Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program

Best Grad Schools, US News, Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice 2018

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program prepares graduates for the highest level of advanced nursing practice based on a distinct model of doctoral nursing education that culminates in the terminal degree. Based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) DNP Essentials, the DNP Program prepares nursing experts in one area of specialized advanced nursing practice (NP, CNS, CNM, CRNA) who possess superb leadership skills at the most advanced clinical and organizational levels in order to provide the highest standard of care for individuals, families, and communities.  In addition to the “traditional” advanced practice core, graduate core, and clinical specialization courses required of MSN APRN programs, DNP students develop a substantial knowledge base in transitional science, pathogenesis, finance management, strategic planning, and epidemiology as well as conduct an evidence-based practice (EBP) project in a community setting through the guidance of a doctorally-prepared clinical mentor and USD faculty advisor.  The additional clinical hours required of students in the DNP Program prepare APRN’s who assume clinical leadership roles in a variety of health care settings. The USD School of Nursing and Health Science offers both the MSN-DNP and the BSN-DNP programs.

Advanced practice registered nurses who are master's prepared and nationally certified are eligible to apply to the MSN-DNP, or DNP completion, program in which graduates have gained additional knowledge and clinical expertise in a defined area of advanced nursing practice. The MSN to DNP program requires 2 years of full-time study; part-time study is also available. The program plan requires completion of 34 units.

The BSN -DNP program is offered for RNs who desire preparation in primary care as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), dual Pediatric/Family Nurse Practitioner (PNP/FNP), dual Adult-Gerontology/Family Nurse Practitioner (AGNP/FNP), or Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). Graduates of a master's entry program in nursing are also eligible to apply. The BSN-DNP program requires 3 years of full-time study; part-time study is also available. The curriculum ranges from 78-84 units depending on the focus of study and prior preparation. Graduates are eligible to write national certification examinations appropriate to their educational preparation.

BSN to DNP Program

MSN to DNP Program





John Anthony Hoyos, DNP, PMHNP-BC

"I had several excellent options when making the decision about which Doctor of Nursing Practice program would be best for me. I am so grateful that I selected the University of San Diego. The expert faculty and staff were consistently supportive, responsive and empowering.  The quality of education and clinical training have made me into the successful scholar-practitioner that I am. This was one of the best decisions I ever made!" - John Anthony Hoyos, DNP, PMHNP-BC