May 24, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Nursing, D.N.P. Post-Master’s to D.N.P. - FNP Track

Advisement for the program is available from the School of Nursing .

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) Program addresses the growing need for doctorally prepared nurses in advanced practice roles. Graduates of this program will have specialized skills for managing the increasingly complex health care needs of the region in a cost-effective and collaborative manner. The curriculum emphasizes the use of research and technology to enhance health care and improve outcomes. Students will learn to analyze healthcare systems and integrate evidence-based practice throughout all levels of care. D.N.P. graduates will be employed at the highest level of nursing practice, working with individuals, groups or organizations, and will serve as leaders in health care for the region.

Post-Master’s to D.N.P. Option

The D.N.P. Program is offered via distance delivery. This 38-credit post-masters option is for students in advanced practice roles, including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, nurse administrators and nurse educators. Since the program is designed for working professionals, candidates may complete the degree in approximately three years, taking six credits per semester. Students who take fewer courses per semester will take longer to finish. Students who do not already hold national certification as an Advanced Practice RN may need to take additional credits and will meet with the director of the Graduate Nursing Program for an individualized curriculum plan. All students must have completed at least 1,000 clinical hours between the master’s and D.N.P. programs, with at least 400 hours in SU’s D.N.P. Practicum, reflecting at least two different areas of focus and with advisor’s approval.

Admission to the Post-Master’s to D.N.P. Program

Admission to the Post-Master’s D.N.P. Program requires acceptance to the University for graduate study as well as acceptance into the D.N.P. Program. Admission to the Post- Master’s D.N.P. Program is a competitive process, and the following required items will be considered individually as the final applicant selections are made.

  • M.S.N. or M.S. in nursing from a nationally accredited program with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

  • Proof of satisfactory completion of master’s-level statistics

  • Current and active United States Registered Nursing (RN) license.

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.

  • Current resume or curriculum vitae.

  • Three academic or professional references/letters of recommendation.

  • A 500- to 1,000-word essay (see school website for details).

  • Residency/Domicile Information form (for those students applying for in-state tuition).

  • Fulfillment of University requirements for international students as outlined in the catalog.

  • Interview by the graduate program director or designee.

  • Clinical experience is not required for admission, but students are encouraged to work in professional nursing roles during summers and semester breaks.

Post-Master’s to D.N.P. Enrollment Requirements

After acceptance into the nursing program and prior to beginning any courses, students must:

  • Meet all School of Nursing health requirements.

  • Provide evidence of current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by the American Heart Association for health care providers.

  • Provide evidence of current RN licensure in the state of Maryland, a compact state or the state in which the student is currently practicing.

Post-Master’s to D.N.P. Program Requirements

The Post-Masters D.N.P. Program consists of 38 credit hours of graduate work (for nationally certified Advanced Practice Nurses), which may be completed over approximately three years. (Credits may vary for students who are not already certified as Advanced Practice Nurses.) Direct (FNP) and indirect (leadership) care options will be available for the specialty practice-hours component, as determined by the student and faculty advisor based on the career goals and aspirations of the student. Students interested in applying their practice hours to improving the care of individuals may complete clinical time at a primary care facility or a practice management site. Other students may wish to complete their specialty hours at a hospital or community health center, focusing on a broader application for improvement of patient healthcare outcomes. 

  • Students must maintain a valid license as a registered nurse in the State of Maryland or a compact state. If a clinical site is in a non-compact state, additional R.N. licensure for that state is necessary.

  • Students must maintain current clinical and health requirements. Complete a D.N.P. project and 1,000 clinical hours, including 400 hours in SU’s D.N.P. Practicum, reflecting at least two different areas of focus and with advisor’s approval.

  • Graduates are eligible to take the certification exams offered by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center and American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

  • Graduate Nursing Program Grading Policy: A grade of B is required in courses for the program not listed here. The program allows one C/C+ if it is earned from one these courses: NURS 515 , NURS 525 , NURS 526 , NURS 542 , NURS 544 , NURS 560 , NURS 561 , NURS 571 , NURS 580 , NURS 742 , NURS 744 , NURS 755 , NURS 815  or NURS 858 . Only one course may be repeated during the program to earn a higher grade. The exception are the following courses, which result in dismissal from the graduate program without possibility of repeating if a grade of C/C+ or lower is earned: NURS 880 , NURS 881 , NURS 882 , NURS 883  and NURS 884 .

  • A minimum of 4 credits of D.N.P. Practicum are required.

  • Students can transfer no more than one-third of the total number of program credits. All transferred credits must have a grade of B or better.

Post-Master’s to D.N.P. Curriculum

The D.N.P. curriculum incorporates inter-programmatic course work designed to address the varied educational needs of the D.N.P. students, and to meet the D.N.P. Essentials (AACN, 2006). Twenty-seven credit hours in nursing, finance and political science comprise the core of the curriculum, with another eight credit hours relating directly to the D.N.P. project and practicum coursework taken toward the end of the program. Additionally, one three-credit graduate Elective- chosen by the student with the approval of his or her advisor is used to supplement the core of required courses and is tailored to student interests.

PLEASE NOTE: A plan of study, incorporating the requisite 1,000 clinical hours, will be designed for each student based on their previous experience and the focus of their D.N.P. studies (FNP versus leadership). Timeline to completion and the Total Credits: required for their program may vary, depending on each individual’s previous master’s level clinical hours, and will be determined on an individual basis. However, a minimum of 400 NURS 880  Practicum hours must be completed while enrolled in the SU D.N.P. Program.

Students ultimately must have 1,000 total clinical hours and may need to take additional credits of NURS 694  Doctoral Practice Experience if they had fewer than 600 clinical hours in their M.S.N. program. Program plans will be individually determined between the student and the director of the graduate program.

Specific Graduate Course Work Requirements

Completion of separate, graduate-level courses in quantitative and qualitative research are required as prerequisites to NURS 744  Evidence-Based Practice. Applicants who have completed only one of these research courses or a combined quantitative/qualitative course will be expected to take a second course in order to meet the prerequisite. The focus of the second course will be determined by the Graduate Program chair based upon review of the applicant’s transcript and previous graduate research course syllabus.

Completion of separate, comprehensive, graduate-level courses in advanced physiology/pathophysiology, advanced health assessment and advanced pharmacology are required prerequisites to NURS 749  Health Assessment Practicum, NURS 750  Adult Health Management, NURS 751  Women’s Health Management and NURS 752  Children’s Health Management. These prerequisite courses must be completed within three years of enrolling in NURS 749 , NURS 750 NURS 751  or NURS 752 .

  • Students in the post-master’s D.N.P.-Leadership focus are not required to complete these courses since this degree has a non-clinical focus.

  • This requirement is waived for applicants who hold current national certification and licensure as an advanced practice nurse (nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse midwife).

In order to tailor the program of study to meet individual needs, a gap analysis will be completed to identify required courses or refreshers.


This checklist is an unofficial tool for planning. Matriculated students and advisors should consult the Academic Requirements Report in GullNet before and after registering for classes each semester to track academic progress.

Program Requirements

Courses That Can Be Taken Any Time

* A minimum of four credits of Practicum are required, with 400 hours. This course can be taken for variable 1-3 credits (100-400 hours) in at least 2 different areas of focus and with advisor’s approval.