Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program

Message from the DNP Program Director









Consistent with the other doctoral programs within the University of Rochester, students in the DNP program are required to complete a minimum of 90 credits as well as a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours. Students complete coursework in evidence-based practice and translational research including advanced statistics and epidemiology; leadership, systems management and strategic planning; and health policy, informatics and interprofessional partnerships. Clinical practicum courses and capstone work are self directed to the student’s identified clinical focus specialty (e.g. well child care delivery; health promotion for the seriously mentally ill; developmentally sensitive care of the neonate; complementary therapies for pain management; palliative home care for those with heart failure). Priority access to the vast, rich resources of our academic medical center helps us provide outstanding clinical experiences for students. At the completion of the program, students defend an evidence-based capstone project, which they design as they progress through their practicum experiences and implement through their residency. The capstone project is the practice equivalent to a PhD research dissertation.


The curriculum is designed to produce graduates who will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the highest level of clinically expert practice, including sophisticated diagnostic and treatment competencies.

  • Evaluate current and new practice guidelines and policies, care delivery models and strategies, health outcomes, and approaches to reducing disparities in the care of populations.

  • Use information technology and analytic methods to evaluate multiple sources of outcome data. 

  • Design evidence-based, ethical, safe and cost-effective strategies that improve health care outcomes for individuals or populations. 

  • Implement emerging scientific discoveries and practice innovations in health care. 

  • Collaborate with members of other disciplines to design, lead, implement and evaluate programs and policies for the improvement of health care. 
  • Influence health policy and systems of health care in local, regional, state, national and international forums.

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If a nurse’s career goal is to stay within clinical practice—as opposed to a research-focused career--the DNP program provides an excellent option. DNP studies help students develop sophisticated critical thinking, strategic planning, communication, process management and leadership skills. As research nurses who are PhD-prepared generate new scientific discoveries, DNP-prepared nurses take that information, put it into practice, and evaluate its impact on care delivery and health outcomes. DNP-prepared nurses are equipped for leadership roles in nursing practice, business, administration, translational research, and clinically focused academia.

Due to the increased complexity of health care and the nursing and nursing faculty shortage, the field of nursing is in need of strong nursing leadership. Earning a DNP degree can translate into higher salaries for advanced practice nurses.

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Admission Criteria

  • Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor's or  Master’s degree in nursing

  • Copy of current license or registration by one or more states, provinces, or countries to practice.

  • Transcripts from all previous college-level study reflecting a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for undergraduate work and 3.5 for graduate work.

  • National certification in your advanced practice nursing specialty 

  • Curriculum vitae. 

  • Positive letters of recommendation from a doctorally-prepared academician, a supervisor in an employment setting, and a practicing RN (or APN) familiar with the applicant’s intellectual ability, academic achievement, and professional commitment. 

  • Professional Goal Statement describing career objectives and areas of clinical interest. 

  • Writing sample (academic paper, publication, or other written work on which applicant is first or sole author).

  • For international students for whom English is not the primary language or who did not complete their Master's degree in an English-speaking country, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores >560 for paper-based test and >230 for computer-based test, or > 88 for I-based test.

  • After all of the above have been received, a favorable interview by phone or in person with at least 2 faculty members to discuss career goals and to delineate clinical interests that are clear and compatible with the mentoring capacity of the School of Nursing faculty.

Program Requirements

The University of Rochester requires a minimum of 90 credit hours for completion of the Doctoral degree as well as a minimum of 1000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours.


The program pre-requisites include national specialty certification (if applicable) and at least 2 years practicing as a Registered Nurse (see admission criteria). Degree plans are individualized depending upon each applicant’s master’s degree coursework. Part-time post-Master’s DNP plan of study follows: 

DNP Program Plan

We offer a convenient part-time DNP Program for full-time practitioners. Clinical practicum experiences are tailored to fit students’ learning needs and schedules.  Classes are held on Fridays and the post-Master’s DNP Program can be completed part-time in 3 years.

NLX 464 Informatics, Process Improvement and Value in Healthcare 4 credits

NLX 466 Epidemiology 3 credits

NLX 470 Foundations of Leadership and Organizational Behavior 4 credits

NLX 471 Trends in Health Economics, Policy and Regulation 4 credits

NUR 510 Applied Statistics I 3 credits

NUR 570 Clinical and Translational Research Design 4 credits

NUR 572 Leading Evidence-Based Practice Initiatives in Health Care 3 credits

NUR 573 Interprofessional Partnerships 3 credits

NUR 574 Strategic Planning in Healthcare Organizations 3 credits

NUR 575 Health Policy Development and Political Change 3 credits

NUR 576 DNP Practicum I 3(2)* credits

NUR 577 DNP Practicum II 3(2)* credits

NUR 578 DNP Practicum III (5)* credits

Elective 3 credits

*Course sequencing subject to change

Total Credits = 48
Total DNP Practicum Hours = 504
*Credits vary depending on clinical MS hours

Application materials are available online or from: 
Office of Student Affairs and Admissions
Phone: (585)275-2375 

Please contact DNP Program Director, Lydia Rotondo at (585) 275-9578 to discuss and develop a plan tailored to meet your academic and professional needs.