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DNP Frequently Asked Questions

The School of Nursing provides answers to frequently asked questions about the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

How long does the program take? 

Students who hold a master's degree can expect a flexible course of study that may be completed in two years (six semesters) to three years (nine semesters). A flexible post-baccalaureate plan of study may be completed in as little as eight semesters; up to 14 semesters for the nurse practitioner tracks.

What is the difference between DNP and PhD?

The DNP may be the appropriate degree for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, nursing administrators and staff development persons as well as nurses in public or community health. The DNP program's emphasis is on health-care delivery and the health-care delivery system, as well as the clinical populations served. The PhD is the appropriate degree for students who are interested in a research career. For more information about the differences, click here.

What is the benefit of earning a DNP degree?

There is considerable national interest in the DNP becoming the terminal degree for advanced nursing practice. In some health-care settings, the DNP degree contributes to career advancement. Often, post-master's DNP students immediately translate course content into practice.

What is the class schedule like?

Course delivery is a combination of online courses and intensive face-to-face sessions.

When do classes meet?

Actual meeting dates for intensive sessions are determined the semester prior to course offering. A calendar is made available during the preceding semester.

Where do in-person classes meet?

In-person courses meet on the Jackson campus. Some courses may be transferred from other institutions with course coordinator approval.

Do you offer flexible plans of study?

Yes, plans of study can be tailored to each individual student. For post-master’s students, part-time study generally consists of two courses, rather than three. At the start of the DNP program, some students may take only one course. For post-baccalaureate students, part-time study generally consists of two or three courses, instead of four or five.

Are there clinical hour components?

Post-master's DNP programs are required to have 500 additional clinical hours beyond the master's requirement. These clinical hours help establish the post-master's DNP competencies. Students receive 600 clinical hours as part of their DNP coursework. Conduction of the DNP project fulfills much of this clinical requirement. Post-MSN students will also likely have transferable clinical hours from their MSN programs.

Post-baccalaureate DNP students will receive clinical hours related to their population preparation as nurse practitioner or nursing health care administrator. In addition, they have DNP project hours that are part of the clinical component.

Is there a dissertation?

No, there is no dissertation; however, one of the domains of the DNP program is scholarship. The DNP project process results in an Evidence Implementation Project utilizing the JBI methodology - a model for evidence-based practice.

When can I apply?

Applications are reviewed once each semester for the Post-MSN DNP program and the BSN to DNP, NHCA points of entry. For fall admission the deadline is March 31, for spring admission it is October 15, and for summer admission the deadline is February 15.

Applications for all BSN to DNP nurse practitioner tracks are reviewed once each year, and students can begin these programs in the fall only. The deadline for fall admission is March 31st.

Will it involve research?

The DNP program requires an Evidence Implementation Project utilizing the JBI Model of Evidence-Based Healthcare.

What is the average class size?

In general, 15-25 students may be in any class.

Additional information

For additional reading on the DNP, including a comparison with PhD program content, please see the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website: To read more about the difference between the DNP and PhD program, click here.

For additional information, please email You may also call (601) 815-0124 or (601) 984-1080.

Additionally, the University of Mississippi School of Nursing is part of a five-member, statewide consortium. The purpose of the Mississippi Educational Consortium for the Doctorate of Nursing Practice is to support increasing the nursing leadership capacity in Mississippi. The consortium fosters statewide academic programs leading to the Doctor of Nursing Practice.