DNP Program



Graduate Student Handbook


Marquette University's College of Nursing began its doctor of nursing practice program in fall 2008. It's the first such program in the state. The D.N.P. is a terminal professional degree for nurses in advanced practice and nursing administration, and it represents attainment of the highest level of clinical nursing competence and educational parity with other health team members holding clinical doctorates. The D.N.P. is considered a clinical- or practice-oriented doctorate and involves skills beyond the baccalaureate without the necessity of an intermediate master’s degree. Graduates are able to sit for certification as an advanced practice nurse in specialty areas or nursing administration. Graduates of this program bring the best practices to the point of service, having competence in evidence-based care and translational research methods.

The focus of the D.N.P. is advanced-practice preparation at the very highest level. Students can specialize in pediatrics-primary care, pediatrics-acute care, adults, older adults, acute care-adults, nurse-midwifery and health care systems leadership.

The D.N.P. is a response to the need for a better-prepared nursing workforce — nurses who understand the complexities of health care, need for patient safety, aging population and other changing demographics, advanced clinical care demands (diagnostics and treatments), and a professional mandate. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the professional organization for baccalaureate and higher degree programs, indicated that by 2015 all advanced-practice preparation should be at the doctor of nursing practice level. This movement is similar to the preparations of physical therapy, audiology and pharmacology, which are moving to doctoral-level preparation.

Maureen E. O'Brien, Ph.D., R.N., P.C.N.S.-B.C.
Associate Dean/Clinical Associate Professor
(414) 288-3869
Clark Hall, Room 267

Karen Nest
Graduate Program Coordinator
(414) 288-3810

Tionne Reed
Program and Communication Coordinator
(414) 288-3869

Program learning outcomes and performance indicators
At the completion of the program, students will be able to:

a. Provide evidence-based advanced nursing care to individuals, families, communities and/or clinical populations.

b. Apply analytical methodologies to evaluate and monitor patient, population and/or care system outcomes.

a. Analyze and apply models, theories and scientific evidence to improve health care of diverse populations.

b. Demonstrate advanced levels of scholarship, clinical judgment, systems thinking and accountability in nursing practice.

c. Employ consultative and leadership skills within nursing and interdisciplinary health care teams to transform health care and complex delivery systems to improve health.

D.N.P. degree requirements
The 63-69 credit post-baccalaureate D.N.P.program is designed to include all existing master’s courses plus additional courses designed to help students meet the competencies of doctoral-level education for APNs. The program was deliberately planned so students will earn a master’s degree en route to the D.N.P. and be eligible to write the certification exam in their area of specialization upon completion of required courses.

The 33 credit post-master’s D.N.P. program builds on the existing master’s program. Transcripts of students whose master’s degrees are from nursing master’s programs other than Marquette are evaluated on a case-by-case basis to assure attainment of prerequisite knowledge and clinical experience. Additional course work beyond the 33 credit requirement may be necessary to meet all of the essentials of doctoral education for advanced practice.

New Post-MSN/DNP Executive Program for Nurse Leaders - Beginning Fall 2013

The D.N.P. residency requirement expands upon the master’s-level practica that precede it and leads to completion of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s recommended 1,000 hours of supervised clinical practice. The practica enable the student to demonstrate the highest level of independent advanced practice and contributes to the student’s achievement of the program outcomes. The D.N.P. residency is individualized for each student. Before the course, students are required to develop and submit a plan for achievement of the residency course objectives. Students who are functioning in an advanced-practice role may be able to complete a portion of the clinical residency hours in their place of employment, but they will be expected to demonstrate doctoral-level practice. Planning for the residency course requires that the student complete the residency planning template and meet with the option specialty adviser at the end of the spring semester before enrolling in the course the following fall semester. Once approval has been obtained from the adviser, the template plan is forwarded to course faculty for final approval.

The post-baccalaureate D.N.P. requires 69 credits post-bachelor’s for the Adult-Older Adult Primary Care or Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Older Adult Nurse Practitioner,  and Pediatrics Primary Care and Pediatrics Acute Care Advanced Practice Nurse Options and 63 credits for the Systems Leadership and Healthcare Quality option. 

The specific domains of content for all options include core courses, research, statistics and information systems, practicum courses, and a D.N.P. residency course. Health promotion/illness management is required for advanced-practice options. HCSL course examples include: finance, outcomes management, human resources, program evaluation and mediation.

The B.S.N to D.N.P. and M.S.N. to D.N.P. programs may be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. The post-master's program is typically completed on a part-time basis. At this time, most courses are classroom based and on campus and clinical courses. There are also a few hybrid courses that combine online and on-campus aspects.

Students must file all components of the application process with the Graduate School by February 15 for a fall semester start. D.N.P. applicants who apply after the deadline will be considered on a space-available basis for fall admission, provided their application is complete by June 1.

Graduate School tuition rates for the current year may be found on the Graduate School's website. Several sources of financial assistance, including scholarships, are available.

Admission requirements
To apply to the D.N.P. program, you must have graduated with at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program, normally with a graduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (4.0 = A). A statistics course that included inferential analysis must have been taken within five years of the program's start date. Undergraduate courses in nursing research and in health assessment are required prerequisites, as is a copy of your current Wisconsin nursing license.

Other criteria include:

For more information, contact Bridget O'Meara, program and communication coordinator, via e-mail or at (414) 288-3869.


The Marquette Neighborhood Health Center

The center is designed as a nurse managed health center, under the auspices of the Marquette University College of Nursing, providing community access to health care services while enhancing educational opportunities for nursing students. Learn more about MNHC.