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Doctor of Nursing Practice, Ph. D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
University rank #501 (ARWU) Online
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is designed as a terminal practice degree for clinically practicing nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and nursing leaders in health care organizations.
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The University of Nevada, Reno offers two options for earning this degree: a Post-Master's DNP program and a BSN to DNP program.

Post-Master's DNP vs. BSN to DNP

The Post-Master's DNP program is for applicants who already have a master's degree in nursing while the BSN to DNP program is for those who have only a bachelor's in nursing. The Post-Master's coursework is exclusively online (though students will need to come to campus for orientation and to defend their final project) and the BSN to DNP coursework is primarily online, with limited campus visits required each semester. Each program offers multiple tracks to choose from.

Post-Master's students select one of two tracks:

  • Advanced Practice Nurse
  • Nurse Executive

BSN to DNP program students choose one of three tracks:

  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
All Post-Master's students are required to attend a two-day on-campus meeting the first year for orientation to the program and one day on campus is required for the defense of the proposed project and the final defense of the project. The program is 30 credits and takes five semesters to complete (including one summer) for full-time study and eight semesters for part-time study (including two summers).

All BSN to DNP students are required to attend a two-day on-campus meeting the first year for orientation to the program and one to three days each semester for onsite immersion days. Additional time on campus is required for the defense of the proposed project and the final defense of the project. The program is 72 to 76 credits, depending on the specialty track chosen, and it takes eight semesters to complete (including summers) for full-time study.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has suggested the level of preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice be moved from the master's degree to the doctoral level by the year 2015. Because nurses work closely with individuals who have a high level of preparation in their respective fields -- physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists and others -- their educational preparation and time commitment ought to be analogous to these professionals.

Transition to the DNP will not alter the scope of practice for APNs and CNMs, which are outlined in the Nevada Nurse Practice Act.

Mission, Goal and Objectives

The mission of this program is to prepare graduates for advanced clinical practice and leadership roles to serve the health care needs of the people of Nevada, the nation and the professional community. Program graduates are equipped to assume a wide range of leadership roles in both direct and indirect health care settings. Graduates of this program may function as specialists in their advanced practice clinical roles, nursing faculty, or as health care executives, program and policy analysts or systems experts.

The goal of this degree is to prepare nurses to assume leadership roles in clinical practice, clinical teaching and health care analysis.

The objectives of the program are as follows:

  • Provide advanced nursing care to improve patient and population health care outcomes in various direct and indirect settings.
  • Take leadership roles in the analysis, delivery and management of nursing care and health care systems.
  • Provide evidence-based practice through the application of analytical methods, information systems technology and clinical research.
  • Act as change agent, leader and advocate in the design, implementation and evaluation of health care policy as it affects populations and the nursing profession.
  • Collaborate with interprofessional teams to meet the health care needs of culturally and ethnically diverse individuals and populations.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Full-time duration 24 months
    • Average part-time duration 36 months
    • Intensity Flexible
    • Part-time variant
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    • Time flexibility
    • Attendance
      Regular mandatory meetings
    • Teacher support
      Continuous support with feedback on request
    • Student interaction
      Individual work/assignments (with online group discussions), Online group works/assignments

Programme Structure

Courses include:
  • Scientific Underpinnings of DNP in Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Analysis of Healthcare Organizations
  • Translational Evidence for Healthcare Systems
  • Economics of Healthcare Delivery
  • The Nurse as Leader
  • Health & Public Policy for Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Healthcare Information Systems & Technology
  • Health Informatics
  • Collaboration, Communication, and Negotiation for Nurse Leaders
  • Management Strategies for Nursing & Healthcare Systems
  • Outcomes Management & Performance Improvement in Nursing

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks.

Academic Requirements

You need the following GPA score:

Required score: 3.5

Applicants for graduate programs must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA equivalent to 3.5 on a US 4.0 grading scale. Admitted applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of or better on a 4.0 scale. No exam grade should be lower than 4.5 (European grade scale) or D (American grade scale).

Your GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated using the grades that you received in each course, and is determined by the points assigned to each grade (e.g. for the US grading scale from A-F).

General Requirements

  • Hold a master's degree in nursing (MSN or MN). Exceptions to this will be made on a case-by-case basis and only for those students who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a master's degree in another health-related field 
  • Have completed graduate-level course work with a grade of B or better in nursing theory, research and health care policy.
  • Hold an unencumbered license as a registered nurse.
  • Hold national certification or eligibility for certification reflective of advanced practice in a leadership role from a nationally recognized certification/credentialing organization.
  • Provide documentation of at least 500 hours of practice in a leadership role from educational experience.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    55464 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 55464 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • National

    55464 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 55464 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • In-State

    28246 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 28246 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.


Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid at the university to which they apply; i.e. their "home" university. Check the link at your respective university to complete a FAFSA form.

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


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