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Doctor of Nursing Practice

Drexel's accredited online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is designed for advanced nursing practice leaders seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice and offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. Based on nationally recognized standards by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and consistent with the DNP program accrediting by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the mission of Drexel's DNP program is to prepare individuals to assume leadership roles as executives or practitioners and to apply evidence-based practice to improve individual, family, and community health outcomes. Nurses who graduate from Drexel's DNP program are well-equipped to fully implement the science developed by nurse researchers in PhD, DNSc, and other research-focused nursing doctorates.

Upon Graduation, You Will Be Able To:

  • Design evidence-driven healthcare delivery approaches using fiscally responsible and environmentally sustainable strategies to meet current and anticipated individual and population health needs across the illness-wellness continuum
  • Execute established steps of evidence-based practice when leading efforts to improve healthcare quality based on measurable and manageable outcomes
  • Model communication skills necessary to lead and contribute to effective interprofessional collaborations and patient care encounters to accomplish high-quality and mission-driven outcomes
  • Appraise healthcare systems’ delivery processes to improve quality, accessibility, and/or the sustainability of healthcare enterprises
  • Propose policy initiatives that promote social justice and the health and wellness of all people, including those who are disparaged, oppressed, or vulnerable
  • Appraise practice dilemmas using moral reasoning and legal/ethical analyses to make decisions in practice settings and to create policies that are consistent with professional codes, practice standards, and laws
  • Utilize information systems/technologies to analyze health outcomes for individuals, aggregates, and populations and to evaluate healthcare delivery systems
  • Demonstrate advanced specialty and role competence as an advanced practice registered nurse or as an advanced nurse in a role focused on advanced aggregate/systems/organizational expertise

Clinical Requirements

A total of 1,000 post-baccalaureate precepted clinical hours are required, and are built into the tracks within the curriculum:

  • Core Courses – 200 practice hours
  • Advanced Clinical Expert Category 1 – 380 practice hours
  • Advanced Clinical Expert Category 2 – 600 practice hours
  • Nurse Executive/Leadership Expert Category 1 – 380 practice hours
  • Nurse Executive/Leadership Expert Category 2 – 600 practice hours

You must fill out the Verification of Precepted Clinical/Practicum Hours form with your intended pathway (Advanced Clinical Expert Track or Nurse Executive/Leadership Expert Track.)

DNP Project

Drexel University’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program blends a core curriculum with real-world practicum experiences that culminates with the creation, execution, and review of an extensive DNP Project. Your final project will be centered around improving health care processes and outcomes through carefully planned practice change. Upon completion of this online DNP program, you will be prepared to utilize your newly found advanced practice knowledge to create a personally driven but faculty mentored project specific to your educational pathway. Each pathway is determined by the number of graduate-level, precepted clinical hours achieved by the time of your admission into the program.

As you embark on your DNP project, a doctorate-prepared Practicum Mentor will need to be assigned (for practicum intensive courses) who may be internal or external to your practice setting. This mentor will provide you with the support and guidance you need throughout the DNP project process. Additional formal or informal experts, mentors, partners, and/or facilitators may provide intermittent or limited support throughout practicum experiences. While your DNP project can be based on your current work setting, it is strongly recommended that you seek opportunities that enhance current networking opportunities while broadening your expertise as it relates to benchmarking, new and different practice models, or other experiences that foster the development of deep and broad knowledge and skills.

The ultimate goal of your final DNP Project is to solution an identified practice problem that offers you an opportunity to enhance care delivery or improve an outcome. This requires comprehensive research to identify relevant, curated evidence that informs an intervention that typically builds on established quality improvement methodology. After you participate in a DNP Project dissemination activity during Year 2 of the program, your completed DNP Project will be rigorously evaluated.

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College of Nursing and Health Professions Program Team

The Doctor of Nursing Practice at Drexel University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
State restrictions may apply to some programs.


