Nursing (DNP)

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Nursing (DNP) Overview

Chatham’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program—designed for professional nurses who hold master’s degrees—is a rigorous program that affords nurses the ability to develop advanced competencies in their own clinical specialty areas. Each online course is 15 weeks in length, and only one brief on-campus residency is required at the end of the program The DNP program curriculum focuses on innovative, evidence-based practice, and systems leadership to promote safe, quality, person-centered healthcare to a diverse population with complex needs. Students will design, implement, evaluate, and disseminate a clinical practice change in their specialty area, typically where they work.

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


The program can be completed in four terms and includes 500 practice experience hours.

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, competency-based program in which students must be able to demonstrate not only what they know, but what they can do. The program includes a brief on-campus residency and culminates in an evidence-based practice clinical immersion experience that will be implemented at the student’s approved practice experience site, which may be the student’s place of work, with an approved preceptor.

The RN-BSNMSN, and DNP programs at Chatham University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.


  • 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.

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. 

Developing Evidence-based Practice

This course prepares students with the skills and competencies needed to assimilate knowledge for scholarly work. Emphasis is focused on the identification of a clinical problem and finding the best evidence for an intervention from established research studies to support a practice change project.

Technology and Informatics for Advanced Practice Nursing

This course focuses on the advanced practice nurse’s role in understanding and using information technology to promote safe, quality, and ethical care delivery across the healthcare continuum. Use of technology and data analysis to inform decision-making, lead inter-professional teams, and communicate with patients will also be explored.

Implementing and Evaluating Evidence-based Practice

This course provides an opportunity for the advanced practice nurse leader to implement, evaluate and disseminate a planned evidence-based practice project using the knowledge and competencies acquired throughout the program. The impact on healthcare delivery systems, health policy, and patient-centered outcomes for diverse populations are also explored.

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

Aerial photo of a building and parking lot in winter

The Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

"It was a wonderful experience. The faculty was available...and having that presence but at the same time that freedom to choose how I wanted to learn at my own pace made Chatham the right choice."—Joyce Kyung, DNP '21

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 Julie Slade
Assistant Program Director/Associate 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 Chair
Photo of Lora Walter
Associate 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 developing competencies in leadership to promote safe, quality, person-centered healthcare to a diverse population with complex needs.

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, students will have the chance to come together with their cohort for an inspirational two-day residency at Chatham’s beautiful campus. The residency occurs at the end of the program, so that you can attend Commencement if desired.

Photo of two male Chatham students sitting in class.

Dedicated Supervision

In addition to working closely with course faculty and an approved preceptor, students will be assigned a DNP Project Chair who will follow them closely as they master competencies needed for a DNP graduate. Demonstration of competencies will be collected using an ePortfolio.

Photo of a boy in a blue t-shirt getting blood drawn by nurse.

Professional Nurse Educator Certificate

The Professional Nurse Educator Certificate is a 12-credit certificate that provides the nurse with the basic educational tools necessary to teach nursing and/or nurses in an academic or clinical setting. The Certificate can be completed in two terms. There is an optional 250 experiential practice-hour practicum course for those students who want to apply their teaching knowledge and skills under the supervision of an educator preceptor for an additional three credits.

Explore the Nurse Educator Certificate : Checkerboard 6 - Professional Nurse Educator Certificate
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 7 - Frequently Asked Questions

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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.

Expand to Get In Touch!