The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the terminal practice degree in the profession. The objective of the program is to prepare graduates for the highest level of nursing practice. Emphasis will be placed on evaluating and applying the evidence that supports practice, understanding and creating practice delivery systems based on patient outcomes, and assuming leadership roles in practice settings. The curriculum will allow students with diverse nursing academic and clinical backgrounds the flexibility to enter a program of study tailored to their future professional goals. In the curriculum, five concentrations are available. The concentrations are configured into two foci as recommended by the American Academy of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (2006), the guidance document for DNP programs. The two foci are:

  1. care of individuals with three concentrations, Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner; and
  2. care of aggregates with Advanced Clinical Nursing and Administration in Nursing concentrations.

The DNP program is approved by the Virginia State Board of Nursing and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The nurse practitioner concentrations have been approved by the state boards of nursing and medicine in Virginia.

Admissions

Requirements

Applicants must meet the admission standards and application requirements specified in Graduate Admissions and must apply using the online Application for Graduate Admission. Applicants must be graduates of accredited baccalaureate (BSN) programs in nursing. Applicants for the master's to DNP curriculum must also have a master's degree in nursing or a related field. All applicants must submit a copy of their current state-based/US nursing license and show evidence of at least one year of experience as an RN prior to admission. For application deadlines and detailed application requirements, refer to the CHHS Admissions website.  

Policies

Transfers Between Programs or Concentrations

Approval from the school and college is required for students who wish to transfer between concentrations of the DNP or who wish to resign from the DNP and transfer to the MSN program.

Students must meet the residency requirements stated in AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Transfer of Credit

Students may transfer a maximum of 9 credits into the DNP program from graduate courses taken at other institutions or taken at Mason in non-degree status, including courses offered through the college's Academic Outreach program. Transfer credit is governed by university transfer of graduate credit policy and the university requirements for doctoral degrees, and transfer credit must be approved by the program director and the dean. Students who enroll initially through non-degree studies or the Academic Outreach program should seek course advising through the department and should submit their application to the DNP program as soon as possible after beginning their study in non-degree status.

Reduction of Credit

Students who come into the master's to DNP program will complete 72 credits, including up to 30 hours of relevant graduate credit awarded for past master's-level courses.

Time Requirements

The total time to degree will not exceed eight (8) calendar years for BSN to DNP students and will not exceed six (6) calendar years for master's to DNP students.

Academic Termination

Academic termination is governed by university policy described in AP.6.6.2 Academic Termination. Additionally, a failing grade of F in a practicum course may result in termination from the program. Any graduate course in which a student earns a C grade or below must be repeated to earn a grade of B or better. A course may be repeated only once. A student may also be terminated from the program due to a finding of violation of the university Honor Code or after demonstrating a significant lack of progress.

Grading

Consistent with the university, the DNP program does not provide a D grade. Final grades for all DNP courses are submitted to the university as letter grades.

Grade Quality Points Graduate Courses
A (90-100%) 4.00 Passing
B (80-89%) 3.00 Passing
C (70-79%) 2.00 Failing
F (69% or lower) 0.00 Failing

A graduate course in which a grade of C or below is earned must be repeated to earn a grade of B or better. A course may be repeated only once. Graduate students (both master’s and doctoral) may repeat no more than two courses in their total program of study. 

Practicum Hour Requirements

The DNP degree requires a minimum of 1,000 practice hours. The 1,000 hours of precepted or mentored practice are distributed among introductory and upper-level graduate courses. Variable hours in the clinical practicums (NURS 921 and NURS 922) will assure a minimum total of 1,000 clinical hours prior to DNP graduation. 

Master's to DNP students can transfer in up to 600 hours (depending on the number of hours they accrued during their master's program). The number of clinical hours a student is awarded on admission is based on transcripts and course descriptions. Faculty will review clinical credits earned as part of the master's degree to determine the number of clinical hours awarded.

Banner Code: HH-DNP-NURS

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 72

BSN to DNP Curriculum

Level I Core Courses

NURS 665Theoretical and Ethical Foundations Related to Nursing3
NURS 688Organization of Nursing and Health Care Delivery Systems3
NURS 757Nursing Research and Biostatistics I3
NURS 758Nursing Research and Biostatistics II3
Total Credits12

Level II Core Essentials Courses

NURS 643Community-Oriented Primary Care3
NURS 715Nursing Informatics Inquiry3
NURS 808Translating Nursing and Health Care Research into Evidence-Based Policy3
NURS 870Nursing and Health Care Administration I3
NURS 883Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare4
Total Credits16

Advanced Practice Competency Courses

Complete requirements of one concentration.

