Nursing Practice, DNP

The graduates from the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program will be prepared for leadership in direct patient care and system-based care roles.  The post master’s entrance for the PVAMU DNP program will build on the professional nurse’s depth and scope of knowledge and information management to become adept in the application of evidence-based science to practice.  DNP graduates will be experts in directing care for quality improvement and the management of information and organizations of individuals and populations.  The acquisition of advanced knowledge and clinical judgment will afford society a fully educated nurse leader who champions care and accountability in delivering care for population outcomes.  Overall, the PVAMU DNP program will position the graduate in exhibiting transformational leadership to effect and generate health policy development, evidence-base practice careers, and evaluation in collaboration with inter-professional teams and partnerships.

The program integrates three substantive dimensions of practice-focused doctoral education making it uniquely responsive to current trends and needs in nursing and healthcare.  First, it focuses on the development of leaders who will have skills in translating advanced knowledge  to decrease health disparities and improve health outcomes of diverse populations.  Secondly, the graduate of the program will be a nurse leader who is able to transform health care and organizational systems through the role of advanced practice nurse (practitioner).  Finally, the graduate of the program may also practice in academia, thus addressing the urgent need for nursing faculty.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be prepared to:

  • Use theory, research, and science as the foundation for expert practice in the leadership roles of advanced practice nursing and education.
  • Collaborate with inter-professional teams in developing and implementing health care policies to effect change related to social, economic, political and ethical issues.
  • Use information systems technology to effect the improvement in health care quality and the transformation of health care.
  • Apply transformational leadership skills in organizational systems to effect change in health care outcomes of individuals and populations in diverse environments.
  • Improve the health outcomes of individuals and populations by decreasing disparities in health care delivery.
  • Contribute to the translation of nursing science in the role of advanced practice nurse and/or faculty.

Admission Requirements

Applicants applying for admission to the DNP Program must have:

  • An earned master’s degree in nursing from a program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE),
  • Hold a current license as a registered nurse in the State of Texas or have proof of licensure in another state; and have an unencumbered license to practice nursing,
  • An official transcript of all academic work (undergraduate and graduate) from each college or university previously attended,
  • A minimum GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale during undergraduate studies, and a minimum GPA of 3.30 during master’s degree graduate studies,
  • Completed master’s level courses in nursing research and advanced statistics within the last five (5) years,
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a faculty member in a nursing program,
  • A current resume or curriculum vita,
  • Documentation of a completed state and/or federal background check, including fingerprints, and drug screening
  • An interview with the program admission committee members and provision of a writing sample prior to interview,
  • National Certification and recognition by a US Board of Nursing as an advance practice nurse (FNP),
  • A scholarly writing sample (e.g., thesis, publication, professional paper, or proposal), and 
  • Strong commitment for program completion and leadership in an advanced nursing practice role.

Applicants who have not completed a graduate statistics course or master’s level course in nursing research in less than five years, will be required to complete one master’s level nursing research and/or advanced statistics course before or upon entering the DNP sequence of courses.  Satisfactory performance with a minimum grade of “B” will be required and the student must complete the nursing research and/or statistics course within the first semester of enrollment in the program.


Upon admission to the DNP Program, the student will be assigned to a faculty advisor. Students may be paired with more than one mentor, depending upon their professional and academic needs. The faculty advisor will work with the student to coordinate the selection of mentor(s).

Transfer of Graduate Courses from other Universities

In accordance with the Office of Graduate Studies and the College of Nursing, transfer students will have to satisfy the same criteria for admission as listed for initial applicants.  The transference of graduate credit earned from another accredited institution will not exceed six (6) semester credit hours with a minimum grade of “B” and will be subject to review by the College of Nursing admission panel.

Validation of MSN Practicum/Clinical Hours

DNP applicants must provide evidence of the number of clinical practice hours they completed in their master’s educational programs (Family Nurse Practitioner).  Applicants must submit one of the following:

  •  A letter of verification from an appropriate nursing administrator responsible for the master’s program from which the student graduated.  The letter shall indicate the total number of practicum hours completed by the student during the program of study and be notarized by the university’s registrar’s office.  This number is then used toward the required minimum of 1,000 hours of practice post-baccalaureate.
  • A letter from a national nursing certification agency attesting to the minimum number of clinical practicum hours required for certification in the student’s advanced nursing practice area at the time that the student was certified.  The student is credited with the identified minimum number of practicum hours which is used towards the required minimum of 1,000 hours of practice post-baccalaureate. 

Documentation of prior practicum hours in an advanced practice program provided will be reviewed by the Program Director for acceptance towards clinical hour requirements in the program.  This review will be conducted after the student has accepted admission to the program and prior to the second week of the first semester of enrollment.  The student will meet with the Director to sign the Determination of DNP Clinical Hours form to document that the student has been duly informed.

