Become a next-generation nursing leader and a catalyst for positive change in your organization and community.
Next Start Dates
Courses with a set schedule
February 27, 2023
Up to 23 Credits
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.
Benefit from dedicated teams and support services to help you with successful nursing practicum placement and completion.
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.
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)
View the COMPLETE CURRICULUM PLAN.
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.
Practicums are vital to your learning experience. That’s why we offer Practicum Advantage™—an ensemble of resources, self-help tools, and staff who understand the challenges of completing the nursing practicum. This includes the Walden Practicum Pledge™, available for MSN-NP and DNP-NP specializations. Once you register, a dedicated Field Placement Team partners with you to secure a site and preceptor. If you can’t identify your site and preceptor (along with additional requirements*), we’ll help find you a match.
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?
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-Coursework||45–53 quarter credits (coursework credits will vary based on incoming practicum hours)||$880 per quarter hour for coursework credits||$39,600–$46,640^|
|Tuition-Doctoral Study/Project||0–78† quarter credits||$880 per quarter hour for doctoral study/project credits||Up to $68,640|
|Technology Fee||$170 per quarter||$1,020–$5,440*|
|Estimated Range:||1.5-Year Minimum||8-Year Maximum|
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.
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.
Build the knowledge and skills to care for patients 13 and older with complex acute and unstable chronic medical conditions.
Gain the advanced training to oversee the health and well-being of patients 13 and older and improve health outcomes.
Gain the knowledge and confidence to lead significant, sustainable healthcare improvement with Walden’s DNP leadership program.
Prepare to manage disease prevention, health promotion, and restorative care in patients of all ages.
Prepare to oversee the health and wellness of patients from birth to age 21 in pediatric primary care settings.
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.
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:
- 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.
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 or workplace needs.
- Apply optimal utilization of healthcare information technology across healthcare settings.
- Advocate for the advancement of nursing and healthcare policy and standards to improve health outcomes by addressing positive social change and social policy initiatives through sharing of science-based knowledge with healthcare leaders and 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 and community health outcomes among culturally diverse populations.
- 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 and community bodies.
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.
I had earned my MSN with Walden. I considered going further, but when they let me know they also had a doctoral program, there was no hesitation to complete my terminal degree with Walden.
I have a support system from Walden that I never could have imagined.
What I learned in the classroom, I immediately applied to my work.
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FAQ About Walden’s Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Walden’s DNP program is taught by 100% doctorally prepared didactic faculty and designed by industry experts to ensure a high-quality learning experience. Walden’s program offers a team-based, interdisciplinary approach to further prepare you for a leadership position and to meet the demands of the healthcare system. You will receive doctoral support from day one. From writing and research assistance to one-on-one faculty guidance, robust doctoral study support is central to Walden’s DNP program.
Walden University’s DNP program’s online classrooms feature state-of-the-art learning technologies, media, and support materials. Students are matched as closely as possible with faculty who have the same area of interest to assist them with their DNP projects. With engaging case studies, a Writing Center, and a robust online library, you will be highly prepared to earn your credentials as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.
Walden’s program offers a robust support staff that is dedicated to your success, including academic advisors, graduation counselors, and practicum coordinators. Your practicum coordinators can assist you in securing your clinical practice site and help answer any questions.
Our program is developed by industry experts in their areas of practice. One hundred percent of College of Nursing didactic faculty hold doctoral degrees, and our curriculum covers relevant and realistic scenarios to prepare you with the skills you need to succeed.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice and prefer an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. A DNP-prepared nurse is seen as a clinical expert and leader, able to translate research into practice to improve systems and patient outcomes. With a DNP, you will have earned the top-level credential you need to become a leader in the healthcare field. Combined with the right experience, your DNP can prepare you for such roles as chief nursing officer at a hospital, director of policy in government, nurse administrator, or other nursing leadership positions.
Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the completion of this degree program.
For MSN-educated nurse leaders who strive to work at the peak of their profession, a PhD in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program is the next logical step in their online education and career strategy. Whether they choose to earn a DNP or a PhD in Nursing, there are several reasons nurses decide to pursue a doctoral degree.
- A DNP or a PhD in Nursing can help you find your voice and gain the knowledge and confidence you need to reach your full potential.
- A doctoral degree can help you advance to the top of your profession to make a greater impact in the quality of patient care. A doctorate in nursing also opens the door to career opportunities in advanced leadership roles in administrative, academic, or clinical settings.
- Upon earning a doctorate in nursing, you will be qualified to mentor the next generation of nurses and fill leadership roles as a healthcare policymaker and advocate in a broad spectrum of public and private healthcare settings at the national, regional, state, county, and local levels.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
As a terminal degree for clinical nurses, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is becoming an increasingly valued and sought-after credential. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has encouraged the medical community to make the DNP the expected degree for those who want to become nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists. Nurses who currently hold an MSN and would like to advance their clinical practice would also benefit from a DNP.
PhD in Nursing
Focused primarily on research, a PhD in Nursing is designed for nurses who want to help guide the future of healthcare. If you want to conduct scientific research at the highest levels in your field, shape healthcare policies as a government policymaker or program director, or educate the next generation of nursing professionals, a PhD in Nursing can give you the advanced expertise you need to succeed. This is a great nursing degree for any nurse who wants to make a difference in healthcare.
