Doctor Of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Doctor of nursing practice PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Carson-Newman DNP program provides you with the mentorship and tools you need to successfully lead change through courses focused on translating evidence for interprofessional practice, quality improvement, health policy, complex systems leadership, and more. Are you ready to expand your knowledge and increase your impact?   Apply now!


Carson-Newman University is pleased to announce its upcoming on-site evaluation of the baccalaureate degree in nursing, master’s degree in nursing and post-graduate FNP certificate program by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The evaluation is scheduled for November 1-3, 2023. Prior to the campus visit, the Department of Nursing invites all stakeholders to submit comments to CCNE. Comments should be submitted by Oct. 11, 2023, and directed to Thank you for your participation and support.


  • 33 credit hours
  • 5 continuous semesters with new cohorts starting each semester (Fall, Spring, Summer)
  • Fully online (with the exception of the first class, including a 2-day on-campus seminar)


A graduate degree is an investment in your future, and we want to equip you to succeed.

• As a graduate student at Carson-Newman you’ll receive a program tailored to support and meet the needs of busy healthcare professionals.

• A proven program with high evaluation scores, equipping you to take the next step in your career.

• Doctoral students enrolled in at least 4.5 credit hours qualify to federal financial aid, up to $20,500 per year!


Our no-interest payment plans help reduce up-front costs. Enrolling in a payment plan allows you to make monthly payments on your direct charges instead of paying your full balance before classes start.

Our Office of Financial Aid is available to guide you through the many options available to DNP students at Carson-Newman.


The DNP will be delivered over 5 semesters (Fall, Spring, Summer). Course will be offered on a rotational schedule with admission available each semester.


An on-campus seminar introducing students to Carson-Newman, the Department of Nursing, the history of and current issues surrounding the DNP, and DNP program requirements and expectations.

Focuses on the application of biostatistics and epidemiology to the collecting and interpreting of data related to disease incidence and prevalence, analyzing the effects of social determinants, and developing effective intervention and prevention strategies for diverse populations.

Students will investigate and critique theories from nursing and other disciplines as they critically appraise literature and evaluate the quality of evidence in research. This information will be translated into practice to improve healthcare outcomes.

Students will use knowledge from previous and concurrent courses to develop a DNP project proposal that addresses a practice, process, or systems issue impacting health outcomes.

Examines principles of economics and resource management in the development and evaluation of healthcare projects and programs.

Explores theories and processes for quality improvement, safety analysis tools, and resources for evidence-based practice.

Provides the framework for implementing the student’s proposed DNP project. The student will implement their project, collect, and analyze data in preparation for the DNP Project presentation.

Analyze factors influencing healthcare policy, cultivate the skills to competently engage in the policy process, and apply advocacy and persuasion strategies to transform healthcare to  equitably  meet the needs of diverse populations.

Students will analyze organizational processes and assess barriers and facilitators to change. Focus will include leadership principles to deliver quality, cost-effective care and improve systems while considering policies, culture, business realities, and sustainability.

Students will demonstrate mastery of the DNP Student Learning Outcomes through their DNP portfolio, written report and defense of their DNP Project, and DNP Project dissemination.

Focuses on the utilization and evaluation of information systems and technology to improve access to quality care, care outcomes, and communication while generating new evidence.

Doctor of Nursing Practice ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

To apply for the Carson-Newman Doctor of Nursing Practice program, please follow these steps:

In addition to the common admission requirements for all C-N graduate programs, applicants to the DNP program must meet these minimum qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing from an NLN or CCNE accredited four-year program.
  • A master’s degree or post-master’s earned from a nationally accredited program (CCNE, NLN, COA, ACME) as an advanced practice nurse (nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, or clinical nurse specialist) with current advanced practice certification.
  • Official transcript from all previous post-secondary coursework.
  • A minimum overall GPA of 3.00 for a graduate degree.
  • Current unencumbered active registered nurse license and advanced practice registered nurse license.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Three (3) Recommendations: (on-line recommendation request form)
  • Submit an essay that:
    • Communicates your professional goals, incorporating how the DNP will help you obtain these goals.
    • Explains how you plan to integrate the rigors of full-time doctoral study into your current situation, recognizing a doctorate degree in nursing typically requires a minimum commitment of 25-30 hours per week. 
    • Is 2-3 pages, 11- or 12-point font, and double-spaced.

Applicants accepted to the program must complete the following with instruction and counsel provided by the Department of Nursing.

  • Background records check submitted directly to Carson-Newman. No second-party background checks are accepted
  • Drug screening prior to the first day of the DNP Introductory Seminar.
  • Additional requirements may be necessary based on the clinical site. 

Graduation Requirements

To earn the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, the following criteria must be met:

1. Completion of all 33 credit hours in the DNP program while maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher within five years of beginning the program.

2. Completion of 1,000 hours or more of post-baccalaureate supervised academic program practice hours with a minimum of 400 hours completed at Carson-Newman University during the DNP program.

3. Recommendation of the student’s DNP Project Committee for graduation after the successful completion and dissemination of the DNP Project.


Program Availability

The Carson-Newman online DNP program is available in these states:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin


What Is a Doctor of Nursing Practice?

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a professional doctorate in nursing. This specialized degree focuses on advanced clinical practice and prepares graduates for the highest leadership level in nursing. The program emphasizes evidence-based practice, health policy, technology, quality improvement, and systems leadership. DNP programs are designed to equip nurses with the knowledge to become successful nurse leaders and have improved patient outcomes.

What Can You Do with a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree?

A DNP prepares nurse practitioners for advanced practice roles. With a DNP, you can become a leader in the nursing field by developing and implementing healthcare initiatives, directing new best practices, and providing expert care to patients. You will also be able to lead teams of medical professionals in delivering the highest level of patient care. You may specialize in areas such as family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, gerontological nurse practitioner, or neonatal nurse practitioner. You may also work as an educator, informatics specialist, or consultant within the nursing field. You have a wealth of options to pursue in the world of nursing leadership with a DNP.

Is a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Worth It?

A Doctor of Nursing Practice can be a great opportunity for experienced nurses, as it can impact one’s career through higher salaries, better job opportunities, and more respect from supervisors and peers. A DNP may also provide access to teaching and research opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available. With the current industry emphasis on evidence-based nursing practice, knowledge acquired from a DNP program can lead to improved patient outcomes as well. Ultimately, for those looking for enhanced leadership roles in clinical care settings, a DNP is certainly worth it.




$850 per credit hour + $55 per credit hour technology fee

Graduate students at C-N may also be eligible for federal and state financial aid. Student loan payments may be deferred until program completion.

Apply for Aid


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