Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

APU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program uses an evidence-based clinical approach that prepares nurses at the highest level of practice for the current, complex healthcare environment.

Based on a strong scientific foundation, evidence-based practice, leadership, and organizational analysis, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is designed to prepare nurses at the highest level of practice for the current, complex healthcare environment. An evidence-based clinical approach emphasizes the prevention, assessment, and treatment of complex health issues.

Program Details

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program offers doctoral-level studies in a clinically-focused learning environment. The DNP prepares advanced practice nurses to bring the highest level of clinical expertise to patients, nursing students, health care systems, health policy formation, and clinical research. Graduates of the DNP help contribute to the body of nursing knowledge and the practice of nursing to improve health care globally.


The curriculum provides theoretical and empirical knowledge essential for advanced nursing practice, clinical research, health policy formation, and nursing education.

Core courses include: wellness promotion theory, statistical analysis, social ethics, epidemiology and population health, program evaluation, translational research, informatics, spirituality and health, and organizational leadership. The courses prepare students to implement the use of translational research approaches in health care. Coursework in these areas enables students to identify and formulate a translational research project as the culmination of their program.

DNP Course Outcomes

Program courses address DNP Essentials1 to:

  • Provide students with the theoretical and scientific foundations of the discipline.
  • Enable students to use frameworks for understanding sources of knowledge in nursing, modes of inquiry, and models of scholarship.
  • Enable students to critique, articulate, test, apply, evaluate, and implement translational research.
  • Enable students to articulate the intersections of the profession with the Christian worldview.
  • Empower students with the knowledge base to formulate healthcare policies.
  • Allow students to critically examine, evaluate, and effectively translate nursing and other scientific knowledge with the goal of bringing positive changes to healthcare practice and general population health. (DNP Essentials I)
  • Empower students to, based on scientific findings, utilize organizational and systems leadership competencies to effectively and ethically engage current and future health, safety, and other quality improvement issues to diverse organizational cultures and populations. (DNP Essentials II)
  • Enable students to engage in collaborative leadership for the implementation, evaluation, and generation of evidence-based practice to guide improvements in practice and health outcomes. (DNP Essentials III)
  • Enable students to demonstrate proficiency in the analysis and utilization of information systems/technology and patient care technology to improve quality in health care delivery. (DNP Essentials IV)
  • Empower students to critically analyze health policy proposals/policies and advocate for equitable and ethical policies within health care. (DNP Essentials V)
  • Help students effectively lead in the development and implementation of interprofessional collaboration for the improvement of patient and population health outcomes. (DNP Essentials VI)
  • Allow students to employ evidence-based prevention through the analysis of epidemiological, bio-statistical, environmental, and other appropriate data related to individual, aggregate, and population health. (DNP Essentials VII)
  • Prepare students to practice a specialization within the larger domain of nursing by demonstrating refined assessment skills and base practice on the application of nursing and other sciences as appropriate to their area. (DNP Essentials VIII)


GNRS 703Spirituality and Health3
GNRS 705Social Ethics and Health Policy3
GNRS 712Advanced Evaluation Research3
GNRS 713Advanced Statistical Analysis I3
GNRS 716Translational Research3
GNRS 717Health Technology and Informatics3
GNRS 718Organizational Leadership and Strategic Planning3
Choose one of the following:3-4
Wellness Promotion and Health Maintenance
ONP: Team-based Care and the Role of the Oncology Nurse Practitioner
and ONP: Clinical Trials Nursing 1
Choose one of the following:3-4
Population Health and Epidemiology
ONP: Cancer Biology and Assessment
and ONP: Cancer Therapeutics 2
GNRS 732DNP Clinical Residency 3, 40
GNRS 736DNP Scholarly Project Seminar: Evaluation and Dissemination2
GNRS 780Doctoral Seminar I: Elements of a Proposal and IRB Application3
GNRS 791Doctor of Nursing Practice Intensive I1
GNRS 792Doctor of Nursing Practice Intensive II1
GNRS 793Doctor of Nursing Practice Intensive III1
GNRS 794Doctor of Nursing Practice Intensive IV1
GNRS 798Continuous Doctoral Study0
ONP: Symptom and Side Effect Burden
and ONP: Survivorship and the Psychosocial Impact of Cancer 6
Theories of Teaching and Instruction 7
Leadership and Role Development in Nursing Education 7
Assessment, Curriculum, Development, and Outcomes 7
Clinical Practicum in Nursing Education 7
Faith Integration and Nursing Scholarship
Psychosocial Issues of Older Adults
Health Disparities and Vulnerable Populations
Research in Nursing and Health
Doctoral Seminar II: Developing a Grant Proposal
Doctoral Seminar III: Writing for Publication
Doctoral Seminar IV: Developing Professional Presentations
Special Topics 8
Total Units39-54

DNP Scholarly Project

The DNP is a practice-focused doctorate that includes integrative practice experiences and an intense practice immersion experience. This is reflected in the clinical residency courses. Each student generates an evidence-based scholarly project as an integral part of their practice experience. There are a number of practice doctorates at the university, so DNP students have opportunities for interprofessional coursework and collaborative projects.


The DNP program offers clinical and leadership residency. The clinical and leadership residency course is GNRS 732, in which students concentrate on the development of their clinical and leadership roles in advanced practice nursing. The focus of the clinical portion of the residency hours is within an advanced practice specialty area. The focus of the leadership portion of the residency hours is developing students for leadership roles in healthcare organizations. During the leadership residency, students are expected to progress in the conceptualization, implementation, and evaluation of their DNP scholarly project.

Residency Practice Hours

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) requires a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical residency in a DNP program, and Azusa Pacific University’s School of Nursing requires 1,000 hours of clinical and leadership experience. Students who have completed an Advanced Practice RN (APRN) program, such as Nurse Practitioner (NP) or Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), from an accredited institution may transfer up to 500 clinical hours from the APRN program to the DNP program, and must then complete the other 500 clinical hours. Students who have not completed an APRN program (NP or CNS) are required to complete a total of 1,000 hours of advanced clinical and leadership experience. The DNP program requires that students have ongoing clinical work experience.


University graduate admission and program-specific requirements must be met before an application is complete (see Admission to the University). Program-specific application requirements are available online.

International students should contact Graduate and Professional Admissions for application procedures.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program shall be able to:
  1. Utilize nursing, bioethical, physical, spiritual, psychosocial and organizational sciences in the planning, implementation and evaluation of advanced clinical nursing practice.
  2. Provide transformative and collaborative leadership in the organization and management of health care delivery systems for ethnically and culturally diverse populations to improve patient and population outcomes.
  3. Critically examine, develop and translate research and other evidence as a basis for developing, implementing, and evaluating advanced clinical nursing practice and health care delivery.
  4. Employ current technological and informational advances from health care and other disciplines to promote the highest level of health care delivery.
  5. Actively participate in evaluating, formulating and implementing health care policies that address health disparities and health care from a social justice and ethical framework.
  6. Integrate faith traditions and Christian values in the development of professional and\ advanced nursing practice.