doctor smiling while examining a child

Doctor ofNursing Practice - Nurse Practitioner

Program summary

Prepare to provide direct and specific client care through an expanded nursing role with this online nurse practitioner doctoral degree program, available exclusively to nurses who are licensed to practice professional nursing in Pennsylvania. Choose from four specializations.

Application deadline

Apply by October 1 to start January 13

Credits and costs

65–78 Credits$1,017 per credit

CCNE Accredited

This program is CCNE Accredited

The Health Care Workforce Needs Highly Trained Nurse Practitioners

The current trend in the medical industry is pushing to enhance patient care, promote positive health outcomes, and create functional autonomy of nurse practitioners by deploying doctoral-prepared nurse practitioners (NPs) into clinical spaces.

With a strong focus on overall health and wellness as well as the prevention of disease, the nurse practitioner, or advance practice registered nurse (APRN), can often provide a lower cost option for health care, while still providing high-quality medical guidance. This makes the NP career path appealing to nurses and encourages the use of NPs by health systems. And with many national guiding organizations recommending that entry to clinical practice for NPs be at the professional doctorate level, a Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Practitioner degree earned online through Penn State World Campus can help prepare nurses for this changing landscape.

Penn State’s Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Practitioner Program (DNP–NP)

Designed as a BSN to DNP program, Penn State’s nurse practitioner program is for bachelor-prepared registered nurses who are licensed to practice in the state of Pennsylvania and plan to become licensed nurse practitioners. MSN–prepared applicants are welcome to apply, as well. As a graduate of the program, you will be awarded a Doctor of Nursing Practice and become eligible to sit for a national nurse practitioner certification exam.

As you progress through the DNP–NP program, your curriculum will integrate objectives and learning outcomes for you to achieve the nurse practitioner core and population-focused competencies that are written for doctoral level education.

You will choose one of three options in the DNP–NP degree program:

  • Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner 
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Penn State’s DNP also includes a DNP–Leadership program, which offers both an MSN to DNP and BSN to DNP entry pathway. The DNP–Leadership program is available to nurses outside the state of Pennsylvania.

Why an Online Nurse Practitioner Program from Penn State?

Flexibility – We understand the need for flexible and convenient learning options, using technology not just for convenience, but also to support learning outcomes. While the DNP–NP program provides you with the flexibility of studying online, it also includes the same rigor you would expect from a traditional doctoral-level nursing program.

Curriculum – While your course work will be online, in order to properly prepare you for the highest level of clinical nursing practice, you will be required to attend in-person intensive sessions and complete other doctoral benchmarks, including your qualifying examination, comprehensive examination, and DNP project with an oral presentation.

Reputation – The Penn State DNP degree is one of the top online programs in the nation. The Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and post-graduate APRN certificate programs at Penn State are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791. Further information can be found at www.ccneaccreditation.org.

Courses

Penn State’s Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Practitioner (DNP–NP) program is currently only available to nurses licensed to practice professional nursing in the state of Pennsylvania.

The DNP–NP program is designed to help prepare professional nurses to function in an expanded nursing role, providing direct care to specific groups of clients in a variety of health care settings. Since that practice is interdisciplinary in nature, advanced knowledge and research from nursing is combined with knowledge from science, medicine, and related disciplines.

To earn the DNP–NP degree, you will need to successfully complete 65–68 credits, depending on which nurse practitioner option you choose.

The curriculum will include:

  • DNP degree program requirements (33 credits)
  • Common nurse practitioner courses (12 credits)
  • Required courses for each option (20–31 credits):
    • Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner option courses (23 credits)
    • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner option courses (20 credits)
    • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner option courses (21 credits)
    • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner option courses (31 credits)

Practicum Hours

A total of 1,125 hours of post–B.S. practicum are required in the DNP nurse practitioner program. Your required hours will be accomplished through various courses in the DNP curriculum that include practicum hours as part of the course work. Practicum hour plans will be developed in consultation with the course faculty member and with the approval of the DNP faculty adviser. Development of the plans for practicum experiences begins with your admission to the program. The practicum planning process involves establishing a site affiliation agreement with the practicum site and identifying a preceptor(s). You will be responsible for identifying potential practicum sites and preceptors and working with the program director to accomplish the affiliation agreement process. Some students choose to complete practicum requirements at their place of employment and other students identify alternate practicum sites. Practicum sites must be in Pennsylvania.
 

