Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP - Doctor of Nursing Practice

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Transform health care at the highest level

You’re committed to nursing. You’ve been on the front lines of patient care. You’ve earned your MSN. Now you’re ready for the next level. With our DNP*, you can enhance your leadership, administrative, and organizational skills to improve patient care and outcomes. Our online DNP program offers a professionally relevant curriculum that explores health care delivery, patient advocacy, and health care policy development, implementation, and reform. If you’re driven to reach the highest level of education and lead health care transformation, this CCNE-accredited** program is for you.

Video: BSN, MSN, and for the first time at Capella, DNP. All with FlexPath.

*The DNP is not designed to prepare advanced practice registered nurses for roles as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, or certified nurse anesthetists.

**The BSN, MSN, and DNP degree programs at Capella University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education  (

At a Glance

  • Online
  • CCNE accredited**
  • 8 Core courses
  • 5 Capstone courses with practicum 
  • 52 Total credits

Classes Start October 12th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo FALL20).

DNP Program highlights

Interprofessional education

Share courses with other health care professionals to learn about, from, and with industry colleagues.

Reduce your tuition by 30%

Enroll in an eligible program and apply for our Front Line Heroes Discount to save 30% on your doctoral degree.

Apply now »

Industry aligned

Our School of Nursing and Health Sciences Advisory Board and the American Association of Colleges Nursing Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice guide a robust curriculum


Start and advance through your doctoral journey with support from academic coaches and faculty, community and networking groups, and an online hub for student resources.

Professional partnerships

You could save 50% on your first session of FlexPath if employed with one of our 220 health care employer partners, including hospital systems and insurance providers.

Integrated capstone & practicum

Signature assessments with checkpoints organize your doctoral project into manageable segments throughout your program and stay on track with your practicum hours.*

*Up to 500 post-bachelor nursing program practicum hours may be recognized toward the 1,000 DNP practicum hours requirement.

25 years of online doctoral experience

With over 25 years of experience in online doctoral education, we understand the unique needs of doctoral students, and have designed our programs to meet those needs. We've structured our programs to help you reach your goals and obtain critical skills—with our expert faculty, support teams, and online resources to help guide you every step of the way.

Cost & learning formats

We all learn in different ways because we all have different lives. Our DNP program is available in GuidedPath and FlexPath—two competency-based online learning formats. Choose the best fit for the way you learn, the flexibility and support you need, and your budget.

Which path is right for you? Take our Path Finder Quiz.

A more structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. We’ll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$800 per credit, 52 total quarter credits, 0 max transfer credits

A self-paced learning format that puts you in control. Take courses at your own speed, and move on to the next course whenever you’re ready.

  • Take one or two courses at a time and complete as many as you want in 12 weeks
  • 2 Capella quarter credits = 1 program point
  • Set your own deadlines, no courseroom discussions
  • Pay a flat tuition fee per session*
$3,200 per 12-week billing session, 26 total program points, 0 max transfer points

*This is only an estimate, using general program pricing. Your price may be higher or lower depending on your specialization, transfer credits, tuition discounts, and (in FlexPath) the speed at which you move through the program. Fees, including application fees and resource kits, are not included in this estimate. The GuidedPath prices show the tuition you would pay if you brought in the average number of transfer credits or the maximum allowed transfer credits. The FlexPath prices show the tuition you would pay if you brought in an average number of transfer credits and you moved at the speed of a typical FlexPath student or as quickly as the fastest FlexPath students (90th percentile). New or recently revised programs base their estimate on comparable programs. Military Tuition Assistance (TA) is not available for FlexPath.

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

96% of alumni agree FlexPath provided the flexibility they needed to pursue their degree.

Source: Alumni Outcomes Survey, 2017-2018

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

$20K toward your doctorate

Apply for a $20K Capella Progress Reward, a scholarship to help you fund your doctoral degree.

Employer & association discounts

If your employer or organization is a partner with Capella, you may be eligible for a tuition discount.

Employer reimbursements

Many employers offer tuition reimbursement to employees. Ask your manager about options.

DNP sample courses

Our competency-based DNP program is designed in conjunction with respected employers and  professional associations to offer a robust, professionally relevant education with immediate, real-world applications.

