Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Program Contact: Laima Karosas 203-582-5366

The DNP program aims to prepare graduates for advanced nursing practice who are capable of providing holistic health care for diverse individuals, families or populations in a variety of settings.

Post-Bachelor’s Program

Students who are registered nurses and have a bachelor’s degree may pursue doctoral training as an advanced practice nurse in one of three specialty areas as an advanced practice registered nurse:

  1. Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  2. Family Nurse Practitioner
  3. Nurse Anesthesia

Full-time students enrolled in the Adult-Gerontology or Family Nurse Practitioner tracks can complete the degree requirements for a Doctor of Nursing Practice in three years, with a two-day-per-week schedule. Students who are new to nursing or those who wish to begin their education at a more relaxed pace can choose a four-year option, which allows for part-time study during the first two years. This option may allow for full-time work in the first two years of the program and part-time work in the final two years. Students in all three tracks are prepared to take the appropriate certification exam (Primary Care Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist).

All students in the Post-Bachelor's Nurse Anesthesia track are full time and complete the degree in three years. Clinical experience is graduated throughout the program, beginning with part time hours and ending with full time hours plus a call rotation.

Post-Master’s Program

For students with a master’s degree in nursing or a related field, the post-master’s doctoral option offers an opportunity to advance career goals more rapidly in two years in one of two online tracks:

  1. Care of Populations
  2. Nursing Leadership

Students in the Care of Populations track focus on public health and health care system analysis, which is useful for systematic chronic disease management and health care services design. Students in the Nursing Leadership track may come with or without past experiences in management. The courses prepare students for leadership responsibilities and roles across the health care field.

Program Outcomes

The objectives of the DNP program are designed to prepare graduates for advanced nursing practice who are capable of providing holistic health care for diverse individuals, families or populations in a variety of settings. Specifically, the program seeks to produce graduates who:

  1. Demonstrate clinical reasoning through an understanding of science and evidence-based practice.
  2. Design, implement and evaluate quality improvement initiatives across the systems in which health care is delivered.
  3. Analyze and critique the available evidence for best practices in health care.
  4. Apply technology and information fluency to conduct practice inquiry.
  5. Advocate for rational health policies to improve patient care and enhance effective use of resources.
  6. Demonstrate leadership through inter-professional collaboration to improve patient and population health outcomes.
  7. Direct health promotion and disease prevention efforts to improve patient and population health outcomes.
  8. Provide competent, culturally sensitive, and ethically based care to individuals and/or populations in a defined specialty of advanced nursing practice.

Doctor of Nursing Practice programs

Post-bachelor’s study

Post-master’s study

Admission Requirements

An applicant to the DNP program must be a registered nurse or NCLEX eligible nurse and have a bachelor's degree in nursing or another field.  Applicants to the Nurse Anesthesia program must be registered nurses with two years of recent (within the past five years) critical care experience.

An undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better is required. Additionally applicants to the post-master's programs must have a master's degree in nursing or a related field. Post-master's applicants are required to provide a letter from their prior master's program detailing the total number of supervised clinical hours they completed as part of that program.  Applicants should submit the following to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  1. A completed admissions application including a resume and a personal statement addressing the following:
    1. professional goals and motivations;
    2. a nursing experience that has influenced or shaped your practice;
    3. a health care problem that interests you for potential doctoral study.
  2. Official transcripts from all schools previously attended.
  3. Official recent results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or (IELTS) International English Language Testing System for international applicants.
  4. Two letters of recommendation from persons with authority to evaluate your professional ability.
  5. Proof of current licensure or eligibility for licensure as a registered nurse in the state of Connecticut.
  6. Letter from applicant’s prior master’s program detailing the number of supervised clinical hours completed as part of that program (for post-master’s DNP applicants only).

Candidates applying for full-time admission for the fall term must submit a completed application by May 1 for the DNP programs, July 1 for the Post-MSN programs or October 15 for the Post-Bachelor's Nurse Anesthesia program.  Candidates may be on a wait list for the fall in the event a space becomes available. However, acceptances are not deferred to the following fall and wait listed candidates need to reapply for the following fall. Exceptions may be made in rare circumstances by the chair of the graduate nursing program.

All accepted students also will be required to complete a background check and urine drug screen following acceptance and before the start of classes. Acceptances are conditional until satisfactory completion of both.

Transfer Credits

Graduate course credit completed with a grade of B or better at another regionally accreditation institution may be considered for transfer credit in place of a similar course. Courses must be at the same level (i.e., an undergraduate course may not be transferred in place of a master's level course) and taken within the past five years. Transfer credit is granted upon admission to the program only. The course description and/or syllabus and a copy of the transcript with a request for transfer credit must be sent/emailed to the chair of the graduate nursing programs. The Nurse Anesthetist tracks may accept transfer credit only for the graduate nursing core courses.

When all application materials are received, an interview with the graduate nursing program director and/or member of the faculty will be arranged for eligible candidates.

DNP Project

Upon admission, students are assigned an adviser, who meets with them for academic and scholarly advising over the course of the program. All students in the DNP program engage in scholarly inquiry through a variety of projects in core and specialty courses and in the DNP Project. The DNP Project is conducted in NUR 610DE/NUR 610PBL and NUR 612DE/NUR 612PBL and, based on the AACN’s The Doctor of Nursing Practice: Current Issues and Clarifying Recommendations, it:

  • focuses on a change that impacts health care outcomes either through direct or indirect care
  • has a systems or population/aggregate focus
  • demonstrates implementation in the appropriate arena or area of practice
  • includes a plan for sustainability
  • includes an evaluation of processes and/or outcomes
  • provides a foundation for future practice scholarship

The DNP project is evaluated by the DNP project team, which consists of the faculty teaching in the two courses as well as the student's liaison and the practice site. In addition, students maintain an electronic portfolio where they place their final papers from NUR 610 and 612 and a crosswalk table. The crosswalk table summarizes key assignments that demonstrate how each student achieved the program outcomes. The electronic portfolio is discussed at advisement meetings and the crosswalk table is graded pass/fail by the student's adviser.