Doctoral Degree

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Advance in your career as a clinical leader with the skills to support the delivery of high quality and safe care in complex health care systems with a doctor of nursing practice degree.

Nurse leader in a clinical setting

Program Overview

In our doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program, you’ll graduate ready for the role of an advanced practice nurse capable of leading change and delivering the highest level of quality care.

Our flexible program is offered part-time and full-time and meets you where you are in your nursing career. Whether you already earned a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing, we have a DNP pathway that will help you achieve your academic goals. 

Here, you'll develop clinical leadership skills to deliver culturally competent, evidence-based, value-based and system-based care. With guidance from our experienced, full-time faculty, you’ll be prepared for leadership positions in direct care of individuals and populations, as well as for positions that focus on patient outcomes and complex systems management and transformation.

Through our post-baccalaureate RN-DNP pathway concentrations, you will be prepared at graduation to apply for certification examinations to become a family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology clinical nurse specialist, or health systems leader*.

*Students pursuing the health systems leadership option require experience in a leadership role in order to meet certification eligibility requirements.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Widener University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

DNP Degree Program Options

Students who have earned a bachelor's degree in nursing select an option for their DNP academic journey. Each option has specific academic credit and coursework requirements to fully prepare students to meet the criteria for related certification examinations.

Available Options

View the Loading... to review coursework and curriculum requirements for the MSN-DNP pathway.

Students are required to complete clinical hours.

  • Post-Baccalaureate RN-DNP - 1,008 hours (minimum)
  • Post-Master's DNP - 560 hours (minimum)

Students can enroll in the DNP program at either our Main Campus in Chester or at our Harrisburg Campus.

Admissions Requirements

Graduates of accredited bachelor's programs in nursing are invited to apply for admission by submitting evidence of:

  • Completed online application
  • Transcripts from all previously attended higher education institutions
  • Minimum of a 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Undergraduate statistics course with a grade of at least C (2.0)
  • Two references—one from an educator or advanced practice nurse and one from an employer with a graduate degree
  • Goal statement that highlights the applicant’s interests with emphasis on health care practice improvement
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Valid RN license
  • Interview with a nursing faculty member (arranged after a preliminary review of application materials)

GRE scores are not required. International applicants and applicants whose native language is not English must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores with a minimum score of 213 for the computer-based test or 550 for the paper test.

Graduates of accredited master’s programs are invited to apply for admission by submitting evidence of:

  • Completed online application
  • Transcripts from all previously attended higher education institutions
  • Minimum of a 3.2 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) in the MSN program
  • Graduate statistics course with a grade of at least C (2.0)
  • Two references—one from an educator or an advanced practice nurse and one from an employer with a graduate degree
  • Goal statement that highlights the applicant’s interests with emphasis on health care practice improvement
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Graduate level epidemiology course pre-/co-requisite

Option-Specific Requirements

  • FNP & CNS
    • Current national APRN certification in an advanced practice nursing role and population as appropriate
    • Valid RN and APRN licenses
  • Health Systems Leadership
    • Completed graduate level finance, organizational leadership, and/or business administration courses; transcripts will be evaluated before entry into the program to determine if additional prerequisite coursework is required

GRE scores are not required. International applicants and applicants whose native language is not English must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores with a minimum score of 213 for the computer-based test or 550 for the paper test.

  • 08/15 - for matriculation in the fall semester
  • 12/15 - for matriculation in the spring semester
  • 04/15 - for matriculation in the summer semester

Program Highlights

2020 National League for Nursing Center of Excellence

For enhancing student learning and professional development

Nursing students in clinicals

Renowned in the Region

Our School of Nursing was ranked 24th in the Mid-Atlantic region and 10th in Pennsylvania among private colleges.

1 of 6

schools nationwide designated as a Center of Excellence for Advancing the Science of Nursing Education.

nursing doctorate student in sim lab

Clinical Experience

Our faculty will partner with you to identify a clinical training location that meets your professional goals. With more than 300 affiliated clinical sites, you'll have access to the setting and specialty that interests you. 

Advanced practice nurse in hopsital

Flexible Hybrid Course Delivery

Our flexible course delivery system offers full- and part-time options designed for working nurses to ensure that you can meet the program requirements on a timeframe that fits into your schedule.

Part-time students can progress at their own pace within the established seven-year time limit for degree completion for doctoral students.

Majority of DNP coursework is offered online. Post-baccalaureate students will have select on-campus requirements.

nursing faculty in clinic

Close Faculty Mentorship

Thrive in a learning community that provides close mentorship and one-on-one support. Our expert, full-time faculty members bring active clinical and academic research experience to the classroom. Here, you'll build a network that will follow you long after graduation.

Faculty

Partner with expert faculty who aren’t just teaching the courses but are creating the science of nursing education.

Shirlee Drayton Brooks
Professor of Nursing & Director of Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

I ascribe to a pragmatic philosophy of teaching and learning. I believe that nursing education must be practical and logically aligned to the diverse needs of the population we serve.

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

Pursue a Widener DNP and chart your path to a rewarding education, career, and future.

  • Penn Medicine
  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
  • Crozer Keystone Health System
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Christiana Care Health System
  • Main Line Health Systems
  • Einstein Medical Center
  • Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Advanced practice nursing
  • Advanced nursing leadership
  • Nursing education

Take the Next Steps

Join a leading university dedicated to your success.

Visit Us

To visit Widener is, more often than not, to fall in love with the place. To fit your timeline and schedule, we offer a variety of ways to get to know us.

View Tuition and Fees

Explore program costs and payment options.

Financial Aid

At Widener, opportunities for financial aid extend to graduate students. Discover how scholarships, assistantships, fellowships, and other sources of aid can make obtaining your degree possible.

Next steps to apply

We’re glad you made the decision to apply. All applications and supplemental materials are submitted through the online application system. There is a $35 application fee to apply to Widener.

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