DNP Core Courses (33 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Current conceptual and theoretical models in nursing, including relationship to practice and research in development of nursing science.

  • 1
    credit

    Continuing seminars which consist of a series of individual lectures by faculty, students, or outside speakers.

  • 3
    credits

    This course explores population health concepts, measurement, and application in practice, research, and policy. This course explores population health as a framework for improving health in society. Multiple determinants will be examined in relation to health status measurement, health and disease trends, and health disparities at a community, national, and global perspective.

  • 3
    credits

    Examines the relationship of nursing theories to the development of nursing science, as well as current scientific advances that guide nursing practice and research.

  • 3
    credits

    Evaluation and translation of evidence-based research into nursing practice.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 830

  • 3
    credits

    Doctor of Nursing Practice transformational leadership to improve healthcare delivery and quality outcomes.

  • 2
    credits

    The Doctor of Nursing Practice project demonstrates clinical scholarship in an area of practice.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 831

    • Note

      This course will be repeated three times for a total of 6 credits.

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides a foundation in information systems and technology for improvement of health care.

  • 3
    credits

    The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project plan will be developed focusing on design, sample, data collection, projected outcomes, resourcing, plan for analysis, and sustainability. Students will collaborate with key stakeholders to build project support. Students will complete steps for Institutional Review Board (IRB) submission. The course includes 75 hours of required clinical practicum hours.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 830, NURS 831

  • 3
    credits

    Concepts of health care economics and policy for nurse administrators.

  • 1
    credit

    This course provides the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to address ethics issues encountered in nursing practice and to ethically conduct quality improvement initiatives.

  • 3
    credits

    Investigates methods for assessing data collected from experimental and/or observational studies in various research settings.

Common Nurse Practitioner Courses (12 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Advanced nursing assessment and diagnosis of physical, psychosocial, and developmental health for adults and families across the adult age spectrum.

  • 3
    credits

    Integration of advanced physiology, genetics, and pathophysiology as related to specific disease entities and alterations in functioning.

  • 3
    credits

    Pharmacologic therapies in advanced nursing practice.

  • 3
    credits

    Theories of social justice and other scholarly perspectives are used to explore the interrelationships among health policy and the social, political, and economic determinants of health. The course provides the foundation for leadership in interdisciplinary collaborative endeavors to address health policy at the regional, national, and global levels. 

Required Courses for Each Option (20–31 credits)

Students select one of three options to satisfy these requirements. The course list varies based on which option you choose:

  • Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner option courses (23 credits)
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner option courses (20 credits)
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner option courses (21 credits)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner option courses (31 credits)

Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner Option Courses (23 credits)

  • 1
    credit

    Advanced nursing assessment and diagnosis of physical, psychosocial, and development health for individuals and families across the pediatric age spectrum.

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive professional practice course in which students learn the Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (F/INP) role focused on common acute/episodic health problems in caring for individuals and families across the lifespan.

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive professional practice course in which students learn the Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (F/INP) role focused on the identification and management of complex and/or chronic health problems in caring for individuals and families across the lifespan.

  • 2
    credits

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (F/INP) role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills taught in all prior courses.

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (F/INP) role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills taught in all prior courses.

  • 5
    credits

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (F/INP) role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills taught in all prior courses.

  • 2
    credits

    Nurse Practitioner role with children and their families to promote health, prevent illness, and manage acute or chronic health problems. NURS 875 provides instruction in the Nurse Practitioner role with children and their families to promote health, plan anticipatory guidance, conduct health screenings, prevent illness, and manage primary care health problems.

