Post-MS to DNP


The University of Utah College of Nursing Post-Masters to Doctor of Nursing Practice (Post MS-DNP) track prepares students for the increasing complexity of health care, the growth in scientific knowledge, and the use of sophisticated technology by offering Masters prepared nurses specific content areas not previously addressed in their nursing education. The College of Nursing offers two different pathways for the Post-MS to DNP specialty track: The Direct Care Pathway and the Organizational Leadership Pathway.

The DNP degree is intended to further the student's focus on leadership roles, with a particular emphasis on translational methods in evidence-based practice to drive innovation in individual patient and population health and in health-care organizations and systems. Students demonstrate their newly acquired expertise through integration of the coursework in a final DNP Scholarly Project.

Post MS-DNP Track Length

The MS-DNP program of study requires students take courses based on the DNP essentials, as well as electives chosen based on a student's previous education, experience, and specialty interests. Here are some details of the program:

  • Minimum of 36-38.5 credit hours in coursework, includes minimum of 3-6 credits of electives
  • Both full-time (9+ credit hours per semester) or part-time programs of study are available
  • The full-time, year-round program of study is 5 semesters in length
  • The part-time program of study will take at least an additional year to complete
  • Additional credit hours may be needed depending on coursework completed during the Masters program, this is individually determined

The courses are both in executive and on-line formats each semesters. The executive format requires the student be on-campus 4 to 5 times over the semester.

Post MS-DNP track Clinical Hour Requirement

  • Per the AACN requirements, all DNP students must meet a minimum 1,000 hours of advanced clinical experienceClinical hours completed done during the student's Masters degree may be applied towards the 1000 hours and 180 hours are included in the MS-DNP coursework
  • If additional hours are needed, students can meet the requirement through the advanced immersion course with the focus on expanding skills and expertise in the areas of leadership, policy setting or quality improvement. This could be within the student's own practice setting, local or national profit and nonprofit institutions or organizations, or the legislature.

Studying at a Distance

The Post-MS to DNP specialty track courses are offered online and/or in an executive format. The executive format courses are offered through campus visits that occur on Friday and Saturdays about once a month.

Additional Information and Program of Study

The Post-MS to DNP plan of study requires completion of the core curriculum, customized specialty courses, and a Capstone Project. An example of the calendar for the executive-style courses is included below. Course descriptions can be found in the University of Utah General Catalog.

Direct Care Pathway (for APRNs)

Organizational Leadership Pathway (for APRNs /non-APRNs)

  • Identify trends in practice to improve patient outcomes
  • Analyze and apply evidence to make improvements in patient care populations
  • Identify potential system changes to improve care of patient populations
  • Facilitate quality improvement projects to improve patient care
  • Understand finance and business principles for clinical providers
  • Summarize key processes used in program planning
  • Apply organizational and systems leadership skills to eliminate health disparities and promote patient safety
  • Project the impact of regulatory, government, and policy change on health care finance, reimburse, and delivery
  • Analyze and predict strategies to positively influence system outcomes.
  • Identify need for program development based on regulatory mandates, market demands and/or system-level outcomes
Sample Program of Study Sample Program of Study

Contact Us

Office of Student Services
Phone: 801-587-3194

Request More Information

Program Manager
Shelley Kern

Faculty Specialty Track Director
Gillian Tufts, DNP, APRN, CFNP


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