Online DNP Program

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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Nursing leadership is about impact. Broaden yours.

With your Doctor of Nursing Practice, you will be able to shape the future of nursing practice. You already translate evidence‑based care into practice and improve health outcomes for diverse populations. Now the sum of your experience can position you to transform the future of healthcare. Earn your DNP online from Duquesne University.

Study 100% online

3 start dates per year

No GRE required

Transfer credits

Tuition discounts
are available

Why Earn Your Doctor of Nursing Practice Online?

Earning a doctoral degree takes time and commitment. That is why online learning is perfect for self-starters. It allows you to do your coursework on your own schedule in the convenience of your home or work environment.

The smart choice — an online DNP degree.

  • 100% online coursework. As a DNP student, your coursework is 100% online.
  • Study abroad. Expand your transcultural care knowledge while studying abroad at Duquesne’s Rome or Dublin campuses.
  • One‑on‑one faculty mentorship. You will be assigned a faculty member to help guide you through the program.
  • Study at a respected school. Duquesne’s School of Nursing ranks No. 45 in the nation for “Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs” by U.S. News & World Report.

What Can You Do with a Doctor of Nursing Practice?

Nurses with a DNP are drivers of innovation. A doctoral degree from Duquesne can position you to serve as a leader in everything from refining and modifying existing healthcare delivery systems to designing new ones. Your ideas will be your currency, and you’ll spend them modifying your environment to fit your vision. You’ll also find yourself in the top 1% of nurse influencers.

Career opportunities for MSN‑DNP grads include:

DU DNP Collage

  • Healthcare administrator
  • Nurse executive
  • Advanced clinical educator
  • Public health policy‑maker
  • Academic educator
  • Healthcare manager or clinical leader

What’s the market outlook for nurses with a DNP?

  • More responsibility. The IOM reports there should be twice as many doctoral-level nurses by 2020 and these nurses will play a part in shaping healthcare policy and practice.
  • Growing demand. The ever‑evolving demands of the nation’s complex healthcare environments require the highest level of practice expertise to assure quality patient outcomes.
  • Increased earning potential. A survey by Advance Healthcare Network revealed that nurse practitioners who hold a DNP received higher compensation than their MSN‑educated peers, and earn an average salary of $113,500.

Why Choose Duquesne for Your Online DNP?

Choosing the right university for your Doctor of Nursing Practice is important. Here are a few ways in which Duquesne stands out as a leader in nursing education.

Study with us and you can learn to:

  • Contribute to strategic‑level initiatives
  • Effectively assess healthcare policy at the community level
  • Evaluate organizational effectiveness at an institutional level
  • Gauge economic trends in healthcare
  • Design innovative models for patient care services

Learn from nursing leaders and become one yourself.

As an online DNP student at Duquesne, you will have the opportunity to study under one of the best and most respected faculties in the nursing field. Our commitment to nursing is longstanding, and our degree program reflects our dedication.

We’re consistently recognized for excellence:

Best U.S. News Rankings

  • No. 13 among national Catholic universities
  • No. 45 in the nation for “Best Online Graduate Nursing Schools” for 2018
  • Top 20 among the “Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs for Veterans”
  • Ranked among “America’s Best Colleges”

NLN - National League for Nursing

  • Recognized for Outstanding Achievements in “Student Learning and Professional Development” by the NLN as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education

The Princeton Review

  • Ranked among the “Best 380 Colleges” — which profiles only 15 percent of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges


  • Named as one of “America’s Top Colleges” and listed among “Best Value Colleges” and “Best Value Private Colleges”

  • Recognized as a Gold‑Level Military Friendly School by Victory Media

Dr. Mary Kay Loughran

Meet Dr. Mary Kay Loughran.

She’s more than a lead faculty member at Duquesne University’s School of Nursing. She’s also an alumnus, having earned her DNP in 2014. She knows firsthand what it’s like to balance a rigorous graduate program, demanding career and family obligations.