  • 1
    credit

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (F/INP) role with the pediatric population through application of theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills taught in all prior courses.

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive didactic and simulation experience in which students implement the Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (F/INP) role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills.

Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Option Courses (20 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Provides instruction in the Nurse Practitioner role to promote health, prevent illness, and manage common acute/episodic health problems across the adult-older adult population. 

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 802, NURS 803, and NURS 804

  • 3
    credits

    Nurse Practitioner role with individuals and families to maximize health and manage complex and/or chronic health problems.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 870, NURS 872

    • Concurrent

      NURS 873

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills taught in all prior courses.

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills taught in all prior courses.

  • 5
    credits

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills taught in all prior courses.

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive didactic and simulation experience in which students implement the Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills.

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Option Courses (21 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Focuses on utilization of a collaborative approach to enhance Acute Care Nurse Practitioner effectiveness with restorative care and synthesis of theoretical, scientific, and clinical knowledge required for the assessment, diagnosis, management, and treatment options of patients with complex acute, critical, and chronic illness across the continuum of care.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 802, NURS 803, NURS 804, NURS 865, and NURS 866

  • 3
    credits

    Continues the focus on utilization of a collaborative approach to enhance Acute Care Nurse Practitioner effectiveness with restorative care and synthesis of theoretical, scientific, and clinical knowledge required for the assessment, diagnosis, management, and treatment options of patients with complex acute, critical, and chronic illness across the continuum of care.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 860, NURS 862

    • Concurrent

      NURS 863

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills taught in NURS 860 and all prior courses.

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills taught in NURS 861 and all prior courses.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 860, NURS 862

    • Concurrent

      NURS 861

  • 5
    credits

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner role and demonstrate synthesis of theoretical, scientific, and contemporary clinical knowledge learned in all courses of the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner option.

  • 1
    credit

    Principles of clinical pharmacology as applied to management of complex acute, critical, and chronically ill adult and older adult patients.

    Physical assessment and diagnostics for physical and psychosocial health of adult and older adult individuals and families with acute and critical illness. 

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive didactic and simulation experience in which students implement the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills. This course involves demonstration of the role in varied online, classroom, and simulation settings including a full week on site intensive.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Option Courses (31 credits)

  • 2
    credits

    This is a comprehensive professional practice course in which students learn the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) role focused on the biopsychosocial assessment integrating aspects of biological, familial, community, and social health.

  • 2
    credits

    This course will focus on the theory and practice of cognitive behavioral therapy.

  • 2
    credits

    This course will focus on crisis intervention and trauma-informed care.

  • 3
    credits

    This course will focus on theory and application of psychotherapy.

  • 2
    credits

    This course introduces Bowen's family systems theory.

  • 3
    credits

    This course builds on previous knowledge of pathophysiology with a specific focus on neurologic processes and differentiation between normal and abnormal function in acute and chronic illnesses.

  • 3
    credits

    This course expands upon the student's prior pharmacology foundation to focus on the principles of neuropsychopharmacology and biologically based treatments.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 803 and NURS 804

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Psychiatric Mental Health Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychotherapeutic skills taught in all prior courses.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 870M and NURS 871M

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Psychiatric Mental Health Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychotherapeutic skills taught in all prior courses.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 872M

  • 5
    credits

    This is a comprehensive practicum in which students implement the Psychiatric Mental Health Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychotherapeutic skills taught in all prior courses.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 873M

  • 3
    credits

    This is a comprehensive didactic and simulation experience in which students implement the Psychiatric Mental Health Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) role through application of theoretical knowledge and psychotherapeutic skills.

    • Prerequisite

      NURS 803

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Costs and Financial Aid

Graduate Tuition

Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?Cost
11 or fewer$1,017 per credit
12 or more$12,203 per semester

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?Cost
11 or fewer$1,027 per credit
12 or more$12,325 per semester

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

To view the detailed list of cost of attendance elements, select “World Campus” as the location on the tuition site.

