About the Program

The University of Louisville Doctor of Nursing Practice program can be entered with either a BSN or MSN degree.

BSN to DNP option is designed for RNs who are seeking nurse practitioner certification.  We currently offer five specialties.  The degree requires a total of 75 to 78 credit hours to complete depending on the selected specialty.  These credit hours are completed in three years of full-time study with part-time study options available. 

MSN to DNP option is for individuals with a master’s degree in nursing who are interested in taking a more scholarly approach to practice, developing leadership skills, and advocating for health systems changes.  In the Louisville program you will use current evidence and your health care experience to create an innovative practice program, develop a quality improvement project, impact health policy, or write an evidence based practice guideline.  The project will be based on your scholarly interests and will take your involvement in the health care system to a new level. 

MSN to DNP students can choose one of three entry points depending on the individual’s previous academic and professional credentials.

  • An APRN seeking a DNP without a second specialty
  • An APRN seeking a DNP with a second specialty
  • A Master’s prepared student that is not an APRN must choose a first specialty
Upon receipt of your official college transcripts, a program of study will be created based on your previous academic and professional credentials.

Clinical Hours
Students in the BSN to DNP program will complete a minimum of 1000 hours of clinical work. This includes the population specific nurse practitioner clinicals as well as clinical work towards the completion of the DNP project. Students in the MSN to DNP program, with no specialty, must provide documentation of previous clinical hours and complete a minimum of 330 project hours, for a total of 1,000 hours.

Delivery of Course Materials
Our DNP program is structured in a hybrid format. Students are required to attend class on campus 4 to 6 times a semester. Classes are typically scheduled on Thursdays and the student should plan to be in class or otherwise engaged in academic activity from 9:30 am to 8:00 pm on those days. The remainder of the class content will be delivered in an online format.  A variety of online and distance learning techniques are used to facilitate the program and enrich the students’ learning experience.  The majority of coursework will be asynchronous.  Synchronous activities will be scheduled by the faculty and will be listed in the course syllabus at the beginning of the semester. 

The DNP Project
The culmination of the practice doctorate is the successful completion of the DNP Project that demonstrates the synthesis of the student’s experiences.  The DNP project will be reviewed and evaluated by a faculty chair and the doctoral academic affairs committee.  The chair will be a member of the University of Louisville School of Nursing faculty with doctoral preparation and who has experience relevant to the student’s topic of interest.  Successful completion of the DNP project demonstrates the synthesis of the student’s coursework and practice application and culminates in a final manuscript and public presentation.

To view past UofL DNP projects, visit Doctor of Nursing Practice Papers | School of Nursing | University of Louisville

Licensure Disclosure
DNP graduates from the UofL School of Nursing are prepared to apply for APRN certification in their population track upon graduation; however, educational preparation does not guarantee professional licensure. If you have questions regarding Kentucky APRN licensure, please contact the Kentucky Board of Nursing (kbn.ky.gov/aprnlicenseinfo/Pages/default.aspx). For APRN licensure questions in other states, please contact the respective state board of nursing (ncsbn.org/contact-bon.htm).


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The bachelor of science in nursing, master of science in nursing, and doctor of nursing practice programs at University of Louisville are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.