smiling female nurse doctor wearing lab coat in medical office

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Doctoral Degree

Online Program

Next Start Date
April 07, 2025

21 months finish in as few as1

2 specialties in Executive Leadership and Public Health and Policy

48–63 credits needed to graduate2

Take Your Nursing Degree to the Highest Level

Want to transform the healthcare world with further nursing education? Take the next step and earn your DNP degree. Online and affordable, our Doctor of Nursing Practice program is designed for those who are called to lead at the highest level of nursing practice.

Our DNP program offers:

  • Expert faculty with vast community and clinical experience who are invested in your success and your future as a high-caliber thought leader.
  • Clinical hour flexibility: Build on your prior clinical hours with practicums that help you meet the DNP clinical hour requirement.
  • 24/7 tech support.

Focus on impacting healthcare outcomes through either direct or indirect care with a choice of specializations—Executive Leadership or Public Health and Policy. Rasmussen University is one of the few institutions to offer a DNP in Public Health and Policy as a combined specialization. Either DNP specialization can help prepare you to drive meaningful change.

Currently, this program is NOT eligible for participation in Title IV federal student aid programs.

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Empowered Learning®: Built for Working Professionals

The way you learn is part of the journey. Rasmussen University understands life is unpredictable. Sometimes it’s a life-changing event, like a global pandemic. Other times, it’s the little things like a skinned knee or an unexpected load of laundry. That’s where Empowered Learning comes in.

Unlike most other nursing doctoral programs, our DNP online courses are built through Empowered Learning, or competency-based education. Empowered Learning puts you in the driver's seat and allows you to learn by doing real-world projects, manage your pace and stay connected with faculty and peers.

Empowered Learning features:

  • No weekly deadlines
  • Live and recorded sessions that can be listened to when convenient
  • Access to online courses anytime, from almost anywhere

Two Nursing Specializations That Lead the Way

Do you aim for excellence as a nurse leader or want to work for the public good in the policy arena? Each specialization includes a common foundation of shared courses, along with specialization-specific courses. In addition, practicum courses allow you to attain the required post-baccalaureate clinical hours, based on the clinical hours you’ve earned prior to entering the program.

  • Executive Leadership Specialization

    You Bring

    • A passion for leading at the highest nursing level
    • Commitment to quality and excellence in nursing practice
    • The ability to thrive in fast-paced environments

    You'll Study

    • Executive and inter/intra-professional team leadership
    • Managing through change
    • Cultural principles in healthcare
    • Quality and safety across diverse populations and complex health systems

    Career Paths

    • Chief nursing officer
    • Director of nursing
    • Nurse administrator
    • Nurse executive
    • President/ vice president/ director of patient services
    Specialization Courses
    Executive Leadership I
    • Emphasizes transformative leadership through a focus on foundational professional skills. Topics include leadership and professionalism, relationship-building and communication, and business intelligence to thrive as a nursing leader. Practice experience required.
    Executive Leadership II
    • Focuses on leadership strategies for change management, sustainable outcomes, quality and safety, and how to incorporate cultural principles across healthcare delivery. Topics include leadership strategies for change management and sustainable outcomes, high reliability theory for quality and safety, and processes for incorporating cultural principles into healthcare delivery. Practice experience required.
    DNP Project
    • As part of the DNP program, you will complete a culminating project in your area of specialization. The DNP project demonstrates the application of knowledge and skills to address ethical, legal, financial and organizational aspects through implementation of a practice change to improve health outcomes.

    Shared Courses
    Organizational and Systems Leadership
    • Focuses on collaborative leadership as an integral aspect of advanced nursing practice to eliminate health disparities and promote patient safety and excellence in practice.
    Professional Identity Development
    • Focuses on professional identity development with emphasis on developing skills needed to function as a resilient, practice-focused scholar in today’s ever-changing healthcare environment. Practice experience required.
  • Public Health and Policy Specialization

    You Bring

    • Commitment to advocate for change
    • A genuine interest in health protection
    • The ability to influence others and negotiate
    • Project management and analytical skills

    You'll Study

    • Impacts of policy on health at the local, national and global level
    • Policy design that impacts delivery, financing, regulation, quality, safety and access to healthcare
    • Leadership and influence in the public health field
    • Epidemiological principles in public health policy
    • Use of evidence-based practice to improve healthcare outcomes

    Career Paths

    • Director of public health and policy
    • Health policy specialist
    • Government or policy activist
    • Healthcare leadership roles
    • Public health expert positions in academia, care facilities, health systems or insurance companies
    Specialization Courses
    Public Health and Policy I
    • Develops a comprehensive understanding of the application of epidemiological principles to the delivery of healthcare services and organizations to improve the health of people and their communities. Practice experience required.
    Public Health and Policy II
    • Provides catalyst to comprehend, formulate and disseminate healthcare policy through the development, implementation and evaluation of health policy. Practice experience required.
    DNP Project
    • As part of the DNP program, you will complete a culminating project in your area of specialization. The DNP project demonstrates the application of knowledge and skills to address ethical, legal, financial and organizational aspects through implementation of a practice change to improve health outcomes.

    Shared Courses
    Population and Global Health
    • Engages the practice of designing evidence-based programs and services to improve health outcomes through the use of epidemiological concepts, health promotion and disease prevention strategies and determinants of health.
    Essentials of Healthcare Policy
    • Examines the importance and interdependence of policy and healthcare with focus on analysis of healthcare issues and policy making, policy process and impacts of globalization to enhance ability to advocate the nursing profession's influence on healthcare policies.