The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

State Regulations and Restrictions

Admissions Criteria

  • Current United States licensure as a registered nurse
  • A Master's Degree in one of the following:
    • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
    • Master’s Degree in Health-Related Field*
    • Master of Business Administration (MBA)*
  • Cumulative graduate grade point average (GPA): 3.2 or higher
  • Graduate-level Research Methods course (grade B or higher)
  • Undergraduate or graduate-level Statistics course (grade B or higher)

*If your master’s degree is not in Nursing, a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN) is required. BSN degrees must be from an institution accredited by CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education), ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing) or NLN CNEA (NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation).

Track-Specific Admissions Criteria

  • Advanced Clinical Expert Track Applicants
    Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Midwife or Nurse Anesthetist) require APRN national certification**
    • Plan of Study Path A
      • Verification of a no fewer than 620 hours of precepted practice hours during graduate studies
    • Plan of Study Path B
      • Verification of 400 to 619 hours of precepted practice hours during graduate studies
  • Nurse Executive/Leadership Expert Track Applicants
    Nurses in Advanced Leadership Roles require advanced national certification OR verification of no fewer than 400 hours of precepted practice hours during graduate studies**
    • Plan of Study Path A
      • Verification of a no fewer than 620 hours of precepted practice hours during graduate studies
    • Plan of Study Path B
      • Verification of 400 to 619 hours of precepted practice hours during graduate studies OR relevant national certification:***
        • American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Certification
        • American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC) Nurse Executive-Advanced certification (NEA)****
        • American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP)

**You must have no fewer than 400 hours of precepted practice hours completed during graduate studies for DNP Program admission consideration.

***Submit documentation of certification or verification that you're scheduled to take one of these exams no later than August 15, 2024. Those scheduled to take a certification exam will be considered for conditional acceptance for the Fall quarter and will not be permitted to progress in the program until advanced certification is earned and submitted to the DNP program director.

****Applicants with leadership/administrative experience and the NE-BC certification may be considered.

Required Documents

With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our Completing Your Application Guide.

  • Completed application
  • Current United States licensure as a registered nurse
  • Role specific documents:
    • Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
      • License and national certification documents
    • Advanced Roles in Nursing Administration/Leadership
      • American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Certification
      • American Credentialing Center (ANCC) Nurse Executive-Advanced Certification (NEA)
      • American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP)
      • Other advanced role/specialization certifications will be considered on an individual basis
  • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions attended (including trade schools)
    • Official transcripts must be sent directly to Drexel from the colleges/universities. Transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope with the college/university seal over the flap. Transcripts are required regardless of number of credits taken or if the credits were transferred to another school. An admission decision may be delayed if you do not send transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
    • Transcripts must show course-by-course grades and degree conferrals. If your school does not notate degree conferrals on official transcripts, you must provide copies of any graduate or degree certificates.
    • If your school issues only one transcript for life, you're required to have a course-by-course evaluation completed by an approved transcript evaluation agency.
  • Two letters of recommendation that discuss your academic ability, professionalism, and practice competence
    • Recommenders must have a graduate degree and be practicing in a position to appraise you: specifically, a professor, employer, or professional colleague. The reference may not be from a friend, family member, or workplace/organizational peer or subordinate.
  • Personal statement/essay integrating responses to the following questions in 3 word-processed pages, double-spaced, 10-12 font:
    • Describe the personal attributes and experiences that will promote your success in Drexel University’s online DNP program
    • Discuss your area of practice interest and how you envision the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree professionally benefitting you and the population you serve
    • Identify a practice problem that intrigues you and discuss how you believe the DNP program will be useful in assisting you with developing the skills and expertise needed to improve or eliminate this problem
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume
    • You must identify your current position/job title and include a description of this role
  • Track Request Form (Advanced Clinical Expert Track or Nurse Executive/Leadership Expert Track) with intended pathway as supported by the Verification of Precepted Clinical/Practicum Hours form
  • Additional requirements for International Students

This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two-semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits. Use our quarter to semester credit converter to calculate the difference.

