Graduate Catalog

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Program Description

For complete course descriptions, click here.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is designed for students who are engaged in advanced nursing practice and want to improve health outcomes. St. Catherine's practice doctorate program educates master's prepared nurses to:

  • develop advanced competencies for increasingly complex practice roles
  • enhance knowledge that improves nursing practice and health outcomes
  • assume leadership to strengthen healthcare practice, programs and policies

DNPs are new to many healthcare facilities and academic settings, however they are well prepared to take on leadership roles.

The DNP program at St. Catherine University educates scholar-practitioners who influence, implement and evaluate needed systems and policy changes in challenging and changing times.

Practice-focused Doctoral Education

The DNP degree is championed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, which has called for more highly educated nurses to meet the healthcare needs of a changing population.

Careers for DNP Graduates

DNPs can be expected to take on leadership roles in their specialty areas of practice, such as chief nursing executive, director of a primary care clinic, academic faculty or director of a system-wide quality improvement department. Additionally, DNPs are prepared and educated to practice in a variety of professional, academic and healthcare organizations.

DNP Plan of Study

The DNP program is offered on a full-time schedule, meeting on St. Catherine's campus in St. Paul, Minnesota, one weekend per month, and can be completed in 24-27 months.

The degree requires completion of 30 credits. A systems change project is included in the course requirements. The program includes coursework in ethical leadership, social justice, interprofessional collaboration to improve population health, the knowledge of the discipline of nursing, informatics, evidence-based practice, organizational systems, healthcare economics and health policy.

The hybrid courses are innovative and include classroom, practicum and cohort experiences. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared to improve healthcare outcomes among populations using evidenced-based practice innovations. Graduates are prepared to assume leadership in shaping healthcare policy, implementing changes in healthcare practice at the systems level, and demonstrating evidence-based decision making related to healthcare outcomes for individuals and populations.

In-class sessions are held on Friday evenings and Saturdays monthly. Clinical practicums will vary depending on site and learning needs and preference of the student and clinical site mentor(s).


This nursing education program accreditated by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). Contact information for the NLNAC is: 3343 Peachtree Rd. N.E., Suite 850, Atlanta, Georgia 30326, phone: 404-975-5000,


A minimum of 30 credits. The overall minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required. Students in the DNP program complete a systems change project prior to graduation.

Students are expected to complete the DNP Program within four years of initial enrollment.

Major Requirements


NURS 6012 Basic Graduate Nursing Informatics (2 cr)
NURS 7991 Topics: Introduction to Epidemiology (1 cr)

DNP courses:
INDI 8515 Outcome Evaluation (1 cr)
NURS 8500 Underpinnings of the Discipline of Nursing (4 cr)
NURS 8501 DNP Practicum (1 cr)
NURS 8502 DNP Practicum (1 cr)
NURS 8503 DNP Practicum (1 cr)
NURS 8504 DNP Practicum (1 cr)
NURS 8505 DNP Practicum (1 cr)
NURS 8520 Advanced Evidence-Based Practice (4 cr)
NURS 8525 Advanced Informatics (2 cr)
NURS 8535 Leadership in Systems and Organizations (3 cr)
NURS 8536 Health Care Finance and Economics (3 cr)
NURS 8540 Health Care: Power, Policy and Politics (4 cr)
NURS 8600 Systems Change Project Practicum* (4 cr)

*May also be completed by taking 8610 and 8620 (2 cr each) or four 1-credit courses

Optional "electives" from nurse educator program for DNP students interested in teaching nursing:

NURS 6693: Nurse as Educator (3 credits)
NURS 7453: Instructional Technology (3 credits)
NURS 7553: Curriculum Design in  the Discipline of Nursing (3 credits)
NURS 7603: Evaluation and Educational Measurement (3 credits)
NURS 7653: Leadership in Designing Systems to Support Change in Education (3 credits)


Students complete at least 540 advanced clinical practicum hours related to the systems change project, and need to have a total of at least 1000 clinical hours at the completion of the DNP program. (Note: A maximum of 460 hours may be applied from previous graduate level nursing clinical/practicum experience.) Students identify a site and site mentor for the systems change project, which may be conducted at the student's practice setting. Faculty collaborate with students to facilitate selection of mentors and clinical practicum experiences.



  • B (3.0) or better in every course
  • Adherence to the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program student policies


According to the DNP Student Policies, a Guided Improvement Plan is developed with students who do not meet the requirements to remain in good standing.


Students who satisfy the conditions of the written improvement plan, as determined by the faculty member, DNP Program Director and Nursing Graduate Programs Director, are removed from probation.


Students who do not satisfy the conditions of the Guided Improvement Plan, as determined by the faculty member, DNP Program Director and Nursing Graduate Programs Director are dismissed from the program.