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

The DNP–NP program is currently only accepting applications from nurses licensed to practice professional nursing in the state of Pennsylvania.

Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete:

  • Spring DeadlineApply by October 1 to start January 13
  • Summer DeadlineApply by March 1 to start May 19
  • Fall DeadlineApply by June 30, 2025, to start August 25, 2025

Admission Requirements

The decision to pursue the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a serious one. It is highly recommended that you contact the program office to discuss your potential program of study with the program team prior to submitting your application. The online DNP program will be a rigorous, competitive program, and you should thoroughly understand the level of time and commitment that will be expected of you through the course of your studies.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or a postsecondary degree in nursing that is equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree earned from an officially recognized degree-granting international institution. 

Applicants to any of the Nurse Practitioner options of the DNP program must also have a current license to practice professional nursing in the state of Pennsylvania. 

Applicants to the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner option are required to have two years of acute care hospital experience.

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee.

You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

Official transcripts from each institution attended  regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.

GPA and Test Scores You are expected to have a grade-point average of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) for the baccalaureate degree with a B or better in all science and nursing courses.

GRE or GMAT scores are NOT required for admission. 

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

Please note that for entrance into a Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing graduate-level program, the minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 580 for the paper-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 25 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 7.0.

References (2) — you will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names and email addresses of two references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form for your application to be considered complete.  

References should be obtained from academic and professional perspectives. If you completed college-level courses over the last five years, an academic reference is required. Other references should be from a nursing supervisor, preferably holding a degree higher than yours.
 

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Vita — listing your professional experience and other qualifications

Writing Sample — A published or unpublished scientific paper, thesis, or other scholarly writing sample

Interview — You will be asked to participate in an interview, via Internet-based video conferencing or in-person

Start Your Application

Begin the graduate school application

  • Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus

Checking Your Status

You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this degree program.

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State doctorate?

Apply by October 1 to start January 13. How to Apply 

Advance Your Career

A group of nurses sitting at a table together having a meeting

You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.


Job Titles Related to This Degree

The following roles are often held by people with this type of degree:

  • ACNP (Acute Care Nurse Practitioner)
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Geriatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Nursing Director

Employment Outlook for Occupational Fields Related to This Degree

Estimates of employment growth and total employment are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and are subject to change. While these occupations are often pursued by graduates with this degree, individual outcomes may vary depending on a variety of factors. Penn State World Campus cannot guarantee employment in a given occupation.

Medical and Health Services Managers

28.4%
employment growth (10 years)
476,750
total employment

Nurse Practitioners

44.5%
employment growth (10 years)
258,230
total employment

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

Student having a virtual meeting on a laptop with a career counselor

From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

Doctoral Benchmarks

Learn about the benchmarks that you will be required to reach during the course of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

During the course of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, you will be required to reach certain benchmarks similar to those of a resident doctoral student: Qualifying Examination, Comprehensive Examination, and a Final Oral Presentation. Your doctoral committee will support you, monitor your progress, and evaluate your performance throughout the program.

Benchmarks

Qualifying Examination Portfolio

The qualifying portfolio review for DNP students will be used to evaluate your past performance and potential for successfully completing the program. Your portfolio will include: 

  • narrative statement/career goals
  • unofficial transcripts of all graduate study at Penn State completed prior to examination
  • DNP project plan

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination will mark your progression into your DNP project after the completion of appropriate course work. You will submit a written project proposal to your doctoral committee and do an oral presentation of your proposal at an in-person intensive session. Your proposal will include letters of support from the agency where you plan to implement your DNP project.

Final Oral Presentation

The final oral presentation marks your completion of the program and is administered by your doctoral committee. You will work closely with your faculty advisers throughout the program to successfully develop and implement your DNP project.

You will not be required to come to Penn State for this final presentation. The presentation will be done synchronously using video streaming technology. In addition, the public will be invited to view the presentation along with the doctoral committee. The public oral presentation of the project will be followed by a private session of questions and responses.

