Nursing (DNP)

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Nursing (DNP) Overview

At 27 credits, Chatham’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program—designed for professional nurses who hold master’s degrees—is one of the fastest-to-degree programs in the market. The program can be completed in three to five terms and 500 practice experience hours. Each online course is 15 weeks in length, and only one brief residency is required. The DNP emphasizes innovative, evidence-based practice with ongoing scientific inquiry and the application of credible research findings to promote safe, quality, patient-centered healthcare to a diverse population with complex needs. It also allows students to individualize their learning activities specific to their clinical interests and preferred focus areas. Graduates are able to skillfully promote and lead organizational change for the benefit of patient and system outcomes. 
Degrees Offered
  • DNP
Program School
Application Deadline

July 1 and November 1

The deadline for fall term is July 1, and the deadline for spring term is November 1.

Credits Required


27 credits makes ours one of the most economical DNP programs on the market.

Cost per credit


Cost consists of program tuition (cost per credit times number of credits) as well as any applicable University and degree-specific fees.

U.S. News & World Report

Top 100

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program (along with Chatham's MSN) was ranked in the top 100 of all programs in the U.S. News & World Report "2018 Best Online Programs" edition.

Explore the Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree:

The DNP program is a low-residency, writing intensive, online program. Students can complete the 27-credit DNP program (including 500 supervised practice experience hours) either full-time or part-time. The program includes a mandatory on-campus residency and culminates in an evidence-based practice clinical immersion capstone experience. Practice experiences are completed at approved practice experience sites with the guidance of an approved preceptor. 


  • Online application submitted directly to Chatham University.
  • Official academic transcripts from all colleges or universities previously attended.
  • Applicant must have completed Master of Science in Nursing degree – cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 or greater. Please note that while we do not require any specific pre-requisite classes, Chatham faculty expect that students will enter the program with foundational knowledge of research methodology and basic statistics (from their baccalaureate or master’s program).
  • Copy of Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Copy of current RN license
  • Two letters of professional recommendation addressing the candidate's strengths, scholarly achievements and activities, and ability to succeed in the program. 
  • Virtual 20-minute interview with two nursing faculty members.
  • Admissions Essay (must be an original piece of work and not a previous academic assignment). The essay should address the following prompt: Describe a clinical problem in your practice setting and explain why it is a problem warranting a change to impact patient and or organizational outcomes.
    • The essay should be at least 500 words and professional, not personal. While you may not currently function in a direct care role, please be sure your problem can be tied to patient outcomes. The problem you address in the essay is subject to faculty approval once enrolled in the DNP program and may or may not serve as your DNP project's focus. You may use citations and references to support your essay. Essays should be written according to APA Style 7th Edition and free from spelling and grammatical errors. 

State Restrictions for Online Learning

Chatham University requires state authorization to provide distance education in states other than their own. Please follow the link below to see if Chatham is authorized to deliver instruction in your state. Also, this program has a required practice experience component. Please check the information in the Practice Experience and Special requirements column to see if the state you plan on completing your practice experience hours is approved or has special restrictions.

State Authorization for Distance Education and Practical Experiences

International Applicants

International Applicants must submit additional documentation to the Office of Admissions. A list of these documents can be found on the International Admission web page.

Documentation of Clinical Experience is required for admission into Chatham University's Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

As the DNP degree is a clinical doctorate, the 1000 post-baccalaureate practice experience hour requirement as stated in The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006) must be strictly adhered to and the hours must be completed in a healthcare setting prior to degree conferral. Since Chatham's program is a post-master's DNP program, Chatham requires that each applicant provide sufficient and accurate evidence of the completion of 500 supervised hours achieved post-baccalaureate, and already completed upon entering into Chatham's DNP program. While enrolled in the DNP program, the remaining 500 supervised hours will be completed.

Applicants that have earned an advanced practice certification (e.g., NP, CRNA*, CNS, and CNM) must provide a copy of their current national certification as evidence of having completed 500 supervised practice experience hours since completing a baccalaureate nursing education program. *NBCRNA certificate holders must submit a copy of their NBCRNA transcript as provided by NBCRNA. This transcript will specifically reference the number of practice hours in the applicant's program.

Applicants who have not yet earned an advanced practice certification must provide a thorough description of the supervised practice experience hours completed while enrolled in an NP, CRNA, CNS, or CNM program as validated by an official transcript. Acceptable descriptions include:

  • Completion of the Verification of Master’s Precepted Clinical Hours form, signed by an official from the school at which the clinical hours were completed
  • An official letter from the master’s program director or mentor who supervised the required practice experience hours, documenting the total number of hours completed
  • Official practice experience time logs which total the number of hours completed, and are signed by the preceptor/mentor
  • Course syllabi that demonstrate the number of practice experience hours required in each course

Students who have not completed a master's curriculum inclusive of 500 academically supervised practice experience hours may apply to Chatham as a Non-Degree Seeking student to pursue these hours.

