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doctor of nursing practice (dnp)

doctoral degree

online program

next start dates
january 04, 2021
april 05, 2021

21 months

time to completion with full-time study1

2 specialties

executive leadership
public health and policy


credits needed to graduate2

take your nursing degree to the highest level

take the next step and earn your dnp degree. choose rasmussen university for your dnp because we know how to develop innovative, high caliber thought leaders who are grounded in the core values of nursing.

innovative and affordable, our online doctor of nursing practice program is for nurses called to lead at the highest levels in healthcare and public health and policy. you’ll be guided and supported by distinguished nurse faculty with vast experience in community and clinical settings, who are invested in your success and your future as a leader. 

our dnp curriculum design team brings over 100 years of nursing teaching experience and even more relevant work experience in settings such as national nursing agencies and clinical facilities—from acute care to academic hospitals. our curriculum brings relevant practice issues to life resulting in a dynamic advanced practice dnp program for those seeking preparation at the highest level of nursing practice.

transformational healthcare leaders are needed more than ever before. our dnp program inspires you to focus on impacting healthcare outcomes either through direct or indirect care with a choice of specializations — executive leadership and public health and policy. rasmussen university is one of the few institutions to offer dnp public health and policy as a combined specialization. either specialization can help prepare you to drive meaningful change in line with your interests and talent.

let's get started

competency-based education

built for working professionals

    the way you learn is part of the journey. rasmussen university understands life is unpredictable. sometimes it’s a life-changing event, like a global pandemic. other times, it’s the little things like a skinned knee or an unexpected load of laundry. that’s where competency-based education (cbe) comes in.

    unlike most other nursing doctoral programs, our cbe format is a true game-changer. cbe is an outcomes-based model that helps working professionals like you take control of the learning experience, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate all the skills and knowledge necessary to future success at a pace that fits your current schedule.

    cbe features:

    • flexible deadlines
    • live and recorded sessions that can be listened to when convenient
    • access to courses 24/7, anytime and from anywhere

16,000 nursing alumni join our thriving nursing network of over 7,500 nursing students, 16,000 nursing alumni and 750 nursing faculty.3

two nursing specializations that lead the way

do you aim for excellence as a nurse leader or work for the public good in the policy arena? each specialization includes a common foundation of shared courses, along with specialization-specific courses. in addition, practicum courses allow you to attain the required post-baccalaureate clinical hours, based on the clinical hours you’ve earned prior to entering the program.

  • executive leadership specialization

    you bring

    • a passion for leading at the highest nursing level
    • commitment to quality and excellence in nursing practice
    • ability to thrive in fast-paced environments

    you'll study

    • executive and inter/intra-professional team leadership
    • managing through change
    • cultural principles in healthcare
    • quality and safety across diverse populations and complex health systems

    career paths

    • chief nursing officer
    • director of nursing
    • nurse administrator
    • nurse executive
    • president/vice president/director of patient services

    specialization courses
    executive leadership i
    • emphasizes transformative leadership through a focus on foundational professional skills. topics include leadership and professionalism, relationship-building and communication, and business intelligence to thrive as a nursing leader. practice experience required.
    executive leadership ii
    • focuses on leadership strategies for change management, sustainable outcomes, quality and safety, and how to incorporate cultural principles across healthcare delivery. topics include leadership strategies for change management and sustainable outcomes, high reliability theory for quality and safety, and processes for incorporating cultural principles into healthcare delivery. practice experience required.
    dnp project
    • as part of the dnp program, you will complete a culminating project in your area of specialization. the dnp project demonstrates the application of knowledge and skills to address ethical, legal, financial and organizational aspects through implementation of a practice change to improve health outcomes.

    shared courses
    organizational and systems leadership
    • focuses on collaborative leadership as an integral aspect of advanced nursing practice to eliminate health disparities and promote patient safety and excellence in practice.
    professional identity development
    • focuses on professional identity development with emphasis on developing skills needed to function as a resilient, practice-focused scholar in today’s ever-changing healthcare environment. practice experience required.

  • public health and policy specialization

    you bring

    • commitment to advocate for change
    • genuine interest in health protection
    • ability to influence others and negotiate
    • project management and analytical skills

    you'll study

    • impact of policy on health at the local, national and global level
    • policy design that impacts delivery, financing, regulation, quality, safety and access to healthcare
    • leadership and influence in the public health field
    • epidemiological principles in public health policy
    • use of evidence-based practice to improve healthcare outcomes

    career paths

    • director of public health and policy
    • health policy specialist
    • government or policy activist
    • healthcare leadership roles
    • public health expert positions in academia, care facilities, health systems or insurance companies

    specialization courses
    public health and policy i
    • develops a comprehensive understanding of the application of epidemiological principles to the delivery of healthcare services and organizations to improve the health of people and their communities. practice experience required.
    public health and policy ii
    • provides catalyst to comprehend, formulate and disseminate healthcare policy through the development, implementation and evaluation of health policy. practice experience required.
    dnp project
    • as part of the dnp program, you will complete a culminating project in your area of specialization. the dnp project demonstrates the application of knowledge and skills to address ethical, legal, financial and organizational aspects through implementation of a practice change to improve health outcomes.

    shared courses
    population and global health
    • engages the practice of designing evidence-based programs and services to improve health comes through the use of epidemiological concepts, health promotion and disease prevention strategies and determinants of health.
    essentials of healthcare policy
    • examines the importance and interdependence of policy and healthcare with focus on analysis of healthcare issues and policy making, policy process and impacts of globalization to enhance ability to advocate the nursing profession's influence on healthcare policies.

built for working nurses

our program is designed for busy nurses, so you can continue to work while you earn your degree. we offer a dnp online curriculum, complemented by local practice experiences that are convenient and relate to your community and interests.

support at every turn

your dnp support team helps you move through each step of the program, and includes a dedicated graduate services advisor, graduate program faculty, mentors and a project advisor. you'll also have access to 24/7 robust research and writing resources and tech support.

stand out in the crowd

professional identity development is built into the dnp degree curriculum, with a focus on becoming a resilient, practice-focused scholar in today’s changing healthcare environment.

