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Earn your online DNP from the leader in doctoral nursing education.1

As a nurse, you see the disparities and inefficiencies in healthcare delivery firsthand. Earning your Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from Walden can help you play a bigger role in creating the change that needs to happen. Turn your ideas for innovative nursing and healthcare practice into reality. Gain the knowledge and confidence to improve patient care, mentor future nurses, and be a voice for patients and families.

An online DNP degree program prepares nurses to influence patient outcomes and advance clinical practice in various types of leadership roles. Walden’s DNP program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), with curriculum aligned to the latest standards from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and National League for Nursing.

Why Choose Walden?

Personalize Your Path

Select our DNP Program or one of six specializations, including five that prepare you to seek nurse practitioner certifications.

Enhance Your Résumé

In your DNP project, you’ll build a portfolio by working directly with a local healthcare partner to address a challenge they face.

Impact Your Community

Explore the complex factors that affect health outcomes and become an advocate for improving healthcare in your community.

Start With Your BSN

Many of our DNP specializations offer a BSN entry point if you’re ready to move your career forward—but don’t have your MSN.

Practicum Advantage

Get the support you need for a successful experience at all stages of your nursing practicum.

Be Supported at Each Step

The Walden Doctoral Degree CoachTM helps you find the right support when you need it and stay on track throughout your journey.

CCNE-Accredited Nursing Programs That Inspire Confidence

In nursing, confidence is everything—and we want you to have confidence in Walden’s CCNE-accredited nursing programs. Accreditation signals program quality, and assures an educational experience aligned with the demands of today’s nursing field. The baccalaureate degree program in nursing (BSN), master’s degree program in nursing (MSN), post-graduate APRN certificate program, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.ccneaccreditation.org). Be ready for what’s next with a Walden degree.

PROGRAM SAVINGS

Speak with an Enrollment Specialist to learn about our current tuition savings.

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Program Details

Curriculum

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • 45 quarter credits
    • Doctoral Writing Assessment
    • Foundation course (5 cr.)
    • Core courses (40 cr.)
    • Field experience (up to 8 cr., for students with fewer than 600 documented clinical hours)
    • Completion of DNP project
      • DNP Project Mentoring course (0 cr.)
      • Doctoral DNP Project Completion (if needed to complete DNP Project after all other coursework has been completed; 3 cr. per term, taken continuously until completion of the DNP project)

Courses

Course Code Title Credits
NURS 8002/8006
Foundations and Essentials for the Doctor of Nursing Practice

Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and are provided with a foundation for academic and professional development in the DNP program. Students apply professional standards and explore the role of the doctorally prepared nurse as one who effects positive social change. They engage in course assessments focused on the practical application of scholarly writing, critical-thinking skills, and the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students also explore the essentials of being a Walden doctoral student, relevant professional and specialty standards of doctoral-level nursing practice, intra- and interprofessional collaboration, and the process of the DNP Doctoral Project.

-
(5 cr.)
NURS 8114
Theoretical and Scientific Foundations of Nursing

In this course, students focus on the integration of scientific, philosophical, and theoretical concepts as the basis for the highest level of nursing practice. They examine the scientific underpinnings for nursing practice, including middle range nursing and interdisciplinary theories and they explore the interrelationship among knowledge, research, and practice. Students also explore clinical inquiry, models of evidence-based practice, implementation science, and translation of evidence for practice change and quality improvement. Students develop their own philosophy of nursing practice.

Prerequisites

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Prerequisite may be taken concurrently.

  • NURS 8002 or NURS 8002A or NURS 8002C or NURS 8002F or NURS 8002S or NURS 8006 or NURS 8006A or NURS 8006C or NURS 8006F or NURS 8006S

(5 cr.)
NURS 8201
Research for Evidence Based Practice

The focus of this course is to integrate and extend the Doctor of Nursing Practice student's skills and knowledge of research methods to read, interpret and evaluate research studies. Essential topics will include overview of research concepts and the research process; quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research methods and designs, including data collection, data analysis and interpretation techniques; ethical issues in research; and utilizing research findings to guide practice. Basic statistics will be reviewed, including the appropriate use of various statistics, underlying assumptions of the procedures, and the interpretation of results generated from statistical software. An analysis of how research designs and methods support the research process for the translation of evidence into clinical practice will also be examined.