  • Chatham offers the course NUR697 Nursing Practice Experience, designed for those planning admission to Chatham University’s DNP program who lack the required practice experience hours. There are one credit (90-hours), two credit (170-hours), and three credit (250 hours) versions of the course available. Students may not take the course twice within the same term. Students may begin the process of applying for formal DNP admission while enrolled in NUR697. It is important to note that Non-Degree completion of NUR697 does not guarantee or imply automatic admission to the Chatham DNP program. If you have additional questions about registration in this course, please contact the Admission Office at 412-365-1498.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a clinical doctorate that is earned through taking courses that prepare nurses to practice as clinical leaders in the healthcare delivery system. Graduates of the DNP program have a skillset and competencies to function in clinical leadership roles depending on student interest and career trajectory. 

NUR702: Developing Evidence-Based Practice

This course prepares students with skills and competencies needed to build and assimilate knowledge for establishing a scholarly trajectory at a high level of complexity. The course consists of 125 practice experience hours and is the foundation for the culminating capstone project focusing on improving practice.

NUR707: Information Technology and Data-Driven Decision Making

This course provides students with an opportunity to examine the value of technology and information systems to support evidence-based practice, guidelines, and policy across various health settings. Various methods for gathering, managing, and synthesizing data will be introduced in order to conduct analyses for quality improvement, financial, and outcome evaluations.

NUR799: Capstone Experience

This course provides an opportunity for the student to implement and evaluate a planned evidence-based practice change project. This project lays the groundwork for future scholarship. This course culminates in a tangible and deliverable academic product derived from the practice immersion experience. A total of 250 practice experience hours are included in the course.

View Full Curriculum

It is very rewarding to teach the DNP students because they are eager to learn, committed to their patient outcomes, accomplished nurses, and developing scholars. They find the experience at Chatham rewarding as well and are genuinely appreciative of the faculty.

— DIANE HUNKER, Ph.D., MBA, RN, director of nursing programs, professor

Faculty Introduction

Faculty members are accomplished teachers, scholars, practitioners, and active leaders in the field.

Full Faculty
Photo of Diane Hunker
Program Director of Nursing, DNP Program Coordinator & Professor of Nursing
Photo of Lorri Birkholz
Assistant Professor of Nursing; Interim Director for Healthcare Informatics
Photo of Emily Hopkins
Associate Professor of Nursing, MSN Program Coordinator, IRB Co-Chair
Photo of Lora Walter
Assistant Professor of Nursing, RN-BSN Program and Pathways to Nursing (PTN) Coordinator
Photo of two women speaking at a poster presentation event

BSN to DNP Executive Track

Chatham’s BSN to DNP Executive Track is designed for nurses holding a BSN who want to fast-track their career and lead clinical change at the executive level. This competitive program focuses on leadership excellence; advocacy and policy; health promotion; and global health. 

Learn About BSN-DNP : Checkerboard 2 - BSN to DNP Executive Track
Photo of a man presenting a poster to another man

Two-day Residency

While the program is online, you’ll have the chance to come together with your cohort for an inspirational two-day residency at Chatham’s beautiful campus, where you’ll present scholarly posters on what your capstone evidence-based projects will be.

Decorative image reading FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a DNP- and a Ph.D.-prepared nurse? What is Evidence-Based Practice? I want to be a nursing faculty member; is this the right program for me? Read the answers to these and other FAQ.

View FAQs : Checkerboard 5 - Frequently Asked Questions

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Rita Armstrong, DNP '14

Exemplifying Leadership—Sandra Rader, DNP '09

Nola the Nurse and Scharmaine Baker-Lawson, DNP '08

Celebrate Nurses Day with Joyce Kyung, DNP '21

In celebration of National Nurses Week, Pulse@ChathamU interview DNP alumna, Joyce Kyung about what led her to nursing, the impact of her Chatham education, and how we can honor nurses today and always.

Purple slide with text reading Alumni Profile, and a small headshot in the corner

Battling the Unknown: Christine Bingman, DNP ’20

“Sometimes it [COVID-19] weighs very heavily on me. You’re trying to ensure the safety of everyone—the patients, the employees, our visitors, and there initially was a lot of angst related to a lack of knowledge. It was really a time period in which you felt like you were repeating yourself, trying to say the same message, and at the same time you’re trying to manage your own feelings in terms of “Are we doing the right thing?” and “Is this the direction we’re supposed to head in?”

Carolina De Varona speaks to two women wearing business casual attire in front of a poster presentation.

Residency and Poster Session

During the two-day DNP residency, candidates present posters outlining what their evidence-based projects will be, and enjoy meeting their cohort and professors in person.  

Purple slide with text reading Alumni Profile, and a small headshot in the corner

Alumna Profile: Kimberly Olszewski, DNP ‘12

Kimberly Olszewski had owned her own occupational health company since 2000 when she decided to go back for her DNP. “I was looking to get more involved in teaching,” she says. “With the flexibility of being a business owner, I could make that happen—I could go to school, be a teacher, be a practitioner.”

Do you have questions?

We make it easy to get in touch:

Call Us


Text Us

412-419-3772 (standard text/SMS rates will apply)

Chat with Us

Launch Chat Now

Email Us

Request Information

Complete our Request for Information form

Or, answer a few questions and we will be glad to help.

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