Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

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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 health care. Earn your DNP online from Duquesne University.

Duquesne University offers two online DNP tracks:

  • Clinical Leadership: The Clinical Leadership DNP program can help you learn how to effectively influence patient outcomes and improve the quality of care in clinical settings through evidence-based practice. You may pursue roles where you will be responsible for managing nursing staff and serve as a resource of knowledge for your team in implementing best practices when it comes to patient care.
  • Executive Nurse Leadership and Health Care Management: As a graduate of the Executive Nurse Leadership DNP program, you will be able to collaborate with senior executives and leaders across various health care disciplines to identify problems, propose solutions and implement change for health care systems as a whole. You will gain the knowledge of how finance, budgeting, human resources and other aspects of business fit together to improve patient outcomes.
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Study 100% online

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3 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

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.
  • Tailor your doctoral education. Choose a DNP track that fits your specific career goals, whether at the clinical or executive level.
  • 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 in 2020.

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice Curriculum

Duquesne’s two DNP tracks both focus on how evidence-based practice influences patient care. Both programs also require the completion of a DNP Practice Project to demonstrate what you’ve learned throughout the coursework. Your project will showcase a solution to a specific problem of your choosing as it relates to your chosen DNP track.

Clinical Leadership DNP

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 into the future.

Post-Bachelor’s Executive Nurse Leadership DNP

62 credit hours
20 courses
4 years to complete

Our online post-bachelor’s to DNP program is designed to build on your goal to be an executive leader in nursing and will prepare you for management and administration roles in a variety of health care settings. Courses will focus on developing your business acumen as you learn how to utilize evidence-based practice to facilitate the delivery of safe, quality nursing care in a variety of health care settings.

Post-Master’s Executive Nurse Leadership DNP

35 credit hours
11 courses
2 years to complete

You aspire to be an executive nursing leader in health care. A DNP in Executive Nurse Leadership and Health Care Management will allow you to apply your current leadership experiences in a curriculum that advances your business acumen, while developing your knowledge of evaluating and implementing evidence-based practice and how it is used to improve health care outcomes and transform organizations.

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 health care policy at the community level
  • Evaluate organizational effectiveness at an institutional level
  • Gauge economic trends in health care
  • Design innovative models for patient care services
  • Learn from nursing leaders and become one yourself
  • Ensure that nurses have a voice at the executive level
  • Gain advanced knowledge while developing your professional network
  • Develop your leadership skills that can help transform health care organizations
  • Effectively manage the business side of health care

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.

Our faculty are also alumni.

Meet Dr. Mary Kay Loughran.

Dr. Mary Kay Loughran

She’s more than a lead faculty member at Duquesne University’s School of Nursing. She’s also an alumna, 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.

Our DNP program prepares you to:

Identify and develop educational policies.

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

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 health care environments.

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

Apply clinical judgment.

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

Create inclusive environments.

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

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.

*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.

“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 really accomplishes this.”

— Dr. Mary Kay Loughran, Online DNP Program Coordinator

Online 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)
  • Three references (one academic, one professional and one professional in a supervisory role)
  • Official transcript(s)
  • An interview may be required