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NAU’s School of Nursing: A Top-Ranked Graduate School

U.S. News and World Report ranked Northern Arizona University’s School of Nursing as one of the best nursing graduate schools in the nation. Earning your Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) online at NAU positions you for a leadership role in nursing and healthcare administration. This DNP program is also accredited the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Prepare To Lead With A CCNE-Accredited Doctorate In Nursing Practice

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing calls for advanced practice nurses to hold doctoral degrees by 2015. NAU’s CCNE-accredited Doctor of Nursing Practice online program build on your master’s education with a clinical-based doctoral degree program designed to educate advanced nurses at the highest level.

NAU’s DNP program positions you to take on higher-level leadership and education roles throughout the healthcare industry. Job opportunities include:

  • Chief Nursing Officer CNO
  • Clinical Research Director
  • Director of Health Policy
  • Nurse Administrator
  • Nurse Executive

Catalog Information

Learn more about the program options by viewing the catalog information below. Catalog information is displayed for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Nursing Practice

Campus Locations

globe This program is available Online
Degree Information
71 units
Maximum Transfer Units
Additional Admission Requirements - Additional Application

University Requirements

  • To receive a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree (D.N.P.) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses, consisting of at least 71-76 units of graduate-level courses and one thousand hours (1,000) of clinical practice.

    The full policy can be viewed here.


In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 66 units of graduate nursing courses
  • At least 5 units of scholarly inquiry

Minimum Units for Completion 71 - 76
Additional Admission Requirements Required
Oral Defense Oral Defense is required.
Research Individualized research is required.
Additional Fees/Program Fees Required
Some online/blended coursework Required

Purpose Statement

The philosophy of the School of Nursing at Northern Arizona University is based on an ethic of caring that embraces students, faculty and staff, and the university community and the global community within which we live and work. We also believe that caring is a conscious, intentional discipline that is part of nursing’s unique body of knowledge and is practiced in interdisciplinary contexts. Caring includes the creation and nurturing of an environment that recognizes that students, staff and faculty have unique ways of viewing the world. This philosophy promotes excellence for nursing education and practice in an environment of constant change and emerging healthcare trends.

The faculty believes the transition to the role of competent professional nurse is a major developmental achievement. We believe that nursing is an art and science that is an integral component of health care. Applying the discipline of nursing to practice depends on a foundation of natural and human sciences, humanities and arts, the application of research, and the diverse backgrounds of learners. Societal influences in the evolving healthcare system challenge all involved in nursing education.

Education is a dynamic, life-long collaborative process by which an individual pursues life goals, broadens human potential, develops thinking and clarifies values. The faculty believes that learning is the intentional acquisition, application, and integration of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Learning is shaped by the environment and developmental level of the learner, and is ultimately the responsibility of the learner. Faculty plan, guide, and facilitate learning while supporting the learning needs of a diverse community of students. We believe that learning-centered experiences with rigorous expectations and actively-engaged students result in higher-level thinkers and graduates prepared for real world practice. We value incorporating rural and global healthcare into a variety of educational experiences. Thus education not only expands the thinking of the learner, but increases opportunities for application.

The faculty has developed a philosophy that values diverse persons, environment, health, and nursing, and their inter-relatedness. The following meta-paradigm concepts guide the implementation of the organizing framework for the curriculum.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed for nurses holding a master’s degree (MS) to obtain a terminal degree in nursing. The DNP builds on master’s education to provide expanded unique knowledge and expertise. These graduates will have a broader capability to provide high quality health care in a complex and increasingly strapped health care system. The DNP is a clinical doctorate with emphasis on enhancing leadership expertise in rural and underserved populations.

Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes align with Standards from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Upon completion of the degree, students will be able to:

  • Clinical Practice and Prevention: Synthesize concepts, including psychosocial dimensions and cultural diversity, related to clinical prevention and population health in developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to address health promotion and disease prevention efforts, improve health status/access patterns, and/or address gaps in care of individuals, aggregates, or populations.
  • Communication:
    • Develop and implement practice models, peer review, practice guidelines, health policy, standards of care, and/or other scholarly products using effective communication and collaborative skills.
    • Design, select, use, and evaluate programs that evaluate and monitor outcomes of care, care systems, and quality improvement including consumer use of health care information systems.
  • Critical Reasoning:
    • Integrate nursing science with knowledge from ethics, the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences as the basis for the highest level of nursing practice.
    • Use science-based theories and concepts to determine the nature and significance of health and health care delivery phenomena, describe the actions and advanced strategies to enhance, alleviate, and ameliorate health and health care delivery phenomena as appropriate and evaluate outcomes.
    • Design and implement processes to evaluate outcomes of practice, practice patterns, and systems of care within a practice setting, health care organization, or community against national and/or international benchmarks to determine variances in practice outcomes and population trends.
  • Leadership:
    • Develop and evaluate care delivery approaches that meet current and future needs of patient populations based on belief systems and scientific findings in nursing and other clinical sciences, as well as organizational, political, and economic sciences.
    • Demonstrate leadership ability in the development and implementation of institutional, local, state, federal, and/or international health policy.
  • Professionalism and Professional Values:
    • Develop and/or evaluate effective strategies for managing the ethical dilemmas inherent in patient care, the health care organization, and research.
    • Ensure accountability for quality of health care and patient safety for populations with whom they work.
    • Guide, mentor, and support other nurses to achieve excellence in nursing practice

Global Health:

Global Engagement: Develop creative solutions for health care systems to address health equity and social justice thus reducing health disparities in rural and/or disadvantaged populations.

Diversity Education: Analyzes social and cultural components of health and wellness to create solutions that are culturally and socially relevant and acceptable.

Environmental Sustainability: Synthesize interprofessional and interdisciplinary knowledge and approaches that promote sustainable environmental health policies and conditions as well as reduce human health exposures.


Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 

    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • Master’s degree in nursing from a regionally accredited university and a nationally accredited nursing program or equivalent if program is outside the U.S.
    • Accepted students will be required to provide an official letter directly from the degree issuing institution with the actual total number of clinical hours completed.
    • Minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.0 = A) in all nursing coursework of your master's degree program.
    • Current RN license in good standing to practice as a registered nurse.
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Prerequisites (completed prior to enrolling in the program)
      • Completed courses in the following areas: Graduate Descriptive and Inferential Statistics course from an accredited college or university with a grade of B P, or better within the past 3 years. Another option is graduate statistics completed before enrollment in NUR 677
Doctoral Requirements
  • Please Note:
    • This degree is a clinical doctorate with emphasis on leadership expertise. One thousand hours (1,000) of clinical practice with a minimum of 240 hours completed at NAU is required. The summative outcome is a DNP project that demonstrates the integration and translation of evidence based practice to enhance clinical practice, which includes an oral defense.
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
  • Program fees are established by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). A program fee of $60 per credit hour has been approved for this program.
Similar/Related Programs
Department Information
Learn more about this program and the School of Nursing.