Show course with description
Collaboration, Communication, and Case Analysis for Doctoral Learners

This course prepares learners for doctoral-level coursework in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Throughout the course, learners analyze and evaluate how the scholar-practitioner model provides guidance for developing competencies in effective and ethical health care leadership, including professional and interprofessional collaboration, communication, inclusion, and decision making. Must be taken during the learner’s first quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
21st-Century Health Care Improvement

Learners in this course build foundational knowledge and skills needed to shape the future of health care. Through the lens of a 21st-century health care leader, learners use critical thinking, analysis, and creative insights to examine a problem, gap, or opportunity for improvement within a health care or public health delivery system. Learners also complete a culminating project charter to further develop a coherent quality improvement plan for 21st-century health care. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
Evaluation and Interpretation of Data in Health Care

In this course, learners examine underlying concepts and reasoning involved in the collection, preparation, and evaluation of qualitative and quantitative data in health care research. Learners apply appropriate analytical techniques using commonly used software and/or best practice guidelines. Learners also interpret and report the analytical results. For DNP learners only. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
Executive Leadership in Contemporary Nursing

Learners in this course analyze and evaluate interrelationships within complex health care delivery systems, including organizational stakeholders; executive power structures; and population, fiscal, and policy issues. Learners apply this knowledge as well as executive leadership skills to professional practice and recommend policy changes that support system-level strategic priorities. For DNP learners only. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
Nursing Technology and Health Care Information Systems

Learners in this course apply information technology and research methods used within the health care environment. In particular, learners evaluate the use of technology in health care information systems for the purposes of monitoring outcomes of care and assessing quality improvement.  For DNP learners only. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
NURS8014 *
Global Population Health

In this course, learners evaluate global health issues and propose and evaluate culturally sensitive interventions to address global health concerns. Throughout the course, learners build the knowledge and skills necessary to lead the development and implementation of institutional, local, state, national, or international health care initiatives. For DNP learners only. Prerequisite(s): NURS8010. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing

In this course, learners apply the steps of the evidence-based practice process to a health care challenge, evaluate qualitative research methods and results, and interpret the results and practical significance of qualitative health care data analyses. Learners also assess their own strengths and weaknesses in relationship to writing as a doctoral professional. For DNP learners only. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits

What you’ll learn

The curriculum for our online DNP program will prepare you to lead, influence, and advance health care transformation.

  • Leadership
  • Policy-making processes and influences
  • Health care technology
  • Health care delivery models
  • Health care quality assessment and improvement

Meet your faculty

Our distinguished faculty—industry leaders—bring real-world relevance into the courseroom to enrich your education, and career.

Bridget Roberts, DNP, CNE, BC

Associate Dean

Betty Nelson, PhD, RN

Dean, School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Corinne Cochran DNP, NNP-BC

Faculty Chair, DNP


You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.

Academic coaches

A dedicated academic coach will be there to support you every step of the way, providing consistent and personalized support as you progress through your program.


Work with top faculty members who specialize in their respective areas of expertise throughout each phase of your program, including literature review and implementation planning.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

The BSN, MSN, and DNP programs at Capella University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

DNP Program Guide

Explore programs that put you in control of your education, with more than 160 graduate and undergraduate options to choose from.

"Nurses with advanced degrees can help advocate for patients, create change within health care, and make sure they have a seat at the table when it comes to leading the health care change."

Jennifer Shepard
Capella Nursing Advisory Board

Chart your nursing success

6 Ways Capella Supports Nurses

We’re here to stand by you. See how Capella is partnering with nurses to improve hospital outcomes.

3 Ways FlexPath is Changing Higher Ed

Five years after launch, new studies on Capella’s FlexPath format have been completed—and the news is good.

How Nurses on Boards Impact Health Care

Nurses today make up only 5% of hospital boards—here’s a look into what’s being done to increase that number.

DNP professional opportunities

Here are just some of the careers you could explore with a DNP.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Nurse manager
  • Full-time nursing faculty
  • Adjunct or part-time nursing faculty
  • Director of nursing
  • Chief nursing officer

Employment settings to explore

  • Ambulatory care office
  • Hospital
  • College or university
  • Health insurance company
  • Government - local, state, federal

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Three career paths to explore with a DNP

By earning a terminal degree, such as a doctorate, you can position yourself to reach the highest level of leadership in nursing. While the nursing field offers a variety of career paths and focus areas, here are some of the more common paths:

Be a decision-maker, assisting in patient care and managing the day-to-day responsibilities regarding personnel and facility administration.

Prepare for a nurse manager role in hospitals or in other health care facilities.

Supervise the nursing staff and the care of their patients, as well as oversee administrative responsibilities like record keeping and budgeting.

Prepare for a director of nursing role in hospitals or in other health care facilities.

Lead at a high level by overseeing a nursing department and coordinating its daily operations in order to maintain an environment in which patient care is the best it can be.

Prepare for a chief nursing officer role in hospitals or in other health care facilities.

Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes, and Capella does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, or other career growth.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the next step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.