Nursing, D.N.P.


School of Nursing


Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

The purpose of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program is to prepare experts in specialized advanced nursing practice. The DNP program prepares graduates for leadership and clinical roles and to engage in evidence-based inquiry. Graduates may also serve as clinical faculty in postsecondary nursing education programs. The curriculum is based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (2006) and meets all requirements for national accreditation. The program is designed for working professionals with the majority of coursework provided via distance modalities. The DNP program is cohort-based and designed to be completed in two years of full-time study. It consists of 37 doctoral units with a culminating doctoral project.

Admission Requirements. Application requirements consist of the following:

  1. The applicant must meet the general admission requirements for California State University, Fresno.
  2. The applicant must have earned an acceptable master's degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association and the national professional accrediting association, as applicable.
  3. The applicant must have attained a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in an acceptable master's degree program.
  4. The applicant must maintain active licensure to practice as a registered nurse in the state in which practicum experiences will be completed.
  5. The applicant must meet all requirements for credentialing or certification eligibility as appropriate to the nursing specialty area.
  6. The applicant must demonstrate sufficient preparation and experience pertinent to advanced nursing practice.

Evidence considered in the admission process shall include, but not be limited to the following:

  1. Three letters of recommendation from professional persons knowledgeable about the applicant's advanced nursing practice experience, as well as the potential for scholarship and leadership. One of the three letters of recommendations must be from the applicant's current supervisor.
  2. A written statement of purpose reflecting what the applicant expects to accomplish in the DNP program and how the DNP program will advance the applicant's nursing career and practice.

Program Requirements. Students in the DNP program move through the coursework as a cohort. A minimum of 37 units are required for completion of the degree. Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average and demonstrate professional behavior to progress in the program. In order to achieve the DNP competencies, students must complete a minimum 1,000 hours of practice post-baccalaureate as part of a supervised academic program. Students shall be required to pass a qualifying assessment within two attempts in order to continue in the program and prior to advancing to candidacy. The qualifying examination will be completed at the end of the first year, when the student's mastery of essential elements of the core advanced nursing concepts can be fairly evaluated and when the student is considered ready to begin the doctoral project.

The Doctoral Project. The Doctoral Project consists of three interrelated scholarly manuscripts which are developed in conjunction with the student's Project Committee. The project will relate to advanced practice and focus on a potential or existing health problem or issue affecting a group or community, rather than an individual. The project is developed, implemented, and evaluated in the second year of the program with guidance from a Project Committee selected by the student. The project will be presented to the Project Committee in a public forum, and the final paper submitted for publication to an appropriate peer-reviewed journal.


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