Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
School of Criminal Justice
About the University
Mission and History of the College of Nursing
Admission to the College of Nursing
Student Life and Services
Academic Policies and Procedures
Bachelor of Science Program
Master of Science Program
Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) Program
Program Description
D.N.P. Courses
Doctoral (Ph.D.) Program
Administration and Faculty
Divisions of the University
Camden Newark New Brunswick/Piscataway
  College of Nursing 2010–2012 Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) Program Program Description  

Program Description


The doctor of nursing practice (D.N.P.) program is designed to prepare advanced practice nurses who will possess the knowledge and skills for leadership in nursing and health care practice. The health care delivery system in the United States requires doctorally prepared, practice-focused practitioners that can effect change, provide strategic planning and program development, apply data management and informatics skills, translate research into evidence-based practice, influence health and social policy for diverse populations, and influence positive health care outcomes. The coursework will be delivered in an online and blended format similar to the Ph.D. program and will include a residency period in which the students will gather on campus for instruction and socialization.

A graduate of the D.N.P. program will be prepared to accomplish the eight essentials of doctoral education for advanced practice in nursing as specified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing as well as to meet the following program objectives:
  1. Integrate biophysical, psychological, organizational, informatic, ethical, and legal knowledge with nursing science as a foundation for expert clinical nursing practice in a specific nursing clinical specialization
  2. Demonstrate accountability in specialty practice according to accepted standards of patient care and safety
  3. Translate research findings into evidence-based practice at the individual and health care system levels
  4. Use information technology to evaluate the delivery of health care to individuals and internal and community systems
  5. Effect desired change by developing and implementing policies at different levels of the health care system and with different constituencies
  6. Provide multidisciplinary leadership through analysis of critical indicators and/or health care delivery systems in order to provide optimal patient care and safety in a specific nursing clinical specialization
  7. Demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills in the planning and delivery of health and illness management in a specific nursing clinical specialization
The online and blended curriculum requires a minimum of 38 credits beyond the master's degree. Of that total, 35 credits must come from nursing courses, including 3 credits for capstone projects leading to the development of a program and final clinical paper and 12 credits in clinical practica. An additional interdisciplinary course in health care management (3 credits) is required.

In addition to the 38 credits of study, students seeking the D.N.P. must:
  1. develop a capstone project proposal;
  2. secure committee approval of the capstone project proposal;
  3. conduct and successfully complete the capstone project; and
  4. present the findings of the capstone project.
The faculty believes that a foundation in nursing theory, nursing research, advanced pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, and a graduate level pharmacology course are integral to the practice of an advanced practice nurse. Therefore, students entering the D.N.P. program are expected to have successfully passed master's level courses in the areas listed above. A prerequisite course in basic statistics is also required.

Clinical Residency Experience

The D.N.P. degree signifies clinical nursing expertise. The clinical residency courses represent a synthesis practicum with a clinical mentor in either the student's advanced practice specialization or practice/administration focus or both. The clinical mentor is preferably a doctorally prepared nurse, but may not always be, who specializes in the student's area of interest and may be located anywhere in the country.

The clinical residency courses are planned jointly by the student, the faculty member, and the clinical mentor. The plan must be approved in advance by the faculty member. A written letter of agreement, signed by the student, faculty member, and clinical mentor, specifies the objectives to be attained, experiences and activities for which the student is responsible, the time commitment, and the deliverable product(s). Upon completion of the clinical residency courses, the faculty member--with input from the clinical coach and clinical mentor--determines whether the objectives have been met satisfactorily. This documentation is filed in the student's record.

Each entering student is assigned an academic faculty adviser who provides guidance in registration and developing a plan of study, monitors the student's progress, and assists in the selection of a capstone project topic and plan. Should it be necessary to make a change in the academic adviser, the change can be initiated by the adviser or advisee but must be coordinated with the associate dean of  graduate education and the office of student services.

Time Limit

Requirements for the D.N.P. degree must be completed within eight years.


The requirements for admission to the D.N.P. program are:

   1. a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited program;
   2. a master's degree with a major in nursing from a nationally accredited program;
   3. a cumulative graduate GPA of at least 3.2 (where A = 4.0);
   4. satisfactory combined scores on the GRE (verbal, quantitative, and analytical and/or writing abilities);
   5. a personal interview (a telephone interview, when appropriate, may be arranged);
   6. submission of the following materials:
         a. current registered nurse license
         b. an essay describing the applicant's goals for doctoral study and career goals relative to advanced nursing practice
         c. curriculum vitae with relevant work experience pertaining to the area of clinical specialization (certification in the specialization is preferred)
         d. two scholarly papers of which the applicant is sole author (this can be a published article or chapter, a paper done in the master's program, and/or a paper completed for work)
         e. three letters of reference from professional sources that support the applicant's ability to succeed in the doctoral program. Two of these letters must come from nurse academicians.
         f. two official transcripts of all previous college work
         g. completed application form.
For additional information, contact RU-info at 732-445-info (4636) or
Comments and corrections to: Campus Information Services.

© 2012 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. All rights reserved.