Intensive Sessions for the DNP–Nurse Practitioner Program

Although your courses are online, you will be required to attend three separate in-person intensive sessions at the Penn State University Park campus or Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center during the program. These intensive sessions will provide you with the opportunity to interact in person with your doctoral committee, other faculty, and fellow students.

You will work closely with your academic adviser to determine your exact plan of study, but for full-time students, you can expect to meet in-person at the following times.

Intensive Session Times
Session When
Intensive I (Orientation) 3 days in August of Year 1
Intensive II (Comprehensive Examinations) 4 days in July/August after Year 1
Intensive III 5 days in May after Year 2

Orientation

The Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing will conduct an orientation to the DNP program. The purpose of the orientation is to help you become familiar with the program details and your academic advising team and to begin to identify a DNP project based on your area of interest.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can learn more about the application process, clinical and practicum locations, and what our courses are like right now.

Admissions Questions

When is the application deadline?

The deadline for application varies by program. See the “How to Apply” section of each program for specific dates. By that deadline, your application materials should be complete, including all transcripts and reference forms. Once your application is submitted, the references you have provided will automatically be sent an email with instructions on how to proceed. Please allow your references sufficient time to respond by the posted application deadline.

How much is the application fee? Is it refundable?

Please refer to the Penn State Graduate School website for general application questions or issues.

If I took a course or graduated from Penn State, do I start a new account with the Graduate School?

No. Once a Penn Stater, always a Penn Stater! Please log in with an existing account and use your former Penn State ID number; otherwise, you may receive a second number and your application may be delayed. Dates prior to the year 2000 may not automatically populate. If you cannot find or remember your number, visit the Graduate School website.

Do I need to send an official transcript with my application?

You need to upload a copy of your official transcript as part of your application; unofficial or advising transcripts are not accepted. You will not be able to submit your application without a transcript unless you previously attended Penn State as a student and list Penn State as an educational institution attended. If admitted, you will need to submit an official transcript.

My name has changed since I last attended Penn State. What do I need to do?

Please be sure to use your previous account and original Penn State ID number when you begin the application. Your former name may automatically populate, but you will be able to officially change your name in the system.

I took one summer course at another school. Do I need to send a transcript from that school?

Yes. Please send the front and back pages of a copy of an official transcript from all post-secondary schools you attended.

I earned a bachelor’s degree in another field before I attended my nursing program. Do I need to send a transcript from the first school?

Yes. Please send the front and back pages of a copy of an official transcript from all post-secondary schools you attended.

I attended an online program. Will Penn State recognize that degree?

Your bachelor’s degree must be from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or one that is deemed comparable to a U.S. institution. See the requirements for graduation admissions for details. Nursing programs must be accredited.

Does Penn State World Campus meet SARA requirements for my state?

See a state-by-state listing.

Tuition/Financial Aid Questions

How much does it cost to attend Penn State?

Visit the "Costs" page for your program to see tuition rates for the current academic year.

Is financial aid available?

Students studying online through Penn State World Campus are eligible for student loans. You must meet enrollment and other criteria to qualify. Penn State World Campus has a dedicated financial aid office that can help answer your questions and address your concerns. Visit the Financial Aid page of the Penn State World Campus website for more information.

Are there scholarships available?

While there are currently no scholarships specifically earmarked for students in these programs, many students receive scholarships or other financial assistance from their employers, professional organizations, or other community agencies.

General Questions

Will I have an adviser?

Yes, you will be assigned a faculty adviser to help with academic and career discussions and a general adviser to help with registration or administrative issues.

Do I need to find my own clinical/practicum sites?

Yes. We strongly encourage students to take advantage of their knowledge of appropriate agencies and their local network to identify practicum sites that would be most beneficial in reaching individual goals. Our faculty are willing to give suggestions when necessary. Penn State must have a site affiliation agreement with any participating agency. Please visit this map of our current affiliations.

Is there a designated time I need to be online?

Most courses are asynchronous, meaning you can log on at your convenience. There may be some small group assignments that will require a mutually agreed-upon time for those in your group to connect.

