Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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 715Psychosocial Issues of Older Adults3
GNRS 716Translational Research3
GNRS 717Health Technology and Informatics3
GNRS 718Organizational Leadership and Strategic Planning3
GNRS 720Wellness Promotion and Health Maintenance3
GNRS 729Population Health and Epidemiology3
GNRS 733AResidency IA1
GNRS 733BResidency IB1
GNRS 733CResidency IC1
GNRS 734AResidency IIA1
GNRS 734BResidency IIB1
GNRS 734CResidency IIC1
GNRS 735Translational Research Project Seminar3
GNRS 798Continuous Doctoral Study0
Total Units39


The DNP program offers clinical and leadership residency. The clinical residency is composed of GNRS 733A, GNRS 733B, and GNRS 733C, and the leadership residency is composed of GNRS 734A, GNRS 734B, and GNRS 734C. In the clinical residency courses, students concentrate on the development of their clinical role in advanced practice nursing. In the leadership courses, students focus on the development of their leadership role in healthcare organizations. During the leadership residency, students are expected to progress in the conceptualization, implementation, and evaluation of their translational research 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.

Translational Research Project

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

Student Learning Outcomes

DNP graduates are well-prepared to translate new knowledge from research into cost-effective and culturally sensitive clinical practice, and contribute to the development of health policy in the promotion of health, reducing the burden of disability and maintaining quality of life.

The following are the student learning outcomes for the DNP program:

  1. Use 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 healthcare 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 healthcare delivery.
  5. Actively participate in evaluating, formulating, and implementing healthcare 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.