Fees and Tuition

Fees are subject to change. Current information about PVAMU fees and tuition can be found on the Tuition and Fees section of the Academic Catalog. 

Financial Assistance

The College of Nursing offers a limited number of graduate assistantships, research assistants, and scholarships to qualified full-time students.  Students interested in applying for financial assistance can visit the Financial Aid section of the Academic Catalog.  

Time Limit on Work for Doctorate Degree

The DNP is a practice doctorate.  Therefore, students are advised to complete the program in the prescribed period - full-time status within five (5) semesters (including one summer) or two years and part-time status complete the course work within seven (7) semesters (including two summers).  All work toward the DNP degree must be completed within six (6) years.

Progression in the Program

Good Standing

Doctoral students remain in good standing when they maintain a minimum graduate GPA of 3.0 for coursework.  Only grades of “B” or better count toward coursework and dissertation hours. 

Reactivation in the Program

Reactivation to the program will be handled on a case by case basis.

Dismissal from the Program

Students shall be dismissed from the doctoral program for any one of the following reasons:

  • An earned grade less than a grade of “B” in any required or elective course.
  • Failure to maintain a minimum doctorate GPA of 3.0 in coursework.
  • Academic and/or professional misconduct.

Instruction Mode of Delivery

The DNP courses will be offered using the hybrid or blended learning methodology.   Every course will be accessible through the University’s Moodle/e-Course platform (syllabi, hand-outs, videos, Power Point presentations, students’ delivery in posting of papers and assignments, faculty’s evaluations of students’ assignments, chat rooms and discussion forums, etc.).  It is therefore the student‘s responsibility to periodically check their email and course web pages for the latest information.   

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Project Advisory Committee

The DNP project will be completed with the structure and guidance of an advisory committee.  The DNP Project Committee will be comprised of the chair and at least three other members (nursing faculty and an outside member).  The chair and committee members will be officially approved by the Dean of the College of Nursing, as per a written request submitted by the student via a signed “Consent to Serve” form.  The chair will serve as the lead committee member and will be responsible for supervising the student’s advisement and progress.   

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Project

The DNP project is a culmination of the knowledge gained in the DNP courses and results in a practice-related written product in which the student demonstrates use of evidence in nursing science and translation of findings into practice.  The project will provide the student an opportunity to apply advanced theoretical, policy and specialty knowledge in practice and systems level experiences. The DNP project will be completed with the structure and guidance of an advisory committee.  The written product will be acceptable for sharing through peer refereed publications and presentations at local, state and national professional conferences.             

The Practice Residency

The practice residency is designed to help the student achieve the learning objectives of the program and specialty competencies through meaningful opportunities for student engagement.  Learning experiences will be designed to assist the learner in building and assimilating knowledge for advanced specialty practice at a high level of complexity, and will include in depth work with experts from nursing as well as other disciplines (inter-professionals).  The Nurse Practitioner students will complete a minimum of 1,000 supervised practice hours.  The supervised practicum hours completed in the students’ MSN program will be included in the minimum number of hours. 

Grading System for Doctor of Nursing Practice Students

Grade Meaning Score Range Grade Values
A 95-100
B 85-94
C 75-84
D 65-74
F below 65

Admission to Candidacy

It is the student’s responsibility to petition for advancement to candidacy.  Forms are available in the DNP Program Office.  The student must apply for candidacy when enrolled in the last required core or elective course (except DNP Project and Residency).  To be advanced to candidacy, students must have completed all of the following requirements and/or procedures:

  •  Achieved a cumulative grade-point average no lower than 3.00 in program coursework.
  • Completed all coursework with no grade lower than “B”.

The admission to graduate study does not imply “advancement to candidacy” for the doctoral degree.

Degree Program Requirements

Students who enter the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program will be required to complete 39 hours after the Master’s degree and 1,000 clinical hours of practicum (includes MSN practicum hours).

Core Courses (24 SCH)
NURS 7300Scientific Writing3
NURS 7301Nursing Science and Complex Systems3
NURS 7302Leadership in Complex Health Systems3
NURS 7306Health Care Policy for Advocacy in Health Care3
NURS 7304Health Informatics: Systems Management of Health Data3
NURS 7305Evidence-Based Practice (Qualitative & Quantitative Methods)3
NURS 7314Analytical Approaches to Outcomes Management: Individuals and Populations3
NURS 7324Translating Evidence into Advanced Nursing Practice3
Project (6 SCH)
NURS 7255DNP Project 1: Project Planning2
NURS 7265DNP Project II: Project Implementation2
NURS 7275DNP Project III: Project Dissemination and Evaluation2
Practicum (6 SCH)
NURS 7338Practice Residency I3
NURS 7339Practice Residency II3
Total Hours39