The doctorate in nursing practice that is offered online through Penn State World Campus has been expanded to include nurse practitioner specializations that can help nurses learn more about clinical care for specific populations of patients.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Practitioner (DNP–NP) program has three options for specialization, and it is open to nurses with a bachelor’s in nursing who are registered to practice in Pennsylvania and plan to become licensed nurse practitioners. The program is offered by the Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing online through Penn State World Campus.

“Students really get the best of both worlds in our DNP programs, as the courses were created by our world-renowned nurse educators and then delivered through Penn State World Campus’s award-winning platform,” said Mariya Tankimovich, the DNP program director and an associate teaching professor. “Flexible program delivery and academic excellence really position students for a great experience and stellar opportunities after they graduate.”

Nursing students can choose one of the options: family/individual across the lifespan nurse practitioner, adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, and adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner.

Applications for the program are being accepted year-round, and applicants are encouraged to apply early for priority consideration. Here are the upcoming application deadlines:

  • March 1, 2022, is the deadline to receive priority consideration to enroll in the summer 2022 semester.
  • June 30, 2022, is the deadline to receive priority consideration to enroll in the fall 2022 semester.
  • October 1, 2022, is the deadline to receive priority consideration to enroll in the spring 2023 semester.

The DNP portfolio also includes the leadership program, which launched in 2014. The leadership program is open to registered nurses anywhere in the country, and it has been designed for nurse managers and executives who want to work in leadership positions. The priority deadline to apply for summer 2022 admission is also March 1.

While the nurse practitioner DNP program was designed for nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can also apply.

The words of the Nursing Sciences Building are shown on an awning hanging over the entrance.

The Nese College of Nursing developed this program and its three specializations for care of different segments of the population to address the industry’s growing emphasis on doctoral-trained nurse practitioners for clinical care. 

The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties committed to move all entry-level NP programs to the doctoral level by 2025, and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has called for the level of preparation for advancing nursing practice from the master’s level to the doctoral level.

The BSN to DNP curriculum has been developed by the clinical faculty of the Nese College of Nursing. It meets the American Academy of Colleges of Nursing’s DNP Essentials guide and aligns with the official position of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.

Doctoral students will be required to reach certain benchmarks during their studies: a qualifying exam, a comprehensive exam, and a final oral presentation. The oral presentation will be based on a required culminating project that students design with clinical outcomes to demonstrate leadership and improve health care.

Students must also attend several intensive residencies at either the University Park campus in State College or the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The sessions will range from three to five days and provide in-person interactions with faculty and fellow students to encourage networking with other nursing professionals. 

Learn more about the online nursing doctorate that is offered through Penn State World Campus.