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Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Penn Nursing has been a leader in the science and practice of nursing since 1886. Being at the forefront of advancing science, delivering solutions, and shaping health policy and practice, the goal of the DNP program is developing leaders in practice innovation. The DNP program prepares professionals by providing education in the translation of research, implementation of evidence-based practice, project management, and leadership development.


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Program Outcomes

Standards for nursing education have been established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2021). In the seminal document: “The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education” ten domains of knowledge and skill provide a framework for education for both entry level and advanced practice nursing. Underpinned by this framework, the Penn DNP Program endeavors to prepare leaders to identify and meet the health needs of society. The Penn School of Nursing is internationally recognized as a leader in educating and preparing the next generation of nurses and health care leaders to address these pressing health care needs in an ever-changing world with unprecedented complexity. Penn DNP graduates are prepared as practice scholars who integrate evidence and practice while inspiring and leading a culture of inquiry and action in their everyday work. Penn has developed the DNP program with a specific aim to prepare highly impactful leaders in practice and executive leadership.

At completion of the DNP program, a student will demonstrate the competency to effect advance high-quality, equitable and accessible health care by: 

  • Developing ways to improve health and health care outcomes through translating research, evaluating evidence-based practice, and implementing innovative ideas. 
  • Applying project management acumen and data analytics to improve outcomes for patient/family, systems, or community-based care. 
  • Disseminating practice knowledge that contributes to nursing and interprofessional scholarship. 

A set of courses that constitute the core elements of the DNP curriculum and underpin successful achievement of the DNP program outcomes include: 

Student learning outcomes (course objectives) in the following foundational core courses help students to achieve outcomes through mastery of content that all DNP students are expected to attain across all three tracks at Penn Nursing:

  • N7890 Principles & Practice of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
  • N5400 Current Issues in Health and Social Policy
  • N5000 Introduction to Principles and Methods of Epidemiology
  • N7450 Data Analytics
  • N6510 Health Care Informatics

Penn Nursing offers a post-BSN entry DNP program for Nurse Anesthesia (DNP-NA), and has two post-MSN entry tracks: Post-Master’s DNP (PM-DNP) and Post-Master’s DNP in Executive Leadership (DNP-EL). For the DNP-NA track, additional courses in the curriculum are designed to prepare students for the full scope of nurse anesthesia practice in diverse clinical settings. The plans of study for the post-MSN entry DNP graduates support application of knowledge and the achievement of enhanced skills for leading practice change in health systems and designing important quality improvement initiatives.

Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesia (DNP-NA)

The Post-BSN entry DNP program for Nurse Anesthesia (DNP-NA) is designed to prepare graduates for the full scope of nurse anesthesia practice, meeting the essentials for DNP education and additional APRN competencies and standards.

Admission Information

Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (PM-DNP) Track

Our Post-Masters Doctor of Nursing Practice is for all advanced practice nurse specialties who will practice at the most advanced level of nursing.

Admission Information

Doctor of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership (DNP-EL) Track

The Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership (DNPEL) program develops master’s-prepared nurses who already have leadership experience with the executive-level skills to lead systems and organizational change.

Admission Information


Why Our Post-Master's DNP Program?

  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="250" height="250" alt="" data-decoration="true" src="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/179,204,1960,1984/9607_Penn_Nursing_ad-34.rev.1564151308.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image9607 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/179,204,1960,1984/9607_Penn_Nursing_ad-34.rev.1564151308.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/179,204,1960,1984/9607_Penn_Nursing_ad-34.rev.1564151308.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2133" data-max-h="3200"/>I remember receiving a call from a faculty member during finals week. I initially thought I must have missed a deadline on an assignment. But my course advisor was just calling to check-in. She wanted to know if I had any issues with the material and reminded me to get rest and eat. This level of support was greatly appreciated and this sense of community, along with a focus on innovation, is one of the best things about Penn  Nursing. It is a very welcoming and inclusive environment; you are treated as a colleague-in-training, surrounded by the best mentors. If you experience challenges, they are framed around your growth process in nursing and faculty are always available to work through the tough moments with students.</p><p> –Tracy Walker, MSN, RN, CPNP-AP/PC</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="250" height="250" alt="" data-decoration="true" src="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/198,524,1966,2291/9606_Penn_Nursing_ad-129.rev.1564151308.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image9606 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/198,524,1966,2291/9606_Penn_Nursing_ad-129.rev.1564151308.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/198,524,1966,2291/9606_Penn_Nursing_ad-129.rev.1564151308.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2133" data-max-h="3200"/>I pursued nursing because of its broad opportunities, as I was always interested in multiple and seemingly unrelated things. My Master’s in Nursing Informatics and my focus in analytics as a DNP candidate exemplifies this intersection of interests and the possibilities within the profession…at Penn, the coursework is intense but stimulating, and there’s both encouragement and expectation that this unique opportunity will be used to benefit others.</p><p> –Cyd Villalba, MS, RN-BC, PMP</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="250" height="250" alt="" data-decoration="true" src="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/0,704,2133,2835/9608_Penn_Nursing_ad-13.rev.1564151308.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image9608 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/0,704,2133,2835/9608_Penn_Nursing_ad-13.rev.1564151308.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/0,704,2133,2835/9608_Penn_Nursing_ad-13.rev.1564151308.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2133" data-max-h="2131"/>At Penn, the DNP degree is not just a piece of paper.  It represents a wealth of knowledge that will take me to the next level in my career. Coursework is excellent and is taught by top rated professors who are at the forefront of research and innovation in health care.  Faculty are supportive and accessible, with the focus on helping students succeed. Each course has challenged me to think outside the box and has direct applicability to my current role as a clinician, educator, and leader.  If you are interested in learning from the best, to become the best, choose Penn.</p><p> –June Treston, DNP class of 2021</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="250" height="250" alt="" data-decoration="true" src="/live/image/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/390,1056,1601,2265/9605_UPenn_Nursing_AB-176.rev.1564151250.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image9605 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/390,1056,1601,2265/9605_UPenn_Nursing_AB-176.rev.1564151250.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/27/width/250/height/250/crop/1/src_region/390,1056,1601,2265/9605_UPenn_Nursing_AB-176.rev.1564151250.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2133" data-max-h="3200"/>Obtaining my terminal degree from Penn Nursing was and has always been my first and only choice. I’ve known I wanted to be a nurse since the 4th grade when my church had a program to expose children of color to health care fields. A prestigious faculty member of color from Penn Nursing came to our church to discuss her career—I was blown away and wanted to be just like her. Diversity work is extremely important, especially in this day and age. We need highly trained nurse leaders to formulate policies, lobby for change and CREATE the change we wish to see in health care and in the world. Penn Nursing is the place to do this. Its facilities are state-of-the-art and there is always something new to learn. As a student and a graduate, there is rarely a closed door.</p><p> –Michelle Lockett, MSN, RN</p></div>

Upcoming Admissions Events

Visit our Admissions Events page to register for any upcoming events, and to view informative recordings of past events.

How to apply:

For details on our DNP application processes, see the Doctoral Admissions pages on our website.


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