DNP Pathways

SPU Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program prepares nurse leaders for advanced practice roles with the highest level of competence to meet the changing demands of our current and future healthcare environment.

Graduates will attain clinical, organizational, and leadership expertise to lead and transform care systems, translate evidence to clinical practice, engage in interprofessional collaboration and advocate for safe and quality care for diverse populations within complex care systems. DNP program prepares graduates for advanced practice nursing roles based on a foundation of Christian values, engaging and fostering global human flourishing with competence, character, and wisdom.

If you hold a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in nursing, you can earn your DNP as a Clinical Nurse Specialist or Nurse Practitioner (Family or Adult/Gerontology). With classes held just one day each week, you can complete your degree while continuing your career. If you are already certified as a nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist and want to pursue doctoral education, you can earn your DNP even more quickly.

Increasingly complex care management and changing health care delivery systems demand new knowledge and skills for today’s and future advanced practice registered nurses. National nursing organizations have endorsed the DNP as the academic qualification for entry into practice for APRNs. There is a growing demand for DNP-trained nurses by regional employers.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Enrolling in the Clinical Nurse Specialist pathway will help you advance the practice role of a specific patient group or population focus. You'll further your clinical expertise within your area of focus. Coursework and clinical experiences provide individualized learning to refine collaborative skills and interaction with the health care team to improve the quality of patient care.

If you’re a practicing BSN- or MSN-prepared nurse, and you are committed to improving clinical outcomes, advancing direct care through care coordination, evaluating quality indicators, and collaborating with the health care team, you may want to pursue the DNP Clinical Nurse Specialist pathway.

CNS courses and requirements

You must have a current nursing license and at least 12 months’ experience as a registered nurse with a special population focus. You’ll be required to take up to 93 credits to earn this degree. Completion takes up to 11 quarters as a full-time (PDF) student and up to 15 quarters on a part-time (PDF) basis.

Apply online »

Nurse Practitioner

If you aim to become an independent primary care provider, enroll in the DNP Family Nurse Practitioner pathway or the Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner pathway. These ARNP pathways will guide you to further your clinical expertise across the lifespan or in adult populations and practice as a responsible care provider. Coursework and clinical experiences provide individualized learning so you’ll develop proficiency as a primary care provider. Specialized knowledge and the art of delivering care are emphasized to meet practice standards and competencies.

NP courses and requirements

If you’re a practicing BSN- or MSN-prepared nurse and you are committed to providing direct care, the DNP Nurse Practitioner pathways will open doors to career options. You must have a current nursing license and at least 12 months’ experience as a registered nurse. You’ll be required to take up to 100 credits to earn this degree. Completion takes:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner pathway: up to 11 quarters as a full-time (PDF) student and up to 15 quarters on a part-time (PDF) basis
  • Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner pathway: up to 11 quarters as a full-time (PDF) student and up to 15 quarters on a part-time (PDF) basis

Apply online »

Post-master's Entry, with certification

If you are a certified  FNP, AGNP, or AGCNS you are eligible to enroll in the Post Master's Nurse Practitioner pathway or the Post Master's Clinical Nurse Specialist pathway. Each provides an opportunity to build on your master's education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, practice inquiry, and systems leadership.  

Post-master's courses and requirements

Completion takes up to 8 quarters as a full time (PDF) student and up to 12 quarters on a part-time (PDF) basis. Up to 48 credits are required to complete this degree.

Post-master's Entry, without certification

If you are not currently certified as a Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist but hold a master's degree in nursing, your DNP education will also prepare you for certification as a FNP, AGNP, or AGCNS.

Post-master's courses and requirements

Completion takes up to 11 quarters as a full time student and up to 15 quarters on a part time basis.  Up to 100 credits are required to complete this degree. Contact us to learn more about how your previous coursework may apply toward your DNP degree.

Apply online »

Dean Lorie Wild

Meet Dr. Lorie Wild

“These are exciting times to pursue a career in nursing, or in such fields as strength and conditioning, fitness training, coaching, education, recreational leadership, occupational therapy, or physical therapy.”

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