photo of DNP students

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a practice doctorate that prepares advanced practice nurses and nurse managers/directors to be clinical scholars and nurse executives recognized for translational science, outstanding innovative evidence-based patient/population care and leadership in nursing practice and health care delivery. The DNP program is a post-masters program that admits nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse managers. Students are admitted once a year in the fall. The DNP curriculum is offered to APRNs (e.g. nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists) and nurse managers with flexibility of course options that may be taken based on the APRNs specialty. The program includes 32-43 credit hours.

In order to meet the needs of working advanced practice nurses and nurse managers, classes are scheduled in blocks of intense instruction to minimize travel and impact on work schedules. Students attend classes at the Houston campus two days each month (Thursdays and Fridays only)  and also engage in on-line learning activities. Most students enroll in two courses each semester. The course work can be completed through a part-time or full-time program of study. Students can complete the program in five (5) to eight (8) semesters. Individualized clinical and fellowship experiences are planned to support the student’s goals and achievement of the national DNP competencies.

Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, and CRNA Options

The dynamic healthcare environment and opportunities for nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and CRNAs to lead translational research into practice, to design new models of care and practice at the individual and population level requires doctorally prepared clinical scholars to assume these positions. The UTHealth-DNP program provides innovative preparation in translational science, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, systems leadership, and research application methods to support high level quality and safety health outcomes for patients, populations, and organizations.
Post Master's APRN Option (for NP, CNS & CRNA)

Nurse Executive Option

Leadership is critical to the redesign and execution of a new healthcare system to meet societal needs for health care. The UTHealth-DNP Program prepares nurse managers/directors to shape and influence the preferred future in health care. Graduates of the nurse executive program are prepared for high-level executive leadership positions in organizations and systems to advance the quality and cost effectiveness of care and outcomes for populations and communities through innovative evidence-based practices and resource management.
Doctor of Nursing Practice Post MSN Nurse Executive Option

Program Overview

Each DNP student is assigned an advisor (faculty mentor) at the time of enrollment in the DNP program. The advisor is selected based on clinical expertise and interest congruent with the student’s area of interest. The advisor and DNP student complete a degree plan and outline the individualized preceptorship and fellowship experiences based on the student’s interest and professional goals. The advisor also supervises the development of components of the Clinical Scholarship Portfolio (CSP), the dissertation equivalent for the DNP program. The CSP is a collection of required components that demonstrates a student’s scholarship as a clinical scholar practicing at the highest level of advanced practice or nursing administration; it provides evidence of competency in all domains of DNP practice. The CSP includes a major Practice Inquiry Project, comprehensive cases studies, and other examples of scholarly work related to the competencies outlined in the DNP Essentials. The CSP policy is found in DNP Program Policy D8060(pdf). Upon completion of the Doctor of Nursing (DNP) program graduates will be prepared to:

  • Critically evaluate and translate evidence into practice to support high quality outcomes.
    • Practice at the highest level of advanced practice nursing or nursing administration providing expanded health care access to individuals, groups, populations, and communities to address complex healthcare needs.
    • Critically evaluate and translate evidence into practice to ensure patient safety and achieve high quality outcomes.
    • Utilize evidence-based knowledge, research, ethical standards, technology, and high level clinical judgment to advance quality of care and health outcomes for individuals and populations.
  • Use leadership and interprofessional collaboration (IP) skills to deliver safe, effective, comprehensive, seamless, and cost-effective care.
    • Assume high level clinical and executive leadership roles in nursing, health care organizations, and other health related settings.
    • Demonstrate achievement of all DNP competencies as published by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
  • Evaluate and influence health-care policies, organizations, and systems.
    • Utilize evidence-based knowledge, research, ethical standards, technology, and high level clinical judgment to advance quality of care and health outcomes for individuals and populations.
    • Design and evaluate innovative programs and models of care for individuals and populations based on best science and evidence, which address prevention, health promotion, treatment, and management of health needs.
    • Integrate quality improvement and translational science and strategies to create and sustain change at the population, organization, and policy levels.

Degree Requirements

Requirements for earning the DNP degree include:

  • Complete an approved program of study.
  • Submit an acceptable Clinical Scholarship Portfolio, which includes a Practice Inquiry Project.

Program Characteristics

Prospective students should be aware that all School of Nursing students are required to have a computer and must have basic computer skills. For more information on computer requirements see computer requirements and recommendations.


Program Coordinator and Staff

Joanne V Hickey, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, FAAN, FCCM

Coordinator, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (Email)

Candiance E Duplessis, BA

Administrative Coordinator, DNP Program (Email)