Doctor of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership

Our online DNP in Executive Leadership program develops master’s-prepared nurses who already have leadership experience with the executive-level skills to lead systems and organizational change.

About the Program

Executive leadership in an ever-changing and complex healthcare industry requires the knowledge and skills to revolutionize care delivery models and improve patient and organizational outcomes. Focused on systems leadership and innovative change, the DNP in Executive Leadership Program (DNP-EL) prepares graduates for a variety of leadership roles including but not limited to Chief Nursing Officers, Clinical and Project Directors, Healthcare Consultants, and Practice Leaders.

All of Penn Nursing’s programs are accredited. To learn more about the accreditation and pass rates, please visit our Accreditation page.

Program Information


Program Length

22 months

Financial aid available?


Start Semester


Learning Format

Online *

One week in-person intensive 

Program Details


Offered online with a one-week on-campus intensive during which students attend the Wharton Nursing Leaders Program, the DNP-EL can be completed while working full-time from any location. Students will complete a DNP project, which can take place at their own site of employment, bringing additional value and impact to their own institution. For more information about the DNP Scholarly Project, please consult the DNP Handbook or view previous DNP Scholarly Projects.

An unparalleled advantage, this interdisciplinary curriculum incorporates content from Wharton Executive Education, Wharton Online, and the Perelman School of Medicine Health Care Innovation Graduate Program. Situated within a resource-intensive university, students avail of online library services, and take courses taught by faculty with vast healthcare leadership experience. Synchronous online engagement provides students with networking opportunities, individualized faculty mentorship, and access to executives from our world-class academic health system.

The DNP-EL includes coursework in strategic planning and execution, value-based healthcare innovation, advanced healthcare economics and finance, and transformative executive-level leadership competencies. Upon completion of the program, students achieve outcomes informed by the American Organization of Nurse Leaders (AONL) Nurse Executive Competencies.

Click the link below to view the curriculum for this program in the University catalog or download a sample plan of study.

View the curriculum


Minimum qualifications for the program

BSN and MSN or Masters degree in a related field, e.g., Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), Master’s in Healthcare Administration (MHA), Master’s in Public Health (MPH), etc. with a GPA of 3.2 or higher.


Graduate-level Research Methods Course with a grade of B or higher.


Two years leadership and fiscal management experience (or formal graduate coursework in finance/accounting) required but greater than 5 years preferred.


RN and APRN (if applicable)

International Applicants

Click here for additional requirements

Application Deadlines

Fall 2024 Enrollment

Priority Deadline: November 1, 2023
Final Deadline: February 1, 2024
Latest Decision Notification: mid-February

*Dates subject to change without notice.

Costs & Tuition

The estimated total cost (tuition and fees) of the 2023 DNP in Executive Leadership program (11 CUs) is $74,995.

Your program costs will depend on your individual plan of study. Tuition is charged per CU based on your semester enrollment.

Discount available for employees of our Academic Practice Partners. Click here to learn more.

Program Outcomes

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

  • Developing ways to improve health and healthcare 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.

The DNP in Executive Leadership aims to graduate nurses for middle- or executive-level leadership roles including those in clinical operations or project/program leadership at a departmental or systems level.

Portrait of James Ballinghoff

“Since this program is designed for working professionals, I could balance my studies with the demands of my Chief Nursing Officer position.”



June 14 | 12:00pm

Spring 2024 Graduate Programs Info Session

Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding the different programs

Program, Plan of Study, and Cohort

Tuition & Financial Aid

Program Activities

DNP Project Showcase: Promising Approaches

Influencing health care and health care workplaces through leadership, policy implementation, and patient care takes incredible skill and thoughtfulness. Penn Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program is an example of how to do it right.


Penn Nursing is leading to healthier, more equitable future.

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