Doctor Joan Rich

the healthcare industry is seeking nurses who have dnp degrees. our dnp program provides the crucial reasoning, judgment, and innovative skills needed to solve the healthcare problems of today.

dr. joan rich, dnp, rn, phn, fcni
vice president, school of nursing

take the next step—talk to us!

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online for convenience

learn from experts

our experienced faculty understands what it takes to serve the nursing profession at the highest level.

support is online, too

24/7 tech support, robust writing and library research support—plus, the library itself is online.

clinical hours for experience

clinical hour flexibility

building on your prior clinical hours, the practicums help you meet the dnp clinical hour requirement.

put your learning to work

apply your advanced nursing leadership skills in your community through robust practice experiences.

affordable education

Tuition & Savings

do the math:

we are committed to providing affordable tuition. whether you attend full-time or part-time, our credits cost the same and our program credits flex up to help you meet clinical hour requirements.

full-time students can finish in as few as 21 months1 for as low as $36,110.4 students needing to complete the greatest number of clinical hours can finish for as low as $47,150.4

$695 cost per credit
x 48 total credits
$33,360 total tuition
+$2,750 total fees
$36,110 estimated total program cost
(with aprn license; assumes 500 clinical hours)

explore our tuition estimator tool

other ways to save

higher education should be a manageable investment. talk to an admissions advisor and learn how our doctor of nursing practice online program can be more affordable with loans and grants, scholarship opportunities, and military grants for those who qualify. your employer may provide tuition support or reimbursement to help you fund your education. we are also committed to helping members who have served in the u.s. armed forces. we offer a 10% tuition grant to active duty service members, national guard, reserve, retired military and veterans.

find more about:

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entrance requirements

applicants to this program must hold a conferred master’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program or a baccalaureate degree in nursing from an accredited program and a master’s degree in a related field with a cumulative 3.0 gpa or higher and possess an active, unencumbered rn license from the state where the clinical hours will be completed. please speak with an admissions advisor regarding additional entrance requirements.

completed application packets will be reviewed to determine program acceptance and the number of total clinical/practicum hours earned at the post-baccalaureate level that will apply to the program. this will determine the remaining practicum course hours required to complete the program.

this program is not available to residents of all states. please speak with an admissions advisor to determine your eligibility for enrollment.

talk to an admissions advisor

you've got questions, we've got answers

frequently asked questions

  • how many clinical hours do i need to complete?

    the dnp essentials specifies that practice hours must be part of an academic program. all dnp students, including those in post-master’s programs, are expected to complete a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate practice hours. practice immersion experiences afford the opportunity to apply, integrate, and synthesize the dnp essentials necessary to demonstrate achievement of desired outcomes in an area of advanced nursing practice. immersion experiences enhance synthesis of the dnp essentials into a focused area of practice. your post-baccalaureate hours will be evaluated for relevancy to the dnp program for credit. all students will complete the dnp clinical hours built into the program.

    this means that your total course credits, program cost and length of program will vary depending on your prior clinical hours.

  • how do practice experiences work in an online program?

    practice experiences may be in your own community, possibly at your own organization and under the supervision of a dnp practice mentor who has expertise in your area of focus and will serve as your role model and mentor in the practice setting.

  • how will this doctoral program fit in with my busy life?

    the dnp degree program is built for working professionals like you, by offering some flexibility in the pace. you can participate in live sessions or listen to the recorded sessions when it's convenient. our competency-based education model allows for flexibility in each course. flexible deadlines will help you manage your schedule within each term.

  • do i have to pursue a specialization?

    yes, we offer two dnp specializations to help you focus on and pursue your career goals and passions as a nursing leader: executive leadership or public health and policy. depending on your desired outcomes, you’ll be able to choose the specialization that will best help you fulfill your ambitions.

  • what's involved in the dnp project?

    guided by expert faculty, you will complete a culminating dnp project. the dnp project will reflect the advanced knowledge and skills you've acquired to translate evidence into practice and impact organizations and systems to improve health outcomes for families and communities. you’ll have a dnp project advisor to support you and challenge you to do your best work.

  • do i need to attend classes at a campus?

    our dnp program has no on-campus requirements. courses are online, accessible anytime, from anywhere, 24/7. practice experiences and practicums may be in your own community.

    the program is not available to residents of all states. please speak with an admissions advisor to determine your eligibility for enrollment.

  • is the dnp program aligned with advanced nursing standards?

    our dnp degree curriculum is aligned with the national league for nursing (nln) education competencies, the quality and safety education for nurses (qsen) graduate-level competencies, and the essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice, a set of standards designed by the american association of colleges of nursing (aacn).

don't see your question here?

our dedicated team of admissions advisors can help you answer questions related to tuition, financial aid, admissions and more.

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call: 877-308-9946

  1. completion time is dependent on the number of courses completed each term.
  2. credits needed to graduate depend on practicum clinical hours needed to reach required minimum.
  3. as of july 14, 2020, rasmussen college had 7,564 students enrolled in school of nursing programs. as of june 30, 2020, rasmussen college had 16,032 nursing alumni. this number represents the total number of those who graduated from a school of nursing program between march 20, 2006, and june 30, 2020. for the spring quarter of 2020 (april - june), rasmussen college had 767 full-time and adjunct nursing faculty.
  4. estimated total program cost with no transfer of credit.
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