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DNP Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is the DNP needed?

Several factors have created the need for advanced nursing education at the doctoral level. The changing demands of the nation’s complex healthcare environment require the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise to assure quality patient outcomes.

The DNP is a practice-oriented doctorate, such as the Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Optometry, or Doctor of Physical Therapy 

  • When will the DNP be required for practice?

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has set a standard that the DNP will be the entry level for advanced practice nursing as of 2015. This is currently a recommendation and not a requirement.

  • How is the DNP program and the California State University connected?

Assembly Bill 422 (AB422) authorized the California State University (CSU) system to offer the post-master’s degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). There are two statewide locations offering the DNP program. The collaboration between Fresno State and San José State University (Northern California Consortium) is one. The collaboration between CSU Fullerton, Long Beach and Los Angeles (Southern California Consortium) is the second.

  • What are the unique features of the California State University Northern California Consortium DNP?

    • Inclusion of curriculum for faculty role preparation, including courses in curriculum development, teaching methods, assessments, as well as an elective opportunity for a teaching practicum
    • An online course format with "on-campus" sessions termed "intensives"
    • Within the program, a three-semester integrated course series that links the student's scholarly doctoral project (NURS 595, NURS 596, NURS 597)
    • An embedded practicum course (NURS 295) that may be taken during the second through the fifth semester as needed to complete the required 1000 hours of post-baccalaureate clinical hours. Practicum course hours are closely associated with the student's doctoral project and align with AACN's eight essentials for doctoral practice
  • What campus will be offering the DNP program?

The California State University, Office of the Chancellor designated Fresno State as the lead campus for the Northern California Consortium; however, the program is a collaboration with San José State University and is one program with two campuses.

  • How much is tuition?

Doctor of Nursing Practice Per Semester
All Students $7,635

$421.50 (University Fees*) + $7,635 (DNP Tuition Fee) = $8,056.50/semester

$8,056.50 x 5 semesters = $40,282.50**

Year 1: Fall and Spring
Year 2: Summer, Fall, and Spring

*University Fees subject to change
** Fees does not include the cost of books, travel expenses, and supplies

  • Will there be a distance education or online component?

    • Yes, the entire program is a distance learning educational experience
    • Online components may use such methodologies as Zoom, Skype, and other videos/audio conferencing. Blackboard is the Learning Management System
    • Synchronous and asynchronous learning methods are used
    • Technology training is part of the orientation to the DNP program

  • Will I have to travel to Fresno and/or San José?

    • Yes, at least one intensives will be scheduled prior to each semester of the program and held alternatively between Fresno and San José campuses.
    • Summer and Fall: Fresno
      Spring: San José
    • Dependent on each instructor, one or two other on-campus sessions may be required. For example, in the Fall semester 4, you are required to travel to Fresno or San José the first weekend of December for NURS 591.

  • How long are the Intensives and am I required to attend?

    • Semester 1: 3 days
    • Semester 2: 1 1/2 days
    • Semester 3-5: 1 day

      Intensives are mandatory and attendance is required

  • How long is the program?

    • Five semesters (21 months)
    • Fall, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Spring

  • Will there be a practicum component to the program?

    • The DNP program requires documentation of at least 1000 clinical hours
    • Yes, practicum requirements vary based on the number of eligible post-baccalaureate clinical hours documented
    • Even if you have 1000 clinical hours or more post-baccalaureate, you are still required to perform 270 hours during the DNP program (one semester). These hours are performed in conjunction with your doctoral project.

  • Am I required to complete a doctoral project?

    • Yes, the doctoral project is the culminating experience
    • Systemic, rigorous research application on a significant professional issue
    • Expected to contribute to an improvement in professional practice or policy
    • Exhibits commands of the research literature and demonstrates the student's mastery of evidence-based practice at the doctoral level
  • Who teaches in the DNP program?

Consortium faculties are comprised primarily of tenure, tenure-track faculty who teach within the CSU system. Faculties are not necessarily within the department of nursing. Each faculty member brings both practical and educational perspectives to their courses within the DNP program.

  • Can I work while attending the program?

    • The program is designed so that the student can work full time and, with the permission of the employer, the doctoral project may be completed within the student's employment setting
    • There is only full-time status in the program
  • Is the program accredited?

Yes, the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the California State University Northern California Consortium DNP (Consortium of California State University, Fresno and San Jose State University) is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and approved by the California State University, Office of the Chancellor.

  • How are students admitted to the program?

    • Early applications are strongly advised. 
    • Approximately 30 students are accepted into our program as a cohort. 
    • The application is a four-step process:
      1. Application to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program
      2. Application to California State University, Fresno through Cal State Apply
      3. Create a student email account
      4. Application for Financial Aid (recommended)
    • Qualified applicants will be invited to an onsite in-person interview
    • Notification of acceptance to the program may take up to two weeks