Prerequisites

  • NURS 8002 or NURS 8002A or NURS 8002C or NURS 8002F or NURS 8002S or NURS 8006 or NURS 8006A or NURS 8006C or NURS 8006F or NURS 8006S

(5 cr.)
NURS 8302
Leading Organizations for Quality Improvement Initiatives

The focus of this course is the development of leadership competencies and strategies to support organizational and systems leadership for continuous improvement in health outcomes and the delivery of quality care. Emphasis is on understanding the challenges and complexity in the healthcare system and the development of skills and knowledge to lead, manage, evaluate, and innovate to transform the healthcare environment. Essential topics include leadership for change and transformation, quality improvement tools and methods, safety principles, and project management.

Prerequisites

  • NURS 8002 or NURS 8002A or NURS 8002C or NURS 8002F or NURS 8002S or NURS 8006 or NURS 8006A or NURS 8006C or NURS 8006F or NURS 8006S
  • NURS 8114 or NURS 8114A or NURS 8114C or NURS 8114F or NURS 8114S

(5 cr.)
NURS 8702
DNP Project Mentoring

This course provides students the opportunity to translate knowledge into practice and demonstrate the competencies of the AACN DNP Essentials. Students will complete the DNP project to demonstrate organizational/systems leadership, translation of evidence, and quality improvement processes on a change impacting health outcomes. Projects will follow the project management process and include components of planning, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination. Students complete the DNP project independently, with the guidance of a faculty advisor and an organization mentor. The order and format of the steps of the DNP project are outlined in the DNP Project Process Guide.

Prerequisites

  • NURS 8002 or NURS 8002A or NURS 8002C or NURS 8002F or NURS 8002S or NURS 8006 or NURS 8006A or NURS 8006C or NURS 8006F or NURS 8006S
  • NURS 8114 or NURS 8114A or NURS 8114C or NURS 8114F or NURS 8114S
  • NURS 8201 or NURS 8201A or NURS 8201C or NURS 8201F or NURS 8201S
  • NURS 8302 or NURS 8302A or NURS 8302C or NURS 8302F or NURS 8302K or NURS 8302M or NURS 8302S or NURS 8302W

Note: Students are automatically enrolled in this course each term of the DNP project concurrent with courses required for the DNP program of study.

(0 cr.)
NURS 8210
Transforming Nursing and Healthcare Through Technology

When used effectively, information technology can support generation of new knowledge and emerging information technologies. In this course, students examine the critical appraisal and use of information technology in advanced nursing practice. Students work to gain the skills and knowledge needed to research, develop, process, integrate, and manage data, communication and information systems, and programs through technology resources in consumer, clinical, and public health settings. Students engage in a variety of discussions and assignments designed to provide practical application of content on topics including retrieval and critical analysis of digital data and emerging technology to support healthcare quality improvement; electronic health records integration and evaluation; and web-based learning and intervention tools to support and improve patient care. They also explore ethical, regulatory, and legal issues as well as the healthcare standards and principles for selecting and evaluating information systems and patient care technology that effects positive social change. They engage in course assessments focused on the practical application of scholarly writing, critical-thinking skills, and the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students also explore the essentials of being a Walden doctoral student, relevant professional and specialty standards of doctoral-level nursing practice, intra- and interprofessional collaboration, and the process of the DNP Doctoral Project/dissertation.

Prerequisites

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

  • NURS 8002 or NURS 8002A or NURS 8002C or NURS 8002F or NURS 8002S or NURS 8006 or NURS 8006A or NURS 8006C or NURS 8006F or NURS 8006S

PhD in Nursing

  • NURS 8110N or NURS 8003

(5 cr.)
NURS 8502
Evidence Based Practice I

The purpose of this course is to provide the student with opportunities to create individualized objectives based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing DNP Essentials to develop leadership skills and competencies in their specific areas of interest. Students work with an approved practicum mentor to generate practicum evidence and complete practicum journal requirements. Students complete a self-evaluation and reflect on their personal growth.

