Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) represents the highest level of clinical nursing competence.

DNP students will gain in-depth knowledge of nursing, biophysical, psychosocial, analytical and organizational sciences. You’ll use sophisticated informatics and decision-making technology to develop collaborative strategies to optimize the health of individuals, families, communities and systems.

Who is this program for?

Whether you just received your master's and are continuing your education right now or are returning after working in the field, earning your doctorate opens the doors to higher level positions. You will build upon your current skills to become an effective leader in healthcare and ultimately improve health outcomes.

The post-master’s DNP curriculum is designed to admit master’s prepared certified APRNs in the following clinical specialties:

  • nurse anesthetist,
  • nurse practitioner,
  • nurse midwife,
  • clinical nurse specialist
  • and MSN prepared nurses in specialty areas such as nurse administration, executive leadership and nursing informatics.

Have questions? Join us online and see if this is the right program for you:

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program Information Sessions

  • TBD

For program questions or to request a phone call or appointment:
Karen Mihelich, Graduate Nursing Chair and DNP Program Coordinator

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Grounded in the Mercy and Jesuit traditions

We help you become an expert clinician and a strong leader with a commitment to service. You’ll build the skills to act as a change agent, translating clinical research into improved health care.

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Online Model

The program is offered online with a blend of asynchronous and synchronous delivery. Our online virtual classroom supports remote student participation.

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Job Outlook

Attainment of DNP may not directly equate to an increase in pay, but will increase opportunities that are often associated with an increase of pay. For example, the median annual wage for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners was $125,900 in 2022. These are just a few of the nursing specialties that enroll in the program.

We lift the barriers to completing your doctoral project.

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Personal mentoring for your doctoral project.

From developing the idea to implementing and evaluating it, we'll be mentoring you as you gain confidence to take it to the next level.

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Trinity Oakland is just one of our clinical partners.

Our clinical connections help you find both opportunities and a location for your doctoral project.

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You select how you spend your practicum hours.

We are always here for you to advise and mentor, but you'll have the freedom to choose your experiences.

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DNP graduate tuition is surprisingly affordable and very competitive.

Compare us to other local universities' per credit hour and you'll see. Also watch out for fees. Our minimal fee structure is unlike many universities.


The DNP builds upon the master of science in Nursing degree and requires 36 credits.

Your final DNP project is developed gradually throughout your coursework. The post-master’s DNP is designed for part-time or full-time study.

For the non-APRN prepared nurse:

The Organizational Leadership bridge is a 6-credit hour bridge designed to prepare individuals with non-APRN master's preparation (nursing education and clinical nurse leader) into a leadership role. In total, 42-credit hours for individuals entering the Organizational Leadership bridge.

The DNP program curriculum is based upon the AACN (2021) The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education.

kimberly headshotAs a three-time alumnus of the UDM, I can say the most unique thing about UDM is the instructors and supporting staff. They all have varied backgrounds and nursing experiences and are all so knowledgeable. The school is very tight-knit, and there are so many people you can reach out to for assistance when needed. Even after graduation, I contacted instructors regarding potential jobs, recommendations, and contracts. They all go above and beyond for their students, which is appreciated more than they may know.

—Dr. Kimberly Lorick '16, '21, '23
Second Degree Accelerated Nursing
Master of Family Nurse Practitioner
Doctorate of Nursing Practice

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    Post Master's DNP-Specific Admission Criteria

    1. A Master of Science in Nursing or Nurse Anesthesia from an accredited school** with a graduate degree GPA of 3.2 or higher
    2. Current unencumbered Michigan Registered Nurse license and privilege to practice as a registered nurse that is not limited in any way by an employer.
    3. National Board Certification in an area of clinical specialization, if applicable.
    4. Recognized in Michigan (or State of residence) by the Board of Nursing with Specialty Certification as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) if applicable.
    5. Evidence of current practice.
    6. Three professional recommendations are required (available in the online application). Recommendations should include at least one from a professional who can attest to the applicant’s clinical performance. This should be someone in a position to evaluate the applicant’s work. And one from a professional who can assess the applicant’s academic potential for professional doctoral study (such as a dean or faculty from the previous graduate degree program). Recommendations from doctorally prepared professionals are preferred.
    7. All official transcripts sent directly from each institution of higher education since high school.
    8. Professional portfolio including Curriculum Vitae or Resume.
    9. An essay (500 - 1000 words) addressing the applicant's goals for doctoral study and focused area of clinical interest for the doctoral project.
    10. An interview with DNP faculty. 

