HomeNursingDoctor of Nursing PracticeAcademic Plan

Academic Plan

The DNP program includes course work in critical decision-making, ethical leadership, social justice, nursing theory, informatics, evidence-based practice, organizational systems and health policy.

Courses are offered in a semester format. Class sessions are scheduled monthly: Friday evenings from 5:00-9:00 pm and Saturdays from 9:00am-4:00pm. Students complete a total of 540 hours of practicum arranged by the student. Faculty advisors work with students and site mentors to coordinate learning experiences for each student that contributes to the completion of course requirements and the systems change project.

Degree requirements

A minimum of 21 classroom credits and nine clinical credits are required to graduate.

An overall minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.

Students in the DNP program will complete a portfolio including systems change project prior to graduation.

St. Catherine University's DNP course of study has been carefully designed to meet the AACN DNP Essentials requirements. Students who come into the DNP program with less than 460 master's degree practicum hours will complete additional practicum hours at 60 hours per credit to equal the required 1000 total hours required by AACN.

Students may choose to enhance their portfolio and course of study with additional credits from the Holistic Health Studies department or other related fields.

Course sequence

Fall Semester

  • NURS 8500: Underpinnings of the Discipline of Nursing (4 credits)
  • NURS 8515: Outcome Evaluation (1 credit)
  • NURS 8501: Practicum (1 credit)*

January Term

  • NURS 7991: Topics: Introduction to Epidemiology (1 credit)**
  • NURS 7992: Topics: Basic Graduate Nursing Informatics (2 credits)**

Spring Semester

  • NURS 8520: Advanced Evidence-Based Practice (4 credits)
  • NURS 8525: Advanced Informatics (2 credits)
  • NURS 8502: Practicum (1 credit) *

Fall Semester

  • NURS 8535: Leadership in Organizations and Systems: Implications for Practice (3 credits)
  • NURS 8536: Health Care Economics and Finance (3 credits)
  • NURS 8503: Practicum (1 credit)*

January Term

  • NURS 8504: Practicum (1 credit)

Spring Semester

  • NURS 8540: Health Care: Power and Politics (4 credits)
  • NURS 8505: Practicum (1 credit)

System Change Project Credit

  • NURS 8600: Systems Change Project (4 credits) ***


  • NURS 8610:Systems Change Project: Part One (2 credits)
  • NURS 8620: Systems Change Project: Part Two (2 credits)


  • NURS 8601: Systems Change Project: Part One (1 credit)
  • NURS 8602: Systems Change Project: Part Two (1 credit)
  • NURS 8603: Systems Change Project: Part Three (1 credit)
  • NURS 8604: Systems Change Project: Part Four (1 credit)

*NURS 8501-8503 Practicum courses must be completed before enrollment in the Systems Change Project (SCP) credits.

**NURS 7991: Introduction to Epidemiology and NURS 7992: Basic Graduate Nursing Informatics are master’s level courses and taken only if not completed at the graduate level prior to beginning DNP coursework.

Systems Change Project Credits may be taken in the second year; however, last SCP credit cannot be taken before Year 2-Spring semester.

Course descriptions are published in the current Graduate Academic Catalog maintained by the Office of the Registrar.

View DNP course descriptions now »