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Capella’s DNP preparatory pathway provides you with the essential skills and knowledge to embark on a Doctor of Nursing Practice program. The three course pathway is intended for registered nurses looking to make a transition from a non-nursing master’s degree into the Capella DNP program.

This flexible online program allows you to work from the comfort of your own space via a variety of online course rooms, and as the DNP program is more practice-based (whereas PHD programs are research-based), you can earn your degree faster and at a pace that suits your life. Additionally, Capella is a proud partner of the American Nurses Association. ANA has chosen Capella as a partner on the ANA Leadership Institute, providing nurse leadership development in a flexible format for nurses at the bedside or in the boardroom.

With a CCNE-accredited* DNP, you'll be prepared to solve complex health care problems and shape systems of care. You will also join in answering the IOM Report's call to double the number of doctoral-educated nurses by 2020* and align with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recommendation to hold the DNP as the new standard credential for all advanced practice nurses by 2015.

Successful completion of the three DNP preparatory pathway program courses ensures automatic enrollment into our DNP program.

Already have an MSN? See our DNP program.

*The DNP degree program at Capella University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 887-6791

Degree Highlights

  • No Residency: The online DNP preparatory pathway program at Capella does not require your participation in an in-person residency, therefore allowing you to spend more time with family and focus on any work commitments you may have.
  • Practice Immersion: Knowledge in the classroom is immediately applicable with this flexible practice immersion option. You will be able to use the evidence-based methods you've learned throughout your coursework to solve real healthcare challenges.
  • Save Time and Money: Maximize your investment and fund your degree through a number of money saving options including employer discounts and military benefits. Calculate your costs and graduation date.
  • Online Learning: Enjoy an online curriculum with 24-hour access to courses that Capella’s virtual course room provides.
  • Professionally Aligned: Our competency based education allows you to gain the relevant competencies that the employers of today require. Discover specifically what you'll learn, and how you can apply the knowledge and skills to make a direct impact on the lives of your patients and staff.  

To learn more about this program, request more information and we will match you with an enrollment counselor who specializes in your area of study.

Degree Outcomes

With your Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Capella you'll have the ability to employ a science-based theoretical foundation to develop and evaluate new practices and approaches to health care delivery, lead planning and implementation of health care technologies, as well as develop, implement, and advocate for health care policy that meets the needs of specific populations.

View full learning and career outcomes report for this program at

Career Outcomes

Common jobs with an online Doctorate in Nursing Practice include nursing administrator, education consultant, chief nursing officer, health care director, lobbyist or legislative consultant, or nursing professor. Potential workplaces include: hospital, clinic, medical center, community health agency, community or technical college, land-based or online university, hospital-based school of nursing, government agency or self employment.