The DNP degree is the highest practice degree in nursing. With the increasing complexity of health care and the nationwide demand for more doctorally prepared nurses, our program will increase the number of expert practitioners prepared to translate research into evidence-based practice. Our graduates also will be prepared to lead teams of health care professionals in a wide variety of settings to improve patient outcomes. Our DNP program emphasizes patient safety and quality improvement, leadership, health policy, and organizational systems. With an online format geared toward the working nurse, students will come to VCU three times per year at the beginning of each semester, generally for 2-3 days at a time.

Designed to accommodate master’s-prepared nurses already established in advanced practice registered nurse or nurse executive positions, the D.N.P. program is planned as a post-master’s degree requiring completion of a minimum of 39 credits. While most students will likely choose the part-time plan of study option, full-time study also will be offered. The program will employ an online format with students coming to campus three times per year.


In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must:

  1. Be a graduate of an accredited (ACEN, CCNE or CNEA) master’s degree nursing program
  2. Have a current unrestricted RN license or authorization to practice as an RN in the U.S.
  3. Have a current certification in an advanced practice specialty (NP, CNS or nursing administration certification) by the time of entry into the program**
  4. Applicants whose native language is not exclusively English must provide evidence of English language proficiency by submitting one of the following test scores taken within 24 months at the time of application:
    • TOEFL iBT: 100 with the following minimum subsection scores
      • Reading: 22
      • Listening: 22
      • Speaking: 26
      • Writing: 24
      • IELTS: 7.5 overall band score