Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Be a Leader in Health Care

Elmhurst’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program prepares you to manage complexity, lead change and improve population health at a systems level.

Get an overview of Elmhurst’s Doctor of Nursing Practice from Program Director Becky Hulett and Department of Nursing and Health Sciences Chair Diane Salvador.

Take Your Nursing Practice to the Next Level

In today’s complex health care environment, you need an advanced degree that prepares you to lead.

Elmhurst’s DNP program takes a systems-level approach, teaching you the broad-based skills and perspective you need to make a difference across complex systems. You’ll be equipped to help make high-level policy changes that have a direct impact on patients, systems and communities.

Meanwhile, you will grow your leadership skills and increase your ability to create and sustain change.

Earn Your DNP Online

Our flexible DNP is specifically designed to accommodate the schedules of working nurses. The entire program is online, with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous classes. But distance learning doesn’t mean distant learning—you and your classmates will go through the program as a cohort, giving you a supportive community of study partners and colleagues.

The program also offers clinical hours integrated throughout the curriculum, making it easier to complete all of the clinical time required to earn your doctoral degree.

Program Format

  • 100% online
  • Part-time
  • 7 semesters, 36 semester hours
  • 28 months to complete

Request Info  Apply Online

The Nursing DNP Leadership Scholarship: Up to $7,000

DNP students admitted for the 2023 Fall Term will be eligible to receive the Nursing DNP Leadership Scholarship. This $3,500 scholarship will be awarded for the first year and is renewable through your second year in the program. Contact your admission counselor for more information.


An introduction and exploration of theory, theory development, and the role of the doctoral prepared nurse in the broader healthcare environment. Students will gain an understanding of how knowledge is acquired, the theoretical underpinnings upon which nursing practice is based, and the application of knowledge to practice.

This course also examines the role of the nurse within the larger context of the health care system. The application of leadership theory and organization theory is used to frame planning and implementation of EBP to improve health outcomes.

Nursing students explore the history of healthcare informatics, current issues, basic informatics concepts, and health information management applications. Prepares students for use of big data and information management systems in the planning and implementation of EBP.

This course explores the interrelationship between policy, ethics, and law and the impact on health systems and clinical practice. Students will identify public and health policies that impact population health and health outcomes. This course offers students the opportunity to explore a variety of approaches to communicating and advocating for policy change.

An in-depth focus on identifying, analyzing, and evaluating the key public health issues. Analysis of the impact of social, cultural, and ecological factors of healthcare delivery on various population groups. This course emphasizes the application of socio-cultural diversity as well as the roles of federal, state, and local governments in relation to the core functions of public health and complex health systems.

A focus on analytic methods for critical appraisal and developing best practice protocols based on nursing research. This course assists students designing protocols and planning for implementation of evidence-based practice improvement.

Students will study diseases and ill health through their patterns of occurrence in human populations. The course also presents several approaches for estimating the burden of disease and evaluates primary, secondary and tertiary prevention strategies. Knowledge around basic statistics around Epidemiology is also explored.

The culmination of a progressive development in the student’s field of inquiry. This process allows for development of a practice-focused problem, implementation of evidence-based interventions, analysis of data, and dissemination of the final product. This project must meet guidelines for the DNP program.

The culmination of a progressive development in the student’s field of inquiry. This process allows for development of a practice-focused problem, implementation of evidence-based interventions, analysis of data, dissemination including manuscript preparation of the final DNP project, and program completion examination.

The Right People on Your Side

Our nursing faculty are not only scholars who have earned the highest possible degree in their fields, they’re also skilled experts in many areas of nursing practice—from administration and research to pediatrics and public health. And they take pride in creating genuine connections with students and giving you the one-on-one attention you deserve.

Becky Hulett, Elmhurst University

Elmhurst University gives a lot of strong support to our students. We’re passionate about making our students successful and helping them in any way that we can.”


Logo that reads "50 (1971-2021) Elmhurst University Nursing"Leverage a Legacy of Leadership in Nursing

Elmhurst has been leading the way in nursing education for 50 years. Today, U.S. News & World Report ranks our undergraduate and graduate nursing programs among the best in the nation, and our graduates have outstanding pass rates on national licensure exams.

Application deadline: June 30

The following admission requirements are based on students entering with a minimum of 250 MSN clinical hours:

  1. Master’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution OR a bachelor’s degree in nursing AND a master’s degree in another subject area (i.e. – MBA, MHA, etc). Prospective students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended.
  3. Active license and employment as a registered nurse.
  4. Recommendations from three people who can attest to the applicant’s professional nursing performance in both formal and informal leadership.
  5. Current resume documenting work history including levels of responsibility, areas of professional growth, and prior professional educational experiences.
  6. Interview with Graduate Program Director or designee.
  7. Submission of a written statement including the following:
    • Identification of a relevant problem/issue that aligns with the program’s mission to meet the needs of a diverse society
    • Describe the evidence-based and interprofessional change that the problem/issue involves
    • Describe what level the change impacts (system, organization, regional, or national level)
    • Identification of potential preceptor/facilitator
  8. Official documentation of practice hours completed in MSN/MS courses.

Apply to the Program Today

Ready to begin? Connect with our admission team if you have questions about the process. Or start your application to the DNP program online.

Apply Online

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