2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Doctor of Nursing Practice, DNP


The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is an innovative, solution-focused program designed to prepare advanced practice nurses to lead efforts in solving complex healthcare issues and developing new healthcare opportunities. Building on TCU's mission, "Learning to Change the World," DNP students are charged with "Making a Difference in Healthcare."

The practice doctorate in nursing provides the terminal academic preparation for nursing practice. The purpose of this program is to prepare students to assume clinical leadership positions in a variety of healthcare, business, government and educational organizations.

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment and scholarship in nursing practice.
  2. Utilize scientific knowledge to evaluate new and current approaches in nursing practice and healthcare delivery to promote optimal outcomes.
  3. Provide leadership in organizations and systems to assure quality care delivery models.
  4. Design, deliver, direct and disseminate evidence-based practices.
  5. Use information systems to design, select, use and evaluate programs of care, outcomes of care and care systems.
  6. Advocate for healthcare practice change through policy development and evaluation.
  7. Assume leadership roles for effective trans-disciplinary collaboration to achieve optimal outcomes.
  8. Employ ethical principles to decision-making in healthcare practices and systems.
  9. Demonstrate advanced clinical reasoning and judgment in the management of complex clinical situations and systems.

DNP Program

The TCU DNP is a completely online practice doctorate designed to prepare experts in specialized advanced nursing practice. The focus is heavily on practice that is innovative and evidence-based, reflecting the application of credible research findings and theories to improving healthcare outcomes.

A master's degree from an accredited program and current recognition as an advanced practice nurse by appropriate certification and licensing boards is required for admission to the advanced practice track. All students are required to maintain their advance practice recognition through practice requirements defined by appropriate certification and licensing boards during the program.

For direct matriculation into the DNP nursing administration track, a master's degree in administration, current registered nurse license and employment in an administrative role are required. Administrative certification is preferred.

If the applicant does not hold a master’s degree in either advanced practice or administration, then 20 hours of Clinical Nurse Specialist role or 18 hours of Nursing Administration and Leadership role curriculum are offered as a post-master’s certificate, which allows matriculation into the DNP program.

The DNP degree may be completed in two years (24 months) at the minimum. The first year is typically composed of didactic courses. The second year focuses on the fulfillment of practice and final project requirements. Additional courses are also available to help prepare students for teaching in academia.

Admission Requirements

Students will be selected based on the evaluation of a portfolio of evidence to include the following:

  • Completed on-line application.
  • Master's degree with focus in specialty nursing or administration and minimum GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Receipt of two official transcripts from all universities and colleges attended.
  • Unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse (RN) in the United States.
  • For advanced practice roles:
    • Current recognition as advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) by state Board of Nursing in a state where the role is recognized.
  • For nurse administrators:
    • Current licensure as a registered nurse.
    • National certification in administration preferred.
    • Additional coursework will be required if the master's degree is not in nursing.
  • Resume or curriculum vita.
  • Three professional references (suggestions are from a supervisor, previous faculty or other professional reference).
  • Satisfactory completion of in-person interview.
  • An essay addressing 1) specific personal, academic and/or professional strengths or accomplishments and how these qualify you as a strong candidate for the TCU DNP program; 2) your interest in a clinical doctorate and how the program goals will help you achieve your goals; and 3) an overview of your proposed area of interest for your final capstone project. The essay is to be double spaced with one-inch margins, Times New Roman 12 font and a maximum of two pages.
  • Remittance of a $500 non-refundable deposit. This deposit will be credited to the student’s account upon successful completion of the first semester.

* All submitted materials become the property of TCU.

Due to higher education regulations and the complexity of rules and regulations of some states, Texas Christian University cannot accept new applications for admissions to its distance education programs and courses from students living in Alabama, Iowa, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Maryland. TCU is also unable to allow for-credit field experiences, including internships, clinical and practicums, to take place in these states. We regret this restriction, as it is our goal to offer a quality education to students everywhere. Please visit the website for an interactive map showing state authorization: http://www.cte.tcu.edu/distance-learning/distance-learning-state-authorization/.