Can I work full-time while in school?

Most students do work at least part-time. However, some employer flexibility will be required, especially when students are in practicum courses, as those hours depend on the preceptor’s schedule and are usually on weekdays. Some students choose to switch to weekend shifts, work per diem, or take vacation during those periods. In addition, please plan to spend approximately 3 hours studying outside of class for every hour in class; some courses may require more.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The DNP–Nurse Practitioner program generally requires three years of full-time or four years of part-time study.

Do online programs require a presence on campus?

The DNP–Nurse Practitioner program requires three separate three- to five-day visits to campus. These sessions will be held at either the Penn State University Park campus or Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Contact Us

To learn more about the Doctor of Nursing Practice, offered in partnership with the Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing, please contact:

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
Email: [email protected]

Cody Hoffman
Student Enrollment Recruiter
Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing
Phone: 814-865-0865
Email: [email protected]

To learn more about additional, highly respected nursing programs from Penn State, visit the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing website

Faculty

  • Rachel Allen, RN, PMHNP-BC

    • Degree
      Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
    • Degree
      MSN, University of Pennsylvania
    • Degree
      BSN, Thomas Jefferson University

    Dr. Rachel Allen is an assistant research professor and a family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, a National League for Nursing Jonas Scholar, and a fellow at the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on psychiatric nursing, nursing history, mental health policy, and the broad social history of deinstitutionalization. Dr. Allen's research contains both a chronic illness and community focus, centering on individuals living with serious and persistent mental illness.

  • Dr. Diane Berish, Ph.D.

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Miami University
    • Degree
      M.A., University of Virginia
    • Degree
      B.A., University of Notre Dame

    Dr. Diane Berish is an assistant research professor. Her research interests include statistics and research methods, long-term services support, aging and health care policy, and health care quality. Dr. Berish works with students to find the best methods to understand their DNP projects.

  • Dr. Barbara Birriel, Ph.D., ACNP-BC, FCCM

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Penn State
    • Degree
      Post-grad certificate ACNP, University of Pennsylvania
    • Degree
      MSN, Thomas Jefferson University
    • Degree
      BSN, Bloomsbury State College (University)

    Dr. Barbara Birriel is an assistant research professor and an acute care nurse practitioner. Her research interests include ethics for the practitioner, palliative care, and family caregiving experiences in heart failure patients.

  • Kristen Bransby, CRNP, CPNP-PC

    • Degree
      DNP, University of Maryland
    • Degree
      MSN, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Track, Drexel University
    • Degree
      B.S., Nursing, Penn State

    Dr. Kristen Brandsby, associate teaching professor, is a doctoral-prepared pediatric nurse practitioner and pediatric mental health specialist who teaches the pediatric course work in the family nurse practitioner track and mentors and facilitates learning for the DNP students. Her practice interests include adolescents, pediatric mental health, health policy, and concussions.

  • Cara Exten, PH.D., MPH, B.S.

    • Degree
      Ph.D., The Ohio State University
    • Degree
      MPH, Emory University
    • Degree
      B.S., East Tennessee State University

    Dr. Cara Exten is an assistant teaching professor for the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing. She is an infectious disease epidemiologist, focusing on health disparities affecting sexual and gender minority populations, with an emphasis on sexual health (specifically HIV and other sexually transmitted infections) and substance use. She has extensive experience in survey data collection, data analysis, and working with high-risk populations, and she is passionate about the examination of diseases in their entirety, including biological, sociological, and epidemiological factors.

  • Donna M. Fick, RN, FGSA, FAAN

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Nursing Science/Geriatrics, University of California-San Francisco
    • Degree
      MSN, Gerontological Nursing, University of Cincinnati
    • Degree
      BSN, Nursing Science, Berea College

    Dr. Donna M. Fick is the director of the Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at Penn State. She is an instructor for a variety of graduate nursing courses. Dr. Fick's research interests include inappropriate medication use in older adults, recognition and management of delirium superimposed on dementia, and implementation of ultra-brief delirium screening in hospital settings.

