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Nursing, School of

Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a practice degree program designed to prepare nurses at a doctoral level to lead health care change, serve as nursing faculty, and advance healthcare throughout central and northern California communities. The DNP program prepares nurse leaders and advanced practice nurses for evidence-based practice in patient care, leadership, and educational roles. Graduates are also prepared to serve as clinical faculty in postsecondary nursing education programs. The curriculum is based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (2006) and meets all requirements for national accreditation.

Designed for working professionals, coursework is offered primarily in an online format with intensive sessions held on-site at the San José State University campus at the beginning of each semester. Our graduates will serve as stewards of the nursing discipline and work collaboratively with other disciplines to improve the health and health care systems of our community.

See the SJSU Valley Foundation School of Nursing website for more information: www.sjsu.edu/nursing

Admission Requirements

Prior to applying to the University, students should refer to The Valley Foundation School of Nursing website for information regarding advisement for entry into the DNP degree program. The DNP is a five semester, 37-unit program that can be completed in 23 months of full-time study. It follows the cohort model, and there is no part-time option. It requires 1,000 hours of post-baccalaureate clinical practice. Applications open in the fall for admission in the following Fall semester.

The Valley Foundation School of Nursing uses the Nursing CAS for submission of applications to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

  1. MSN from an accredited institution or a master's degree in a health-related field with additional post-baccalaureate courses in nursing theories, research methods, transcultural nursing and informatics;
  2. Overall GPA of 3.0 or better;
  3. Current, unrestricted California RN license;
  4. National Certification in a nursing area or specialty; and
  5. Preparation and experience as an APN, administrator, or educator.

In addition, applicants must apply separately for admission to the University and the department.

University Admissions

Applicants must submit a complete graduate application by applying through the CSU Cal State Apply system at calstate.edu/apply and meet all the university admission requirements. Applicants apply separately to the department to obtain admission into the DNP degree program. See the GAPE Graduate Admissions website and this Catalog for general information about graduate admissions at SJSU.

Applicants from countries in which the native language is not English must achieve a minimum English-language proficiency test score as indicated on the Graduate Program Test Requirements webpage at GAPE. For TOEFL Requirements, see the Policies and Procedures section, Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Information in this Catalog.

Requirements for Admission to Classified Standing

Applicants to the DNP program may be fully admitted in Classified status if they meet the admissions requirements for the University and the department. The minimum requirements for admission to the program are as follows:

  1. MSN from an accredited institution or a master's degree in a health-related field with additional post-baccalaureate courses in nursing theories, research methods, transcultural nursing and informatics;
  2. Overall GPA of 3.0 or better;
  3. Current, unrestricted California RN license;
  4. National Certification in a nursing area or specialty; and
  5. Preparation and experience as an APN, administrator, or educator.

All prospective students must also submit the following application materials, first to the Nursing CAS initially, and then to Cal State Apply:

  1. California RN License. Applicant must upload a copy (front and back) of a current and unrestricted RN license. Upload under "License";
  2. Personal Statement. Upload a personal statement outlining your goals as a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Include your intended topic or area of interest for your doctoral project (evidence-based practice, quality improvement, program evaluation) and goals for improved practice. Statements should be typed, in Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and no longer than two pages. Upload under "Personal Statement";
  3. CV/Resume. Upload a copy of your current CV or resume. Upload under "CV/Resume";
  4. United States Veterans. If you are a U.S. Veteran please upload documentation. One seat is available each semester for veterans meeting application criteria. Upload under "Military Papers";
  5. National Certification (if applicable). National certification in a specialty field is a requirement for graduation but NOT for admission. However, if you are currently nationally certified, upload a copy under "Certification";
  6. Writing Sample. Upload an example of a scholarly paper you wrote in a prior course of study or a published manuscript. The example should include citation of scholarly research and proper use of a reference and citation format, grammar, punctuation, and style; and
  7. Verification of Master's program clinical hours. Upload a letter from the university's program director or registrar that verifies the number of clinical hours that were completed within the Master's program. Upload the letter under "Other."

Conditionally Classified Standing

Applicants may be conditionally admitted (admitted with conditions) if they meet the admission requirements for the Graduate Division but do not fully meet departmental admissions requirements. The individual admission notification will explain required terms and conditions for attaining Classified standing.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy

Candidacy denotes that a student is fully qualified to complete the final stages of the Master of Arts degree. Matriculated graduate students must submit a Petition for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy a minimum of one semester prior to graduating. General university requirements for advancement to candidacy are detailed in the Graduate Policies and Procedures section of this catalog. The University requires that all graduate students complete the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) as a condition for advancement to candidacy. Please refer to the SJSU catalog section titled "Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement" for details. For graduate courses that meet the GWAR, please refer to the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations website at http://www.sjsu.edu/gape. Successful completion of NURS 597 including passing the final written paper in this course with a grade of "B" or better, fulfills the GWAR in this program.