DNP Faculty Coordinator
Assistant Professor of Nursing

  • DNP, Duquesne University, 2014
  • MHA, University of Pittsburgh, 1987
  • BSN, University of Pittsburgh, 1977

Dr. Loughran is a nurse, educator and former hospital administrator. Her clinical, teaching and executive experience adds a wide range of nursing expertise to the Duquesne faculty.

A former executive vice president at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Dr. Loughran has also served as chief nursing officer and patient care executive. She teaches in classroom and clinical settings.

She’s passionate about educating the next generation of advanced-practice nursing leaders. And she’s ready to teach you.

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice Curriculum

Coursework for Duquesne’s online MSN‑DNP is designed to enhance your evidence‑based nursing practice and position you for leadership now — and into the future.

Our DNP program prepares you to:

Apply clinical judgment

Learn to combine data from multiple sources, collaborate among disciplines and implement current evidence‑based practices.

Improve patient outcomes

Positively impact patient care and outcomes by creating improved evidence‑based systems.

Refine organizational systems

Develop competency in evaluating and refining organizational systems and their effectiveness.

Transform healthcare environments

Serve as an ethical leader in complex care situations and implement best practices.

Identify and develop educational policies

Implement policies to positively impact staff development and improve patient care.

Create inclusive environments

Explore culture and diversity in healthcare environments and identify discrepancies among vulnerable populations.

Online DNP Curriculum 35 Credit Hours (11 courses)

The online 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.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change.

GPNS 905 Epidemiology and Biostatistics 3 Credits
GPNS 907 Health Care Policy and Finance 3 Credits
GPNS 916 Health Care Information Systems 3 Credits
GPNS 917* Transcultural Care and Global Health Perspectives 3 Credits
GPNG 928 Social Justice and Vulnerable Populations 3 Credits
GPNS 937 Ethical Leadership in Complex Organizations 3 Credits
GPNS 949 Foundation of Evidence-Based Practice: Evaluation of Research 3 Credits
GPNS 950 Foundations of Transformation: Translating Evidence to Practice 3 Credits
GPNS 951 Program Analysis and Measuring Change 3 Credits
GPNS 952 Leadership Residency I 4 Credits
GPNS 953 Leadership Residency II 4 Credits


Specialize your DNP degree.

Expand upon your doctoral degree by choosing a concentration in one of three unique areas of study, including Transcultural Nursing, Forensic Nursing, or Nursing Education.

Transcultural Nursing Concentration 3 Credit Hours (1 Course)

Enhance your DNP degree by specializing your focus in Transcultural Nursing. Understand more about healthcare policy and practice can affect patients from different cultural backgrounds, how health disparities can impact individuals across the globe and how to provide culturally congruent care.

GPNG 908 Advanced Population Health 3 Credits


Forensic Nursing Concentration 9 Credit Hours (3 Courses)

Duquesne is one of the first universities in the U.S. to offer coursework in Forensic Nursing, learn from leaders in this industry about how to care for victims of crimes and shape policy around how they are cared for by collaborating with legal teams.

GNFO 518 Criminal Law and the Courts 3 Credits
GNFO 519 Advanced Forensic Nursing I – Theory and Practice 3 Credits
GNFO 520 Advanced Forensic Nursing II – Program Development, Leadership & Policy 3 Credits


Nursing Education Concentration 9 Credit Hours (3 Courses)

Complement your doctoral degree by learning more about the core competencies of being a nurse educator. The concentration meets the requirements for the Nursing Faculty Loan Program and you will be the criteria to sit to become a Certified Nurse Educator through the National League for Nursing.

GNED 507 Foundations in Education Theory for Professional Practice 3 Credits
GNED 522 Innovative Curriculum Design and Evaluation 3 Credits
GNED 532 Emerging Trends and Innovations in the Teaching of Nursing 3 Credits


We offer three unique residency experiences.

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.

Study advanced-practice nursing in Rome 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 healthcare systems.

“If you look at the core competencies outlined in the DNP Essentials, they speak directly to the importance of understanding cultures. And our study-abroad program just really nails this.”

— Dr. Mary Kay Loughran, Online DNP Program Coordinator

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.

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