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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 entering the program who already have 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. The DNP program is also the perfect choice for nurses with a background 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 wish a research career and/or to teach in an academic institution. DNP vs. PhD

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 one and two-day sessions, with a computer-assisted format, that meet a few times each semester. In addition, the biostatistics courses are offered in a traditional weekly-class format.

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.

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 related to leadership and scholarship, rather than advanced practice specialty competencies, such as FNP or CRNA. Conduct of the capstone inquiry fulfills much of this clinical requirement.

Post-baccalaureate DNP students have 630 clinical hours related to their population preparation as nurse practitioners or a 525-hour health care administrator residency. In addition, they have capstone inquiry 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 capstone process results in a systematic review utilizing the Joanna Briggs methodology - a model for evidence-based practice.

When can I apply?

New applications are available online in July the year prior to admission.

When is the deadline?

The application deadline for fall admission is March 31. All parts of the application - references, GRE scores and transcripts - must be completed and received by this date.

How many times a year do you admit?

Once in the fall.

Will it involve research?

The DNP program requires a systematic review utilizing the methodology of the Joanna Briggs Institute.

What is the average class size?

In general, 15 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. DNP vs. PhD

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.