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.

You 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. The 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:

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


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

Your coursework is separated into specialty areas, and your clinical practicum 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. BSN degrees from competency-based programs will be evaluated  on a case-by-case basis.
    • Master’s of Nursing degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited program.
  • A minimum of 12 months of active RN experience by September 1.
  • Active, unencumbered Washington state RN license by program start date.
  • 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. (Please reference the language proficiency requirement for graduate nursing programs).

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 to 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).
  • AGNP applicants demonstrate nursing experience as a licensed RN in the care of adult populations.
  • CNS applicants demonstrate nursing experience as a licensed RN in their population focus. Please refer to the American Nurse Credentialing Center for CNS national certification specialties.

Clinical practice is integral to the role of the advanced practice nurse.  Although not required, we support students in continued clinical practice while enrolled in the DNP program.

Admission requirements

Applicants who meet minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission. Completed applications are screened and reviewed by Graduate Admissions and Graduate Admissions Committee.

To apply, submit the following items to be considered:

  • Online application and processing fee.
  • Official transcript(s) from each college or university attended.
  • Professional recommendations, through the online application system.
  • Personal reflection statements, as part of the online application.
  • Résumé.
  • Additional documentation may be required for international applicants.

Your active, unencumbered RN license will be confirmed during the application review process.

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

It is recommended that you talk with Graduate Admissions early in the application process to ensure a smooth transition into the program.

Application deadline

See School of Heath Sciences website for current application deadline.

Enrollment policy

The general requirements for a doctoral degree are consistent with those listed for the University.  Additionally,  the School of Health Sciences requires the following for doctoral students:

  • All courses must be completed as designated on your individual curriculum plan. 
  • To graduate, you must demonstrate beginning proficiency within your professional role as put forth by professional standards for practice, as well as fulfill all requirements as stated by the University.
  • All requirements for the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, including transfer courses, must be completed within seven years from date of initial matriculation. Post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice students may transfer credit from another institution older than seven years upon the approval of the dean or their designee.