Sep 22, 2020  
Graduate Catalog 2014-2015 
Graduate Catalog 2014-2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Nursing Practice, D.N.P.

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DNP Overview

The DNP program is designed as an online post-master’s in nursing degree program for nurses wishing to expand their scope of practice. Applicants to the acute care emphases must hold certification as a nurse practitioner.  Applicants to the lifestyle therapeutics emphasis are not required to be nurse practitioners. The program is based on the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice guidelines put forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2006).


The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program is approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has accepted the candidacy application for the DNP program. Full program accreditation is anticipated following a campus visit in February 2014.

DNP Admission Requirements

 Admission to the DNP program is achieved in three (3) consecutive steps:

  1. General University admission – documents submitted to graduate studies office
    • Graduate Application
    • Official transcripts from undergraduate and graduate schools attended, documenting MSN, a minimum cumulative graduate GPA of 3.00 and evidence of successful completion of an undergraduate or graduate course in statistics (3 credit hours)
    • Three letters of recommendation (2 from a clinical setting; 1 academic)
    • Narrative statement describing the applicant’s purpose and goals
    • Curriculum vitae
  1. School of Nursing admission to the DNP program – documents submitted to graduate enrollment counselor in the School of Nursing
    • Scholarly writing sample (e.g. previous graduate-level paper)
    • Current RN licensure in state or location of residence
    • Current Advanced Practice Certification from a nationally recognized organization (Acute Care emphases only)
    • Current Advanced Practice License in state or location of residence as required by that jurisdiction (Acute Care emphases only)
    • Work experience as an RN. A minimum of two years (4000 hours) is generally expected. Acute care applicants should document acute care skill set. Exceptions related to work experience may be considered for students with limited work experience.  These students are required to obtain and maintain ongoing work experience as a registered nurse or nurse practitioner while enrolled in the graduate curriculum.
    • Interview by faculty member(s) - scheduled once all other documents have been submitted
    • International students must submit official transcripts along with an evaluation by an accredited evaluation service. Applicants must achieve a TOEFL score of at least 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based), or 100 (Internet-based) within the past year prior to application.
  1. Satisfactory outcome of the health and safety assessments, and completion of basic emergency training requirements of the program – documents submitted to graduate enrollment counselor in the School of Nursing
    • Physical exam
    • Criminal background check
    • Drug screen
    • Current immunizations*
    • CPR / BLS certification*
      *currency must be maintained throughout DNP program

Admission to the Program

The DNP program is designed as an online five-semester program (fall-winter-summer-fall-winter) with three campus visits of approximately four days each scheduled in the first, third and fifth semesters. Students may lengthen their program to meet their individual needs for a lighter academic load. A new cohort of students is accepted each fall.

Students residing outside of the State of Tennessee should check with the Graduate Studies Office prior to application to determine if there are restrictions related to online education related to their place of residence.

Students pursuing the emphasis in either Acute Care Nurse Practitioner or Acute Care are required to meet MSN and NP certification requirements.

Students pursuing the emphasis in Lifestyle Therapeutics must hold a MSN degree; however, not required to meet NP certification requirements.

Application Deadlines

All documents for Step 1 and Step 2 of the admission process must be complete by May 1, 2014 for fall 2014 admission.  Applications will be prioritized for review based on an applicant’s level of education, work experience, and completion of all items of the application process.

Applicant Notification of Admission Status

 Applicants will be notified in writing of the DNP Admissions Committee’s decision within one month following the published application deadline.

Time Limits

The program is designed to meet the needs of working adults. Students typically complete two to three courses each semester. Course loads range from six to nine hours per semester. Students who are unable to take a full load of classes will be eligible to take a missed class with the next cohort. The total time allowed to complete the program from enrollment in the program to the conferring of the DNP degree may not exceed five years. An application for an extension will be considered on an individual basis.


A criminal background check and drug screen are required of all students upon enrollment. Background checks are paid for and completed by the student online. Drug screens are facilitated by the School of Nursing Graduate Enrollment Counselor and University Health Services. Additional screening may be done at random. Progression may be adversely affected by negative background or drug screen reports.
Student academic standing is monitored regularly for incomplete, unsatisfactory or low course grades and GPA. Students noted to have difficulties in any of these areas are subject to advisement and consideration regarding program progression. In general the following rules apply to progression:

  1. No grade below a B is allowed during the DNP program.
  2. A course with a grade below B must be repeated.
  3. One course may be repeated in the DNP program.


Of the designated credit hours required to complete the differing tracks of the DNP program, the last 20 semester hours must be taken through the Southern Adventist University School of Nursing. Seventy-five percent of program requirements must be completed at Southern Adventist University. Transfer courses must be taken at an accredited institution, carry grades of B or better, and be approved by the School of Nursing.

DNP Graduation Requirements

  1. Completed application to graduate, to be filed with the Records and Advisement office a minimum of two months prior to expected graduation date.
  2. Complete all coursework with a minimum grade-point-average of 3.00.


Courses for the Doctor of Nursing Practice

Total 42

 Successful completion of the program satisfies eligibility requirements for certification examination.

Total 38

Total 39

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