Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP Pathways)

Program overview

Take your nursing career to the next level with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree

Do you hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing? Earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Seattle Pacific University by attending courses on campus just one day a week. Already certified as a nurse practitioner? Earn your DNP even more quickly. In this program, you’ll translate evidence to clinical practice, engage in inter-professional collaboration, and advocate for quality care for diverse populations.

Choose your specialty concentration: Adult-Gerontology NP or Family NP.

A Nursing grad student monitors the breathing of a patient | photo by Luke Rotan

Program Overview

Program overview

Increasingly complex care management and changing health care delivery systems demand new knowledge and skills for today’s and future advanced-practice registered nurses. National nursing organizations have endorsed the DNP as the academic qualification for entry into practice for APRNs. There is a growing demand for DNP-trained nurses by regional employers.

SPU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program prepares nurse leaders for advanced practice roles with the highest level of competence to meet the changing demands of our current and future health care environment. You will attain clinical, organizational, and leadership expertise to lead and transform care systems, translate evidence to clinical practice, engage in inter-professional collaboration, and advocate for safe and quality care for diverse populations within complex care systems.

The DNP program offers the following specialty concentrations:

  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner

Eligibility criteria for board certification are established by accrediting agencies (e.g., American Nurses Credentialing Center).

Leadership expertise
You will attain clinical, organizational, and leadership expertise to lead and transform care systems, translate evidence to clinical practice, and engage in interprofessional collaboration.

Advocate for diverse populations
You will gain skills in advocating for safe and quality care for diverse populations within complex care systems.

Helping patients flourish
The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program prepares you for advanced-practice nursing roles based on a foundation of Christian values, engaging and fostering global human flourishing with competence, character, and wisdom.

Classes one day a week
If you hold a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in nursing, you can earn your DNP as a nurse practitioner (Family or Adult/Gerontology), attending courses on campus just one day a week. If you are already certified as a nurse practitioner and want to pursue doctoral education, you can earn your DNP even more quickly.

Nurse practitioner

If you aim to become an independent primary care provider, enroll in the DNP Family Nurse Practitioner track or the Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner track. These ARNP tracks will guide you to further your clinical expertise across the lifespan or in adult populations and practice as a responsible care provider. Coursework and clinical experiences provide individualized learning so you’ll develop proficiency as a primary care provider. Specialized knowledge and the art of delivering care are emphasized to meet practice standards and competencies.

Post-Master’s entry, with certification

If you are a certified FNP, AGPCNP, or AGCNS, you are eligible to enroll in the Post-Master’s Nurse Practitioner track, which provides an opportunity to build on your master’s education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, practice inquiry, and systems leadership.

Post-Master’s entry, without certification

If you are not currently certified as a nurse practitioner but hold a master’s degree in nursing, your DNP education will also prepare you for certification as an FNP, AGPCNP, or AGCNS.

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The Graduate Nursing program operates on a cohort model beginning with foundational coursework that focuses on evidence based practice, leadership, practice inquiry, and advanced clinical practice. On a full-time schedule, the DNP program is 11 quarters in length.

Your coursework is separated into specialty areas, and your clinical practicum experiences begin only after the completion of all prerequisite courses. All graduate coursework must adhere to specified levels of scholarship before progression can occur.

Clinical practice is integral to the advanced practice in nursing.  Although not required, we encourage students to continue clinical practice while enrolled in the DNP program.

Nurse Practitioner courses and requirements

If you’re a practicing BSN- or MSN-prepared nurse and you are committed to providing direct care, the DNP Nurse Practitioner pathways will open doors to career options. You must have a current nursing license and at least 12 months’ experience as a registered nurse. Completion takes up to 11 quarters as a full-time student and up to 15 quarters on a part-time student basis.

  • Family Nurse Practitioner track: You’ll be required to take up to 100 credits to earn this degree. 
  • Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner track: You’ll be required to take up to 96 credits to earn this degree. 

Post-master’s (with certification) courses and requirements

Completion takes up to eight quarters as a full-time and up to 12 quarters on a part-time basis. Up to 48 credits are required to complete this degree.

Post-Master’s (without certification) courses and requirements

Completion takes up to 11 quarters as a full-time student and up to 15 quarters on a part-time basis. Up to 100 credits are required to complete this degree. Contact us to learn more about how your previous coursework may apply toward your DNP degree.

DNP Practicum

If you are pursuing a DNP degree, you will need a minimum of 1,000 practice hours. Of the 1,000 hours, a minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours focused on direct care of individuals and families within the APRN specialty are required for board certification and state licensure. If you have current board certification and licensure in your selected APRN specialty pathway, you may apply up to 500 hours of previously documented clinical practicum hours toward the required 1,000 hours.

Mentored learning experiences

If you are a nurse practitioner student, you will likely intern in smaller clinics, such as family practice offices.  