Prerequisites

  • NURS 8002 or NURS 8002A or NURS 8002C or NURS 8002F or NURS 8002S or NURS 8006 or NURS 8006A or NURS 8006C or NURS 8006F or NURS 8006S
  • NURS 8114 or NURS 8114A or NURS 8114C or NURS 8114F or NURS 8114S
  • NURS 8201 or NURS 8201A or NURS 8201C or NURS 8201F or NURS 8201S
  • NURS 8302 or NURS 8302A or NURS 8302C or NURS 8302F or NURS 8302K or NURS 8302M or NURS 8302S or NURS 8302W

Note: These 2 credits of practicum hours have a 1:80 ratio of credit to practicum hours, resulting in 160 practicum hours.

(5 cr.)
NURS 8310
Epidemiology and Population Health

Students in this course are provided with an overview of epidemiologic methodology in the study of the distribution and etiology of disease and health-related conditions in human populations. They explore and discuss select global problems, such as infectious diseases, bioterrorism attacks, and effects of disasters and emergencies. Students apply epidemiologic and biostatistical methods to study factors related to aggregate, population, and individual health. Students will explore the importance of cultural sensitivity and an interprofessional approach, in caring for diverse and at-risk populations.

(5 cr.)
NURS 8503
Evidence Based Practice II

In this DNP practicum course, students will create individualized objectives to continue completing the gap in practice activities identified in NURS 8502. Students will implement gap in practice activities, monitor, measure, evaluate outcomes, and disseminate results back to the organization. The course will focus on the continuation of the evidence-based practice problem identified in NURS 8502. Students will complete work under the guidance of an approved clinical mentor. Students will generate a practicum portfolio that drills down to the evidence regarding their clinical/administrative question and resulting findings, conclusions, and recommendations. Students complete the practicum journal requirements throughout the course. Students will complete a self-evaluation and reflect on their personal growth in their specific area of interest.

Prerequisites

  • NURS 8502

Note: This 2-credit practicum course has a 1:80 ratio of credit to practicum hours, resulting in 160 practicum hours.

(5 cr.)
NURS 8100
Healthcare Policy and Analysis

In this course, students examine economic, financial, and political factors influencing the delivery of healthcare, and consider policy reform through legal, regulatory, ethical, societal, and organizational contexts. They examine the political and policy process, including agenda setting, stakeholder analysis, and application of policy analysis frameworks. Students also explore the importance of interprofessional collaboration in improving health outcomes through the policy process and advocacy for development and implementation of nursing and healthcare policies in organizations at the local, state, national, and international levels. Students engage in written analyses through which they develop new policies and/or critically evaluate existing policies though policy analysis frameworks.  

Prerequisites

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

  • NURS 8002 or NURS 8002A or NURS 8002C or NURS 8002F or NURS 8002S or NURS 8006 or NURS 8006A or NURS 8006C or NURS 8006F or NURS 8006S

All Other Programs

  • NURS 8000 or NURS 8000A or NURS 8000C or NURS 8000F or NURS 8000S

(5 cr.)
NURS 8601
DNP Field Experience

The purpose of this course is to provide students with the opportunity to complete additional practicum hours to fulfill the 1,000-hour requirement of the DNP. Students may take the DNP Field Experience course up to six times based on practicum hours attained prior to DNP admission. Students generate practicum portfolio evidence.

Prerequisites

  • NURS 8002 or NURS 8002A or NURS 8002C or NURS 8002F or NURS 8002S or NURS 8006 or NURS 8006A or NURS 8006C or NURS 8006F or NURS 8006S

Note: This 1-credit practicum course has a 1:80 ratio of credit to practicum hours, resulting in 80 practicum hours.

(1 cr.)
NURS 8703
DNP Project Completion

The purpose of this course is to serve as a platform for ongoing development, mentoring, and communication between students and their faculty advisor for the DNP Project. This course supports the required approval process for the DNP Project, including serving as a repository for drafts and final, approved documentation related to the DNP Project. Students will be assigned to sections of NURS 8703 with their faculty advisor. The student and faculty advisor will establish an ongoing, collaborative learning community that will support development and communication for the completion of the DNP Project.

Prerequisites

  • NURS 8002
  • NURS 8114
  • NURS 8201
  • NURS 8302
  • NURS 8310
  • NURS 8210
  • NURS 8100
  •  NURS 8502 and NURS 8503 or NURS 8504 and  NURS 8505

Note: Students are automatically enrolled in this course each term while completing the DNP project after they have completed all other course requirements for the DNP program of study.