A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) gives you the top-level credential you need to become a leader in the healthcare field. Combined with the right experience, your DNP can prepare you for such roles as chief nursing officer at a hospital, director of policy in government, nurse administrator, nurse educator, or other nursing leadership positions. Additionally, a DNP elevates your career possibilities and increases your opportunity to drive social change in your organization and in the healthcare industry as a whole.
Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the completion of this degree program.
Though this is primarily an institutional decision, a position statement from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) advises that a DNP competes favorably with other practice doctorates in faculty tenure and promotion decisions.*
In healthcare, nurses with advanced degrees such as DNPs tend to attract higher salaries than nurses with bachelor’s or master’s degrees. This is due in part to the higher-level positions that can be obtained with a DNP, which are also typically marked by broader responsibilities. These additional tasks often command higher compensation, although the actual salary of a position may differ based on the type of role. For example, according to PayScale, the average salary for a chief nursing officer can range from $92,000 to $201,000.*
*PayScale, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)/Salary (retrieved October 2020)
DNP-prepared nurses are leaders in their field, possessing a blend of clinical, economic, and organizational skills. The degree carries a certain level of influence that puts DNP-prepared nurses in a unique position to evaluate nursing practice, design patient care programs that are economically feasible and locally acceptable, and significantly impact healthcare outcomes.
Yes, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.ccneaccreditation.org).
A nursing practicum gives you valuable practical experience by allowing you to apply your new knowledge and skills in real-life situations and settings. Although you’re responsible for initiating your search for a field site based on your location preferences, Walden offers Practicum Advantage™ that provides Student Success Advisor coaching, resources, and self-help tools you need to identify a practicum site and nursing preceptor that fit with your education and career goals.
For the nurse practitioner (NP) specializations in our Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs, we are excited to announce the new Walden University Practicum Pledge™. You will benefit from our large network of field sites and preceptors, an additional dedicated Field Placement Team that partners with you to identify a site and preceptor. If you’re unable to identify your own nursing practicum site and preceptor after several attempts, we’ll assist in finding you a suitable match (along with additional requirements*).
Fill out the form and we will contact you to provide information about furthering your education.
Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.
1Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using CIP code family 51.38 “Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing” for Doctoral degrees (Award level 17). Available at https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/use-the-data. (Retrieved January 2021; may consist of or include provisional release data.)
2Source: Institute of Medicine. The Future of Nursing Focus on Scope of Practice (October 2010).
3Source: O*Net Online. Summary Report for SOC Code 11-1011 Chief Executives. Sample of reported job titles include Chief Nursing Officer. Retrieved February 2021.
4Source: O*Net Online. Summary Report for SOC Code 11-9111 Medical and Health Services Managers. Sample of reported job titles include Clinical Director, Nursing Manager, Nursing Director. Retrieved February 2021.
5Source: O*Net Online, Summary Report for SOC Code 15-1211 Health Informatics Specialists. Sample of reported job titles include Nursing Informatics Specialist. Retrieved February 2021.
6Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Pay: Top Executives (retrieved April 2021 using SOC code 11-1011). National salary estimates may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, do not guarantee actual salaries, and are subject to change.
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
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).
Note on licensure:
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program and DNP Executive Leadership specialization program are not licensure programs and will not prepare students for practice as licensed nurse practitioners.
Note on licensure:
The DNP nurse practitioner specializations programs are designed to prepare graduates with an active registered nurse (RN) license or APRN license to practice in the U.S. as nurse practitioners in their program specialty area. However, each state has its own academic preparation and authority to practice requirements and issues its own credential for an RN to be permitted to practice as a nurse practitioner in that state. No graduate program can guarantee that graduates will be permitted to practice as a nurse practitioner in their program specialty area upon graduation. We encourage students to consult the appropriate Board of Nursing or regulatory authority in the states or jurisdictions in which they reside or intend to seek licensure to determine specific requirements.
Note on certification:
Walden's DNP program does not lead to certification or licensure. Walden’s DNP nurse practitioner specialization programs are designed to provide the academic degree required academically prepare graduates to apply for national certifications. Because no graduate program can guarantee that graduates will achieve national certification, we encourage students to consult the appropriate credentialing center for the specific requirements. It is an individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to national certification as requirements vary widely. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain national certification. For more information about certification programs, students should contact the American Nurses Credentialing Center at www.nursingworld.org/ancc, or other certification websites.
Enrollment Restrictions by State
Walden currently cannot enroll residents of the following states/districts into any DNP Nurse Practitioner specializations: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Note on Field Experience and Relocating
Students who are considering relocating are advised to contact their Student Success Advisor prior to any decision to relocate in order to determine how relocation may impact progress in their program. Advisors can provide information and guidance on how relocating may result in possible changes, restrictions, and/or additional requirements affecting field experience. Each Board of Nursing and Higher Education Authority governs the field experience rules and regulations in their respective states, and students may be unable to complete field experience in the state in which they plan to relocate. While Walden is committed to working collaboratively with students to secure field sites across the United States, it is imperative that students contact their Student Success Advisor immediately when considering relocating.