  • Sandra Halbruner, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC

    • Degree
      DNP, Wilkes University
    • Degree
      M.S., Penn State
    • Degree
      BSN, Johns Hopkins University
    • Degree
      B.S., Franklin & Marshall College

    Dr. Sandra Halbruner is an assistant teaching professor for the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing. She has more than 21 years of experience in the field of medicine. Her research interests include active learning techniques in the multi-site or online classroom.

  • Sharilee Hrabovsky, D.Ed.

    • Degree
      D.Ed., Adult Education, Penn State
    • Degree
      Post-master’s certification, Family Practice Nurse Practitioner, Widener University
    • Degree
      MSN, Villanova University
    • Degree
      BSN, Thomas Jefferson University

    Dr. Sharilee Hrabovsky is an assistant research professor with the  College of Nursing. She teaches online courses in the graduate school. She has been a practicing nurse for the last 36 years, 23 of them as a nurse practitioner, and has presented on tobacco use, treatment, and regulation research for the last eight years. She is a nationally certified tobacco treatment specialist and has worked with hundreds of tobacco users through clinical trials or direct patient care in their quest to reduce or quit tobacco use.

  • Judith E. Hupcey, CRNP, FAAN

    • Degree
      Ed.D., Nursing Education, Columbia University Teachers College
    • Degree
      M.Ed., Nursing Education, Columbia University Teachers College
    • Degree
      M.S., Adult Nurse Practitioner, Columbia University School of Nursing
    • Degree
      BSN, Columbia University School of Nursing

    Dr. Judith E. Hupcey, professor of nursing, medicine, and bioethics, is the associate dean for graduate education and research in the College of Nursing. She is also a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. Her research focuses on persons with heart failure at the end of life and their family caregivers. She recently completed a study investigating the palliative care needs of persons with heart failure and their family caregivers. From this study, a cutting-edge model of palliative care for heart failure was developed.

  • Paul Logan, PH.D., CRNP, ACNP-BC

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Penn State
    • Degree
      MSN, University of Pennsylvania
    • Degree
      BSN, Messiah College

    Dr. Paul Logan is an assistant research professor for the College of Nursing. His research interests include outcomes, quality, and value in health care, particularly the quality of care provided by nurse practitioners. His clinical interests include acute care, critical care, and cardiovascular disease.

  • Susan Leight, Ed.D., ARPN-BC, NP-C, ANP-BC, FAANP, FAAN

    • Degree
      Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania
    • Degree
      Research Fellow, University of Pennsylvania
    • Degree
      Ed.D., West Virginia University
    • Degree
      MSN, West Virginia University
    • Degree
      BSN, State University of New York at Buffalo

    Dr. Susan Leight is the director of the NP programs, the WE Lead program, and innovation at the College of Nursing. Dr Leight’s research interests include vulnerable populations, focusing on rural health and women’s health. She also spends time in Central America providing care for the underserved.

  • Sheri Matter, Ph.D., MSN, RN

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Leadership and Administration, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    • Degree
      MSN, Wilmington University
    • Degree
      MBA, University of St. Francis
    • Degree
      MHA, University of St. Francis
    • Degree
      B.S., Nursing, Wilkes University

    Dr. Sheri Matter is the assistant dean of graduate professional programs and is an associate teaching professor in the College of Nursing. She has more than 30 years of nursing leadership, including as chief nursing executive of a multiple-hospital system. Dr. Matter's research for her dissertation focused on the nurse characteristics of a highly reliable organization.

  • Dr. Susan Maynard, DNP, M.S., RN-BC, CCNS, CCRN-K

    • Degree
      DNP, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.S., University of California, San Francisco
    • Degree
      BSN, Penn State

    Dr. Susan Maynard is an assistant teaching professor and the clinical placement coordinator for the graduate professional programs. Her research interests include stroke systems of care, rural health disparities, community health partnerships, and quality improvement in health care.

