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Nursing Practice (DNP)

[Program Overview] [Program Outcomes] [Curriculum] [Admission Criteria] [Application Requirements] [Transfer Credits] [Time to Completion] [Accreditation] [Faculty]

Program Overview

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program is for RNs with a Baccalaureate degree in nursing who wish to expand their practice to include the Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) role of the Family Nurse Practitioner. The BSN to DNP track is 80 credits and nine semesters long at full-time progression (a part-time study option is not available at this time). Four semesters of clinical rotations include primary care across the lifespan. Students accumulate at least 1,000 hours of experience through clinical practicum and scholarship work.

The application deadline is February 15 of each year.

Master's prepared APNs and leaders in advanced nursing practice may apply for completion of the DNP through the post-master's option when available. This track although planned for the future is under development and is currently not available.

RNs who are graduates of post-baccalaureate entry level MSN programs who desire to expand practice to the FNP role may apply to the post-entry level MSN track when available. The post-entrly level curriculum is currently under development and is not available at this time.

The curriculum consists of didactic and clinical course work structured around the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Essentials of Doctoral Education and when appropriate, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) Nurse Practitioner Core Competencies. Didactic and clinical course work culminates in the completion of an evidence-based clinical capstone project during the Clinical Scholarship course sequences.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of Metropolitan State University's DNP program will be able to influence health care in many ways by:

  • Translating scientific knowledge into nursing practice.
  • Leading practice initiatives that influence population health care outcomes with a focus on underserved individuals, families and communities.
  • Utilizing information systems technology to improve patient care and health care systems.
  • Facilitating interprofessional collaboration to ensure safe and effective health care.
  • Practicing holistic, evidence-based advanced nursing care with a focus on underserved individuals, families, and communities.
  • Advocating for public policy to prevent illness and promote population health.


To earn the DNP degree, students must successfully complete all course requirements and any track-specific requirements. Students must also complete and present an Evidence-based Capstone Project. Curriculum requirements for each track are listed below.

BSN to DNP Track

To earn the BSN to DNP degree, the student must complete 80 credits distributed in the following areas. The specific courses that meet these requirements are listed below.

Research/Theory Core Requirements (32 credits)

*NURS 604 prerequisite: STAT 301, STAT 321, PSYC 307, or equivalent upper division inferential or graduate-level statistics course completed within the previous five years with a grade of B or better.

Leadership Core Requirements (12 credits)

Clinical Core Requirements (25 credits)

Capstone Scholarship: (11 credits)

Optional Elective (2-3 credits)

Total BSN to DNP Track Requirements: 80 credits

Admission Criteria

Program Entry

Entry into the DNP program occurs in one of three ways depending upon your level of nursing preparation.

  • The BSN to DNP option is for nurses who have a baccalaureate degree in nursing. Award upon successful completion is the DNP degree with a concentration in Family Nurse Practitioner.
  • The Post-Master's option under development is for individuals already holding a master's degree in a nursing specialty. Award upon successful completion is the DNP degree.
  • The Post-Entry Level Master's option under development is for nurses who have earned an entry-level master's degree in nursing. Award upon successful completion is the DNP degree with a concentration in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Transcripts must indicate completion of a BS or BA in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university, also accredited by either the National League for Nursing (NLN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Students in their last semester of their baccalaureate program in nursing may apply for conditional admission.

Transcripts of applicants with a graduate degree in nursing must also indicate completion of an MS in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university, also accredited by either the National League for Nursing (NLN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Post-master's applicants must hold national certification, if required for practice as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, or nurse midwife. Post-master's applicants must also have taken a graduate level statistics course within the last five years, completed with a grade of B or better.

Applicants must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA for all previous post-secondary study and degrees, including any courses completed that did not lead directly to a completed degree.

Following review of applications an interview with DNP faculty may be requested.

Application Requirements

  • Graduate Application
  • Non-refundable $40 Application Fee (waived for graduates of Metropolitan State University)
  • Official Transcripts
  • Evidence of Current Unencumbered RN License
  • Goals Essay
  • Three Letters of Reference
  • Computer Proficiency Form

See Applying to the Program for application information, details on the requirements, deadlines and International Student application requirements.

Pre-Practicum Requirements

Prior to beginning the practicum experience, information must be submitted to the Department of Nursing which may include, but is not limited to:

  • Acceptance of Compliance with Agency Requirements
  • Communicable Disease Immunity
  • Verification of hours of RN work experience (1,000 hours)
  • Current CPR certification
  • Minnesota Department of Human Services Background Study Form
  • MSN Authorization for Release of Student Background Study Information
  • Nursing Student Release Form
  • Evidence of an unencumbered RN license with current registration to practice in Minnesota and the state(s) in which practicum will be conducted
  • Student liability coverage
  • Evidence of current health insurance
  • Evidence of completion of HIPAA training

Requirements must be valid for the duration of practicum experiences.

Transfer Credits

A maximum of eight credits may be transferred into a plan of study. Per MnSCU regulations, a maximum of four doctoral level credits may be transferred into a plan of study. Doctoral transfer credits must have prior approval, and be taken following admission to the DNP program.

Evaluation of Credentials of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools

Graduates of foreign nursing schools who apply to the nursing program are required to have transcripts evaluated by a credentials evaluation service. The evaluation report will serve as the basis for the transcript evaluation needed for admission to the university and the nursing program.

Course Sequencing and Time to Completion

  • All courses must be completed in sequence.
  • Students must achieve a minimum of a B in each course in order to progress.
  • Degree requirements must be completed within six years of beginning DNP coursework.


The DNP program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Higher Learning Commission
30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400
Chicago, IL 60602-2504

Initial accreditation of the DNP program from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education is being sought in our current renewal cycle in 2013.

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
One Dupont Circle, NW
Suite 530
Washington, DC 20036


All faculty members at the doctoral level are:

  • Holders of doctorates in their fields
  • Authors of applied or refereed publications
  • Professionally trained as advisors for applied research projects
  • Experienced in their employment fields
  • Nurse Practitioner faculty all practice as Advanced Practice Nurses
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