Doctor of Nursing Practice: D.N.P.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of a DNP?
There are many benefits of the DNP for the profession of nursing, for the public and for advanced practice nurses, including but not limited to:
- Parity with other health professions who have practice doctorates
- Improved nursing image
- Enhanced knowledge to improve practice
- Enhanced leadership skills to strengthen practice and health care delivery
- Increased numbers of nursing faculty
- Improved patient outcomes
What is the difference between the DNP and a DNS, DNSc or Ph.D?
The DNP offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral degrees. It provides clinicians with knowledge and skills necessary for advanced practice leadership. A Ph.D. in Nursing has typically prepared nurses for research careers.
Will I need the DNP in the future?
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in agreement with the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, has recommended that the DNP replace the Master's degree as entry- level degree needed for advanced practice nursing by 2015. However, this is not a policy directive and each state maintains its own licensure requirements via Boards of Registration in Nursing.
I am interested in the DNP Program. What type of academic and professional background must I have?
The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Simmons College is a post-master's entry program designed to prepare advanced practice nurses for clinical and leadership positions within the health care profession. The admission application is a reflection of the candidate's scholarly achievements and clinical expertise and must reflect the competencies and admission criteria outlined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF).
Academic and employment background:
- Graduation from a regionally accredited post-secondary U.S.institution,
- Evidence of educational preparation as an advanced practice nurse (NP, CNS, CNM, CRNA) or as a nurse manager/executive.
- Master's degree in nursing or a related master's degree.
- A minimum 3.5 overall grade point average in the applicant's MS program .
- Professional employment background (at least 2 years)as an advanced practice nurse or nurse manager
(for Post-Master's DNP in Practice Leadership).
- Board certification in an advanced practice specialty for advanced practice nurses; board certification preferred( i.e.,CENP or CNML),but not required, for individuals with a nursing management background.
- Current nursing license.
- Completion of an undergraduate college level statistics course (semester in length; grade of B or better) taken within five years prior to the application deadline at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university. Or, completion of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences online statistics course,Webstats, (with a grade of "pass"), designated for applicants to SNHS programs. Non-credit or audited courses are not acceptable.
What are the requirements for participation in the program?
If admitted, you will need to possess, or have access to a computer and the Internet. You should be comfortable with the use of email, word processing, and internet searches. Self-motivation and working independently are key factors. To determine if your learning style is compatible with on-line learning (this is a hybrid or blended learning program, combining on-line courses with on-site participation), please see our online learning tips.
What does the curriculum include?
The DNP curriculum has the following componenets:core courses( e.g. health policy, ethics,informatics,practice-based research,leadership and technology); clinical practice for students enrolled in the Post-Master's FNP/DNP track; the DNP Capstpone Project; elective credits.
I work full time. Will I be able to fit the coursework into my schedule?
Yes, the program is offered in a hybrid or blended learning format so you will be able to fulfill the course requirements as they fit into your schedule. On site classes will be held two weekends per semester in a condensed and intensive residency format.
How long can I expect it to take to complete this program?
The core curriculum (36 credits) is designed to be completed in two full academic years of study.
Are courses in this program offered for continuing education credits for health professionals?
How many courses will I be able to take in one semester?
Will courses be offered during the summer?
Core courses will be offered during the academic year(Fall-September to December and Spring -January to May)semesters. Students adding a clinical specialty (i.e., FNP) to the core curriculum may take summer courses.
Can I start the program in any semester?
Individuals may apply for either September (fall) or January (spring) entry. The application deadline for September is June 1 and the application deadline is October 1 for January entry. These dates are when all electronic and paper materials must be received.
Is a thesis required?
Students will complete a Capstone Project. This scholarly project will be practice-focused and be completed in collaboration with the student's practice(employment) site.. The project should make a significant contribution to practice in the student's area of interest. The Capstone Project will generally be completed over four semesters. Each student will be assigned two faculty mentors who will advise, facilitate, and approve the project. Students will also have a community mentor at the practice site where the Capstone Project is conducted. Students will complete a scholarly, publishable paper related to the project, as well as present and defend the project orally in a scholarly presentation.
Can I arrange my capstone experience where I am working or living?
Yes, you may work with your faculty mentor to arrange this.
What are some examples of a Capstone Project?