(3 cr. per term as needed to complete the DNP Project)
VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses

Admission Requirements

To be considered for this doctoral program, you must have a current, active RN license, a Master of Science in Nursing, or equivalent from an accredited school, and meet the general admission requirements. All applicants must submit a completed online application and transcripts. Depending on program specialization, additional requirements may apply. More information for international applicants.

Personalized Practicum Support

Caroline SanchezWe know how valuable practicums are to your learning experience and career goals. That’s why we are committed to Practicum Advantage™—a collaborative process of coaching, resources, and self-help tools to help you identify local sites that match your needs.

Your Doctoral Journey

At Walden, we’ll guide you every step of the way with a comprehensive suite of support resources designed to help you confidently pursue the finish line, including our Doctoral Degree CoachTM. Are you ready to reach a higher level in your field?

Learn more
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A Personalized Guide to Completing Your Doctorate

Earning your online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) requires commitment, perseverance, and hard work. You can do it, and Walden is here to help—with our Doctoral Degree Coach™.

  • Map and track milestones: Break your research down into manageable, sequential steps. See where you are, what’s ahead, and what you’ve already accomplished—all in one place.
  • Meet weekly targets: No more guesswork. Set prompts based on your to-do list and receive reminders and updates directly to your inbox.
  • Connect with faculty: Stay on the same page and keep your progress on track. With shared access to your dashboard, your chair can easily guide you through your checklists, goals, and timelines.
  • Access helpful resources: Quickly find support from the right person at the right time. Our comprehensive resource guide points you in the right direction—no more frustrating searches.

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Requirements Cost AMOUNT *
Tuition-Coursework 45–53 quarter credits (coursework credits will vary based on incoming practicum hours) $871 per quarter hour for coursework credits $39,195–$46,163^
Tuition-Doctoral Study/Project  0–78 quarter credits $871 per quarter hour for doctoral study/project credits Up to $67,938
Technology Fee $165 per quarter $990–$5,280*
Estimated Range:     1.5-Year Minimum 8-Year Maximum
:
$40,185
$119,381+

These are ranges of what a student can expect in terms of time and tuition cost to complete a degree. It does not include other fees, nor is it adjusted for tuition increases over time. Walden faculty has concluded that generally students who do not complete their program in eight years are unlikely to complete and only allow students to exceed that time frame when a student petitions for an extension and provides good reason for the delay and assurances that obstacles to completion can be overcome. Time is calculated using the time allowed for each semester or unit that the student completes. Students are encouraged to work continuously during the program so as not to extend the time needed to complete the degree as work can become stale and students lose focus. Students who earn two grades of “Unsatisfactory,” who repeatedly drop a course before a semester or unit has been completed, or are unable to complete in the eight year time frame, should expect that they may be dismissed from the program. Walden believes that it is in the best interest of a student who is unable to complete the degree in the stated ranges to strongly consider withdrawal or obtaining a lesser degree.

Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic such as tuition and fee increases and/or the student’s transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; writing, research and editing skills; use of external data for their doctoral study/dissertation; and/or individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations; care giving responsibilities or health issues; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; leaves of absence; and/or other personal circumstances.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included. Students may incur additional costs for remedial writing assistance, if necessary.

^This assumes students successfully complete their coursework on the first attempt.

Based on a 1.5 -year minimum completion requirement and an 8-year maximum timeframe as outlined in Walden academic policy.

*Tuition and fees will be higher if students petition to extend the 8-year maximum timeframe or choose to take more expensive elective courses.

+Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition discounts. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-768-0109.

Paying for Your Education

Our Enrollment Specialists can help you outline a plan and find resources for funding your education.

Learn more

PROGRAM SAVINGS

Speak with an Enrollment Specialist to learn about our current tuition savings.

Get Started Now

Specializations

Most of our DNP specializations offer a BSN entry point
  • The BSN to DNP track is ideal if you are a registered nurse (RN) and have earned your bachelor’s in nursing degree.
  • The MSN to DNP track is ideal if you are a registered nurse (RN) and have earned your master’s in nursing degree.
Specialty Practice

Executive Leadership

Gain the knowledge and confidence to lead significant, sustainable healthcare improvement with Walden’s DNP leadership program.