Requirements for Graduation

University Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures. Completion of the degree also requires a minimum overall GPA of 3.0.

Practicum Requirement

Practice Experiences in the Curriculum (AACN Essentials, 2006). DNP programs provide rich and varied opportunities for practice experiences aimed at helping graduates achieve the essential and specialty competencies upon completion of the program. In order to achieve the DNP competencies, programs provide a minimum of 1,000 hours of practice post-baccalaureate as part of a supervised academic program. Practice experiences are designed to help students achieve specific learning outcomes related to the DNP Essentials and specialty competencies. These experiences are designed to provide systematic opportunities for feedback and reflection. Experiences include in-depth work with experts from nursing as well as other disciplines and provide opportunities for meaningful student engagement within practice environments. Given the intense practice focus of DNP programs, practice experiences are designed to help students build and assimilate knowledge for advanced specialty practice at a high level of complexity. Therefore, end-of-program practice immersion experiences should be required to provide an opportunity for further synthesis and expansion of the learning developed to that point. These experiences also provide the context within which the final DNP product is completed.

Practice immersion experiences afford the opportunity to integrate and synthesize the essentials and specialty requirements necessary to demonstrate competency in an area of specialized nursing practice. Proficiency may be acquired through a variety of methods, including attaining case requirements, patient or practice contact hours, completing specified procedures, demonstrating experiential competencies, or a combination of these elements. Students who do not have 1,000 hours of eligible post-baccalaureate practice experience complete this requirement through the NURS 580, DNP Practicum. Units are contingent on hours required. Note that all students are required to perform 270 hours (one semester) of practice experience during the DNP program. These hours are performed in conjunction with the doctoral project.

Culminating Experience

Plan B (Project)

All students must complete a doctoral project prior to conferral of the doctoral degree. The doctoral project requires enrollment in the NURS 595, 596, and 597 over consecutive semesters. Each student must form a Doctoral Project Committee comprised of three faculty/clinical professionals. The project committee chair shall be a tenured or tenure-track nursing program faculty member. Qualified individuals whose expertise is germane to the topic may be members of the Doctoral Project Committee pending approval of the committee chair and the student's program advisor. All students are required to perform 270 hours (one semester) of practice experience in conjunction with the doctoral project.

The doctoral project shall be the written product of systematic, rigorous research related to advanced practice and focused on a potential or existing health problem or issue affecting a group or community, rather than an individual. The doctoral project will conform to the following criteria: It shall identify the research problem and question(s), state the major theoretical perspectives, explain the significance of the undertaking, relate it to relevant, scholarly and professional literature, set forth the appropriate sources for and methods of gathering and analyzing the data, and offer a conclusion or recommendation. Students must conduct the project according to ethical principles and present it in an oral defense to the project committee in a public forum. They must also submit one or more manuscripts of the project to an appropriate peer-reviewed journal to complete the program culminating experience.


Course Requirements

Requirements of the Doctorate38
Core Courses27
NURS 574. The Role of Diversity and Social Issues in Healthcare2
NURS 575. Application of Theories in Advanced Nursing Practice2
NURS 576. Application of Biostatistics to Population3
NURS 583. Leadership and Professional Responsibilty in Complex Healthcare Systems2
NURS 584. Technology, Informatics, and Data Management in the Transformation of Healthcare2
NURS 585. Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice3
NURS 586. Transformation of Health Care Systems: Health Policy and Economics2
NURS 587. Principles of Epidemiology3
NURS 591. Curriculum Development3
NURS 592. Evaluation in Nursing Education3
NURS 593. Financial Aspects of Projects and Practice2
Practicum4
NURS 580. DNP Practicum1-6
1,000 hours total, can count prior field work hours. Students may have to take additional course units to make up total hours required.
Culminating Experience6
NURS 595. Translating Evidence into Reflective Practice I2
NURS 596. Translating Evidence into Reflective Practice II2
NURS 597. Doctoral Project2
Oral Defense
Journal Article Submission
Optional Elective2
NURS 594. Application of Evidence-Based Teaching in Nursing2
Optional 2-unit course recommended for students interested in pursuing educational roles

Total Units:38

Elective courses must be planned in consultation with the Graduate Advisor.

Upon completion of the degree requirements, the student must have achieved minimum candidacy and SJSU cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 in order to graduate.