Online DNP

DNP in Clinical Leadership

U.S. News Grad Nursing 2023
CCNE Accredited
NLN Center of Excellence in Nursing Education

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program and the post-graduate APRN certificate program at Duquesne University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

Improve patient care through enhanced leadership.

Developed for those seeking a long-term career in the nursing field, our online DNP in Clinical Leadership is heavily invested in practical, hands-on education and experiential learning. With a DNP, you can drive organizational effectiveness, influence health care policy and provide leadership for evidence-based practice.

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Study 100% online

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2 start dates per year

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No GRE required

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Tuition discounts available

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Study abroad opportunity

Online Clinical Leadership DNP Curriculum

35 credit hours
11 courses
2 years to complete

The online Clinical Leadership DNP program is a total of 35 credits — nine 3-credit courses and two 4 credit courses. You can earn your degree in as few as two years. There is a brief on-campus orientation for students before they begin their online coursework and another at the end of your coursework to present your DNP project. Coursework for Duquesne’s online MSN-DNP is designed to enhance your evidence-based nursing practice and position you for leadership now and in the future.

We offer three unique residency experiences.

1. Elevate your professional writing skills.

Writing is a complex process, especially at the doctoral level. That’s why our writing residency prepares you to deliver high‑quality academic papers and projects. Prior to orientation, you will gain access to writing modules created exclusively for DNP online students. Each module can be completed at your own pace.

2. Study advanced-practice nursing in Italy or Ireland.

This experience is an optional, study-abroad residency*. It’s part of the transcultural and global health perspectives course GPNS 917. Online DNP students can study advanced-practice nursing in Italy at Duquesne’s Rome campus or in Ireland at Duquesne’s Dublin campus.* This is an outstanding opportunity for doctoral nursing students to learn more about international health care systems. Please note: any tuition discounts that graduate students receive are not applicable to study abroad courses.

*Exclusively for Clinical Leadership DNP students

3. Complete a specialized leadership project.

Nurses prepared at the DNP level are expected to provide leadership for evidence‑based practice in nursing. That’s why we require you to complete a Doctoral Practice Project.

Working closely with faculty, you will select an area of interest to evaluate, such as a population, program, system or clinical intervention, within a health setting. Each course in our DNP program builds on the last — enabling you to work toward the completion of your DNP project every step of the way.

Your Doctoral Practice Project is personalized at Duquesne.

Duquesne is known for our personal touch with our students. It’s what sets us apart. You will receive regular, one-on-one support from our DNP faculty throughout the program. We’re on this journey with you. And your success is our highest priority.

Clinical Leadership DNP Admissions

Admission Requirements

To qualify for our online Clinical Leadership DNP, you must:

  • Hold a current, unencumbered RN license.
  • Hold a BSN degree (required) from an accredited college or university with a 3.0 GPA or higher.
  • Hold a master’s degree (nursing or non-nursing) from an accredited college or university with a 3.0 GPA or higher. MSN degree preferred.
  • Have completed an undergraduate statistics course with a “C” or higher or graduate statistics course with a “B” or higher.

Note: Strong leadership experience is preferred.

Admissions Process

  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Goal statement (2-3 pages)
  • Official transcript(s)
  • An interview may be required
  • Three reference letters. Recommendations should be from persons who can comment on the applicant’s professional or academic abilities. Examples:
    • One Supervisory and two Academic (Nursing Professor/Nursing Preceptor)
    • Two Supervisory and one Academic (Nursing Professor/Nursing Preceptor)
    • Or three Supervisory if you have been out of school for more than five years
    • The supervisor reference letters must come from a direct supervisor who is responsible for your performance evaluation

We’re experienced practitioners as well as instructors.

Meet Dr. Catherine Johnson.


Clinical Associate Professor

  • PhD, Nursing, Duquesne University
  • MSN, Family Nurse Practitioner, Wright State University
  • MS, Nursing Administration, The Ohio State University
  • BSN, Nursing, Capital University

Having served on five nursing faculties during her 30-year career in the profession, Dr. Johnson brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as a clinical associate professor at Duquesne University’s School of Nursing.

Dr. Johnson’s professional experience includes hospital administration, nursing leadership and organizational quality improvement. She has held titles including chief nursing officer, chief quality officer, chief development officer and director of ambulatory services in several health care systems.

She teaches several courses in the DNP program including Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Health Care Information Systems. She is also a faculty mentor, assisting DNP students in developing and implementing their DNP projects.

In addition to her position on Duquesne’s faculty, Dr. Johnson maintains her practice as a family nurse practitioner and pediatric nurse practitioner, working in a community practice with underserved populations.

Student Testimonial

“The faculty is supportive of the individual student’s needs and works with students to facilitate achieving the objectives of the program. I would enthusiastically recommend the DNP program to anyone pursuing the completion of a doctorate in nursing practice. I have had a wonderful experience in completing my DNP degree at Duquesne University.”

– Lester Lledo, ’20 DNP