CONCENTRATIONS

Concentrations in Advanced Nursing Care of Aggregates

Concentration in Advanced Clinical Nursing (NUAC)
NURS 714Health Assessment in Clinical Practice2
NURS 724Health Assessment Practicum1
Six credits of6
Clinical Nurse Specialist Internship
NURS 761Pharmacotherapeutics3
NURS 769Physiology and Pathophysiology in Advanced Practice3
NURS 773Clinical Applications of Theory in Advanced Clinical Nursing3
NURS 775Advanced Specialty Practice I3
NURS 776Development of Advanced Practice Nursing Role3
NURS 778Advanced Specialty Practice II3
Four credits of4
Clinical Practicum I
Five credits of5
Clinical Practicum II
Total Credits36
Concentration in Nursing Administration (NUAD)
NURS 654Nursing Administration Financial Management3
NURS 763Administrative Theory in Nursing3
NURS 765Practicum in Nursing Administration I3
NURS 766Administrative Strategies in Nursing3
NURS 768Practicum in Nursing Administration II3
NURS 871Nursing and Health Care Administration II2
NURS 874Internship in Health Care Administration/Policy/Education4
Electives toward career goal 15
NURS 921Clinical Practicum I 28
NURS 922Clinical Practicum II2
Total Credits36

Concentrations in Advanced Nursing Care of Individuals

Concentration in Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)
NURS 714Health Assessment in Clinical Practice2
NURS 724Health Assessment Practicum1
NURS 761Pharmacotherapeutics3
NURS 769Physiology and Pathophysiology in Advanced Practice3
NURS 713Decision Making and Pharmacologic Management in Practice3
NURS 787Adult Gerontology Primary Care I2
NURS 786Adult Gerontology Primary Care Practicum I2
NURS 789Adult Gerontology Primary Care II3
NURS 788Adult Gerontology Primary Care Practicum II4
NURS 791Adult Gerontology Primary Care III4
NURS 790Adult Gerontology Primary Care Practicum III4
Three credits of3
Clinical Practicum I
Two credits of2
Clinical Practicum II
Total Credits36
Concentration in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNUP)
NURS 714Health Assessment in Clinical Practice2
NURS 724Health Assessment Practicum1
NURS 761Pharmacotherapeutics3
NURS 769Physiology and Pathophysiology in Advanced Practice3
NURS 713Decision Making and Pharmacologic Management in Practice3
NURS 738Family Primary Care I2
NURS 742Family Primary Care Practicum I2
NURS 739Family Primary Care II4
NURS 744Family Primary Care Practicum II4
NURS 741Family Primary Care III3
NURS 749Family Primary Care Practicum III4
Three credits of3
Clinical Practicum I
Two credits of2
Clinical Practicum II
Total Credits36
Concentration in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHN)
NURS 714Health Assessment in Clinical Practice2
NURS 724Health Assessment Practicum1
NURS 761Pharmacotherapeutics3
NURS 769Physiology and Pathophysiology in Advanced Practice3
NURS 632Pathogenesis of Mental Disorders3
NURS 633Individual Psychotherapy3
NURS 634Group, Family and Couple Psychotherapy1
NURS 743Clinical Psychopharmacology3
NURS 782Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Practicum I4
NURS 783Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Seminar I2
NURS 784Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Practicum II5
NURS 785Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Seminar II2
Two credits of2
Clinical Practicum I
Two credits of2
Clinical Practicum II
Total Credits36

DNP Project

The final step in completion of the degree is the implementation of a DNP project in the practice inquiry courses. The proposal for this project must be prepared with ample time for submission to the Human Subjects Review Board at George Mason University. One School of Nursing faculty member will serve as chair for the project. The student must demonstrate competence of the AACN Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (2006) by planning, developing, and implementing a scholarly DNP project that uses evidence to inform practice.

NURS 980Practice Inquiry I4
NURS 981Practice Inquiry II4
Total Credits8

Master's to DNP Curriculum

Students in the master's to DNP program will complete 72 credits. Up to 30 hours of relevant graduate credit may be awarded for past master's-level courses, and students will complete the remaining minimum of 42 additional credits following the curriculum below.

The core essentials build on previous master's education and must be completed in the first year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. They prepare the student to develop and implement the DNP project in the final two semesters of study. The core essentials for master's to DNP students will be individualized based on the content from the student's master's degree academic program.

Students must complete 1,000 hours of precepted or mentored practice including those obtained during previous master's education (individually awarded based on evaluation of master's clinical hours up to 600 hours). Students also must take additional electives to meet the total requirement of 72 credits required to complete the program.

Students may add one of the following concentrations to their DNP application: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, or Advanced Clinical Nursing. 

Level II Core Essentials Courses
NURS 654Nursing Administration Financial Management3
NURS 715Nursing Informatics Inquiry3
NURS 758Nursing Research and Biostatistics II3
NURS 808Translating Nursing and Health Care Research into Evidence-Based Policy3
NURS 870Nursing and Health Care Administration I3
NURS 883Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare4
Total Credits19
Advanced Practice Competency Courses
NURS 921Clinical Practicum I1-10
NURS 922Clinical Practicum II1-10
Total Credits2-20
DNP Project

The final step in completion of the degree is the implementation of a DNP project in the practice inquiry courses. The proposal for this project must be prepared with ample time for submission to the Human Subjects Review Board at George Mason University. One School of Nursing faculty member will serve as chair for the project. The student must demonstrate competence of the AACN Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (2006) by planning, developing, and implementing a scholarly DNP project that uses evidence to inform practice.

NURS 980Practice Inquiry I4
NURS 981Practice Inquiry II4
Total Credits8
Electives

If needed, elective courses should be taken to complete the required 42 program credits. All electives must be approved by the advisor prior to the start of the course.