NURS 786Human Embryology and Genetics3
Minimum Total Hours28

Psychiatric Mental Health

NURS 770Advanced Psych Assessment & Clinical Interview2
NURS 771Psychopathology2
NURS 772Psychopharmacology2
NURS 773Management of Psychiatric/Mental Health Conditions: Foundation of Individual Psychotheryapy3
NURS 774Diagnosis and Management in Psych/Mental Health: Group Psychotherapy and Care of Special Populations3
NURS 775Diagnosis and Management of Psychiatric/Mental Health Conditions3
Minimum Total Hours15