Nurse Practitioner

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Build the knowledge and skills to care for patients 13 and older with complex acute and unstable chronic medical conditions.

Nurse Practitioner

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Gain the advanced training to oversee the health and well-being of patients 13 and older and improve health outcomes.

Nurse Practitioner

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Prepare to manage disease prevention, health promotion, and restorative care in patients of all ages.

Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) Primary Care

Prepare to oversee the health and wellness of patients from birth to age 21 in pediatric primary care settings.

Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Learn to care for the mental and emotional well-being of patients with psychiatric disorders and emotional challenges.

Program Outcomes

Impact Patient Care at a Higher Level

You are a nurse and an advocate–you're a champion of more affordable, equitable, and accessible patient care. You’re a passionate problem-solver and innovator who’s always thinking three steps ahead. Earning your doctorate in nursing from Walden can help you maximize your talents and lead much-needed change in an evolving field. Improve your practice and your community through practical learning experiences and a curriculum focused on making a social impact.

Career Impact

Expand Your Possibilities. Inspire Change.

In an era of preventive healthcare and growing patient populations, advanced practice nurses play a vital role in improving patient care and outcomes. According to a report by the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), expanding roles and responsibilities for nurses with advanced degrees is essential to changing the trajectory of U.S. healthcare delivery.2

Earning a doctorate in nursing practice empowers you to unlock your inner leader—so you can have a stronger voice in how healthcare is delivered. Forge a clear path to new opportunities in administration, management, and policymaking. Use your unique educational perspective and experience to empower new nursing professionals to shape a brighter future for the industry.

A Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can academically prepare you for a variety of roles, including:

  • Chief nursing officer (CNO)3
  • Nurse administrator4
  • Clinical director4
  • Nursing informatics specialist5

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this DNP program.

A Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can academically prepare you for career opportunities in settings such as: 

  • Hospitals
  • Offices of physicians
  • Nursing and residential care facilities
  • Government agencies
  • Outpatient care centers

Increase Your Earning Potential

Since high-level roles in healthcare typically come with more responsibilities, earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can potentially lead to a greater salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median pay for a chief executive in healthcare and social assistance industries is $160,950 per year. However, the salary range for chief executives typically falls between approximately $62,780 and $208,000.6

Salary ranges can vary widely for individuals, depending on prior education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years spent practicing, geographic location, place of employment, and other applicable factors.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of Walden’s online DNP program will be prepared to:

  • Translate research findings to direct evidence-based nursing practice.
  • Develop organizational system changes for quality improvement in healthcare delivery in response to local and/or global community needs.
  • Apply optimal utilization of healthcare information technology across healthcare settings.
  • Advocate for the advancement of nursing and healthcare policy through sharing of science-based knowledge with healthcare policy makers.
  • Demonstrate leadership to facilitate collaborative teams for improving patient and population health outcomes.
  • Utilize advanced nursing practice knowledge to implement methodologies to improve population health outcomes.
  • Establish a foundation for lifelong learning for continual elevation of contributions to the field of nursing through active involvement in professional organizations and/or other professional bodies.

Resources

Meet Your Academic Team

  • Nancy Moss

    Program Director

    With more than 25 years of experience, Dr. Moss is a certified nurse-midwife and family nurse practitioner (FNP). With deep expertise in online learning, she has developed and implemented curricula for various nursing programs, including a university nurse-midwifery program and nurse-midwifery practices for rural communities.

  • Carolyn Sipes

    Core Faculty

    As a professor, Dr. Sipes has more than 35 years of clinical, research, academic, and informatics experience. She is certified as an advanced nurse executive (NEA-BC) and informatics nursing specialist (RN-BC) by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

  • Diane Whitehead

    Diane Whitehead

    Senior Core Faculty

    Dr. Whitehead has been actively teaching and administering associate, bachelor’s, and graduate degree nursing programs for many years. She is a fellow in the Academy of Nursing Education. Dr. Whitehead received the Walden University Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence in 2020.

Success Stories

How One Walden Grad Is Serving Disadvantaged Communities in Texas

Dr. Alvin Mena Cantero is a Cuban refugee physician who came to the U.S. and started his educational journey with Walden University. He has been sowing seeds of social change in Houston, Texas, and around the globe.

Testimonials

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