Suggestions for projects include program development (needs assessment, program plan and implementation); program evaluation; development of a patient-focused health improvement initiative (e.g., tuberculosis prevention for immigrant populations) or education program (e.g., weight management, tobacco cessation); systems innovations/improvements; cost/benefit analyses of program models; epidemiological studies; or other scholarly project consistent with the student's interest. The focus of the project must be practice improvement.
Can I complete the Capstone at any time in the program?
Prior to enrollment in Capstone I, you must take NUR 675: Quality Improvement in Health Care. You must take NUR 640 (Research) either prior to or concurrent with Capstone I. The Capstone Project seminars must be taken in sequence. Students completing the program part-time may choose to start the Capstone seminars in Years 2 or 3 of their program.
When can I apply?
You may apply anytime before the June 1 application deadline for September entry or before the October 1 deadline for January entry. Admission decisions are sent as a group after the deadline for each semester.
How do I apply?
Complete the electronic DNP application and send al required paper materials to SNHS by the designated deadline dates. Allow sufficient time to obtain and submit the required materials.Please make certain that materials are mailed to SNHS,not merely to the "Admission Office" at Simmons College as there are six admission offices,thus,your information may not reach us and your application will be considered late and we may not be able to consider it.
Are standardized test required for admission?
Only TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign language) is required for individuals whose native language is not English. If an applicant earned a degree at the bachelor's and/or master's level at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or at a post-secondary institution abroad which is recognized by the Ministry of Education in the home country of English-speaking countries only, the TOEFL is waived. Allow sufficient time to register and take the TOEFL as it takes 4-6 weeks for the official scores to arrive. Student score reports or photocopies are not acceptable. No other English proficiency exam is accepted. Required scores: 570 paper-based version, 230 computer version and 88 internet version. Please note that SNHS is unable at this time to accept electronic scores.
What are the admission criteria?
Applicants must hold a M.S. in Nursing or a related Master's degree (with an overall graduate school GPA of 3.5) and have successfully completed (grade of B or better) a college-level statistics course from a regionally accredited U.S. post secondary institution within 5 years (preferably 3 years) before the application deadline. If the applicant has not taken such a course, he/she must enroll in the SNHS online course, Webstats and earn a "pass" in order to be accepted into the DNP program. Information about Webstats may be obtained by contacting Yolanda Rainey at 617-521-2518. A minimum of two years fulltime clinical or management experience is required for Advanced Standing Application status. Evidence of a current nursing license is required. Certification in an advanced practice specialty is required for the clinical track. See the Application for Admission for further specifics. Professional certification in management is not required, but is preferred, for the Management track. Webstats or a statistics course as stipulated above, must be completed before taking Biostatistics (NUR 655) or Epidemiology (NUR 650) at Simmons.
When will I know about my admission status?
All decision letters will be sent as a group after the application deadline. There is no rolling decision process.
I am an international student in the US but not a US citizen or permanent resident alien. May I apply?
This program requires a U.S. nursing licensure and clinical experience . If you have or need an F-1 visa to study in the U.S., which requires full-time enrollment, you are not eligible to apply to this program
Can I waive any requirements?
You cannot waive any admission requirements, in particular, completion of a statistics course within five years before the application deadline. If you have taken DNP courses elsewhere, you may waive up to two courses with faculty approval.
May I take classes as a non-degree student and then apply later if I like the program?
You may take one course as a "non-degree" student. In the fall, (semester beginning in September) you may enroll in Ethics (NUR 620). In the spring (semester beginning in January) you may take NUR 660: Informatics,NUR 670: Health Policy or NUR 675: Quality Improvement in Health Care.
You can register for these courses by contacting the Office of Admission at 617-521-2605. This must be done no later than one week before the semester begins. The statistics course which is required for admission is not a DNP course and must be completed before admission to the program, as it is a prerequisite for admission. Upon completion of one course as a non-degree student, if you are still interested in the DNP program, you must formally apply for admission to the School of Nursing and Health Sciences by the designated application deadline dates: June 1 for September entry and October 1 for January entry. You will not be able to take other DNP courses as non-degree.
What is the cost of the program?
Please visit the Tuition & Financial Aid section for the most current information
- Nursing Catalog 2011-2012
- Guide to Nursing Credentials and Educational Requirements (What Program am I Eligible For?)