    **Applicants may require prerequisite coursework to meet the master’s level essentials in Nursing.

    Ready for the Next Step?

    Apply today!


    Program Objectives

    1. Engage own professional role practice consistent with the competencies of the Doctor of Nursing Practice.
    2. Formulate innovative theoretical and conceptual frameworks that ensure optimal health care quality and patient safety outcomes.
    3. Translate evidence to produce innovative models of care that integrate informatics, health care technology and interpersonal collaboration to affect population health, outcomes and support health care policy initiatives.
    4. Lead health care systems and policy innovation with a focus on preventative care, quality improvement and patient advocacy.
    5. Integrate the Mercy and Jesuit traditions in providing culturally competent, compassionate, holistic and person-centered care with a commitment to human dignity in the contemporary world.

    Sample Program Plan

    Semester 1

    • NUR 7000 - Advanced Theory & Knowledge Development for Clinical Nursing Practice - 3cr.
    • NUR 7500 - Evidence Based Nursing Practice: Theory, Design & Methods - 3cr.

    Semester 2

    • NUR 7300 - Transformational Leadership & Innovation in Advanced Clinical Practice - 3cr.
    • HLH 7100: Health Care Policy, Economics and the Law in Clinical Practice - 3cr.

    Semester 3

    • NUR 7400 - Information Management and Decision Support - 3cr.
    • NUR 7200: Epidemiology and Population Health - 3cr.

    Semester 4

    • NUR 7800: Project Proposal Development - 3cr.
    • NUR 7350 - Business Management to Ensure Quality in Health Care - 3cr.

    Semester 5

    • NUR 7450: Advanced Statistics for Clinical Practice - 3cr.
    • NUR 7900 - DNP Practicum and Project - 3cr.

    Semester 6

    • ETH 7010 - Ethical Issues in Advanced Nursing Practice - 3cr.
    • NUR 7920 – DNP Doctoral Project - 3cr.

    Organizational Leadership Bridge

    • NUR 5170 – Management & Leadership in Nursing - 2cr.
    • HLH 5040 – Accounting & Financial Management for Nursing Leadership - 4cr.

    Required Courses

    • NUR 7000: Advanced Theory and Knowledge Development for Clinical Nursing Practice (3 Credits)
    • ETH 7010: Ethical Issues in Advance Nursing Practice (3 Credits)
    • HLH 7100: Health Care Policy, Economics and the Law in Clinical Practice (3 Credits)
    • NUR 7200: Epidemiology and Population Health (3 Credits)
    • NUR 7300: Transformational Leadership & Innovation in Advanced Clinical Practice (3 Credits)
    • NUR 7350: Business Management to Ensure Quality in Health Care (3 Credits)
    • NUR 7400: Information Management and Decision Support (3 Credits)
    • NUR 7450: Advanced Statistics for Clinical Practice (3 Credits)NUR 7500: Evidence-Based Practice: Theory, Design and Methods (3 Credits)
    • NUR 7800: Project Proposal Development (3 Credits)
    • NUR 7900: DNP Practicum and Project Implementation (3 Credits, 1 credit clinical seminar and 2 credits clinical practicum)
    • NUR 7920: DNP Doctoral Project (3 Credits)

    Required Courses for Organizational Leadership Bridge

    • NUR 5170: Management & Leadership in Nursing (2 Credits)
    • HLH 5040: Accounting & Financial Management for Nursing Leadership (4 Credits)

    Find Course Descriptions and Curriculum in the Graduate Catalog