Satisfactory completion of drug screen and background check is required prior to beginning practicum hours.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit hours are not used to satisfy degree requirements and are not used in the calculation of the cumulative GPA.


Pass/no-credit courses are disregarded in the calculation of the student's GPA.

DNP Degree Requirements

The post-master's DNP degree requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework for completion. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the program. Minimum coursework requirements are:

Year One

NDNP 81113Complexity and Innovation in Healthcare

NDNP 81123Biostatistics for the Advanced Health Practitioner

NDNP 81233Decision Science and Informatics

NDNP 81243Translational Research

NDNP 81353Health Care Policy and Politics

NDNP 81363Emerging Sciences for Advanced Practice

NDNP 82181Advanced Practicum I

NDNP 82181: 4 semesters

Year Two


NDNP 82282Advanced Practicum II

NDNP 88082Advanced Project


NDNP 82282Advanced Practicum II

NDNP 88082Advanced Project

A minimum of 4 hours of NDNP 80082 is required to complete the degree program. Students may enroll in additional hours, as needed to complete the requirements for the project.

A student must complete the DNP degree within five academic years from the semester they first began coursework. Extension of time must be applied for in writing to the DNP director, who will then make a recommendation to the dean of Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The letter should explain why the degree was not completed within the time limit and should present a schedule for completing the program. Additional courses may be assigned to students who do not complete the degree within the time limit.

Elective Oncology Courses

Nursing 60811Advanced Oncology Nursing I:Practicum

Nursing 60813Advanced Oncology Nursing I

Nursing 60821Advanced Oncology Nursing II: Practicum

Nursing 60823Advanced Oncology Nursing II

Nursing 60832Advanced Oncology Nursing Residency

Nursing 60834Palliative and End of Life Care

Academic Rating System

The definition of grades and grade points is as follows:

Grades Grade Points  Grade Descriptions
A 4.00 Excellent
A- 3.67 Good
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67 Marginal
C+ 2.33 Unsatisfactory
C 2.00
C- 1.67
F 0.00 Failing
I Incomplete
P Pass
NC No Credit
W Withdrew
Q Dropped by permission of the dean
AU Audit

DNP students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 in accordance with provisions described under "Academic Warning." All grades are included in the computation of the GPA, but no more than one grade of "C" or lower may be utilized in satisfying degree requirements.

An "I" (incomplete) grade is recorded when the student and instructor have determined that the work required for a course cannot be completed within the term of enrollment due to circumstances beyond the student's control. Under no circumstances will a grade of "I" be given to avoid earning an "F" for the course.

The "I" grade must be removed within the first 60 days of the regular semester immediately following or it is changed to an "F." Any extension of this time must have written approval of the instructor and the dean. This policy does not apply to graduate thesis, thesis-recital, advanced project and dissertation hours.

Until the "I" grade is removed, progression in the program will be at the discretion of the DNP director.

The practicum and project must be completed within two academic years.

Grade Point Average

Two GPAs are maintained by TCU:

  1. A semester average based on courses taken at TCU during a particular term; and
  2. A cumulative average based on all work attempted at TCU.

A student's GPA is computed by dividing the number of grade points (grade points earned per semester hour for the successful completion of academic work) by the number of hours (total credit hours attempted at TCU, excluding those attempted on a pass/no- credit basis).

Full-Time Students

DNP students who achieve a GPA of less than 3.0 in any semester or term will be placed on academic warning. Students can be removed from that status by achieving a 3.0 cumulative average by the end of the next six hours of enrollment. If a student should fail to do so, further enrollment will be granted only by the special recommendation of the DNP director and with permission of the dean of the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Part-Time Students

DNP students enrolled for less than a full load will be placed on academic warning when their accumulated part-time course load totals at least six hours and falls below a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Students can be removed from that status by achieving a 3.0 cumulative average by the end of the next six hours of enrollment. If a student should fail to do so, further enrollment is granted only by the special recommendation of the DNP director and with permission of the dean of the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences.