DNP Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I consider a DNP degree at the University of St Francis?
If you want to make a real difference in healthcare policy, nursing services and patient treatment, this is the degree for you. Program graduates are leaders in nursing practice improvement, nursing knowledge translation to practice, healthcare administration and management, and as direct care providers and advanced nursing specialists. A DNP degree furthers your potential as a healthcare leader who practices to the full extent of your education and training.  Although average salary of the DNP graduate depends on location, experience, and area of specialization, DNP prepared nurses are recognized as top earners in their fields (see

What financial aid is available?
The USF Financial Aid Services can help you identify the financial aid resources available for you. Contact: Toll Free 866-890-8331

Do I need to be a resident and licensed as an R.N. in the state I am going to do my doctoral nursing practice coursework in?
Yes.The USF DNP degree program is only offered in six states: Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico and Wisconsin

When can I start?
The DNP degree program ten-course sequence only starts in the fall.  You cannot enter the ten-course series any other semester.

What are the prerequisites?
You must have completed the MSN at an accredited graduate nursing program with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA.  Membership in a nursing honor society and professional organization is expected.

How many credits is the DNP degree program? 
The DNP Program consists of ten four -credit hour courses, for a total of 40 credit hours, which can be completed on a full-time basis in four semesters, or on a part-time basis. A minimum of 1,000 nursing practice hours at the graduate and doctoral degree level completes the degree requirement. Graduate nursing practice hours can be used towards the 1,000 practice hours, up to a maximum of 500 practice hours from your MSN program. Five non-practice online doctoral courses are taken to prepare for these five nursing practice courses: NURS 910, 916, 980, 990, and 998. APRNs will complete 100 practice hours in each of the five practice courses, since they have already documented 500 practice hours in their APRN specialty as a board certification requirement. Other MSN practice hours will be reviewed on a case by case basis. See details about courses and the DNP curriculum by clicking here.

Can I complete the practice hours where I work?
This is possible, for instance, if you practice in a large system in which you will not have any contact with the staff you normally work with.  This may work in the VA system or a healthcare organization with many separate sites and programs, serving different populations.

Do I have to come to campus?
On-site orientation is mandatory.  You must also come to campus for the College of Nursing Scholarship Day, which is held in May of each year. This day-long event is part of your doctoral learning experiences.  But you are welcome to come to campus at any time during business hours to meet with your professor or the program director.

Is there any time that I must be online with my class?
Yes.  This occurs in some courses, and you will be provided with times and schedules in advance so you can prepare to attend via the college’s online course delivery system.

When do the clinical semesters start?  How long are they?
The fall semester goes from mid August to mid December.  The spring semester goes from early January to early May.  Four non-clinical courses are 8 weeks in length, so students may take two 8-week courses back to back, one at a time, each semester in the first year. Although there are no required summer classes, students are expected to use the summer months to design their DNP Project, with the prior approval of their DNP Project course professor.

Do CEU’s or clinical training count towards my practice hours? No

Can I be precepted by a very experienced R.N., theologian, M.D., FNP, or P.A.?
You are expected to be precepted by a doctorally-prepared professional who is an expert in the field of study that you want to focus on.