Doctor of Nursing Practice Program


dnp curriculum changes  

Curriculum Options for DNP Program

Students will choose between a 5 Semester and 6 Semester Plan

The Vanderbilt Doctor of Nursing Practice program offers an innovative, state-of-the-art curriculum that includes two study tracks: Advanced Practice and Executive Leadership. The Advanced Practice Track requires a MSN in advanced nursing practice as a nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, certified registered nurse anesthetist or clinical nurse specialist. Applicants to the Executive Leadership Track may have a MSN in healthcare leadership or nursing informatics. Advanced practice nurses interested in a nursing leadership role may apply the Executive Leadership track. Applicants with a BSN degree and a master’s in a non-nursing, health- related field (MBA, MPH, MHA, MMHC, etc.) are also eligible to apply for the DNP Executive Leadership Track.

Applicants with a BSN degree have the opportunity to make an automatic, seamless transition from our advanced nursing practice MSN program into the DNP program. Applicants applying with a BSN degree should complete the online MSN application and indicate their intention to progress directly in to the DNP program after completing MSN degree requirements. Please refer to the MSN program information for the details regarding the advanced practice interest area.

For applicants entering with a MSN degree or BSN with master’s in a non-nursing, health-related field, our program is structured as a post-master’s program for graduates of accredited Advanced Nursing Practice (NP, CNM, CNS, CRNA, healthcare leadership or nursing informatics) Master of Science in Nursing programs or accredited non-nursing master’s programs.

Students must complete 36 doctoral credits of coursework at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, including 500 hours of practice integration, and a DNP project. DNP students attend an intensive on-campus experience in Nashville for approximately one week each semester. During this on campus time, students attend course orientation sessions, meet with faculty mentors and invited lecturers and attend various networking and social events with other doctoral students and faculty. Attendance at these one-week sessions is required.

5 semester plan students make a total of 5 visits to campus and 6 semester plan students make a total of 6 visits. Other coursework, scholarly interaction and practice application takes place online and in students’ home locations, so that relocation or change of employment is not necessary. A variety of online and distance learning technologies and techniques to facilitate the program and enrich students’ learning experience is utilized.

The majority of coursework will be asynchronous. Synchronous activities will be scheduled by the faculty in advance. Working with practice partners in health care agencies/organizations, students will apply knowledge and skills gained from coursework to their practice settings. These practice experiences will build on the strengths of the Master’s advanced nursing practice curriculum, while transitioning students to the doctoral level.

MSN applicants can pursue a new advanced nursing practice specialty in conjunction with the DNP degree. Completion of a post-master’s certificate in conjunction with the DNP will extend the length of the programs of study. The program length will be based on an individual portfolio review. Applicants should address their career goals in the new specialty in the DNP application.

DNP Required On-Campus Intensive Sessions 2020 - 2021

Start of classes for VUSN DNP students is August 31, 2020. On-campus intensive will be held for new DNP students; returning DNP students will participate in a virtual intensive. Detailed schedules will be forthcoming.

DNP Project

A hallmark of Vanderbilt’s practice doctorate is the successful completion of a  DNP project  that demonstrates the synthesis of the student’s experiences. The DNP project will embrace learning from both coursework and practice application. The DNP project will be reviewed and evaluated by members of the student’s DNP project team, led by a member of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing faculty with doctoral preparation and who is actively engaged in practice relevant to the student’s topic of interest. Successful completion of a DNP project demonstrating the synthesis of the student’s coursework and practice application culminates in a final manuscript and oral presentation.