Built for Working Nurses

Our program is designed for busy nurses, so you can continue to work while you earn your degree. We offer a DNP online curriculum, complemented by local practice experiences that are convenient and relate to your community and interests.

Support at Every Turn

Your DNP support team helps you move through each step of the program, and includes a dedicated Graduate Services advisor, graduate program faculty, mentors and a project advisor. You'll also have access to 24/7 robust research and writing resources and tech support.

Stand Out in the Crowd

Professional identity development is built into the DNP degree curriculum, with a focus on becoming a resilient, practice-focused scholar in today’s changing healthcare environment.

Take the Next Step—Talk to Us!

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Affordable Education

Tuition & Savings

Do the Math:

We are committed to providing affordable tuition. Whether you attend full-time or part-time, our credits cost the same and our program credits flex up to help you meet clinical hour requirements. Currently, this program is NOT eligible for participation in Title IV federal student aid programs.

Full-time students can finish in as few as 21 months1 for an estimated $36,940.3 Students needing to complete the greatest number of clinical hours can finish for as low as $47,150.3

$710 cost per credit
x 48 total credits
$34,080 total tuition
+ $2,860 total fees
$36,940 estimated total program cost
(Assumes transfer of 450 clinical hours from the master's degree. Transfer hours will vary.)

Explore Our Tuition Estimator Tool

Other Ways to Save

Higher education should be a manageable investment. Talk to an admissions advisor and learn how our Doctor of Nursing Practice online program can be more affordable. Military grants are available for those who quality. Your employer may also provide tuition support or reimbursement to help you fund your education.

We are also committed to helping members who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. We offer a 10% tuition grant to active duty service members, National Guard, Reserve, retired military and veterans.4 This program is NOT eligible for participation in Title IV federal student aid programs.

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Entrance Requirements

Applicants to this program must hold a conferred master’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program or a baccalaureate degree in nursing from an accredited program and a master’s degree in a related field with a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher and possess an active, unencumbered RN license from the state where the clinical hours will be completed. Please speak with an admissions advisor regarding additional entrance requirements.

Completed application packets will be reviewed to determine program acceptance and the number of total clinical/practicum hours earned at the post-baccalaureate level that will apply to the program. This will determine the remaining practicum course hours required to complete the program.

This program is not available to residents of all states. Please speak with an admissions advisor to determine your eligibility for enrollment.

Talk to an Admissions Advisor

What Should I Know Before I Enroll?

Help Paying for School

You’re not alone figuring out how to pay for school. Our admissions advisors can help you find ways to save through scholarships and more.

Support at Every Turn

You’ll find the support you need to grow as a nurse from mentors and faculty in this program. Our library services, academic support and career planning teams are ready to help.

Expert Nursing Curriculum

Our DNP curriculum design team brings over 100 years of nursing teaching experience and even more relevant work experience in settings such as national nursing agencies and clinical facilities—from acute care to academic hospitals.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many clinical hours do I need to complete?

    The DNP Essentials specifies that practice hours must be part of an academic program. All DNP students, including those in post-master’s programs, are expected to complete a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate practice hours. Practice immersion experiences afford the opportunity to apply, integrate, and synthesize the DNP Essentials necessary to demonstrate achievement of desired outcomes in an area of advanced nursing practice. Immersion experiences enhance synthesis of the DNP Essentials into a focused area of practice. Your post-baccalaureate hours will be evaluated for relevancy to the DNP program for credit. All students will complete the DNP clinical hours built into the program.

    This means that your total course credits, program cost and length of program will vary depending on your prior clinical hours.

  • How do practice experiences work in an online program?

    Practice experiences may be in your own community, possibly at your own organization and under the supervision of a DNP Practice Mentor who has expertise in your area of focus and will serve as your role model and mentor in the practice setting.

  • How will this doctoral program fit in with my busy life?

    The DNP degree program is built for working professionals like you with online Empowered Learning courses, which allow you to learn by doing, manage your pace and stay connected to faculty and peers. You can participate in live sessions or listen to the recorded sessions when it's convenient. Our model allows for flexibility in each course. No weekly deadlines give you the ability to manage your schedule within each term.

  • Do I have to pursue a specialization?

    Yes, we offer two DNP specializations to help you focus on and pursue your career goals and passions as a nursing leader: Executive Leadership or Public Health and Policy. Depending on your desired outcomes, you’ll be able to choose the specialization that will best help you fulfill your ambitions.

  • What's involved in the DNP project?

    Guided by expert faculty, you will complete a culminating DNP project. The DNP project will reflect the advanced knowledge and skills you've acquired to translate evidence into practice and impact organizations and systems to improve health outcomes for families and communities. You’ll have a DNP project advisor to support you and challenge you to do your best work.

  • Do I need to attend classes at a campus?

    Our DNP program has no on-campus requirements. Courses are online, accessible anytime, from anywhere, 24/7. Practice experiences and practicums may be in your own community.

    The program is not available to residents of all states. Please speak with an admissions advisor to determine your eligibility for enrollment.

  • Is the DNP program aligned with advanced nursing standards?

    Our DNP degree curriculum is aligned with the National League for Nursing (NLN) Education Competencies, the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) Graduate-Level Competencies, and the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice, a set of standards designed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

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Call: 877-308-9946

Related Programs


Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Rasmussen University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Logo: CCNE accreditationCommission on Collegiate Nursing Education
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