May 28, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Doctor of Nursing Practice (Post Master’s)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) is a doctoral degree that prepares nurses to practice in an advanced nursing role and to lead innovative, evidence-based practice initiatives that positively impact quality improvements and outcomes in healthcare systems.

The program of study requires a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised clinical practice in an advanced nursing role and in the leadership component of the D.N.P. program.

Check departmental information for additional requirements.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at


Admission to the D.N.P. is limited and competitive. To apply to the D.N.P. program, prospective students must submit completed application materials to the Graduate School no later than the application deadline as posted on the D.N.P. program website.

Study in the post-master’s degree D.N.P program will be part time for 6 semesters and will focus on education to lead innovative practice initiatives in healthcare systems (i.e., the D.N.P. leadership component).

Students are admitted to the nursing program provisionally until they have provided proof of meeting the clinical requirements outlined in the Nursing Student Handbook. Full admission to the nursing program is required to enroll in nursing courses.

Post-Master’s Degree D.N.P.:

Eligibility to Apply

Master’s degree in nursing from a program accredited by an accrediting agency officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education, such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher in a master’s degree program in nursing.

Current licensure with no encumbrances as a professional Registered Nurse (RN) in the U. S.-Prior to beginning course work, students must hold or have applied for RN licensure.

Preferred current national certification as an advanced practice nurse in one of 4 roles: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Midwife.

Preferred current licensure without encumbrances as an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) in one of the four roles by the start of course work for the D.N.P.; APN licensure in Illinois preferred.

Preferred one year experience as an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN).

Application Components

Submission of the applicant’s curriculum vitae (CV) or resume

Three professional letters of reference to provide evidence of the applicant’s professional qualifications. At least one reference should be from a graduate faculty member in the applicant’s master’s degree program who is able to address the applicant’s academic potential in the D.N.P. program. At least one reference must be from a current, professional nurse colleague who can address the applicant’s qualifications as a licensed professional RN and APN (if applicable) in a healthcare setting. One professional recommendation of the applicant’s choosing (e.g., the sponsor from a potential clinical site for the DNP Scholarly Project). References should be provided on the Graduate School reference form. Ratings and comments must be included. Family members and personal friends are not considered professional references.

A two-page, double-spaced Goal Statement to address:

Professional goals and how the NIU post-master’s degree D.N.P. program will promote goal achievement

Identification of an issue (i.e., topic or problem) that requires a system-wide change in healthcare services or policies and a general plan for remediating this issue. The topic will provide the basis for the applicant’s D.N.P. Scholarly Project. The statement must include a description of potential sponsors and location for the Scholarly Project implementation.

Qualified applicants may be contacted by faculty to schedule a pre-admission interview. Not all applicants will be chosen to interview.

Verification of 500 hours of supervised clinical practice in an advanced nursing role is required.

A graduate-level statistics course must be completed prior to taking statistics in the D.N.P. program.

Approval will be determined by the nursing program Graduate Admissions Committee upon review of the aforementioned criteria.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission to NIU graduate nursing programs.

Course Requirements (33-36)

All students are required to complete the D.N.P. degree leadership component, which is a minimum of 33 semester hours of graduate course work at NIU, beyond the graduate credits earned toward a master’s degree. The D.N.P. leadership component courses will be offered on a part-time basis for six semesters over three years.

Scholarly Project Courses for D.N.P. (12-15)