  • Brandi Peachey, DNP, FNP-BC, RN

    • Degree
      DNP, Penn State
    • Degree
      BSN, West Virginia University

    Dr. Brandi Peachey is an assistant teaching professor in both the graduate and undergraduate programs. She is an FNP who practices in pediatrics. Dr. Peachey’s interests include adolescent substance abuse and screening techniques.

  • Nicole Peterson, DNP, A/GPCNP-BC, CRNP, RN

    • Degree
      DNP, University of Iowa
    • Degree
      MSN, University of Iowa
    • Degree
      BSN, University of Iowa

    Dr. Nicole Peterson is an assistant teaching professor and emeritus associate professor of instruction at the University of Iowa. She has been an adult and gerontological primary care nurse practitioner since 2008, with clinical practice experience in long-term care, community care, home care, and primary care. This includes providing geriatric and primary care to the Meskwaki Nation community (Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa and their employees). She has teaching experience in undergraduate and graduate nursing, including master’s and doctorate levels, as well as serving as a geriatric nurse practitioner.

  • Andrea Yevchak Sillner, Ph.D., CNS, RN

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Nursing, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.S., Nursing, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Nursing, Penn State

    Dr. Andrea Yevchak Sillner is an assistant research professor in the College of Nursing. She is also a board-certified gerontological clinical nurse specialist. Dr. Sillner's research interests are in improving transitions of care for older adults and their informal family caregivers by focusing on technology-assisted communication and preferences of care.

  • Mariya Tankimovich, DNP, CRNP, FNP-C, CNE

    • Degree
      DNP, University of Texas Health Science Center
    • Degree
      MSN, University of Texas Health Science Center
    • Degree
      BSN, University of Texas Health Science Center
    • Degree
      B.A., University of California

    Dr. Mariya Tankimovich is the director of the DNP program and an associate teaching professor for the Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing. Her practice improvement project is Implementation Plan of a Family Clinic–Based Pilot Study for a Smartphone-Based Short Message System Text-Messaging Intervention to Improve Dietary Practices among Adult Patients with Hyperlipidemia. Her DNP Fellowship Project was Connection to Care: Perceptions, Readmission, and Reality — a research project to study unwanted readmissions of pediatric patients at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and to design and implement a plan to reduce such unwanted readmissions. Her research interests include health promotion and disease prevention, improving patient outcomes, and transitions-of-care challenges.

  • Britney Wardecker, PH.D.

    Degree
    Ph.D., Psychology, University of Michigan

    Dr. Britney Wardecker is an assistant professor for the Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing and a faculty affiliate for the Penn State Center for Healthy Aging. Prior to her faculty position, Dr. Wardecker began training (funded by the National Institutes of Health) as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center. Her research examines lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) older adults' psychological and physical health outcomes. She also loves to teach in the areas of health, discrimination, health disparities, and research methods. Her research interests include promoting health equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults; examining health disparities and individual differences in health (such as age, gender, and sexual orientation); and biomarker measurement.

  • Beth Ann White, DNP, CRNP-BC, RN

    • Degree
      DNP, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.S. and Adult Nurse Practitioner, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Nursing, Penn State
    • Degree
      RN, Diploma, Geisinger School of Nursing

    Dr. Beth Ann White is the coordinator for the FNP program and is an associate teaching professor in the College of Nursing. She has worked as a case manager, disease manager, and regional manager for the Medical Home project, along with her continued practice as an adult nurse practitioner. Her research interest includes improved oral care in long-term care.

  • Kelly Wolgast, RN, FACHE, FAAN

    • Degree
      DNP, University of Alabama
    • Degree
      M.S., Strategic Studies, U.S. Army War College
    • Degree
      MSN, Vanderbilt University
    • Degree
      BSN, Penn State

    Dr. Kelly Wolgast is the assistant dean for outreach and professional development and an associate teaching professor. She teaches both nurse administrator/management courses and nurse educator courses in Penn State's MSN and DNP programs. Her research interests include nurse leadership, health care delivery models, distance learning, and military/veterans' health.

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