In addition to your direct-care hours, other mentored learning experiences assist you in achieving DNP competencies as outlined in the AACN DNP Essentials; they are a part of the 1,000 practice-hour requirement and completed as an immersion experience.

For these mentored learning experiences, you might complete simulation experiences, participate in agency committees to assess and evaluate practice protocols, evaluate programs and improve processes within a practice unit, or collaborate with a team to implement a health initiative at the state level.

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2023–24 Tuition and Fees

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tuition per credit

Total $83,607‬ minimum

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estimated total course fees and other costs

See additional fee details.
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93–100 credits

to complete

All tuition, fees, and other charges stated here are payable in U.S. dollars ($US).

In addition to direct instructional costs, Seattle Pacific School of Health Sciences tuition covers academic and student support services. Other benefits include use of athletic facilities (e.g., gym, locker room, and fitness rooms), the SPU Library, and Student Health Services.

Scholarships and financial aid

Cost shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your graduate nursing education. Consider a varied menu of scholarships and loans to obtain the most funding possible.

Find many scholarships specific for nursing students on the Graduate Scholarships and Aid web page. Here you will find information about SHS endowed scholarships and outside scholarships.

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Before applying for your DNP

For admission to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, the following are required:

  • One of the following in-process or earned degrees (must be completed by program start date):
    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited nursing program. BSN degrees from competency-based programs will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
    • Master of Nursing degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited program.
  • Minimum 12 months of active RN experience by September 1.
  • Active, unencumbered Washington state RN license by program start date.
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in your bachelor’s OR, if applicable, master’s program.

Note: Although not required at the time of application, all applicants are required to show completion of a three-quarter credit (or equivalent) course in descriptive and inferential statistics with a grade of at least C+ (2.3) before matriculation. Failure to successfully complete this course means you will not be able to enroll in the program.

About work experience

The SHS graduate program defines active nursing practice to include those activities that require RN licensure, employment, and utilize the nursing process to deliver or direct care.

  • It is preferred that FNP applicants demonstrate nursing experience as a licensed RN in the care of patients across the lifespan (pediatric and adult populations).
  • It is preferred that AGNP applicants demonstrate nursing experience as a licensed RN in the care of adult populations.

Application procedure

Completed applications are screened and reviewed by Graduate Admissions and the Graduate Admissions Committee. The Graduate Admissions Committee consists of members of the Graduate Nursing Council (GNC) and other key School of Health Sciences faculty.

  • Admission to the DNP program depends upon recommendation by the Admissions Committee and approval by the Associate Dean for Graduate Nursing.

Applicants who meet minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission.

Due Dates:

Applications are not being accepted at this time. Applications will be open in the future.

Admission requirements

To apply, submit the following items to be considered:

Your active, unencumbered RN license will be confirmed during the application review process.

It is recommended that you talk with Graduate Admissions early in the application process in order to ensure a smooth transition into the program.

Enrollment policy

The general requirements for a doctoral degree are consistent with those listed for the University. Additionally, the School of Health Sciences requires the following for doctoral students:

  • All courses must be completed as designated on your individual curriculum plan.
  • To graduate, you must demonstrate beginning proficiency within your professional role as put forth by professional standards for practice, as well as fulfill all requirements as stated by the University.
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Career Opportunities

When you complete your Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, your career options are many, including these:

  • An independent practitioner.
  • Leader in evidence-based practice and quality improvement.
  • Education positions, in hospital and clinic settings.
  • Public health, influencing health policy at local, state, and federal levels.

Job leads

Supporting the careers of our DNP students and alumni is a high priority for the School of Health Sciences. The following career resources are available:

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International Students

International students

In addition to the SPU general and Doctor of Nursing Practice degree admission requirements, international students must also submit:

  • An official confidential affidavit of financial support covering the first year of intended enrollment. Without this document, SPU cannot issue an I-20 immigration form.
  • Students holding undergraduate or graduate degrees from colleges, universities and/or seminaries located outside the U.S. are expected to have their transcripts evaluated by a professional credential agency. Such an evaluation is required before an application for admission to SHS can be granted and before any graduate credits taken elsewhere can be applied to an SHS degree.
  • If you earned an undergraduate degree in a country other than the United States, or your degree is in progress, an official course-by-course credential evaluation must be submitted from a NACES member-recognized credential service. Acceptable credential services include, but are not limited to, World Education Services (WES) and Foundation for International Services (FIS).
  • In addition to the evaluation report, we also require official transcripts and diplomas to be submitted, in English. International applicants are responsible for all costs associated with this service.
  • English language proficiency: If you do not speak English as your first language, you must also submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 580 on the TOFEL paper, or 237 on the TOEFL-CBT, or 92 on the TOEFL-iBT is required. Interlink scores will not be accepted.
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