For full list of courses, please visit Drexel Online.


The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master's degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program and post-graduate APRN certificate program at Drexel University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington DC 20001, 202.887.6791.

Program Outcomes

  • Practices within a legal and ethical framework of health care delivery.
  • Advances the role of advanced nursing practice in the health care system through scholarship, clinical experience and political involvement.
  • Demonstrates critical thinking and diagnostic reasoning skills in clinical decision-making.
  • Integrates multiple technologies and relevant theories into the organization and synthesis of health data required to develop plans of care for patients, families and communities.
  • Integrates culturally sensitive health promotion activities that contribute to the health and wellness of the community into clinical practice.
  • Demonstrates leadership in nursing and health care through involvement in the development of outcome-based standards of care and practice-based health policy issues.
  • Evaluates and modify the quality and effectiveness of clinical practice based on current research findings, standards of care and patient outcomes.
  • Contributes to the advancement of nursing, health care and humanity through communication, collaboration and education.

Nursing Program Mission and Values

The Nursing program faculty and staff are committed to educating nurses to embrace both the art and science of nursing, to integrate caring into practice, to think critically and practice competently, compassionately and safely in complex rapidly changing practice environments. The Nursing program supports administrators, faculty, staff and students in developing holistic evidence-based programs, which create healing and caring environments at all levels that reflect innovative education, interdisciplinary practice and research.

The highest goals of the program include demonstrating efficacy, quality and cost-effectiveness of evidence-based nursing interventions in promoting health, preventing disease, preserving human dignity, reducing health disparities and caring for the sick and injured.

All efforts in the Nursing program are designed to build nursing knowledge, enhance nursing practice, foster professional integrity, promote innovation, engage in interdisciplinary collaboration and ultimately improve the health outcomes of patients and families from diverse communities across the continuum of care.

The Nursing program is committed to excellence in nursing education through educational programs that are:

  • Authentic: We value a deep connection to others, appreciation of diverse opinions and respect for the other’s frame of reference. We value going beyond objective assessment to understand the context of the other, creative use of self and engagement in the artistry of the caring-healing process—the essence of Nursing.
  • Complex: We value complexity science by recognizing that our Nursing program is a complex, dynamic, unpredictable, emerging, self-organizing and adaptive system that cannot be reduced to the sum of its members. As such, we seek that administrators, faculty, staff and students develop skills to improvise, build on the innovations of others, develop positive interpersonal interactions, appreciate the reciprocity that our actions have on the larger system and ourselves and embrace surprise as an opportunity to learn, make sense of our dynamic reality and make a positive impact on the health of our clients.
  • Rigorous: We continuously review and redesign programs, courses, technology-infused learning systems and educational products for depth and quality with the learner's experience and background in mind.
  • Relevant: We continuously examine changing market forces, the progression of nursing knowledge and the best practices in health care and education to redesign educational programs. There is a strong commitment to population-focused care practice in diverse communities; therefore, we strive to ensure clinically relevant education and simulation experiences. Our faculty serves as excellent role models for developing clinicians.
  • State of the Art: We value the use of technological innovation and patient simulation scenarios which foster advanced and evidence-based interdisciplinary communication and teamwork, multiple patient management and crisis resource management skills, provision of culturally relevant care, decreased prevalence of errors and adverse events and a higher intellectual standard in both undergraduate and graduate nursing education.
  • Learner-Friendly: In consideration of the demanding, fast-paced lives of our students and nurse consumers, we offer high-quality educational programs in convenient and contemporary formats, including access to academic online courses with attention to user-friendly interfaces as well as resources to enhance academic success. In addition, the College of Nursing and Health Professions is committed to being a challenging and rewarding work environment for faculty, staff and administrators. Information and data on all aspects of the college’s operations are widely shared with faculty, staff and students and all are encouraged to participate in its decisions and activities.