Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

About the program

SPU Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program prepares nurse leaders for advanced practice roles with the highest level of competence to meet the changing demands of our current and future health care environment.

Graduates will attain clinical, organizational, and leadership expertise to lead and transform care systems, translate evidence to clinical practice, engage in interprofessional collaboration, and advocate for safe and quality care for diverse populations within complex care systems. DNP program prepares you for advanced practice nursing roles based on a foundation of Christian values, engaging, and fostering global human flourishing with competence, character, and wisdom.

DNP Concentrations

The DNP program offers the following specialty concentrations:

  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist

Eligibility criteria for board certification are established by accrediting agencies (e.g., American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).


The Graduate Nursing program operates on a cohort model beginning with foundational coursework that focuses on quality clinical practice, evidence-based practice, and leadership. On a full-time schedule, the DNP program is 11 quarters in length.

Your coursework is separated into specialty areas, and your clinical internship experiences begin only after the completion of all prerequisite courses. All graduate coursework must adhere to specified levels of scholarship before progression can occur.

Application requirements

For admission to the Doctor of Nursing Practice the following are required:

  • One of the following in-process (must be completed by program start date) or earned degrees:
    • Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited nursing program.
    • Master’s of Nursing degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited program.
  • 12 months’ full-time experience as an RN by January 15, 2018.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in your bachelor’s OR, if applicable, master’s program.
  • Proof of English language proficiency, if your native language is not English, regardless of citizenship (Please reference the language proficiency requirement for graduate nursing programs: minimum 600 paper-based TOEFL, 250 computer-based TOEFL, or 100 Internet-based TOEFL).
  • Washington state RN license by program start date.

Note: Although not required at the time of application, all applicants are required to show completion of a three-quarter credit (or equivalent) course in descriptive and inferential statistics with a grade of at least C+ (2.3) before matriculation. Failure to successfully complete this course means you will not be able to enroll in the program.

About work experience

The SHS graduate program defines active nursing practice to include those activities that require RN licensure, employment, and utilize the nursing process to deliver or direct care.

  • It is preferred that FNP applicants demonstrate nursing experience as a licensed RN in the care of patients across the life span (pediatric and adult populations).
  • It is preferred that AGNP applicants demonstrate nursing experience as a licensed RN in the care of adult populations.
  • CNS applicants must demonstrate a population focus or specialty practice in their active clinical practice. Please refer to the American Nurse Credentialing Center for CNS national certification specialties.

Admission requirements

Applicants who meet minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission. Completed applications are screened and reviewed by Graduate Admissions and Graduate Admissions Committee. Graduate Admissions Committee consists of members of the Graduate Nursing Council (GNC) and other SHS community members.

To apply, submit the following items to Graduate Admissions to be considered:

  • Online application and $50 processing fee.
  • Official transcript(s) from each college or university attended.
  • Two professional recommendations. (Prompt is found in the online application.)
  • Personal reflection statement. (Prompt is found in the online application.)
  • Résumé.
  • Additional documentation may be required for international applicants.

Graduate Admissions will confirm your active, unencumbered RN license.

After the review of your application, you may be invited to have an in-person interview as part of the admissions process.

It is recommended that you begin the process by submitting an application, although you may send other admissions documents at any time. It is also recommended that you talk with Graduate Admissions early in the application process in order to ensure a smooth transition into the program.

Application deadline

January 15 by 5 p.m.

Enrollment policy

The general requirements for a doctoral degree are consistent with those listed for the University.

  • All courses must be completed as designated on your individual curriculum plan.
  • All doctoral Internship, Thesis, and project courses must be completed within three years of initial enrollment in the course. Students enrolled in such courses will receive a doctoral in-progress grade of “G” until the course is completed. After a lapse of three years the “G” becomes permanent.
  • You must pay the cost of binding the requested copies of the thesis/project (if applicable) to the appropriate graduate office.